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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Southern Christian Leadership Conference

by Raymond Gavins, 2006

Program for meeting in Raleigh sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, 1960. Image from the Mollie Huston Lee Collection, Richard B. Harrison Library, Raleigh, N.C.The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), established in 1957 in Atlanta and headed by Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-68), influenced North Carolina civil rights activism through 1975. The SCLC built a mass membership with local affiliates, mainly black churches and civic groups committed to ending segregation by nonviolent direct action. Activist ministers and laymen directed its statewide crusade. Black United Methodist pastor Douglas E. Moore, King's former Boston University classmate, led Durham's 1957 and 1960 lunch counter sit-ins and helped to mentor the student freedom movement. In addition, the SCLC's state field secretary, Golden A. Frinks, organized nationally reported interracial demonstrations in Williamston (1963-64), Hyde County (1968-69), and Wilmington (1971).


Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63 (1988).

David C. Carter, "The Williamston Freedom Movement: Civil Rights at the Grass Roots in Eastern North Carolina, 1957-1964," NCHR 76 (1999).

Additional Resources:

Southern Christian Leadership Conference website: (accessed November 29, 2012).

Cho, Nancy. "Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957 - )." (accessed November 29, 2012).

Cooksey, Elizabeth B. "Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC)." The New Georgia Encyclopedia. (accessed November 29, 2012).

Image Credits:

"Mass Meeting." Raleigh, N.C.: Southern Christian Leadership Council and the Raleigh Citizens Association. 1960. The Mollie Huston Lee Collection, Richard B. Harrison Library, Raleigh, N.C. (accessed November 29, 2012).