Date of Award

12-17-2020

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

First Advisor

Dr. John McMillian

Second Advisor

Dr. Ian Fletcher

Abstract

Much has been written on the history of the civil rights movement in the U.S. South during the 1960s. Historians have devoted most of their attention to the movement in the urban South and the role of adults. We need more attention to the activism of young people, especially in the small-town and rural South. My thesis shines a light on the youth-led civil rights movement in Americus, Georgia, in the summer and fall of 1963. I focus on the story of thirty-two Black girls who, after being arrested at a protest in Americus, were detained in the Leesburg Stockade, a decrepit Civil War-era building. My thesis investigates what happened, how it was covered at the time, how some of the women recalled their experiences, and how efforts continue to memorialize this significant but still not well-known episode in civil rights history. I hope that my work will reinforce the case for more academic and public attention to the historical contributions of young people to the ongoing Black freedom movement.

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