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After the RebellionBlack Youth, Social Movement Activism, and the Post-Civil Rights Generation$

Sekou M. Franklin

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814789384

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814789384.001.0001

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Movement Activism and the Post–Civil Rights Generation

Movement Activism and the Post–Civil Rights Generation

(p.15) 1 Movement Activism and the Post–Civil Rights Generation
After the Rebellion

Sekou M. Franklin

NYU Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter offers an overview of youth-based activism. It pays attention to four theoretical concerns: the political status of black youth in the post-civil rights era, the significance of movement infrastructures that buttress youth-based activism, the impact of institutional leveraging on transformational movements, and how movement bridge-builders use creative organizing strategies, such as framing, indigenous resources, and positionality, to stimulate youth-based movements and expand the opportunity structure of youth activism. The organizing strategies utilized by youth-based activist groups such as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) pushed them into becoming the “shock troops” of the Civil Rights movement. This analysis, however, discounts the multiple identities among young activists and varied interpretations of what exactly is a youth activist. The chapter explores how, despite being at the vanguard of the Civil Rights movement, young activists, including those in the same organization and from the same racial background, may be equally influenced by competing identities such as gender, region, and class.

Keywords:   youth-based activism, post-civil rights, organizing strategies, framing, indigenous resources, positionality, SNCC, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, competing identities, black youth

The other thing that’s quite important is that all of us [sixties activists] are talking from a context that is utterly and radically and permanently different than today’s context. You cannot underestimate how important it was that no black person in the South could vote, and no college student in America could vote. The two active constituencies did not have the option of working in the system open to them…. Civil disobedience and speaking out were the options open. Today, I suppose to most people civil disobedience seems strange if you haven’t first voted and tried to work within the system. So it’s a hopelessly different context.

—Tom Hayden, SNCC Conference at Trinity College, April 1988

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, feeding close to two hundred people each month in its Central Brooklyn neighborhood. Supported through in-kind contributions from churches and activists, the program was eventually taken over by activists affiliated with the Black Student Leadership Network (BSLN), a national organization allied with the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), a prominent child advocacy group. The BSLN affiliate, officially called the New York Metro chapter, also was cultivated by the Central Brooklyn Partnership, an economic justice organization that served as an informal gathering place for young activists from the Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, and Fort Greene sections of Brooklyn.

(p.16) In the early 2000s, the Youth Media Council in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Youth Force in the South Bronx, two activist groups composed of youth of color, initiated a campaign highlighting the misrepresentation of urban youth in the mainstream media. Conducted in collaboration with a national media strategy organization called We Interrupt This Message, the campaign analyzed the news coverage of black and Latino youth by the New York Times and San Francisco Bay Area’s KTVU Channel 2 News. The youth groups found that most of coverage of youth of color unfairly portrayed them as pathological, dysfunctional, and inclined toward criminal behavior.1 The findings were then disseminated to community organizers and political activists who were mobilizing against racial profiling and zero-tolerance youth policies in their respective jurisdictions.

Another promising campaign, occurring in 2000, involved the mobilization of hundreds of youth of color against Proposition 21 in California. The statewide ballot initiative permitted prosecutors to charge fourteen-year-olds as adults if they were involved in violent crimes. The measure, backed by conservative interest groups, intended to charge young offenders “as adults without a judicial review and made it easier to incarcerate youths with adult inmates.”2 It was the latest of several voter initiatives within the previous decade that adversely affected the state’s black and Latino youth, the others being an anti–affirmative action measure and a ballot proposition penalizing illegal immigrants. The measure was opposed by many youth groups and activists in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the campaign experienced some of the largest protests of young people since the 1970s. Though the ballot initiative was approved in March 2000, it was widely rejected in the Bay Area and received its greatest opposition in San Francisco and Alameda Counties, the two areas that experienced the stiffest amount of youth resistance.

This book charts the development of social movement activism and popular mobilization among young activists of the post–civil rights generation. The post–civil rights generation describes young people who came of age after the collapse of the civil rights, New Left, and black power movements that occurred from the 1950s to the early 1970s. Andrea Simpson refers to the post–civil rights generation as the “integration generation” because they were the first cohort of young people whose political orientations were shaped by the realities of post–de jure segregation.3 (p.17) By documenting social movement activism among the post–civil rights generation, this book examines the limitations and opportunities for youth and young adult participation in movement-building initiatives. I am also concerned with explaining the status and participation of black youth and young adults in popular mobilization campaigns and social movement infrastructures, or the diverse organizational processes and networks of activists, advocates, and allies that reinforce movements and social activism.4 I focus on mobilization campaigns that targeted regressive measures and public health dilemmas that had particularly damaging consequences on poor and working-poor black communities in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Social movements offer an entry point for engaging students and youth in what Holloway Sparks refers to as a “dissident citizenship,” or a type of civic engagement that encourages marginal groups to challenge the social and political order.5 They serve as socializing agents that link disaffected communities with public policy agendas, especially when elected officials and authoritative decision makers neglect their grievances. In a general sense, progressive social movements entail a mix of contentious social justice activism, popular mobilization campaigns, popular education and consciousness-raising activities, grassroots organizing, and legal and institutional pressures. As demonstrated in the youth initiatives discussed at the beginning of the chapter, movement campaigns use a broad array of strategies and tactics, and are led by an assortment of activists, networks, and organizations.

I rely on a loose interpretation of social movements and interchange this concept with popular mobilization campaigns, extra-systemic pressures, resistance movements, movement-building initiatives, and contentious politics.6 However, I distinguish between transformational forms of movement-building exercises and contained protest movements. Transformational movements (or mobilization campaigns that have a transformational character) are diffuse and involve high-risk strategies and tactics that have a sustained impact on political culture; their goals are adopted by a diverse group of movement networks; occasionally, they influence the emergence of new mobilizing structures; and at times they disrupt or effect the implementation of public policies. Contained movements or mobilization campaigns, on the other hand, are episodic and discontinuous; they are short-lived, are restricted, and (p.18) have difficulty shaping public policy and political attitudes, usually because of limited mobilization opportunities or unfavorable conditions external or internal to the movements.7 Despite these differences, both forms of movement activism are anchored in social justice frames and attempt to foster leadership among rank-and-file members from aggrieved communities.

A major argument of this book is that there has been an overall shift in the post–civil rights era toward institutional leveraging among progressive movements and mobilizing structures (or what I call movement infrastructures) that typically fuel mobilization campaigns. Institutional leveraging occurs when movement infrastructures channel their energies and resources into established bureaucratic and political institutions in order to safeguard their interests in a hostile political climate or because they seek institutional power.8 This leveraging process usually takes place at the expense of buttressing transformational campaigns.

As a result of institutional leveraging and the ascent of the conservative movement, popular mobilization campaigns have been contained in the post–civil rights era, at least compared to the movements of the 1930s and 1960s. Notwithstanding these constraints, the second argument guiding this study is that the post–civil rights generation activists did not completely eschew movement activism. As demonstrated in the movement initiatives discussed at the outset of the chapter, young activists and veteran activists allied with their causes challenged the limitations and boundaries of these constraints, and created opportunities for new groups of young people to participate in mobilization campaigns. They contested the push and pull toward institutional leveraging, and in the process attempted to elevate the social and political status of poor and working-class black youth as an important variable in popular mobilization campaigns. Documenting these movement struggles, their impact on intergenerational relations within progressive movements and advocacy campaigns, and their intersection with black politics and left-oriented multiracial campaigns in the post–civil rights era is the objective of this study.

