in SNCC's history a rift began to form between the organization
and its white liberal support. When SNCC initially began its program
of sit-ins and other forms of nonviolent protest, they hoped it
would create such a compelling image of violent oppression that
northern white liberals would become incensed by the situation
and take immediate and decisive action.
SNCC's actions were met with $5 and $10 checks, and an occasional
lawsuit on their behalf. This gave rise to resentment from SNCC
members who felt while they were in the field risking their lives,
their white support was patting itself on the back for its philanthropy
and not risking anything.
people who were working on the front lines were also out of favor
with black SNCC workers. The white members did not pay the same
price for their actions as the black members: during protests
they were less likely to be beaten, and even in death they received
preferential treatment. If a white member was killed alongside
a black member the white member would be mourned throughout the
country while the black member was often forgotten or ignored.
the presence of white support complicated the organization's message.
In order to rouse a larger number of black people to action, SNCC
needed to create a simple and clearly defined enemy--in this case
racist white America. The presence of whites who appeared supportive
complicated the issue and made SNCC's movement harder to sell
to the black public.