Leaders from the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) are meeting in Raleigh, N.C., this week to celebrate the group’s 50th anniversary. The conference also marks the launch of the SNCC Legacy Program, a historical preservation project that aims to collect oral histories, photos, and publications by SNCC members, many of whom are now in their late 60s and early 70s.
A quick look at SNCC’s history shows exactly why it needs to be preserved. Decades before tea party protestors branded their own form of “grassroots activism,” SNCC changed the face of the civil rights movement by sending young organizers into some of the most dangerous parts of the Delta to register poor Black voters and help change the political landscape of the South. Over at The Root, former SNCC member Charles Cobb, Jr., offers a compelling first-person history of that harrowing work. It’s one of a few historical pauses in the media this week.