Skip to Main Content

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Logo, 1961

To what extent did Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice become a reality for African Americans during the civil rights movement?

  • I can interpret primary sources related to Founding principles of liberty, equality, and justice in the civil rights movement
  • I can explain how laws and policy, courts, and individuals and groups contributed to or pushed back against the quest for liberty, equality, and justice for African Americans.
  • I can create an argument using evidence from primary sources.
  • I can analyze issues in history to help find solutions to present-day challenges.

Building Context

Students played a prominent role in the civil rights movement. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was formed in 1960 as a way to bring more grassroots student efforts into the larger struggle for civil rights for African Americans. Early leaders include John Lewis, Diane Nash, and Marion Barry. Ella Baker, a colleague of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a key strategist and mentor for SNCC. Baker strongly believed that social change was best achieved through local action from rank and file members, rather than through influential leaders.


Comprehension and Analysis Questions

  1. What does this logo suggest about SNCC’s mission?
  2. SNCC’s leaders believed that change was achieved more effectively at the local level through grassroots action, instead of top-down through organizational leadership. Do you agree? Explain your reasoning.