Together and Apart: Women and SNCC
The Student Non-Violent Coordingating Committee (SNCC) began as a southern, primarily black, nonviolent, integrationist organization devoted to racial justice and equality. After four years of organizing amidst violent racism, in the summer of 1964, called Freedom Summer, they accepted 800 volunteers, most of them white and from the north, to help in Mississippi. But in the midst of this interracial experiment, gender tensions arose in the SNCC, primarily because of the women's different class and race backgrounds. Young white and young black women's expectations and perceptions were often different. By the end of the summer, blacks were moving away from whites toward Black Power and toward a black SNCC. Nevertheless, women had often worked well together in adversity and unfamiliarity; they had connected across race, but they simultaneously recognized, sometimes bitterly, that differences separated them.
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