This page contains a series of visual essays about the political, economic, and educational components of SNCC’s National Network, all of which employ digital map and data visualization to make a set of historiographical and methodological interventions in the study of SNCC and social movements in the 1960s.


“A Bridge Between Two Worlds: The Political and economic Geography of SNCC’s Friends Network,” Current Research in Digital History, volume 3 (2020), 

Abstract: This article offers early findings from a spatial analysis of Friends of SNCC chapters. It combines geographic data on the locations of SNCC Projects and Friends of SNCC Chapters with 1960 census data on poverty levels, the racial characteristics of population, per capita income, and median family income to visualize the political and economic significance of SNCC’s national organizing. The spatial analysis reveals the strategic geography of SNCC’s national fundraising network and suggests new areas of research on student activism in the 1960s.

NOTE: This visual essay will be updated with more data on Friends Chapters (up to 1966). It will also explore the ideological consequences of SNCC’s fundraising strategy.

“Whose Voice is Heard? White Volunteers, the Freedom Summer, and the Political Geography of Narrative”

Abstract: In 1964, thousands of white, mostly middle-class, students traveled to Mississippi to help support voter registration and establish Freedom Schools and Community Centers as part of what has become popularly known as the “Freedom Summer.” An important, but overlooked goal of the summer was to increase media and public attention of the civil rights movement in the South. This essay quantifies and visualizes the geography of reporting on SNCC (pre and post-summer). In doing so, it examines the implications of this strategy – in particular the relationship between the use of white students as messengers of the movement and the public narrative that emerged in the mid-1960s. Indeed, despite the fact that the summer helped increase publicity, it also marginalized the voices of local activists and members of SNCC who were at forefront the movement and regularly risked their lives for the cause of Freedom.

NOTE: An iteration of this visual essay was presented at the Summer 2021 HOTCUS Conference. It is undergoing revision and further development.

“Witness: The Political Education of College Students during and after the 1964 Freedom Summer”

Abstract: The 1960s is commonly remembered as a period of widespread student and campus activism. This essay seeks to demonstrate (and visualize) why, focusing on the geography of the 1964 Freedom Summer. In particular, this essay visualizes the campus geography of recruitment and its relationship to the educational aims of one of the summer’s key initiatives: The Freedom School. Visualizing the educational geography of the summer demonstrates the ways the summer served to bring into conversation two different modes of learning and knowledge bases. This pedagogical and epistemological convergence shaped a generational cohort who reimagined the role of the university and political roles as students in light of their experiences (witness education) in the South.

NOTE: This visual essay is being drafted.