The NAACP National Board of Directors passed a resolution formally creating the Youth and College Division in March of 1936. This program provided national activities for youth that were supported by monthly meetings discussing local needs of the community. The major national youth activities were demonstrations against lynching and seminars and group discussions on the inequalities in public education. [From NAACP.org History, read more.]
The NAACP Youth Councils in Mississippi laid the groundwork for the success of the more visible Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Here is some background on the Mississippi History Now website. Reading books such as Local People or I’ve Got the Light of Freedom will also make it clear that the Civil Rights Movement could rightfully be called a youth movement.
Here are some guiding questions for research:
- How central were the NAACP youth councils of the 1940s and ‘50s to the success of the Southern Freedom Movement in the 1960s?
- How did the strength and impact of the Youth Councils vary across the state, and why?
- In what ways did the age of the participants impact their effectiveness in civil rights work?