Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Established by Martin Luther King* in 1957 to coordinate local nonviolent, direct-action movements emerging in the South, its goals are to win “full citizenship rights,” including equality and integration of black people in American life. The SCLC's methods have combined the use of Ghandian nonviolent resistance and of the ballot box. Hence it encouraged not only voter-registration projects, but also mass demonstrations and civil disobedience. It also provides services to help black people obtain their rights. Despite its successes, it has been thwarted by the increasing decline of youthful support, primarily because of the alleged ineffectiveness of nonviolence, and the assassination of its founder (April 1968). The latter was succeeded as leader by Ralph D. Abernathy.