The principal actor in the book is black youth and young adults, most of whom were under twenty-five years of age during the height of their activist years. Also included in this study are veteran or adult activists and advocates from mobilization campaigns that focused on issues that (p.19) impacted or depended upon the participation of black youth or students. These campaigns were coordinated by movement infrastructures composed of youth-led organizations, multigenerational organizations, and network-affiliated groups that supported youth organizing. Most of the campaigns took place in community struggles outside the university environs including urban-based organizing initiatives, labor/union and economic justice activities, antihunger campaigns, popular education activities, criminal and juvenile justice reform campaigns, and racial justice initiatives.

With the exception of the historical overview of black youth activism in the 1930s and 1940s examined in the second chapter, I focus specifically on the period spanning from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This period saw the demobilization of the civil rights, black power, and New Left movements; the conservative movement’s growing influence as exhibited with the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush and the Republican Party’s takeover of Congress subsequent to the 1994 midterm elections; the capture of the Democratic Party by its moderate/conservative wing as demonstrated with the Democratic Leadership Council’s growing power in the late 1980s; the retrenchment of New Deal social welfare programs; the shift from an industrial to a service economy; and the emergence of the youth vote as a result of the passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment in 1971.

The Problem of Generations: Youth as a Social and Political Variable

Youth-based activism was an important part of progressive social movements throughout much of the twentieth century. Historian Charles Payne refers to activists from the SNCC, one of the most influential youth formations in the twentieth century, as the “shock troops” of the civil rights movement. This was because of their unique brand of courage, strategic and tactical innovation, and willingness to organize in racially hostile communities that frightened many veteran activists.9 SNCC activists contributed a tremendous amount of time, energy, and personal commitment, or what Jo Freeman refers to as “people resources,” to the civil rights movement.10 Their efforts debunked the argument by (p.20) some political observers such as Mancur Olson that individuals join collective action initiatives to maximize selective or monetary incentives.11 Dennis Chong further argues that rather than selective incentives, participation in civil rights initiatives was propelled by social pressures, friendship, reputational enhancement, the viability of movement success, and social acceptance.12 Indigenous resources such as communication infrastructures and long-standing civic groups also prepared young activists for high-risk activism in the civil rights movement.13 Youth participation in the civil rights, black power, and New Left movements of the 1960s, as well as the labor-left movements of the 1930s, truly involved great personal risk that far outweighed any selective rewards that might be obtained from participating in these initiatives.

Despite the contributions of young activists to social movements, it is important to discuss the conceptual and empirical shortcomings of situating youth, or what Karl Mannheim and others called “political generations,”14 at the forefront of social and political analyses. I am cautious about concluding that post–civil rights “youth” by virtue of their age and because of adultism, or the subordination of youth, should be positioned at the forefront of popular mobilization campaigns. Still, some activists and intellectuals insist that youth are best prepared to lead movement campaigns or participate in high-risk initiatives because of their age and social location, and because they have fewer family and personal commitments.15

While recognizing the significance of generational resistance and consciousness, situating youth as the vanguard of social change initiatives can actually detach them from comprehensive community struggles.16 It advances what O’Donoghue, Kirshner, and McLaughlin call an “overly romantic notion of youth involvement” in mobilization campaigns,17 because it assumes that a younger cohort of activists is destined to be more progressive or supportive of social justice claims than older ones. Karl Mannheim warned political observers against associating age with political radicalism. He said, “Nothing is more false than the usual assumption uncritically shared by students of generations, that the young generation is ‘progressive’ and the older generational eo ipso conservative.”18 His commentary is particularly relevant for analyses of the post–civil rights generation. The idea that youth should be the vanguard of modern resistance movements has been discussed at virtually (p.21) every political and activist conference and in electoral organizing initiatives that claim to advance progressive causes. This narrative has been reinforced by popular culture, especially hip-hop culture, which claims to represent the sentiments of disillusioned ghetto youth. Yet there is little evidence that post–civil rights youth are more progressive in their political orientations compared to adult activists of the sixties generation. Survey data and research reveal that younger blacks have actually been more conservative than older ones on some policy issues.19

In addition, the narrative fails to appreciate that regardless of how altruistic youth activists may be in asserting a generational consciousness, it is difficult and perhaps impossible for them to win significant political victories without marrying their concerns to public agendas and movement infrastructures that emerge out of broader mobilization campaigns. Because racial and class inequities are exacerbated by policies that cannot be resolved solely by young people themselves, student and youth activists must interact, form coalitions, and organize with veteran activists who make up complex movement infrastructures. Moreover, movement campaigns that recruited significant numbers of young blacks have traditionally been shaped by veteran activists and organizers who have helped to politicize young people and recruit new activists, offered them direction, and educated them about organizing and politics.

Generational analyses that contend youth should be at the vanguard of social movements further assume that activists who belong to the same age category share a uniform or fixed identity, or represent a unified political actor.20 The argument, however, discounts the multiple identities among young activists and varied interpretations of what exactly is a youth activist. Plotke reminds us of the problems with assuming that activists share “a single, totalizing identity.”21 Young activists, including those in the same organization and from the same racial background, may be equally influenced by competing identities such as gender, region, and class. Within mobilization campaigns, these identity-based distinctions among young activists can have differential influences on their social and political outlooks.22 For example, Apollon’s investigation of millennial activists (those born after 1980) found divergent views among activists who participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement that targeted the financial industry in the fall of 2011. (p.22) Non-Occupy protestors were more likely to point to racial justice as their primary concern compared to young progressives involved in the Occupy movement.23

Furthermore, “youth” is a transitory or “relational” concept that, according to Wyn and White, “has meaning only in relation to the specific circumstances of social, political and economic conditions.”24 For example, a nineteen-year-old black male student activist in the 1930s had a different set of experiences than an eighteen-year-old black woman who worked in a factory, was married, and had two children. Whereas the former can be said to still be in his youth, the latter, despite being younger, but due to life circumstances, has experienced a social condition that might accurately be categorized as adulthood. Likewise, a twenty-year-old Howard University student activist has a different set of experiences than a twenty-year-old unemployed, inner-city young adult who has two children, even if the two individuals grew up in the same neighborhood. These differential locations in the opportunity structure, more than age or generation, have a varied impact on their involvement in social justice campaigns and in defining what “youth” means to them.

Bedolla’s study of Latino youth involved in protests against Proposition 187, the anti–illegal immigration initiative that was approved by Californians in 1994, provides an interesting look at the social and political attitudes of native-born and immigrant high school students. She found that despite being influenced by the same protest movement and attending the same high schools, the youth had multiple identities that shaped their enthusiasm for politics, their views about racial stigma, and their political efficacy. Class, gender, their location in social networks, and when and from where their families immigrated to the United States all had as much of an impact on their political orientations as did age.25

Another example of how multiple identities had as much of an impact as age or generational consciousness on youth-based activism can be found in the mobilization campaigns to reform the juvenile justice system in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The trajectory of the campaigns and avenues for youth participation were shaped by federalism as well as local and regional political cultures. As demonstrated later in the book, the movement to reform the juvenile justice movement in Louisiana initially relied on legal advocates who were (p.23) better prepared to tackle a rigid, Jim Crow political culture that was embedded in the juvenile justice system. Yet seasoned activists from New York City, where there was a thriving youth organizing culture, encouraged youth-led groups to take the lead in the juvenile justice reform initiatives.

