Teaching in Dangerous Times: Lessons from SNCC

Originally posted on ZinnedProject.org


Teaching in Dangerous Times: Lessons from SNCCOn September 11, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) veterans Courtland Cox, Jennifer Lawson, and Judy Richardson joined educator Jessica Rucker to discuss key tenets of their work that we can draw on today.

This session kicked off the 2023–2024 season of our monthly Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online classes. Don’t miss this year’s lineup — register now.

Participants shared what they learned and the impact of the session:

It’s so inspirational to see the vitality and passion of the SNCC veterans after all these years of organizing. It’s a reminder that this work brings joy in the midst of years of challenges and that determination is the key factor, not bravery.

Storytelling is powerful; it’s what kept me at the edge of my seat wanting to learn more.

I learned the danger of lost histories and the increasing injustice that comes with banning and eradicating information.

Mr. Cox’s discussion on why white supremacists attack education was profound — in terms of framing the critical role of educating not only BIPOC individuals, but also white individuals at predominantly white institutions. The latter point will be very helpful for convincing my white colleagues why we should be spending time on these topics.

It hit hard just how much SNCC history is relevant today.

The resources on the SNCC website are amazing and I am so excited to use them with my students. I loved hearing the stories directly from the people who participated in these protests and, as a high school teacher, I think my students will be similarly inspired as activists who are finding their voices.

In addition to the conversation with these SNCC veterans, participants heard from teachers CJ McDermott and Tina Tosto, who described using SNCC lessons in the classroom and how empowered their students felt after learning this history.

Event Recording

Recording of the full session, except for the breakout rooms.


Download the transcript

Presented by Zinn Education Project