The Young Crusaders: The Untold Story of the Children and Teenagers Who Galvanized the Civil Rights Movement

Beacon. Feb. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9780807040072. $30. POL SCI
In 2020, it was young Black women who organized the protests in response to the murder of George Floyd. They were following in the footsteps of young Black activists who have long been part of the civil rights movement, even as they have been overshadowed by the more famous leaders. In this latest history, Franklin (Distinguished Professor of History and Education, Univ. of California, Riverside) provides an authoritative history of the young activists who organized some of the largest protests during the civil rights era. Some of the stories are well known: the Birmingham Children’s Crusade in 1963, the trial of the Scottsboro Nine, and the history of the Little Rock Nine. But those are only some of the stories in this book. Franklin provides a richer history of the young activists who marched in the South and provides an unflinching look at the brutality they faced. He also looks at the students who pushed for education reform and youth involvement in Black Power. It’s an empowering history of the work young activists have done throughout the 20th century.
VERDICT Franklin’s history of student involvement in protest provides a rich historical perspective on the ongoing struggles for equality in the United States. Highly Recommended.
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