Another point worth noting is the distinct political orientations among youth who join the same movement organization or mobilization campaign at different periods of time. Whittier refers to these groups of activists as “micro-cohorts” or “clusters of participants.” Despite joining a movement two or three years apart, they may be “shaped by distinct transformative experiences that differ because of subtle shifts in the political context.”26 This can produce dissimilar political orientations among young activists in the same organization or movement campaign. Young activists who joined SNCC in the early 1960s were influenced by a different political context than those who participated in the group’s initiatives after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The mood of the country, the varying political events, and the rise of the black power movement had differential impacts on the two micro-cohorts, even though they belonged to the same political generation and organization.

Another reason why it is problematic to think of youth as a vanguard group with a shared identity relates to how social and political actors of all types—social movement organizations, the media, social workers, politicians, and law enforcement agents—all play competing roles in constructing and reconstructing their interpretations of what it means to be youthful. Peter Edelman notes that political elites did not give attention to “youth” as a separate and distinct social phenomenon until the early twentieth century. This was due to changes in the economy, industrialization, the advent of compulsory, elementary education in the United States, and child labor regulations.27 After these changes Congress, the president, public interest groups, and social movement organizations gave additional attention to the problems of youth. President Franklin Roosevelt created the National Youth Administration in the mid-1930s. During the same period, the American Council on Education sponsored several studies analyzing the problems of black youth.28 Many radical left organizations also made concerted efforts to recruit and mobilize young people, including the Young Communist League, (p.24) the Southern Negro Youth Congress (SNYC), and militant labor unions. Inevitably, students of political generations must account for how the concept of youth is constructed, both socially and politically, and how this process involves a political struggle between competing actors that affects movement-building initiatives. Because multiple actors play a dynamic role in shaping, defining, and reproducing competing notions of youth culture and participation, it is difficult to organize youth around a common political agenda or identity, or to assume that they should be vanguards of movement struggles by virtue of their age.

Considering the major challenges to conceptualizing generational consciousness and youth participation in social movements, why do the aforementioned viewpoints continue to shape generational interpretations of movement campaigns? The main reason is because young activists, especially those who share militant or social justice orientations, fear that the energy and resources will be co-opted by adult activists who are presumably (and often mistakenly assumed to be) more conservative, antidemocratic, and vulnerable to elite forms of mobilization. A common argument is that young activists should be cautious of participating in adult-led movement organizations or infrastructures due to the belief that they will be manipulated or used to augment political agendas that are predetermined by veteran activists who eschew extra-systemic pressures.29 The belief is that a patron-client relationship will emerge, where youth are considered clients and as subordinate to the political preferences of antidemocratic, adult-led movement infrastructures.30

These concerns are not necessarily new to progressive-left movements. As Christine Kelly argues, they existed during the student phase of the anti-apartheid movement and impeded the student activists from formalizing their initiatives into a long-term social movement.31 The roots of this debate, she argues, date as far back as the identity-based movements and countercultural politics of the 1960s. During this period, many student activists established social movement organizations that were independent from adult-led groups that were perceived to be elitist or hierarchical.

These concerns are further rooted in a misinterpretation of the generational debates that took place inside the civil rights movement, primarily between SNCC and adult-led organizations. Ella Baker was one (p.25) of the principal architects of SNCC. She argued that SNCC had to be autonomous from the civil rights leadership strata and white-led progressive groups in order to engage in effective grassroots organizing.32 As the primary staff member for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), she organized the Southwide Leadership Conference in April 1960. The gathering brought together black students who were involved in the southern sit-in movement earlier that year, as well as student leaders and youth advocates from a number of student organizations. The SCLC, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Fellowship of Reconciliation all were in attendance at the conference, along with white progressive formations such as the National Student Association, the Students for a Democratic Society, and the National Student Christian Federation.

At the conference, there was a debate over whether black students should form an independent formation or formally incorporate their efforts into the established civil rights organizations. Some groups at the conference attempted to recruit the students into their fold. Although the SCLC had the inside track, partially due to Baker’s insistence, the conference leaders decided to form a separate organization that eventually became SNCC.33

Youth activists point to this debate as the main reason why young activists should be at the forefront of community-based struggles. Because Baker and others feared co-optation by established civil rights groups, SNCC’s formation was viewed as a validation for autonomous youth formations that articulate a distinct identity from adult-led groups. Yet historian Barbara Ransby claims that the divide at SNCC’s founding conference “was not generational,” and Baker herself believed “youth was no guarantee of political radicalism, and age did not always mean moderation.” Instead, Baker wanted to preserve the autonomy of radical youth and “did not want them shackled by the bureaucracy of existing organizations.”34 She would have made the same argument, as she did on numerous occasions, had the debate involved middle-age radical activists or sharecroppers instead of youth. Accordingly, the debate was not necessarily about generational divisions or the attempt as some might believe to separate youth from adults, as it was about the optimum strategies for cultivating radical democratic approaches to movement building.

(p.26) There is some indication that the SCLC and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. were less enthusiastic about co-opting the student activists at SNCC’s founding meeting than is generally portrayed in the literature. King was part of a bridge generation of activists, who because of their age and political orientations were in the camp of neither an old and moderate civil rights guard or the young people who affiliated with SNCC.35 Furthermore, a closer examination of SNCC underscores the fact that it relied extensively on the philosophical thrust and mentorship of veteran activists including Baker, James Forman, Gloria Richardson, Amzie Moore, Fannie Lou Hamer, Herbert Lee, Septima Clark, and Miles Horton. Hence, a misinterpretation of divisions in the civil rights movement may be one of the reasons why some contemporary activists attempt to separate young people from adult activists.

The notion that black youth share a uniform identity and should be at the vanguard of resistance movements has been further advanced by hip-hop culture. Since its emergence in the 1970s hip-hop’s far-reaching influence, both domestically and globally, has offered a discursive treatment of the drudgeries of postindustrial ghetto life.36 Progressive hip-hop artists such as New York’s Rosa Clemente in the mid-2000s formed the National Hip-Hop Political Convention, which sponsored workshops on electoral organizing, voter education, and gang mediation.37 Boots Riley of the radical hip-hop group The Coup is another progressive activist-artist whose music offers biting criticisms of racism and class exploitation.38 Some service agencies even carry out “’Hood Work” that uses hip-hop to empower urban youth to support education reform, restorative justice, and economic justice initiatives.39 Some scholars further contend that hip-hop has produced a fourth wave of feminism that criticizes neoliberal and global restructuring programs.40

However, the stature of progressive artists and ’Hood Work has been eclipsed by artists who promote materialist consumption, consumerism, and chauvinism. The commodification of some elements of hip-hop has made them impotent when it comes to advancing a radical politics that can remedy the material conditions of disaffected communities. As stated by activist Yvonne Bynoe, “Unfortunately, many activists and their supporters have not fully considered the prospect that Hip Hop culture’s co-option by ‘Corporate America’ and ‘Madison Avenue’ may have stripped it of its radicalism. Realistically, how revolutionary can (p.27) a ‘Hip Hop’ movement be if its primary motivator is a market-driven entity?”41 Despite the progressive components of hip-hop, the culture’s influence is further overshadowed by the corporatization of the genre. This includes corporate influence on the types of rap music played on mainstream radio stations, and the ascent of market-oriented hip-hop moguls such as Russell Simmons, Sean “Puffy” Combs, and rapper 50 Cent. This, in turn, allows the most financially astute (and usually most wealthy) hip-hop entrepreneurs to position themselves as the authentic representatives of ghetto youth, such that their prestige and voices are exalted within corporate and mainstream artistic and political circles.

