Founded in April 1960 the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was organized by African American college students to give younger blacks a stronger voice in the civil rights movement. Activist Ella Baker, who was a director with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was credited with organizing students to launch SNCC. Baker was concerned that SCLC, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was not in sync with younger blacks who sought faster progress in the civil rights movement. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others hoped that SNCC would serve as the youth arm of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). However, SNCC chose to remain independent of SCLC throughout its existence. Continue reading “2020 Marks 60th Anniversary Of Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)”→
A native of Chicago, IL, Diane Nash (1938-) was one of the pioneering forces behind the Civil Rights movement. Nash and many other women were champions of the movement. She became active in the movement in 1959 as a new student at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. While at Fisk she would encounter the harsh realities of segregation and prejudice that were previously unknown to her. In 1959 she attended a workshop focused on non-violent protesting. She would quickly become a respected leader of Nashville’s “sit in” movement. Her efforts were instrumental in organizing the first successful campaign to end segregation of lunch counters. This effort engaged hundreds of black and white college students as volunteers. She was also one of the founders of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). SNCC would play a major role in the civil rights movement by engaging young college students in civil rights activism. These efforts were successful and in 1960, Nashville became first southern city to desegregate lunch counters. Continue reading “Diane Nash – Unsung Hero Of The Civil Rights Movement”→
In 1962 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was visiting Terrell County, Georgia to speak at Mt. Olive Baptist Church. The church had recently been burned down by the Klu Klux Klan. As part of the service Prathia Hall, a young college student, who was volunteer with SNCC (Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) was invited to pray. Hall was the daughter of Rev. Berkeley Hall, a Baptist minister and was known for her oratory skills. Through her prayer, she shared her personal vision of what she hoped for the future of Black Americans. In her prayer, she used the phrase, “I Have A Dream” many times. Dr. King was very impressed with Prathia’s prayer. In particular, he admired her use of the phrase, “I Have A Dream”. As ministers often do, King would later incorporate “I Have A Dream” into some of his own speeches. By late 1962, the phrase was reported to have been a regular part of King’s sermons. The phrase also became popular due to its use during 2 historic 1963 civil rights marches by Dr. King; “Walk To Freedom” march in Detroit and the “March on Washington” in Washington DC.
Prathia Hall grew up in Philadelphia. Her father, Reverend Berkeley Hall, was a passionate advocate for racial justice. She left her college studies at Temple University to join other college students who were traveling to the south to advocate for civil rights there. Prathia was active in the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). She eventually became one its first women field leaders in southwest Georgia. Prathia would later go on to become a preacher, and pastor. After her father’s death, Prathia accepted the call of Mount Sharon Baptist Church in Philadelphia to come and pastor the church her father once pastored. Prathia later enrolled at Princeton Theological Seminary and received a Ph.D in ethics. Prathia Hall died on August 12, 2002, following a long illness.
Of Prathia Hall, Dr. King is quoted as saying, “Prathia Hall is the one platform speaker I would prefer not to follow”.