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After the Rebellion

Black Youth, Social Movement Activism, and the Post-Civil Rights Generation

Sekou M. Franklin

Publication Year: 2014

What happened to black youth in the post-civil rights generation? What kind of causes did they rally around and were they even rallying in the first place? After the Rebellion takes a close look at a variety of key civil rights groups across the country over the last 40 years to provide a broad view of black youth and social movement activism.Based on both research from a diverse collection of archives and interviews with youth activists, advocates, and grassroots organizers, this book examines popular mobilization among the generation of activists – principally black students, youth, and young adults – who came of age after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Franklin argues that the political environment in the post-Civil Rights era, along with constraints on social activism, made it particularly difficult for young black activists to start and sustain popular mobilization campaigns.

Building on case studies from around the country—including New York, the Carolinas, California, Louisiana, and Baltimore—After the Rebellion explores the inner workings and end results of activist groups such as the Southern Negro Youth Congress, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Student Organization for Black Unity, the Free South Africa Campaign, the New Haven Youth Movement, the Black Student Leadership Network, the Juvenile Justice Reform Movement, and the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer campaign.  Franklin demonstrates how youth-based movements and intergenerational campaigns have attempted to circumvent modern constraints, providing insight into how the very inner workings of these organizations have and have not been effective in creating change and involving youth. A powerful work of both historical and political analysis, After the Rebellion provides a vivid explanation of what happened to the militant impulse of young people since the demobilization of the civil rights and black power movements – a discussion with great implications for the study of generational politics, racial and black politics, and social movements.

Published by: NYU Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

The completion of this book would not have been possible without the help of family, friends, colleagues, and mentors. This research project began while I was at Howard University. Robert Brown, Martell Teasley, and Robert Vinson from Howard deserve special mention for guiding me throughout the writing process. ...

Abbreviations of Organizations and Initiatives

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Youth-based activism has been central to black political historiography in the past century. The Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC), though vastly understudied, emerged as a preeminent social movement organization in the 1930s and 1940s. ...

Part I

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1 Movement Activism and the Post–Civil Rights Generation

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pp. 15-46

The Peoples’ Community Feeding Program was created in 1994 by a contingent of black students from Hunter College in New York City. Similar to the feeding programs created by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and 1970s, the initiative tackled malnutrition and hunger, ...

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2 The World beyond the Campus

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pp. 47-70

When James Jackson died in September 2007 at the age of ninety-two, few contemporary activists acknowledged or understood his valuable contribution to progressive social movements, black radicalism, and the development of a black student and youth activist tradition in the twentieth century. ...

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3 From Civil Rights to Anti-Apartheid

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pp. 71-94

The Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC) was the most influential youth formation to emerge out of the black protest movement in the 1930s and 1940s. Its radical orientation and militant opposition to Jim Crow segregation was part of a larger wave of youth activism among black and white young people. ...

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4 The New Haven Youth Movement

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pp. 95-112

In recent years, political observers have speculated about a potential resurgence of black youth activism in American politics. Indeed, during each presidential cycle, the prospect of a reinvigorated youth movement that attracts large numbers of young blacks and other youth of color is the subject of much debate among activists and the media. ...

Part II

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5 The Origins of the Black Student Leadership Network

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pp. 115-141

A major challenge that activists and leaders of an aggrieved population encounter is the shortage or low supply of monetary resources and selective incentives to help facilitate social movement activities. The shortage of resources available to progressive organizations can limit their ability to spread collective action and sustain long-term, movement- building initiatives ...

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6 Organizing for Change

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pp. 142-182

When the Black Student Leadership Network (BSLN) was formed in 1991, its lead organizers wanted to develop the leadership capacity of young social and political activists, albeit within the narrow confines of the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), and connect them to locally based, grassroots initiatives. ...

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7 The Collapse of the Black Student Leadership Network

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pp. 183-206

During its short-lived tenure, the Black Student Leadership Network (BSLN), with the assistance of the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), attempted to build a mass-based social movement organization that mobilized young people for social and political action. ...

Part III

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8 Reclaiming Our Youth: Policing and Protesting Juvenile Injustice

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pp. 209-234

Grover Arbuthnot was twenty-one years old when he was shot and killed in New Orleans, Louisiana. Like many youth in the city, he grew up poor, having spent most of his formative years in the St. Thomas public housing development. While still in his teens, he was arrested for armed robbery and was sent to the Swanson Correctional Center for Youth ...

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9 We Are Labor Too

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pp. 235-252

When John Sweeney was elected president of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in 1995, labor movement progressives hoped his election would help recruit young people, women, and people of color into an aging and politically impotent labor movement. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 253-262

Five years after the collapse of the Black Student Leadership Network (BSLN), Lisa Y. Sullivan, the organization’s cofounder and most visible member, passed away from an unexpected illness. Her death was a shocking blow to many young activists who viewed her as both a mentor and a rising young leader who symbolized the hopes and dreams of the post–civil rights generation. ...

Appendix A: Study Design and Methodology

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pp. 263-264

Appendix B: Interview Methodology and Biographies of Interviewees

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pp. 265-270

Appendix C: Profiles of Principal Organizations and Networks

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pp. 271-272

Notes

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pp. 273-318

Bibliography

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pp. 319-342

Index

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pp. 343-365

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About the Author

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pp. 366-

Sekou M. Franklin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and is the Coordinator of the Urban Studies Minor Program at MTSU. He has published works on urban politics, social movements, juvenile justice, the anti–death penalty movement, youth activism, ...


E-ISBN-13: 9780814760611
E-ISBN-10: 0814760619
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814789384
Print-ISBN-10: 0814789382

Page Count: 368
Publication Year: 2014