Spence’s assessment of hip-hop and rap music is instructive in this regard. He contends that neoliberal ideology—bootstrap individualism, the promotion of market-based initiatives over government programs and human rights, and the attribution of cultural dysfunction as a leading cause of black poverty—is rampant in rap music.42 Even some hip-hop organizations such as the Hip Hop Summit Action Network reproduced neoliberal orientations, which then allowed its lead organizer, Russell Simmons, to assume the role of broker between white politicians and black and Latinos activists.43

Equally problematic is that hip-hop reproduces the same conceptual missteps that confront generational analyses. It relies on the inaccurate assumption that young people—or what is referred to as the “hip-hop generation,” a concept that has become synonymous with the “post–civil rights generation”—have a distinct or shared identity. Many hip-hop artists and intellectuals claim to articulate a unique generational consciousness that transcends the political diversity within hip hop and the multiple and competing identities among young blacks and Latinos. This interpretation downplays the fact that hip-hop’s influence cuts across generational lines and involves micro-cohorts. Young people who came of age during the incipient stages of hip-hop in the 1970s and the latter stages of the black power movement have a different set of experiences than hip-hop activists whose political socialization was shaped by the devolution policies of the Reagan and Bush years, or those who came of age in the first decade of the twenty-first century.

The major point of this discussion is that young activists belonging to the same age-specific categories have multiple identities. Despite the utility of generational analyses, one has to be cautious about (p.28) essentializing the experiences of young people, especially activists, of the post–civil rights generation. The activist movements discussed throughout this book involve a small contingent of young people. Although all embrace social justice narratives and were socialized by movement infrastructures and social networks, they are politically diverse. They have multiple identities that transcended age-specific categories and influenced the trajectory of their activism.

Conceptualizing Contemporary Youth-Based Activism

In assessing movement activism among the post–civil rights generation, I have two theoretical concerns: first, to explain the broader constraints on social movement activism among the post–civil rights generation; second, to describe how young activists have circumvented these constraints and expanded the boundaries of movement activism. A major challenge with the study of social movements is explaining how activists from aggrieved communities are able to advance ameliorative demands despite shifting political contexts. Kurt Schock insists that “not only do social movements respond to political opportunities, but they also strategically overcome political constraints, thereby reshaping the political context.”44 Addressing these two realities—the constraints on movement activism and how young activists have overcome these constraints—is the objective of this discussion.

Next, I describe several factors that have influenced the constraints, obstacles, and opportunities for youth-based mobilization: (1) the evolution of movement infrastructures since the mid-1960s and their impact on youth-based activism, (2) the impact of institutional leveraging on social movement activism, and (3) the use by movement bridge-builders, or the leading activists of movements, of innovative strategies and tactics,45 or what I call creative organizing, as a vehicle to jump-start youth-based mobilization.

Movement Infrastructures and Youth-Based Movements

This book examines youth-based activism, or movement activities and popular mobilization campaigns involving and coordinated by youth, students, and young adults. These activities are affiliated with (p.29) youth-oriented groups that are best described in Sherwood and Dressner’s discussion of the “landscape” of youth work and HoSang’s portrait of youth organizing: youth or student-led organizations, some of which are affiliated with national or federated youth organizations; multigenerational (or intergenerational) organizations; and network-affiliated groups or coalitions that bolster youth-centered organizing projects.46

I extend this three-part typology by insisting that young activists, youth groups, and their adult allies in a given movement operate within what Curtis and Zurcher called a “multi-organizational field” or multilayered network of activists and organizations.47 Although social movement scholars use several concepts to explain this multiorganizational field—mobilizing structure, social movement community, social movement industry, youth development infrastructure, and social movement sector48—I prefer the term “movement infrastructure.” This concept describes an organizational process composed of a complex leadership structure, multiple organizations that have centralized governing structures and decentralized affiliate groups, formal and informal activists, and a resource base (i.e., funders, patrons, contributors, etc.) that coalesce around the same causes.49 The leaders of movement infrastructures, through the maintenance of norms and standards and the adoption of strategies and tactics, shape their constituents’ political orientations and movement-building initiatives. Their interactions with nonyouth groups and even nonmovement actors, as indicated in Rucht’s study of social movements, also dictates their strategies for social change and movement outcomes.50

To be certain, youth-based movements are not the only ones influenced by movement infrastructures. Health care justice activists operate within a movement infrastructure, as do homeless rights activists, children’s rights activists, peace organizations, and labor unions. And at times, the policy objectives of a movement infrastructure intersect or are shifted to support allied movements.51 This was exemplified during the Memphis sanitation workers’ strike in 1968 when the civil rights movement’s activities intersected with the labor movement.

Yet my understanding of movement infrastructures has particular relevance for youth activists and organizations. Despite romantic notions that youth activists should be autonomous from adult-led formations, it is impossible to divorce young activists from movement (p.30) infrastructures. Youth-based mobilization activities require resources, linkages with indigenous organizations, and political education, much of which involves intergenerational and interactive work with adult allies. The three youth-based groups (youth-led, multigenerational, network-affiliated groups) operate within a movement infrastructure composed of a constellation of organizations and activist networks. These groups are influenced by nonyouth groups, networks, and indigenous activists. Tilton’s investigation of the anti–Proposition 21 campaign in the Bay Area found that it “was nurtured by a densely networked infrastructure of nonprofit youth services” including youth organizing groups, adult-led advocacy organizations, and even radical black and Latino activists who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s.52 For youth or student-led movement organizations, it may be impossible to separate them from a complex, organizational process. These groups interact with and are influenced by nonyouth groups and routinely rely on adult allies to assist with resource support, fund-raising, and capacity-building activities.53 Equally important is that youth-led groups help to shape the political orientations of adult allies and often push more established leaders and groups to adjust their policy objectives.

An additional concern about movement infrastructures is that shifting and declining political opportunities can destabilize cooperative relations between various groups inside a given movement infrastructure, including adult and youth groups, as well as movement and non-movement actors. Some groups inside of a movement infrastructure will actually adjust their policy objectives depending on changing political contexts, as exhibited in the examination of the SNYC’s initiatives discussed in the next chapter.

SNCC’s prominent role in the Mississippi civil rights movement of the 1960s is an example of a complex movement infrastructure. To prevent intramovement conflict and competition for resources, SNCC, SCLC, CORE, and the NAACP established a formal coalition called the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO). Also sprouting out of this infrastructure was the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), a parallel political party that attempted to replace the segregationist (white) state Democratic Party. Founded in 1964 with the support of SNCC, the MFDP was probably best characterized as an intergenerational formation. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, some activists from (p.31) COFO-affiliated organizations and networks attended organizing training sessions at the Highlander Folk School, a movement center in Tennessee that provided organizers’ training, capacity building, and popular education to labor and civil rights activists in the South.54 SNCC’s organizing activities were undoubtedly shaped by its interactions with the COFO groups, the MFDP, Highlander, and a cadre of local activists, some of whom were active in civil rights initiatives long before SNCC’s arrival and COFO’s formation. And, nonmovement actors and the shifting political context significantly impacted SNCC’s organizing work in Mississippi.

Although a movement infrastructure brings together like-minded activists, they may have ideological and philosophical disagreements about the optimum strategies that can best advance their causes.55 SNCC activist Stokely Carmichael coexisted in the same movement infrastructure as the national NAACP president Roy Wilkins. Both belonged to organizations that adamantly opposed Jim Crow segregation and black disenfranchisement. Yet they had distinct approaches to combating racial hierarchy that were shaped by ideology, age, and their connections to different social and political networks. Because movement infrastructures consist of activists with different political orientations and positions within the social and political structure, it is often the case that competing claims will emerge among activists who share the same political grievances.

