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Records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, 1954-1970

Location: Microfilm E 185.61 R292


 “No organization was more pivotal to the modern civil rights movement than the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Founded in 1957 by a group of southern ministers, the SCLC energized the struggle for civil rights with its emphasis on nonviolent direct action. It also provided the movement with its most charismatic and inspirational leader in Martin Luther King Jr., who headed the organization from 1957 until his assassination in 1968. Now the documentary record of the SCLC—from its earliest organizational meetings to the sit-ins, freedom rides, mass demonstrations, voter registration drives, and antipoverty programs—is conveniently available on microfilm.

Part 1: Records of the President’s Office

  • Correspondence, largely incoming, between King and the NAACP, Southern Conference Education Fund, Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Council of Federated Organizations, Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and other civil rights organizations
  • Correspondence and background material on the Selma movement; SCLC in Chicago; King’s relations with the antiwar movement; Montgomery, Alabama, bombing; and other events
  • Incoming correspondence from the public to Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Speeches and sermons by Martin Luther King Jr.

Part 2: Records of the Executive Director and Treasurer

  • Reports of executive directors Ella J. Baker, Andrew J. Young, and others to King
  • Freedom rides strategy
  • Background on the 1963 March on Washington
  • Records of workshops on nonviolent tactics for social change
  • Financial reports and budgets

Part 3: Records of the Public Relations Department

  • Publicity information about SCLC and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Speaking and media appearances of Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Press releases from SCLC and Martin Luther King Jr.
  • SCLC newsletter and brochures
  • Biographies of SCLC leaders
  • SCLC convention and board meeting records

Part 4: Records of the Program Department

  • Voter registration project in the South
  • Citizenship schools in rural southern areas
  • Operation Breadbasket and related boycott actions in the North and South
  • Peace Education Project
  • Poor People’s Campaign
  • Selma–Montgomery march
  • Direct-action programs to integrate St. Augustine, Florida; Albany, Georgia; and other cities” (LexisNexis)

How to search the collection

There are four guides, one for each part of the collection. The guides have reel indexes, principle correspondents indexes and subject indexes. The reels are divided into boxes. Each box has several folders.  Folders have many documents in them.  The boxes and folders are divided on the microfilm by blank sheets which have the box and folder numbers hand written on them.


For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Subject Categories:

Southern Christian Leadership Conference -- Archives.

African Americans -- Civil rights -- Southern States -- History -- Sources.

Civil rights movements -- United States -- History -- 20th century -- Sources.

Southern States -- Race relations -- History -- Sources.

Time Period: 20th Century  

Subject keywords: African American Studies, Civil Rights