Article abstract: The formation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957 was the first Southwide grass-roots movement dedicated to racial desegregation in the United States.
Summary of Event
When the Southern Christian Leadership Conference was formed in 1957, black Americans faced many obstacles to economic and political equality despite decades of piecemeal reforms. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and other advocacy organizations had achieved significant gains, but black Americans in many parts of the country were prohibited from voting and blocked by lack of education and segregationist barriers from advancing economically and socially. Particularly in the southern states, black Americans faced formidable barriers that had stood firmly and even intensified in spite of significant legal victories against segregation in interstate transportation and education. The major advocacy organizations began and operated chiefly in the North and had comparatively little impact on southern blacks, who lived in perennial poverty and social ostracism. The SCLC was the first Southwide civil rights organization. Its distinctive role as the political arm of many black churches gave it the ability to lead direct action campaigns with the kind of massive grass-roots support that had eluded the NAACP and other...
(The entire section is 2423 words.)
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