Sunday Evening with SNCC

New York Hilton, Grand Ballroom

New York, NY

April 25, 1965

Hundreds of people gathered in the Grand Ballroom of the New York Hilton Hotel for a dinner show co-chaired by Mrs. Julie Belafonte and singer Diahann Carroll.

SNCC poster from 1965

The evening raised funds for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The committee participated in activities like registering black voters in Mississippi and were committed to non-violent protest.

Emcees Sidney Poitier and Marlon Brando introduced a play (Thou Shalt Not Stand Idly By, by Walter Bernstein) which was performed by Diahann Carroll, Elaine May and Mike Nichols, Sonny Terry, Brownie McGhee, and Harry Belafonte.

news story about the show

In 2014, Barbra Streisand recalled meeting Marlon Brando for the first time at this show: “I remember being on the side of the wings of the theater—I was going to sing ‘Suppertime.’ And I'm trying to find Marlon, to get a look at this guy who I think is the most gorgeous, the most talented human on earth! I feel somebody kissing my back, and it's Marlon Brando—can you imagine? He so threw me, watching me in the wings sing this song that there was noise and I stopped. I normally would never do that. It was like: Marlon Brando watching me in the wings?!”

Jet magazine reported that “the entire audience stood up and cheered wildly” at the play's finish.

The evening raised $125,000 for SNCC.

Streisand was playing in Funny Girl on Broadway in April 1965.

(If anyone has a photo from the evening, please email matt [at] barbra-archives.com)

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