Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Founding Statement

[After the Greensboro sit-in (February 1st, 1960) other student-led sit-ins and direct-action demonstrations against segregation explode across the South. In April of 1960, Ella Baker organizes a conference of student activists at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She urges them to form an independent, student-led organization. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) is founded at that meeting. This is the statement adopted by the conference.]

We affirm the philosophical or religious ideal of nonviolence as the foundation of our purpose, the presupposition of our belief, and the manner of our action.

Nonviolence, as it grows from the Judeo-Christian tradition, seeks a social order of justice permeated by love. Integration of human endeavor represents the crucial first step towards such a society.

Through nonviolence, courage displaces fear. Love transcends hate. Acceptance dissipates prejudice; hope ends despair. Faith reconciles doubt. Peace dominates war. Mutual regards cancel enmity. Justice for all overthrows injustice. The redemptive community supersedes immoral social systems.

By appealing to conscience and standing on the moral nature of human existence, nonviolence nurtures the atmosphere in which reconciliation and justice become actual possibilities.

Although each local group in this movement must diligently work out the clear meaning of this statement of purpose, each act or phase of our corporate effort must reflect a genuine spirit of love and good-will.

Adopted by the Southwide Youth Leadership Conference
Shaw University, Raleigh, NC
April 15-17, 1960

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