John Hume was born in Derry and was a student at St. Columb's College and at St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, the leading Catholic seminary in Ireland and a recognised college of the National University of Ireland, where he intended to study for the priesthood. Among his teachers was the future Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich.
He did not complete his clerical studies, but did obtain a M.A degree from the college, and then returned home to his native city and became a teacher. He was a founding member of the Credit Union movement in the city. Hume became a leading figure in the civil rights movement in the late 1960s along with people such as Hugh Logue. Hume was prominent in the unsuccessful fight to have Northern Ireland's second university established in Derry in the mid-sixties. After this campaign, John Hume went on to be a prominent figure in the Derry Citizen's Action Committee. The DCAC was set up in the wake of 5 October march through Derry which had caused so much attention to be drawn towards the situation in Northern Ireland. The purpose of the DCAC was to make use of the publicity surrounding recent events to bring to light grievances in Derry that had been suppressed by the Unionist Government for years. The DCAC unlike Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA), however, was aimed specifically at a local campaign, improving the situation in Derry for all, and maintaining a peaceful stance. The committee also had a Stewards Association that was there to prevent any violence at marches or sit-downs.
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