Organizing Tradition

SNCC’s convergence with politically-experienced adults like Ella Baker and World War II veterans like Amzie Moore 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 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 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. SNCC field secretaries learned how to listen to, respect, and be guided by the local people they worked with.