Short Take: SNCC Digital Gateway Project

Sharon Carson

North Dakota Quarterly is proud to honor the legacy of the Black Civil Rights movement this week, in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and in honor of the thousands of citizens who labored long and hard (and labor long and hard today) to achieve racial and social justice in the United States.

We are especially honored to highlight the history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), via this outstanding digital humanities project based at Duke University: SNCC Digital Gateway: Learn from the Past, Organize for the Future, Make Democracy Work.

SNCC Digital Gateway Learn from the Past Organize for the Future Make Democracy Work SNCC Digital Gateway and Spark Smart Inbox

Here is the project description by the project’s creators:

SNCC Digital Gateway

“Made possible by the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the SNCC Digital Gateway: Learn from the Past, Organize for the Future, Make Democracy Work is a collaborative project of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC—pronounced “Snick”) Legacy Project, Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies, and Duke University Libraries.

This documentary website tells the story of how young activists in SNCC united with local people in the Deep South to build a grassroots movement for change that empowered the Black community and transformed the nation. The SNCC Digital Gateway portrays how SNCC, alongside thousands of local Black residents, worked for Black people to take control of their political and economic lives. It also unveils the inner workings of SNCC as an organization, examining how it coordinated sit-ins and freedom schools, voter registration and economic cooperatives, anti-draft protests and international solidarity struggles.

SNCC organizers themselves shaped the vision and framework of the SNCC Digital Gateway website. They worked collaboratively with historians of the Movement, archivists, and students to weave together grassroots stories, digitized primary source materials held at repositories across the country, and new multi-media productions to bring this history to life for a new generation.”

The website allows visitors to explore the people and history of SNCC, supplemented with extensive and broader historical context, maps and this excellent page providing direct links to a host of other digital projects and archives related to SNCC and the Black Civil Rights movement more generally.

Sharon Carson, Chester Fritz Distinguished Professor, Department of English, University of North Dakota 

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