The tornadoes that devastated so much of the region hit Shaw University in downtown Raleigh hard. The 145-year old college closed its doors for the semester due to the widespread damage across campus.
Shaw, which is the oldest black college in the South, played a pivotal role in the civil rights movement. Fifty one years ago last Friday April 15th, Ella Baker persuaded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to invite university students to the Youth Leadership Conference at Shaw on Easter weekend. At this conference, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born and history was in the making.
SNCC’s contribution to the civil rights movement includes a major role in organizing sit-ins, freedom rides, the 1963 March on Washington and the Mississippi Freedom Summer.
Even before the devastating tornado, the University has struggled financially. In 2009 Shaw took a $31 million federal loan to cover its debt.
Shaw University may need an angel to get back on its feet fast – Oprah are you listening?