The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

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The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee was a fiercely independent organization full of young black college students, emerging originally through involvement in the 1961 Freedom Rides and eventually culminating in a focus on Mississippi as a location of change. SNCC’s involvement in Mississippi during the 1964 Freedom Summer caused members to witness horrible, senseless acts of violence towards activists. As a result, many SNCC members questioned the validity of the organization’s stance towards nonviolence, arguing in favor of self-defense. This sparked increasingly bitter ideological debates within SNCC that eventually split the organization and subsequently the entire civil rights movement into separate factions. Starting out in the…show more content…
This began with the Albany movement in November of 1961. The Albany movement took place in Albany, Georgia and involved many different civil rights organizations. At first, though, only SNCC and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) were involved, and SNCC worked with local activists with their goal being to empower the local community. Unfortunately, SNCC tried to do too much in the name of desegregation and had multiple focuses: voter registration, bus desegregation, lunch counter desegregation, and many more other interests. In general, the Albany movement was widespread and targeted an all-encompassing call for desegregation, but this ended up working to the movement’s disadvantage as it ended up being spread too…show more content…
The tactic of filling jails with protesters and activists used in the Montgomery Bus Boycott proved successful then, but was undermined by Albany police chief Pritchett. Pritchett studied the movement’s tactics and fought against them by putting arrested protesters in jails far away from Albany and in large institutions, so city jails would remain open. Because of the chief’s countermove, black people were arrested in droves without any resulting victory after the Albany movement was abandoned. In Clayborne Carson’s book In Struggle (1996) SNCC members realized that “patient suffering by nonviolent protesters was insufficient to bring about federal intervention.” The realization that black people’s suffering would do no good to create change reinforced many SNCC members’ belief that nonviolence was not enough. Instead, self-defense for the sake of protecting black lives was

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