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Northern Student Movement collection

Collection MS-2020-063: Northern Student Movement collection


  • Creation: 1962 - 1966

Content Description

Collection of materials related to the Northern Student Movement, a twentieth-century American civil rights group. Includes materials related to organizational mission and values, an issue of Harlem Voice, working papers from campus conferences, and publications produced by NSM during the 1960s.


Restrictions on Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Historical Note

The Northern Student Movement was a twentieth-century American civil rights group. Their mission was to support the work of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the South and to challenge racial discrimination in the North. Peter Countryman, a white Yale undergraduate, helped build the NSM in the fall of 1961 from the existing networks of the Student Christian Movement of New England. Community projects and tutoring in segregated and impoverished areas in northern cities were a strong focus of the group. These efforts provided Black students with better educational resources and classes in Black history and the arts, forums about dealing with police brutality, and information on discriminatory practices. NSM also worked to spread information about and rally support for civil rights organizing in the South. By the fall of 1963 they had fifty full-time staff and 2,500 student volunteers.

Initially membership was primarily white, but Black members were recruited from colleges and communities where NSM held programs. By the mid-1960s many civil rights groups began to realize that tutoring was not enough to cause significant change and this also led to a shift within NSM. By 1964 under the leadership of William Strickland NSM began to focus more on local organizing activities like rent strikes and school boycotts, as well as shifting towards an all-Black membership. The feeling within NSM was that Black people themselves needed to be determining what their communities needed. White members were asked to leave the organization and to continue to advocate in the white community. Two of the last major initiatives that NSM organized were a national conference of Black students in Philadelphia and the formation of the Black People's Movement, designed to attract Black professionals. By the end of the 1960s the organization had for the most part ceased activities.


"Northern Student Movement", SNCC Digital Gateway, Accessed on June 4, 2021.

Piascik, Andy. The Northern Student Movement, Connecticut History, April 13, 2020. Accessed on June 4, 2021.


2 Linear Feet (2 containers)

Language of Materials



Collection of materials related to the Northern Student Movement, a twentieth-century American civil rights group. Includes papers about the organization, conference working papers, and publications.


Arranged into I. Mission and values, II. Campus Conference working papers, and III. Publications


Purchased from D. Anthem, Bookseller in 2020.

Related Materials

People Against Racism records, MS.2020.066, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Northern Student Movement Collection
Alison Harris
June 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States