Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

Students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College and other schools in Greensboro began to protest segregation at lunch counters in the town with a sit-in at the local Woolworth's on February 1, 1960. Their action spontaneously prompted similar protests in college towns and cities across the South. Within a few months hundreds of thousands of students staged sit-ins. The black and white student participants in the sit-ins decided to form SNCC in April 1960 to spread the movement. SNCC worked closely both in its formative meetings and first years with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. SNCC organizers worked with local protestors on non-violent training for demonstrations and public and media relations. Because SNCC operated in numerous Southern communities, included students from around the nation in its ranks, and coordinated its work with other national civil rights groups, white conservatives dismissed them as "outsiders" and accused SNCC of stirring up racial conflict. By 1966 internal divisions rather than outside pressure tore SNCC apart. Some black members saw King and SCLC as too timid, some viewed SNCC as too integrationist. When Stokeley Carmichael became head of SNCC in 1966, the organization moved to oust white members and took up black power separatism.