Furthermore, it is common for hierarchies to emerge within movement infrastructures based on how groups prioritize issues. Advocacy groups may choose to fight harder for issues that affect marginalized subgroups that have more resources and greater status than other subgroups. In her study of more than two hundred advocacy groups, Strolovitch found that “issues affecting advantaged subgroups are given disproportionately higher levels of attention, whereas issues affecting disadvantaged subgroups are given disproportionately low levels.”56 This creates a double standard in which “the quality of representation [for disadvantaged subgroups] is inferior to that received by advantaged subgroups.”57 This double standard was indicative of the response to the HIV/AIDS crisis by black political, advocacy, and civil rights groups. These groups were slow to respond to the HIV/AIDS crisis because of the marginalization and stigmatization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and (p.32) transgendered communities. When they did respond to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the framing of their early mobilization activities deemphasized the crisis among black homosexuals—presumably because of stigma and homophobia—and instead focused on heterosexual blacks who contracted the virus through intravenous drug use.58

Movement infrastructures may also be burdened by class hierarchies that privilege well-educated activists, and racial justice movements may subordinate women, youth, or low-income activists. These hierarchies or what some feminist scholars refer to as divisions of labor within movement infrastructures may circumscribe some cohort groups within movements.59 Aaronette White’s examination of revolutionary movements underscores how nationalist movements and armed insurrections, including those that fought against colonial regimes, reinforced masculine identities and relegated revolutionary women to subordinate positions.60 These movements were widely supported and romanticized by the left, but nonetheless reproduced hierarchies that many social justice activists in the United States and the West struggled against in their own countries.

Hierarchies may be exacerbated by external factors such as changes in the political environment and the flow of resources from allies to a select group of activists in the movement infrastructures. Haines and McAdam, in separate studies of the civil rights movement, found that elite patrons distributed and shifted monetary contributions and resources to the “Big Five” civil rights organizations (the NAACP, the National Urban League, SNCC, SCLC, and CORE) according to which organizations were viewed as less confrontational.61 This occurred when the civil rights movement was perceived to have become more militant in the late 1960s.

Understanding that movement infrastructures influence the trajectory of protest and claims making is critical to this discussion. To summarize, movements are facilitated by infrastructures or organizational processes that promote certain strategies and tactics, minimize conflict or dissent among competing groups that are allied around the same cause, encourage groups to follow a set of norms and standards that shape movement activism, are shaped by broader political changes external to movements, and may be rife within internal divisions and hierarchies. These factors can limit or create opportunities for young people to participate in mobilization campaigns.

(p.33) Institutional Leveraging and Movement Infrastructures

Contemporary social movements, especially those involving young people, have been inhibited by movement infrastructures that privilege institutional modes of political change. The institutionalization of progressive movements and the expansion of single-issue advocacy groups that practice insider negotiation strategies have moderated movement infrastructures and subsequently constrained transformational movements and mobilization opportunities for young activists.62 Debra Minkoff’s research of contemporary civil rights and women’s rights groups argues that the growing power of progressive movements in the 1960s encouraged many groups—groups that one might conclude would be at the forefront of movement activities—to downplay social justice activism in exchange for leveraging their influence inside of political institutions. The conservative movement’s growing influence, the need to safeguard the legislative measures that were won in the 1960s and early 1970s, and the struggle to survive in a hostile political environment encouraged many social justice groups to channel their energies and resources into safe and conventional modes of political activism.

Minkoff insists that political elites offered these groups and movement infrastructures a tangle of incentives or “institutional niche” inside and in relation to political institutions.63 This niche, though limiting transformational movement initiatives, gave the most influential and resource-abundant organizations inside these infrastructures resources, access to political elites, legitimacy, protection, and stability in an evolving political environment.64 In exchange, these groups were encouraged to moderate their strategies and tactics and minimize the use of confrontational protests. By doing this, these groups were able to present themselves as viable alternatives to other movement organizations that appeared to be confrontational or threatening.65

Accordingly, movement infrastructures that should support transformational movement activity among young people have moderated their activities as a result of the leveraging or channeling process expanded at length by Minkoff. When leveraging is not overtly promoted, some groups inside of movement infrastructures still simulate the norms and standards of political elites, philanthropic allies, and bureaucratic institutions.66 This activity privileges established groups, some of which embedded their (p.34) influence at the end of the civil rights, black power, and New Left movements. It further elevates groups that are staffed by highly trained professionals who understand the dictates of elite mobilization such as interest group lobbying, fund-raising, and strategic planning and are readily prepared to navigate the Byzantine nature of political institutions.

Institutional leveraging has become salient in the post–civil rights era due to the expansion of the nonprofit sector and single-issue advocacy groups. Domhoff claims that a “parallel government of nonprofit organizations” has emerged in recent years, partially composed of advocacy, social welfare, and civil rights groups working in marginalized communities.67 These groups generally receive funding from philanthropic institutions and must comply with a complex set of rules and regulations, such that they are typically led by a well-educated and professionalized staff.68 One activist in Apollon’s study of young organizers referred to this phenomenon as a “non-profit industrial complex” that exercises too much control over civil rights advocacy, youth development, and movement activities.69 In reality, leading activists have become sophisticated in mobilizing resources, recruiting foundation resources, and placing allies in grant-making institutions. Nonetheless, the expansion of nonprofits potentially creates a “self-limiting radicalism” that moderates transformative initiatives and encourages institutional leveraging strategies.70 Since young activists or youth-based formations operate inside of movement infrastructures that are shaped by the culture of nonprofits—or because they depend on the support of nonprofits, their professional staff and expertise, and leaders inside of movement infrastructures—their initiatives and demands have also become shaped by these organizational processes.71

In some cases, activists inside movement infrastructures who gain an institutional niche assist incipient movement formations, including black student and youth activist groups. Yet leveraging can make it difficult for young activists inside of these movement infrastructures to promote transformational initiatives, especially if they conflict with veteran activists and advocates who have access to the routine decision-making apparatuses and resources, and have strong commitments to institutional elites.

Institutional leveraging may further reinforce hierarchies and clientelism within movement infrastructures. For example, low-income (p.35) and working-class activists may be subordinated inside of movement infrastructures that are controlled by middle-class advocacy groups. Movement infrastructures may be ripe with sexism, thus exacerbating unequal relations between women and men. Similarly, youth may be relegated to an unequal partner or client in these movement infrastructures. This is particularly the case when pairing movement formations or groups that garner a niche in the political universe, and thus are able to acquire resources and legitimacy, with youth who develop creative strategies to mobilize aggrieved communities but lack the resources and communication infrastructures to fully implement them. The consequence of this dynamic is that groups that garner an institutional niche and benefit from institutional channeling may then assume the status of patrons inside movement infrastructures. They may support resource-poor organizations or youth-led groups, but regulate or control their activists if they are considered too disruptive.

In reality, institutional leveraging was used by groups during the civil rights movement and even during the left movements of the 1930s. Yet, it is now part of the larger family of institutionalized strategies (electioneering, interest group lobbying, insider politics, and bargaining) that are widely used by post–civil rights activists and politicians. Some movement groups willingly choose to use leveraging processes even if it means offsetting transformational mobilization strategies. Hasan Jeffries documents the experiences of movement activists who were at the forefront of the Lowndes County Freedom Party (LCFP) in the 1960s. For half a decade, the LCFP provided a national model for “freedom politics” that challenged the segregationist Democratic Party in Alabama. However, by the early 1970s, some LCFP activists used their influence in the organization and the broader Lowndes County movement to negotiate private agreements with political elites for public office.72 They essentially leveraged the LCFP’s reputation and resources to garner public offices for themselves, even though this strategy undermined the organization’s mobilization activities.

