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The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an American civil rights organization. It played a prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King, Jr. The origins of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference lie in the Montgomery Bus Boycott that began after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give her seat on a bus to a white man. The bus boycott, which lasted from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956, brought together two Montgomery ministers: Ralph David Abernathy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

As the tactic of boycotts to desegregate buses began to spread in the South, a group of 60 activists met in Atlanta, Georgia, in January 1957 to discuss the use of nonviolent resistance. At the meeting, the group established the Southern Leadership Conference on Transportation and Nonviolent Integration, which was soon renamed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

As its name suggested, the organization intended to draw its strength from leaders of the Black Church in the South. Since its establishment, SCLC has been committed to the use of nonviolent civil disobedience as a means of securing equal rights for African Americans. In recent years the organization's focus has expanded to include human rights movements around the world.

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