A New Kind of Youth

Historically Black High Schools and Southern Student Activism, 1920–1975

By Jon N. Hale

348 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 6 halftones

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-7139-0
    Published: December 2022
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-7138-3
    Published: December 2022
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-7140-6
    Published: November 2022

Buy this Book

For Professors:
Free E-Exam Copies

To purchase online via an independent bookstore, visit Bookshop.org
The story of activist youth in America is usually framed around the Vietnam War, the counterculture, and college campuses, focusing primarily on college students in the 1960s and 1970s. But a remarkably effective tradition of Black high school student activism in the civil rights era has gone understudied.

In 1951, students at R. R. Moton High School in rural Virginia led a student walkout and contacted the law firm of Hill, Martin, and Robinson in Richmond, Virginia, to file one of the five pivotal court cases that comprised the Brown v. Board of Education decision. In 1960, twenty-four Burke High School students in Charleston, South Carolina, organized the first direct action, nonviolent protest in the city at the downtown S. H. Kress department store. Months later in the small town of McComb, Mississippi, an entire high school walked out in protest of the conviction of a student who sat-in on a local Woolworth lunch counter in 1961, guiding the agenda for the historic Freedom Summer campaign of 1964. A New Kind of Youth brings high school activism into greater focus, illustrating how Black youth supported liberatory social and political movements and inspired their elders across the South.

About the Author

Jon N. Hale is associate professor of educational history and policy studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
For more information about Jon N. Hale, visit the Author Page.


"Using rich archival evidence from across the South to examine youth activists, the schools they attended, and the organizations in which they participated, Jon Hale charts the unfolding of southern Black high school activism over thirty years, uncovering an understudied but crucial cast of characters who helped power the Black freedom struggle."—Joy Williamson-Lott, author of Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Southern Social Order