Black Youth Activism Was Pivotal to the Civil Right Movement: How Black Lives Matter Is Inspiring Education Activists of Today

Wanda J. Blanchett, Shelley D. Zion

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Many of the Civil and Human Rights protections that Black and other people of color, individuals with disabilities, and gay, lesbian, queer, and transgendered communities have secured in the eyes of the law in the United States of America have only been granted, as a result, of protest and resistance both visible/national, and local/less visible. Outside of the Emancipation Proclamation Act of 1865 and Brown v. Board of Education of 1954, perhaps, the most significant Civil Rights legislation passed in the United States was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which represented a movement that was fueled by the genius and sacrifice of young people in response to Jim Crow Era laws and atrocities. While we have witnessed much progress over the last 65 plus years with regard to Civil Rights, the long and winding road to educational and social justice and equity has been one filled with triumphs and disappointments. Young people have always been active participants in the struggle through resistance, so it should have come as no surprise that following the deaths of a number of unarmed young Black men and women, boys and girls, at the hands of police officers and White vigilantes that young people would form the Black Lives Matter Movement as a mechanism to resist police and state racial brutality, oppression, and discrimination. This chapter will: (1) discuss the challenges that Black and other students of color have experienced in their pursuit of educational and societal access in America, (2) illustrate how schools are part of the problem of the reproduction of inequity and injustice (Zion, York, & Stickney, 2017), (3) provide an overview of the impact of student activism and resistance focused on social justice issues in the United States, (4) the Black Lives Matter Movement as a current form of political and societal resistance for today’s young people, and (5) offer a discussion of the transformation that is needed at the university, school, and community levels to educate, prepare, and support young people in interrogating inclusion, shaping democracy, and resisting as components of their political participation in our democracy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationYoung People Shaping Democratic Politics
Subtitle of host publicationInterrogating Inclusion, Mobilising Education
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783031293788
ISBN (Print)9783031293771
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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