Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Statement of Purpose

(1960)

Explanation and Analysis of the Document

At just 182 words, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Statement of Purpose is brief and relatively simple. It begins with an affirmation of the “philosophical or religious ideal of nonviolence.” Reference is made to the nonviolent tradition of Judeo-Christianity, which is erected on the foundation of a just society “permeated by love.” The second paragraph of the statement pairs a number of opposites to assert that, for example, “love transforms hate” and “justice for all overcomes injustice.” The religious roots of the SNCC—Shaw University, the oldest of the historically black colleges in the South, was affiliated with the Baptist Church—are emphasized in the third paragraph, which takes the position that “love is the force by which God binds man to himself and man to man.” The single sentence of the final paragraph expresses the hope that nonviolence can bring about reconciliation and justice....

Image for: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Statement of Purpose

Shaw University ca. 1900 (Library of Congress)

View Full Size