SNCC Digital Gateway

Made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SNCC Digital Gateway: Learn from the Past, Organize for the Future, Make Democracy Work is a collaborative project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC—pronounced “Snick”) Legacy Project, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke University Libraries.

This documentary website tells the story of how young activists in SNCC united with local people in the Deep South to build a grassroots movement for change that empowered the Black community and transformed the nation. The SNCC Digital Gateway portrays how SNCC, alongside thousands of local Black residents, worked for Black people to take control of their political and economic lives. It also unveils the inner workings of SNCC as an organization, examining how it coordinated sit-ins and freedom schools, voter registration and economic cooperatives, anti-draft protests and international solidarity struggles.

SNCC organizers themselves shaped the vision and framework of the SNCC Digital Gateway website. They worked collaboratively with historians of the Movement, archivists, and students to weave together grassroots stories, digitized primary source materials held at repositories across the country, and new multi-media productions to bring this history to life for a new generation.

History of the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University Collaboration

In 2013, the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke University formed a partnership to chronicle the historic struggles for voting rights and to develop ongoing programs that contribute to a more civil and inclusive democracy in the 21st century.

In March 2015, the SNCC Legacy Project, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke Libraries launched its pilot website, One Person, One Vote: The Legacy of SNCC and the Fight for Voting Rights, which uses documents, photographs, and audiovisual material to chronicle SNCC’s historic struggle for voting rights. Throughout the One Person, One Vote Project, SNCC veterans came to Duke’s campus as Visiting Activist Scholars, working with students, archivists, and project staff to engage SNCC’s documentary legacy and contextualize its history of organizing for self-determination and democracy.

The long-term SLP and Duke collaboration is building on that effort with the creation of the SNCC Digital Gateway. SNCC veterans have continued serving as Visiting Activist Scholars during the SNCC Digital Gateway Project. The partnership has also conducted critical oral history sessions with SNCC veterans that highlight SNCC’s experience around building democracy from the ground up and the inside out—informational wealth that will help activate people to have a say in their own lives at the local and national levels. A K–12 educational component of the partnership will draw on the SNCC Digital Gateway as a learning tool.

Content of the SNCC Digital Gateway website

Historic materials including documents, photographs, oral history interviews, and audiovisual material hosted in digital collections at repositories across the country
Profiles examining individuals’ contributions to the Movement
Events tracing the evolution of SNCC’s organizing
Inside SNCC pages unveiling the inner workings of SNCC as an organization
Our Voices sections presenting aspects of SNCC’s history from the eyes of the activists themselves
Map connecting users to the people who worked–and the events that happened–in a specific place

Project Team

Advisory Board members: William Chafe (Duke-CDS), Courtland Cox (SLP), Wesley Hogan (Duke-CDS), Jennifer Lawson (SLP), Lynn McKnight (Duke-CDS), Naomi Nelson (Duke-Libraries), and Will Sexton (Duke-Libraries)

Editorial Board members: Geri Augusto (SLP), Molly Bragg (Duke-Libraries), Charlie Cobb (SLP), Emilye Crosby (SUNY-Geneseo), Karlyn Forner (Duke-Libraries), John Gartrell (Duke-Libraries), Hasan Kwame Jeffries (Ohio State), Judy Richardson (SLP), and Timothy Tyson (Duke-CDS)

Student Project Team: Amina Bility, Aaron Colston, Colby Johnson, Meaghan Kachadoorian, Eliza Meredith, Alexandria Miller, Annie Piotrowski, David Romine, Sarah Scriven, Kristina Williams, and Kelsey Zavelo

SUNY Geneseo Interns: Hannah Embry, Jen Galvao, Tom Garrity, Jenna Lawson, Grace McGinnis, Lauren Plevy, and Tanairi Taylor

Project Interns: Emily Abbott, Charmaine Bonner, Kenneth Campbell, Todd Christensen, and Ajamu Amiri Dillahunt

Digital Projects Developer (DUL): Michael Daul

Project Coordinator: Kaley Deal

Project Manager: Karlyn Forner