On this day in 1957, the SCLC was established; Laying groundwork for Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts

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Civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., president of the Southern Christian Baptist Leadership Conference (SCLC), displays the poster to be used during his Poor People's Campaign this spring and summer, March 4, 1968. King said today in Atlanta that the campaign would begin April 22. (AP Photo/Horace Cort)
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On February 14, 1957, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was established at a meeting in New Orleans after the end of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. served as president of the civil rights organization, initially called the Southern Negro Leaders Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration, until his death in 1968.

SCLC’s first major campaign centered on voting rights. Titled the “Crusade for Citizenship,” the goal was to register thousands of disenfranchised voters throughout the South so they could cast ballots in upcoming elections in 1958 and 1960. Through voter education clinics, it raised awareness among African Americans about the importance of the vote.

SCLC is credited with helping to lay the groundwork for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


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