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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).




i am doing a project on this and its actually really interesting to find and get the concept of north Carolina history. Also this website has very clear and knowledgeable information.


I was impressed to meet Dr. W.A. Merritt, trying to reach him to join. Paula Carmon-Ousley


i thought i was the only one .......!!!


sorry for the delay hope that we still get together


Working on some research on Dr. Merritt. Can't find anything about him or his experiences anywhere, or information about Burns University, other than a Simpson's episode. TimeBanks USA references him as "Doc" Merritt, but looking for the Fellows info and can't find it. Anyone have any additional information?

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