SNCC 1960-1966: Six years of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

VietnamSNCC formally came out against the Vietnam War in the beginning of 1966 as a result of pressure from northern supporters and from members working on the southern projects.

In one instance, the McComb, Mississippi project went as far as releasing its own antiwar pamphlet. Such events may have pushed SNCC towards releasing an official opinion, but the murder of Sammy Younge was the catalyst. Younge was a SNCC worker and a Tuskegee Institute Student who lost his kidney in Vietnam. He was murdered by a white gas station attendant for trying to use the white restroom.

Prior to the war's escalation in 1965 SNCC had very little to say about the U.S. government's foreign policy. Soon, however, SNCC began to feel that African-Americans were just one of many groups around the world under the boot of U.S. government oppression. As a result, members of SNCC began to identify with the struggle of the Vietnamese people. Both African-Americans and the Vietnamese people were poor and non-white, and SNCC felt the United States had demonstrated a distinct lack of respect for the lives of both groups.

SNCC linked the ruthless bombing of Vietnamese citizens to the U.S. government's frequent failure to bring the murderers of black people to justice. Also, the destruction of Vietnamese village life in the name of "pacification" was comparable to the destruction of African culture during the period of slavery. Thus, SNCC challenged the U.S. government's "benevolent intentions." The group did not believe that the government would create a truly democratic society with free elections abroad, when such rights and structures were not provided for a large percentage of the population at home.