His Murder Inspired SNCC To Boldly Call Out America’s Hypocrisy

sncc 1961 sidewalk marker
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
January 22, 2023

Samuel Younge, Jr. was killed for using an Alabama “whites only” bathroom in 1966. He was 21 years old. 

His peers at Tuskegee were enraged by his death — especially when his autopsy stated he died of natural causes.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a boycott at Tuskegee, publicly criticizing the Vietnam war. Younge’s murder was used as an example of America’s hypocrisy for fighting abroad while ignoring the racial violence in the US.

SNCC was the first civil rights organization to publicly condemn the Vietnam war. But they knew this fight was bigger than them — they owed it to Younge and countless others to take a stand. 

SNCC encouraged people to refuse the war draft, demanding they “work for freedom at home instead.”

As we keep fighting for liberation we must remember the POWER we hold. For example, if every Black person in America “refused” to work until our demands were met, America would shut down.

Like SNCC, we must call out our oppressors and refuse to show up for their oppression.

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