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Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
The Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC for short, was a group of one-hundred and seventy five students from thirty states who met at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina to create a more confrontational and aggressive civil right movement. Although, the SNCC's main objective was to stay completely nonviolent. Some of the leaders in this committee were Ella J. Baker, Robert Moses, Marion Barry, James Lawson, Charles McDew, James Forman, and John Lewis. On Easter weekend in 1960, the students listened to James Lawson who spoke that racial segregation and prejudice was evil or sin. He also said that at the rate the civil rights movement was going it would still be another generation before the major forms of segregation disappeared. Ella Baker believed that the already put in place Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was out of touch with younger blacks and it was taking too long to make progress in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, Robert Zellner, the grandson of a Ku Klux Klan member, joined the SNCC and was the first white field secretary. The SNCC staged many sit ins and played a role in racially segregated public banks, lunch counters, parks, libraries, and swimming pools in hopes of getting the media to involved. The SNCC got involved in many activities some of these including; 1963 March on Washington, Freedom Rides, and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. During the Freedom Rides organized by the CORE the SNCC put themselves in great personal danger by instead of allowing mob violence to stop them they rode in the Deep South traveling in racially-integrated groups. Although many would say their most important issue was SNCC's major contribution in its field work, organizing voter registration drives all over the south. African Americans found it challenging when they would attempt to register to vote, because they often lost their jobs and homes. SNCC workers actually lived with local families providing them with hospitality and usually houses which provided such were firebombed. The SNCC along with the CORE and the NAACP establish 30 Freedom Schools that had black history in the curriculum. In 1968, the SNCC had claimed that the United States government was being deceptive about their claims of concern for the freedom of the Vietnamese as they have been about the freedom of the colored people in their own country. What also made the SNCC different then the other civil right organizations were the way the decisions were made. They were made with consensus rather than "top down" control, like most of the organizations were like at the time. The meetings would go as long as the needed and the people could speak as long as they wanted until the whole group came to an agreement. Since many of the tasks SNCC got involved in were dangerous and could lead to death or prison, they decided it would be better if they all supported the idea before any involvement. Many members of the organization grew concerned about the idea of staying nonviolent and this then caused the committee to split of into two sections-one section wanting to stay nonviolent, and the other leading more towards Black Power and revolutionary ideology. In 1966, Stokely Carmichael was elected head of the SNCC and made the term Black Power and more popular to characterize the SNCC's new tactics and goals. These goals included African American self-reliance and the use of violence as a legitimate means of self-defense. Many people then left the organization saying Carmichael was trying to transform the SNCC from a multiracial community activist organization into an all-black social change organization. In 1965 James Forman said he didn't know "how much longer we can stay non violent." In 1969, the SNCC changed their name to Student National Coordinating Committee. Although by the 1970's the SNCC no longer existed.