The event that triggered the formation of the SCLC was the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott in 1955-56. During a conference at King's alma mater, Morehouse College in Atlanta, the formation of a civil rights organization was discussed. As its headquarters, Atlanta was naturally the focus of some of the earliest SCLC activity in Georgia.
The SCLC leadership considered training new political activists in nonviolent tactics a priority and opened a center for just this purpose in Liberty County, at the Dorchester Center, where they trained hundreds of volunteers within the next few years.
In December 1961 a series of mass meetings and protest marches referred to as the Albany Movement Albany Movement Leadersfor desegregation was held in Albany. Also in 1962, Operation Breadbasket and the Citizenship Education Program were organized by the SCLC in Atlanta and spread throughout the South to elevate the economic status of blacks by concentrating on the job market, literacy programs, voter education, and community organizing programs. In June 1963 demonstrations were initiated in Savannah by Hosea Williams of the Chatham County Crusade for Voters. On October 22, 1965, Emancipation Meeting FlyerSCLC "right-to-vote" marchers in Lincolnton were attacked and beaten. In 1978 the SCLC joined other organizations in an ultimately unsuccessful legal initiative to reclaim land in McIntosh County that had been taken from seventy black families for use during World War II but ended up in the Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge instead. In 1980 a Wrightsville SCLC leader, John Martin, was arrested by the sheriff of Johnson County for refusing to leave the sheriff's office. Numerous changes in leadership characterized the two decades following Lowery's presidency. Steele served until 2009, when Bernice King, a daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., was elected president of the organization.
Although the SCLC has not forgotten its original goals, the focus has shifted to new causes, including health care, job-site safety, and justice in environmental and prison system matters, as well as fair treatment for refugees.
In May 2012 a collection of material documenting the SCLC's history from 1968 to 2007 opened to the public at Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.
Bryan "Bitsy" Grant (1910-1986)Bryan "Bitsy" Grant (1910-1986) Bitsy Grant was a champion tennis player from Georgia and the first Georgian to make it to the semifinals of the U.S. Although not begun by church leaders, the movement was soon joined by Montgomery's black ministers, who kept the boycott alive and ensured its ultimate success.
Both southerners and northerners at the conference decided to keep its focus regional, to include "Christian" in its title to attract as many church leaders and lay people as possible, and to establish its headquarters in Atlanta, where a large, financially secure middle-class black population, including many graduates of the elite black colleges there, could be called upon for support.

Its early success in attracting members is attributed by many historians to King's abilities and prestige. In many cases an action was started by another civil rights organization (such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or the Congress for Racial Equality), with King and other SCLC members joining in to help. It was in this center that one of the most significant of all campaigns, the Birmingham, Alabama, demonstrations of 1963, was planned. In addition, crucial efforts in other states were planned at the SCLC headquarters in Atlanta.
Joined by thousands of people, many of them SCLC members, the demonstrations eventually turned violent. The next year, however, an SCLC voter registration drive in Hancock County, which had one of the state's highest concentrations of rural African Americans, led to the enfranchisement of great numbers, who by their votes and courage (and against previously insurmountable barriers) changed their own lives radically over the next two decades. In the same year, SCLC's Lowery, speaking at a rally in Macon, spurred the city into initiating racial justice in hiring practices. Four years later, he was named executive vice president but resigned in 1970 to run for Congress. After Lowery's retirement in 1997, King's son, Martin Luther King III, led the SCLC until November 2003, when the Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth became the interim president and chief executive officer. King, however, never reached an agreement with the SCLC board regarding the terms of her presidency, and in January 2011 she announced that she would not accept the position. Although it has been active and influential in other southern states, this national organization has always been based in Atlanta, and Georgia has been the home of many of its founders and leaders.
Board of Education decision strengthened a national movement to desegregate public schools. The SCLC was officially inaugurated in Atlanta on January 10-11, 1957, and a follow-up meeting was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, several weeks later, on February 14. At the request of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University) and Morehouse College students, King joined a sit-in on October 19, 1960, at the Magnolia Tea Room in Rich's Department Store in downtown Atlanta. King and Abernathy led about 264 people to the Albany City Hall but were arrested for parading without permits.
Nine weeks of weekly demonstrations amid mounting tension ensued, and finally a biracial committee was formed to try to resolve the situation.
Abernathy could not match King's leadership talents, however, and schisms in the leadership and difficulty with fund-raising led to the SCLC's marked decline in influence.

In August 2004 Shuttlesworth was elected president, only to resign from office three months later. Howard Creecy next assumed the presidency and served in that capacity until his death in July 2011. The organization publishes its own magazine and continues to work for civil rights and the enhancement of quality of life. Adam Fairclough, To Redeem the Soul of America: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr.
African Americans began to join together in local political clubs and attract a broad base of supporters, among them many who felt that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was too radical. News of the boycott (and others in Birmingham, Alabama, and Tallahassee, Florida) was carried all year by the New York Times.
He and a number of others were arrested and jailed on a recently passed law against trespassing.
The rallies, sparked by the refusal of some Savannah movie theaters to desegregate, led to a more general integration agreement won by August 12. A civil suit was brought against the sheriff and a number of others; although the case was initially lost, the SCLC brought it before a federal appeals court, where it was partially won. The board elected Charles Steele Jr., of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as Shuttlesworth's successor in November 2004.
Martin Luther King Jr.'s nephew Isaac Farris succeeded Creecy but was replaced in April 2012 by the prominent civil rights leader C.
As a result, influential northern pacifists of both races saw the opportunity to broaden the boycott movement into a southern civil rights movement.
In July 1962 King and Abernathy were convicted of leading the December march, and the SCLC renewed its protests. Although Lowery is credited with helping the organization regain some financial strength, numerous factors (competing civil rights organizations, the disenchantment of youth and black militants impatient with its methods, and on the positive side, achievement of its original goals) contributed to its less visible profile in today's human justice Winn-Dixie Boycottmovement. In addition, ongoing trouble within the SCLC, including declining membership, financial difficulties, and political infighting, weakened the organization.

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