Date of Award

8-15-2007

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. Jacqueline Rouse - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Glenn T. Eskew

Third Advisor

Dr. Vicki Crawford

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Patricia Sullivan

Abstract

"Our Fight is for Right": The NAACP Youth Councils and College Chapters' Crusade for Civil Rights, 1963-1965 by Tommy L. Bynum Under the Direction of Jacqueline A. Rouse ABSTRACT At the 26th Annual Convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1935, Juanita Jackson, special assistant to Walter White, challenged the Association to start a national youth movement. Aware of the impact of other youth movements, Jackson proposed that the NAACP rally its youth around the injustices that plagued their lives. In 1936, the NAACP’s National Board of Directors appointed Jackson as the first national youth director, and she, along with her successors, established a vibrant youth movement within the Association. Working within the scope of the Association’s national agenda, the youth councils and the college chapters staged anti-lynching demonstrations and campaigned for equal educational and employment opportunities and civil liberties. Indeed, the youth division gave young people a voice within the NAACP and harnessed their collective energy to fight against racial inequality. Although the history of black youth activism has long been overshadowed by the dominant narratives of youth in the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the untold story of the NAACP youth movement reveals that grass-roots organizing and nonviolent direct action (much of what has been associated with CORE and SNCC student activists) were methods the youth councils and college chapters employed in the 1930s and 1940s. It was these tactics, which continued throughout the 1950s and 1960, that provided a framework for youth activism within CORE and SNCC. Focusing largely on the youth councils, this research examines the NAACP youth movement and its influence on youth activism, providing a fuller understanding of youth’s role in the fight for civil rights from 1936 to 1965. INDEX WORDS: Youth Councils, College Chapters, NAACP, Juanita Jackson, CORE, SNCC, Walter White

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