Complicating matters has been the dramatic reduction in youth militancy since the 1970s. This was partially due to the disillusionment resulting from the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.73 The passage of the Twenty-Sixth Amendment in 1971, which gave eighteen-year-olds the right to vote, also moderated political insurgency among (p.36) young people. As indicated by Tom Hayden’s commentary at the beginning of this chapter, the Twenty-Sixth Amendment gave youth an alternative and institutionalized mechanism for exercising political influence other than the use of protest.74

Among young blacks, militancy took a spiral downward as a result of political repression, organizational fatigue, and intramovement conflict, all of which diminished the influence of and eliminated many civil rights and black power organizations.75 The decline in militant-style protest coincided with deteriorating economic conditions in poor and working-class black communities, deindustrialization and suburbanization, and the shift from a manufacturing to a service-based economy. These crises ended almost thirty years of economic growth that helped to develop a bourgeoning black middle class.76 They also left working-poor blacks in urban areas isolated away from major employment opportunities.

The rise of the conservative movement had a particularly sobering effect on black youth militancy. President Reagan eliminated important social, educational, and economic programs and funds that served as a social safety net for poor black youth, and by the mid-1980s federal cutbacks to education contributed to a drop in black college attendance rates.77 This confluence of factors had a moderating effect on black political insurgency and progressive youth activism.78 These factors also made the utilization of institutional leveraging more attractive to progressive movements and advocacy groups. Many of these entities no longer used militant political action or direct action to mobilize youth or to challenge racial and class hierarchies due to fear of neglect or repression.

Certainly, youth-based movements are not the only movements influenced by institutional leveraging and the broader shift toward institutionalization. The political culture undergirding contemporary civil rights and liberal advocacy groups has also been impacted by these phenomena. Many of these organizations no longer used militant political action to mobilize constituents, and as Adolph Reed explains, they now “earn their insider status by providing a convincing alternative to popular political mobilization.”79 In order to survive and garner political stature, these groups modified their goals or methods of mobilization such that they conformed to the norms and standards of dominant political institutions.80

This is not to suggest that institutional leveraging was completely absent from the movement strategies of the earlier generations of (p.37) activists. Civil rights activists and even black power radicals used an assortment of institutionalized strategies. These strategies, however, were part of a repertoire of tactics deployed by activists and usually complemented militant forms of political action.81

The challenges emerging from institutional leveraging are examined in chapter 3’s assessment of SNCC and the MFDP and the attempts by conservative Democrats to subvert their organizing activities. I also examine institutional leveraging in chapters 5 through 7. The chapters look extensively at the organizing activities of the BSLN, the Black Community Crusade for Children (BCCC), and the CDF in the 1990s. I suggest that the BSLN’s movement bridge-builders or leadership core—national staff, field organizers, and National Coordinating Committee—were frequently in a tug-of-war with its parent organizations, especially the BCCC’s Steering Committee, over the optimum strategies for effecting change in low-income black communities. While the leadership core did not eschew electioneering—and instead created a comprehensive program for engaging young people in voter education and outreach—the group was wary about shifting too much of its energy and resources into established bureaucratic and political institutions. This produced tensions between the BSLN and its parent organizations and, at times, between the BSLN’s local affiliates and national staff.

Creative Organizing: Expanding the Youth Opportunity Structure

The discussion of movement infrastructures and institutional leveraging offers valuable insight into the complicated set of factors that inhibit social activism among the post–civil rights generation. Yet despite the limitations of leveraging, it would be incorrect to conclude that there has been an absence of social justice claims by young blacks. Institutional leveraging, though rendering transformational campaigns episodic, has not been completely deterministic or insurmountable. Through creative organizing strategies, young and veteran activists have been able to expand the opportunity structure of activism and contested the boundaries of movement infrastructures.82

Several scholars insist that movement activists can circumvent political contexts that appear to contain transformational activism. Todd Shaw, in his examination of black grassroots activism in Detroit, argues (p.38) that the protest variation of grassroots activism can force political institutions and public officials to positively respond to grievances by neglected constituents such as fair housing and homeless rights advocates. Yet, grassroots activists and disruptive coalitions must appropriately time their actions, use flexible and adaptive tactics, and recognize when political regimes are vulnerable and can be coerced to support redistributive and judicious policies.83

Another compelling study, by Marshall Ganz, looks at organizational tensions within the movement infrastructure that shaped the California farm workers movement of the 1960s.84 He compares the mobilization strategies of the United Farm Workers (UFW) organization and the AFL-CIO’s Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC). Through “strategic capacity,” or the creation of a flexible leadership team that implemented innovative strategies, the UFW had better success mobilizing immigrant agricultural workers than the well-resourced AWOC. McAdam also states that civil rights activists used “tactical innovation,” which entailed the use of dynamic strategies and tactics, in order to enhance their perceived powerlessness when the political opportunity structure appeared to be shifting against them.85 Tera Hunter further notes that in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, black washerwomen fought against discrimination and class exploitation despite the retrenchment of civil rights policies. In addition to forming a labor union, the women organized strikes and fought for the right to set their own wages.86 Other scholars claim that under repressive conditions, marginal and resource-poor groups found ways to resist, sometimes through the use of survival strategies or covert forms of political activism.87

I modify these earlier assessments by arguing that movement bridge-builders can generate opportunities for young people to participate in movements by utilizing creative strategies that seek to elevate the social and political status of youth. These strategies must situate youth as an important variable in movement infrastructures and as vital to addressing the material realities of working-poor communities. I distinguish bridge-builders from Belinda Robnett’s use of the concept “bridge leaders.”88 Both sets of activists organize diverse constituency groups in support of a movement’s objectives and help to bridge generational divisions among activists. Yet Robnett claims bridge leaders are marginalized or (p.39) excluded from formal leadership positions due to generational or gender biases. On the other hand, I argue that bridge-builders are not marginal in movements, but are the most important resource for sustaining movement campaigns beyond their incipient stages.

One component of creative organizing is the use of strategic framing devices. Framing is an “interpretive schema” that allows movement leaders to package a belief system or set of explanations about material conditions or policies that appeal to aggrieved communities and encourage youth to be socially active.89 The importance of framing should not be underestimated; it is used by political elites and social movement actors across the ideological spectrum. Yet in contrast to political elites who frame issues through sophisticated and expensive media and advertisement campaigns, community activists and organizers must link the framing process with on-the-ground organizing initiatives and solutions.90 They must identify a problem, assign blame or cause to it, and then offer solutions to resolving the problem.91 Bob Moses and Charlie Cobb, both former SNCC activists, point to the central tenets of the framing process—they refer to it as “consensus” building—at the height of the civil rights movement. They write,

Effective organizing in 1960s Mississippi meant an organizer had to utilize the everyday issues of the community and frame them for the maximum benefit of the community. Staking out some area of consensus was necessary, but an organizer could not create consensus, an organizer had to find it. And it took time and patience to search out where it was lodged beneath layer after layer of other concerns. Then, if the organizer found it, the question of how to tap into the consensus, how to energize it and use it for mobilization and organization remained.92

Hence, the framing process is evolutionary and dynamic. Movement bridge-builders must adjust and readjust their interpretations of material conditions that affect marginalized youth as a vehicle for mobilizing them to support a cause. Furthermore, movement activists can use framing as an agenda-setting strategy in order to advance causes that resonate among young people or promote issues that are neglected by political elites. The media reform campaign coordinated by the Youth Force and Youth Media Council used framing to highlight the (p.40) mistreatment of black and Latino youth by the mainstream media. The groups claimed that it was difficult to address racial profiling and high incarceration rates among ghetto youth without understanding the mainstream media’s stereotypes of black and Latino youth.

