Birthplace of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
The city of Raleigh, North Carolina, made many important contributions to the Civil Rights Movement. Across the city, students from historically black colleges such as Shaw University and Saint Augustine’s University protested segregation by holding sit-ins at local stores.
Raleigh was also the birthplace of one of the most important organizations of the civil rights era. In April of 1960, at Shaw University, Ella Baker was credited for creating the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Baker, who had been class valedictorian at Shaw in 1927, was a close confidante of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In that role, she helped set up the first SNCC meeting out of concern that young blacks needed more of a voice in the Civil Rights Movement. In the years to follow, the SNCC would carry out such important initiatives as the Freedom Rides and many of the black voter registration drives in the South.