This letter, which was penned by Johnson C. Smith University students in February 1960, was written to Charlotte Mayor James Saxon Smith, who had formed the “Mayor’s Friendly Relationships Committee” to facilitate negotiations to integrate Charlotte’s public spaces. This source uses outdated language to describe African Americans.
Citation: Students at Johnson C. Smith University. “Statement of Purpose for the Student Protest Movement.” February 1960. J. Murrey Atkins Library Special Collections and University Archives at UNC Charlotte, https://repository.charlotte.edu/exhibits/cr/. Accessed 19 June 2023.
- What is the purpose of this letter? What are the students at Johnson C. Smith University demanding? Include a quote or textual evidence to support your answer.
- The students write: “We further feel that our actions are akin to those desires which motivated the American colonies to express their appeal to equal treatment and recognition for human dignity… Binding ourselves with the same urgency that prompted our founding fathers to strive for the recognition of freedom and human dignity, we… are dissatisfied, not only with existing conditions, but also with the slowness with which these conditions are being [ameliorated]. … The existing practice of segregated eating facilities in the downtown shopping areas of Charlotte is a clear denial of the dignity and worth of a fourth of the population of Charlotte who are Negroes — citizens living in this growing community.”
- What persuasive tactics or arguments are the students using to appeal to their audience?
- What strategies or actions did these activists take to achieve desegregation?
Precepts: accepted rules of moral conduct
Doctrines: principles, positions or policies of a religion, government, etc.
Democracy: government by the people either directly or through elected officials
Judeo-Christian: beliefs, values, and traditions shared by the religions of Judaism and Christianity
Ameliorated: made something better or more satisfactory
Abhors: strongly dislikes or detests
Placidly: calmly or peacefully