Another component of creative organizing involves the use of indigenous resources or preexisting organizations, networks, and institutions that are used for stimulating movement participation. Aldon Morris’s analysis of the civil rights movement found that black indigenous institutions such as activist churches, civic groups, and colleges played a critical role in buttressing civil rights protests and creating communication infrastructures for diffusing collective action.93 They helped to recruit students and young people into the civil rights movement, and provided the necessary training and resources to the students involved in civil rights protests.

Despite the utility of the indigenous resource perspective, it deserves some revisions when applied to contemporary youth activists. This is because preexisting groups can hinder youth activists from adopting innovative strategies, or they may reinforce hierarchies within movement infrastructures.94 Some preexisting groups may resist creative strategies because of their concrete commitments and linkages to political and economic elites. Subsequently, they may place barriers in front of alternative forms of leadership, including youth leaders, especially those who are deemed as threats to their interests. The 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama, experienced some resistance from indigenous groups in the black community that had linkages with political elites and business leaders. Some activists, business leaders, and ministers feared that Martin Luther King, Jr. would invite more repression and urged him to halt the protests in the city.95

To overcome this problem, movement activists must make creative use of indigenous resources, especially those organizations and networks that have access to marginalized youth. McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly assert that it’s not the existence of indigenous resources that is useful to protests, but it is how these resources are appropriated or transformed into vehicles of contention.96 Appropriation occurs through organizing and cultural work that synthesizes the interests and collective identities of indigenous groups with the goals of young people and broader movements. This creates a context for interest convergence, or (p.41) what the authors call an “attribution of similarity.”97 Movement bridge-builders, through appropriation, can establish an attribution of similarity or interest convergence between youth activists and preexisting actors in order to convince the latter group to assist youth-based movements. In other words, the purpose is to activate indigenous groups and activists in order to create more flexible and deliberative movement infrastructures, and turn them into vehicles that can nurture young activists and support transformational movement demands.

Furthermore, this strategy can bridge two movement infrastructures or single-issue campaigns, thus developing cross-movement linkages between different sectors of activists. For example, SCLC and SNCC activists synthesized the interests of the civil rights and antiwar movements, in part by insisting that both were essential to advancing the philosophy of nonviolence. This created a window or opening for the formation of new coalitions and new avenues for young people to support the demands of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s.

Positionality is another strategy that movement bridge-builders have used to create opportunities for young people to participate in mobilization campaigns. It occurs when movement bridge-builders intentionally alert youth, allies, donors to movement campaigns, and veteran activists within their movement infrastructures about the harmful effects of regressive policies on disaffected black youth. The intent is to heighten the sense of urgency or dramatize the impact of these policies on young people. Consequently, the status of marginalized youth—or the impact of regressive policies on their life circumstances—serves as a “canary in the mine” or an alarm that warns potential youth activists, veteran organizers and advocates, and allies about the urgent problems affecting marginal communities,98 and the need to accelerate extra-systemic pressures and recruit new activists in support of mobilization campaigns. Positional tactics can thus shape policies by encouraging their implementation, or they can be used to interfere or disrupt policies—what I call policy interference—that are deemed harmful to youth.

The movement against Proposition 21 discussed at the beginning of this chapter used a positional strategy to mobilize young people who were previously disengaged from social activism to join the mobilization campaign against the measure. Movement (p.42) bridge-builders argued that the ballot initiative was emblematic of a systematic attempt to use voter initiatives to advance policies that harmed communities of color. Similarly, labor activists may heighten the problem of black youth unemployment in order to recruit new activists or young blacks to the labor movement, or mobilize their support for job training programs. And, education advocates may raise the public’s awareness about high school drop-out rates or the disproportionate placement of blacks in special education programs as a means for mobilizing young activists around expenditures for public schools.

Thus, positionality is useful for awakening a dormant or latent contingent of young people and dramatizing issues that impact their life circumstances. It is equally useful for convincing veteran activists and advocates to dedicate resources that create opportunities for young people to participate in movement campaigns that target urgent problems. Positional tactics can also cultivate intergenerational collaborative initiatives; and they can convince veteran activists that the problems affecting black youth reflect more systemic problems that adversely affect different cohorts in underdeveloped communities. Positionality actually expands the meaning of youth-based activism. It allows the status of youth to be used as an instrument for stimulating intergenerational struggles even if young people are subordinated in these campaigns.

Measuring the Consequences and Outcomes of Creative Organizing Strategies

The previous section outlined three creative organizing strategies deployed in youth-based movements: framing, the appropriation of indigenous resources, and positionality. Movement bridge-builders will use creative organizing strategies to expand opportunities for young people to participate in movement campaigns. In addition to shaping institutional outcomes, either through policy implementation and elections, movements can produce new actors and assist other movements, lead to the political recognition of previously ignored groups, and cause broad cultural shifts in the body politic.99 They may also yield unintended outcomes and “spin off new challenges or factions (p.43)

Movement Activism and the Post–Civil Rights Generation

Figure 1.1. Creative Organizing Strategies and Measuring Their Impact

even after a cycle of protest declines.”100 These new forms of claims-making activities may be entirely different from the progenitor movements that created them.

The aforementioned consequences or outcomes of creative organizing strategies are outlined in figure 1.1. Movement bridge-builders use framing to develop narratives that explain a particular problem that has relevance to marginalized groups. For grassroots movements, the best framing strategies are not imposed or dropped on marginalized communities, but emerge from interactions between movement bridge-builders and aggrieved communities. The urgency assigned to a problem can thus build a consensus between different groups, including advantaged and disadvantaged subgroups, in marginalized communities. And, it can thrust an issue in dispute to the forefront of a political agenda. Depending on the urgency assigned to a problem, this strategy can also create new opportunities for young people and disadvantaged subgroups to participate in movement politics.

The SNYC and SOBU discussed in the succeeding chapters used framing to create new opportunities for youth-based activism. The (p.44) SNYC and its adult allies framed the Great Depression as uniquely injurious to working-class and poor black youth. In addition to mobilizing young blacks in extra-campus activities, this strategy focused attention on economic exploitation and a range of economic justice initiatives that could ameliorate black despair. SOBU also used framing to situate black youth resistance within black working-class politics and Pan-African movements.

In addition, movement bridge-builders can transform indigenous groups (e.g., preexisting networks, local activists and organizations, and even nonpolitical/apolitical civic and volunteer groups) into vehicles of movement contention. This strategy of appropriation can activate or encourage these groups to support incipient mobilization campaigns. This was demonstrated with the New Haven youth movement (see chapter 4) and the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer campaign (see chapter 9). Or it can be used to develop cross-movement linkages—it allows movements to spill over into other movements as well as spin off into new movements—because it pulls different groups under the same movement infrastructure. In the third chapter, I describe SNCC’s attempt to build cross-movement linkages with the Black Panther Party and the Black Liberators. Though these efforts failed, they represented the types of cross-movement-building opportunities that emerge from the appropriation strategy. The BSLN’s formation and ideological development, examined in chapters 5 through 7, were also directly attributed to indigenous activists who came out of the anti-apartheid movement, the Jesse Jackson presidential campaigns, and local organizing activities.

