Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF)

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Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF)

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The Southern Conference Educational Fund (SCEF) was established in 1946 as the educational arm of the Southern Conference for Human Welfare (SCHW). SCEF became a completely separate organization the following year and based most of its activities out of its New Orleans, Louisiana, office. James Anderson Dombrowski directed the group and edited its monthly newspaper, the Southern Patriot. Dombrowski and Aubrey Williams became the most visible figures in SCEF during the 1950s, and they helped establish the organization as a leading proponent of integration and civil rights in the South. Veteran journalists and civil rights activists Anne and Carl Braden directed SCEF from the mid 1960s into the 1970s. They forged close ties with regional and local southern civil rights groups, kept civil rights issues in the national media and strengthened SCEF fundraising activities. SCEF worked closely with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from the early 1960s on. Anti-communists in Congress and state government frequently attacked SCEF as a communist front. In 1963, police raided the New Orleans offices and arrested several officials for violating Louisiana's anti-communist laws. The United States Supreme Court overturned the laws in 1965, after SCEF challenged the arrests in court. The Bradens moved SCEF's offices from New Orleans to Louisville, Kentucky, in 1966. The organization continued to work toward the goal of a southern interracial future. In July of 1973, a group of Black Panthers kidnapped, at gunpoint, two SCEF officials, Helen Greever and Earl Scott. The two eventually escaped, but the incident caused deep divisions within SCEF that were evidenced over the following few months. At a SCEF board meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, in October of 1973, board member Walter Collins denounced several Communist Party members, including Greever, arguing that they had placed the policies of the party over the best interests of SCEF. Collins argued that the Communists had caused the disputes with the Panthers. He and other board members voted to oust the Communists over the opposition of the Bradens. Eventually, SCEF moved to Atlanta, Georgia where internal disputes and financial problems plagued the organization. The Southern Patriot changed its name to the Southern Struggle. Several local chapters, in Florida, West Virginia, and North Carolina, remained particularly active. By 1981, however, financial problems caused the group to consider moving to Dallas, merging with other organizations, or disbanding altogether.

Archival records of the SCEF are held by Georgia State University. Finding aid available at:


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Related entity

Braden, Carl, 1914-1975 (24 June 1914 - 8 February 1975)

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2015.01.01 Anna St.Onge




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