The SNCC's rise and fall coincided with the evolution of the black struggles of the 1960s. SNCC initially drew inspiration and ideas from the American tradition of religious radicalism. SNCC workers epitomized the militant mood of black people, particularly those in the most racially repressive regions of the Black Belt. SNCC "freedom fighters" acquired a singular mystique, based on their rebelliousness and their commitment to humanistic ideals.
The NAACP favored trial cases, and SCLC moved slowly because of the many ministerial denominations in the coalition. SNCC members, on the other hand, held faith in the power of the grassroots movement to effect social change.
In the fall of1963, they organized the Freedom Ballot in the state of Mississippi, where racial oppression was particularly severe. Joined by blacks and whites from the North, ministers and members went door-to-door in Mississippi, convincing black residents that they could control political power if they could only find the courage to vote. They succeeded - 80,000 black ballots were cast in the elections of 1964. Nevertheless, at the National Democratic Convention, Mississippi blacks were barred from seats as delegates. That action led to a bitterness and righteous anger that would play into the hands of those opposed to nonviolent strategies.