The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. SCLC is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., who had a large role in the American civil rights movement.
Relationships with other organizations
Because of its dedication to direct-action protests, civil disobedience, and mobilizing mass participation in boycotts and marches, SCLC was considered more "radical" than the older NAACP, which favored lawsuits, legislative lobbying, and education campaigns conducted by professionals. At the same time, it was generally considered less radical than Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) or the youth-led Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
To a certain extent during the period 1960–1964, SCLC had a mentoring relationship with SNCC before SNCC began moving away from nonviolence and integration in the late 1960s. Over time, SCLC and SNCC took different strategic paths, with SCLC focusing on large-scale campaigns such as Birmingham and Selma to win national legislation, and SNCC focusing on community-organizing to build political power on the local level. In many communities, there was tension between SCLC and SNCC because SCLC's base was the minister-led Black churches, and SNCC was trying to build rival community organizations led by the poor. SCLC also had its own youth volunteer initiative, the SCOPE Project (Summer Community Organization on Political Education), which placed about 500 young people, mostly white students from nearly 100 colleges and universities, who registered about 49,000 voters in 120 counties in 6 southern states in 1965–66.
In August 1979, the head of the SCLC, Joseph Lowery, met with the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and endorsed Palestinian self-determination and urged the PLO to "consider" recognizing Israel's right to exist.