Interview with Cleveland Sellers

I've heard that Malcolm's speeches began to be a guiding voice to you all in SNCC and during the period of time from the summer of '63 to summer of '64, can you tell me how those speeches were an influence on SNCC?


Well we were a, a student group who was interested in finding out about new ideas, about new methods for struggle. We were an appendage of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee. We were on the front lines in terms of demonstrating and lobbying for legislation in Washington, picketing on behalf of those voters, voter rights workers and freedom workers in Mississippi. We also were responsible for gathering clothes and food for those individuals in Mississippi who had been disenfranchised as a result of their efforts to register to vote. Malcolm, ideas, were ideas that we discussed. We discussed ideas from persons who we felt were beginning to, to clarify for us the direction that the movement should go. We did not, ah, commit ourselves totally to any particularly person's philosophy, but there was always a strain of the, the self-determination and, and, and Black history and Black awareness and, and figuring out who we were and, and knowing our own history and identification. That certainly was directly related to Malcolm's, ah, discussions and talks and, and we followed that through his, ah, the books and, ah, through seeing him on various TV programs.