Southern Christian Leadership Conference members in Richmond, 1963

Collections in the Classroom

Grade Level

High, Middle

Time Period

1951-1999: Late 20th Century


African American History, Civil rights

Resource Type

Primary Source

Download Collections in the Classroom: Southern Christian Leadership Conference members (pdf)


  • Describe the people in this image. What do you notice about their facial expressions?
  • How do religious beliefs impact or influence an individual’s political action?
  • How did Black churches support the Civil Rights Movement?


Baptist ministers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Wyatt Tee Walker along with Methodist minister Joseph E. Lowery were all leaders with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). After the Montgomery Bus Boycotts in 1956, the SCLC was created to coordinate nonviolent protest activities across the region. King, Walker and Lowery met at Richmond’s First African Baptist in 1963 to discuss boycotts and voter registration drives. Inspired by an earlier visit of King’s in 1960, students from nearby Virginia Union University participated in a sit-in at Thalhimer’s Department Store in downtown Richmond in February of 1960 that ultimately led the retailer to change its segregated policies. Virginia Union University students interested in resisting segregation had been trained by members of the SCLC how to protest without violence.