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)”→
Golden Asro Frinks (1920 – 2004) was a field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and a civil rights activist. Frinks was born in Wampee, North Carolina but lived mainly in Edenton, SC where he resided since the age of 17. He was named, “Golden” by his mother because of a “golden text” of scripture that was read at a church service she attended on the day of his birth.
Frinks was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement for 30 years; leading countless youth and adults; many of whom were African American and Native American. He was arrested eighty-seven times for his civil rights activities. A veteran of the United States Army, he served during World War II as a staff sergeant at Fort McCullough, Alabama. After his military service, he returned to Edenton and married Ruth Holley. They had one daughter, Goldi Ann Frinks Wells.
Frinks became involved in civil rights activism and organizing in 1956 in an effort to desegregate restaurants, theaters, stores, and other public spaces. He also led the fight to end Jim Crow practices. He used many of the same nonviolent tactics of civil disobedience used by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. such as sit ins, demonstrations, protests, and marches. Frinks was selected by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr to become Field Secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); a position he held until 1977.
His unorthodox style was extremely effective and earned him the nickname of “The Great Agitator”. Frinks lead over a dozen civil rights movements during his career as an activist; three of which were on par with movements led in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama. His activism was not limited only to North Carolina. A great deal of the organizing for the civil rights organizing in Selma, Alabama was conducted in in Frinks’ home. He also assisted with organizing the March on Washington. Leading efforts to advocate on behalf of individuals experiencing racial discrimination was also a hallmark of Frink’s activism. Joann Little was one such individual. She was an African American woman accused of killing the jailer who had assaulted her while she was in prison in the 1970’s. Frinks also advocated on behalf of the Tuscarora Indians in 1973; marching to the state capital to support the group in gaining tribal recognition as well as representation on the Robeson County School Board.
Frinks is remembered as having some unorthodox ways; frequently dressing in a gold colored jumpsuit or sometimes a dashiki adorned with gold chains with a cross. To energize meetings, he might jump on a table. At one time, Frinks set a coop of chickens free around a courthouse building in Alabama to delay the start of a court hearing; a strategy he may have employed on more than one occasion.
He also played an integral role in advocating on behalf of four black teenagers in 1993. The teens were arrested after a fight at a bowling alley in Hampton, Virginia. Frinks became involved on behalf of the NAACP over concerns that the charges against the teens were excessive. One of the youths being charged, was a local football and basketball standout, Allen Iverson. Iverson maintained his innocence; stating that he left the area as the fight started. Iverson felt he was being targeted because he was a “star”. He had been sentenced to five years in prison. Frinks involvement was instrumental in bringing national attention to Iverson and the incident. 60 Minutes covered the story and Governor Douglas Wilder would eventually commute his sentence. Iverson was then able to attend Georgetown University and play basketball. He went pro just two years later and experienced great success as shooting guard in the NBA.
Jimmie Lee Jackson (1938 – 1965) was born in Marion, Alabama. In February, 1965, Jackson was a 26 year old Vietnam veteran, a father, and the youngest deacon at his church. He worked as a laborer. Jackson was also an active supporter of voting rights. He had been working with other activists to advocate for voting rights in Selma and Marion, Alabama. When Dr. Martin Luther King arrived in Selma in 1965, Jackson had already attempted to register to vote several times. Dr. King decided to bring the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) to Selma because he was concerned about the police brutality being experienced by non-violent black activists. He hoped to get the attention of national media outlets to the violence that was occurring. He hoped this attention would put pressure on President Lyndon Johnson to pass voting rights legislation.
Operation Breadbasket was launched in 1962 by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., stated, “The fundamental premise of Breadbasket is a simple one. Negroes need not patronize a business which denies them jobs, or advancement or plain courtesy…..Many retail businesses and consumer goods industries deplete the ghetto by selling to Negroes without returning to the community any profits through fair hiring practices”. Operation Breadbasket’s first leader was Fred Bennette. Continue reading “Operation Breadbasket: Economic Empowerment Program Of The Southern Christian Leadership Conference”→