On June 14, 1965, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) launched an innovative grassroots organizing campaign, the Summer Community Organization and Political Education (SCOPE) project. Under the direction of WW II veteran Hosea Williams, SCOPE sought to build upon the momentum of the Medgar Evers led NAACP in Mississippi, 1964 Freedom Summer, as well as the voting rights stuggle that culminated in the Selma-Montgomery March. The project placed nearly five hundred predominantly white college students in nearly one hundred predominantly black rural and urban areas in Southern states, including: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina to help lead voter registration drives.
SCOPE successfully encouraged political activism and reported violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, along with developing political education programs for some of the counties that the campaign served. Its voter registration drives also flourished: SCOPE volunteers, working with local activists and leaders, and SCLC field staff, registered more than 49,000 new African American voters by the project's official end date on August 28, 1965, with about thirty-five SCOPE volutneers taking positions on the SCLC staff with additional activities continuing in 1966.