This Day in History

Feb. 13, 1937: Founding of Southern Negro Youth Congress

Time Periods: Prosperity, Depression, & World War II: 1920 - 1944
Themes: African American, Civil Rights Movements, Democracy & Citizenship, Organizing

Du Bois SNYC 1937

The first Southern Negro Youth Conference (SNYC) conference was held in Richmond, Virginia, on Feb. 13 and 14, 1937.

Five hundred thirty-four delegates from across the South attended the meeting including individuals from almost every HBCU as well as delegates representing YMCA branches and chapters of the Girl and Boy Scouts.

At the 1946 conference held in Columbia, South Carolina. W. E. B. Du Bois delivered the speech “Behold the Land,”

The future of American Negroes is in the South. Here three hundred and twenty-seven years ago, they began to enter what is now the United States of America; here they have made their greatest contribution to American culture; and here they have suffered the damnation of slavery, the frustration of Reconstruction and the lynching of emancipation.

Remember here, too, that you do not stand alone. It may seem like a failing fight when the newspapers ignore you; when every effort is made by white people in the South to count you out of citizenship to act as though you did not exist as human beings while all the time they are profiting by your labor; gleaning wealth from your sacrifices and trying to build a nation and a civilization upon your gradation.

The first successful SNYC campaign helped Black tobacco workers organize a union in Richmond. Next it organized anti-lynching campaigns across the South.