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Organizing Tradition

SNCC’s convergence with politically-experienced adults like Ella Baker and World War II veterans like Amzie Moore and other strong local leaders was crucial to the foundation on which SNCC stood and began developing its work. SNCC learned that they could embed themselves in a community and organize, especially around voter registration. They found that support came from both expected and unexpected places. Local leaders were willing to tap SNCC into their networks made up of an older generation of activists. They taught SNCC organizers how to move and stay alive in the dangerous environs of the rural Black Belt South, protecting them, taking them into their homes, feeding them, and sustaining them. And new leaders emerged from the Movement. Local young people were especially willing to join SNCC’s efforts, many going on to become SNCC’s first homegrown field secretaries.