The strategy of positionality occurs when bridge-builders intentionally position the status of youth as critical to a specific policy debate. This can elevate youth and youth-based groups as important voices within a hypercompetitive political environment. It encourages adult allies or reputable advocacy groups to pay attention to marginalized youth such that policies disproportionately affecting them are thrust to the forefront of the political landscape. This strategy further legitimates youth-based activities that are potentially disruptive or that interfere with policies that are on the fast track to implementation. Both the BSLN and JJRM coalitions (see chapter 8) used positional strategies to address zero-tolerance policies and child poverty. Decades earlier, black (p.45) and white radicals employed a positional strategy to call attention to the suffering of black working-class communities in the Great Depression. This allowed them to mobilize the resources as well as raise the consciousness of young people and adults, thus creating opportunities for young blacks to participate in movement campaigns.

These creative organizing strategies explain how youth-based movements have attempted to effect change, notwithstanding shifting political contexts and the push and pull of institutional leveraging. They point to the vitality of youth-based movements, the innovation and leadership styles of movement bridge-builders, and the role of youth within social movement infrastructures.


Overall, the theoretical framework attempts to account for the challenges confronting movement activists of the post–civil rights generation. The existence of movement infrastructures suggests that young activists operate within a broader and complex network of activists. Mobilization campaigns led by movement infrastructures rooted in social and racial justice claims nonetheless are still likely to have divisions, hierarchies, and an unequal distribution of resources that are allocated to the most influential activists or movement organizations.

Another argument in this study, which is explained in this theoretical overview, is that the political context of the post–civil rights era has made movement infrastructures more susceptible to institutional leveraging. The institutional leveraging process is another facet of political incorporation that pertains uniquely to contemporary social movement organizations and advocacy groups, especially those that are well resourced and have strong connections to political elites. Leveraging provides these groups with some resources and protection in hostile political environments. Yet, at times, it can discourage groups that have an institutional niche from expending the energy and resources on nurturing militant youth.

Finally, the existence of movement infrastructures and the constraints of institutional leveraging have not deterred activists of the post–civil rights generation from joining mobilization campaigns. Although these campaigns were episodic and in some cases lacked (p.46) the transformational character of the 1930s and 1960s movements, they were still important. Through creative organizing, young activists and veteran organizers can contest the institutional constraints on youth-based activism and generate opportunities for young activists to become involved in diverse movement initiatives. This further underscores the importance of leadership—the skills of movement bridge-builders, their ability to deploy resources and use frames to mobilize constituents, and varied leadership styles101—which is an undervalued component of social movement activities.


(1.) Youth Force, In Between the Lines: How the New York Times Frames Youth (New York: We Interrupt This Message, 2001); Youth Media Council, Speaking for Ourselves: A Youth Assessment of Local News Coverage (San Francisco: We Interrupt This Message, 2002).

(2.) Evelyn Nieves, “California Voters in Conservative Initiatives,” New York Times (March 12, 2000): 2; Carl Nolte, “Bay Area Voters Are State’s Contrarians,” San Francisco Chronicle (March 10, 2000): A17.

(3.) Andrea Simpson, The Tie That Binds: Identity and Political Attitudes in the Post–Civil Rights Generation (New York: New York University Press, 1998), 3.

(4.) Kenneth T. Andrews, “Social Movements and Policy Implementation: The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the War Poverty, 1965–1971,” American Sociological Review 66 (February 2001): 75–76.

(5.) Holloway Sparks, “Dissident Citizenship: Democratic Theory, Political Courage, and Activist Women,” Hypatia 12, no. 4 (Fall 1997): 74–110; also see John Lofland, Social Movement Organizations: Guide to Research on Insurgent Realities (New York: Aldine, 1996), 3.

(6.) See Adolph Reed, Jr., “Demobilization in the New Black Political Regime: Ideological Capitulation and Radical Failure in the Postsegregation Era,” in The Bubbling Cauldron: Race, Ethnicity, and the Urban Crisis, ed. Michael Peter Smith and Joe R. Feagin (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), 182–208; Robert C. Smith, We Have No Leaders: African Americans in the Post–Civil Rights Era (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996); Cedric Johnson, Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politics (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007).

(7.) My description of transformational and contained movements is similar to McAdam, Tarrow, and Tilly’s discussion of “transgressive” and “contained” contention. See Doug McAdam, Sidney Tarrow, and Charles Tilly, Dynamics of Contention (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 7–8.

(9.) Charles Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). Also see Ronald W. Walters and Robert C. Smith, African American Leadership (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1999), 235.

(10.) Jo Freeman, “Resource Mobilization and Strategy: A Model for Analyzing Social Movement Organization Actions,” in Dynamics of Social Movements, ed. Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy (New York: Longman, 1983), 172.

(p.275) (11.) See Mancur Olson, Logic of Collective Action (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1965), 5–9, 131–135, 161; Seymour Lipset, Rebellion in the University (Boston: Little, Brown, 1971), 34–46.

(12.) Dennis Chong, Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

(13.) Aldon D. Morris, “Birmingham Confrontation Reconsidered: An Analysis of the Dynamics and Tactics of Mobilization,” American Sociological Review 58 (October 1993): 621–636.

(14.) Karl Mannheim, “The Sociological Problem of Generations,” in Studies in Social Movements: A Social Psychological Perspective, ed. Barry McLaughlin (New York: Free Press, 1969 [1951]), 352–369. Also see Alan B. Spitzer, “The Historical Problem of Generations,” American Historical Review 78, no. 5 (December 1973): 1361–1362; Karl Mannheim, “The Sociology of Knowledge,” in Ideology & Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1985 [1936]), 270.

(15.) Young Wisdom Project of the Movement Strategy Center, Making Space, Making Change: Profiles of Youth-Led and Youth-Driven Organizations (Oakland, CA: Movement Strategy Center, 2004), 11.

(16.) Clarence Lang, “Political/Economic Restructuring and the Tasks of Radical Black Youth,” Black Scholar 28, nos. 3–4 (Fall–Winter 1998): 30–38; Jacinda Fairholm, “Seeking Justice for All,” Alternatives Journal 24, no. 3 (Summer 1998): 9.

(17.) Jennifer L. O’Donoghue, Benjamin Kirshner, and Milbrey W. McLaughlin, “Introduction: Moving Youth Participation Forward,” New Directions for Youth Development: Theory, Practice Research, and Youth Participation 96 (February 2003): 15–26.

(19.) Simpson, Tie That Binds; Walter W. Stafford, “The National Urban League Survey: Black America’s Under-35 Generation,” in The State of Black America, ed. Lee A. Daniels (Washington, D.C.: National Urban League, 2001); Celeste M. Watkins, “A Tale of Two Classes: The Socio-economic Divide among Black Americans Under 35,” in The State of Black America, ed. Lee A. Daniels (Washington, D.C.: National Urban League, 2001), 67–85; and David A. Bositus, Diverging Generations: The Transformation of African American Policy Views (Washington, D.C.: Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, 2001).

(20.) Bakari Kitwana, The Hip-Hop Generation: Young Blacks and the Crisis in African-American Culture (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2002).

(21.) David Plotke, “What’s So New about New Social Movements,” in Social Movements: Critiques, Concepts, Case-Studies, ed. Stanford Lyman (New York: New York University Press, 1995), 127.

(22.) For a gender-based critique of Karl Mannheim’s concept of political generations, see Beth E. Schneider, “Political Generations and the Contemporary Women’s Movement,” Sociological Inquiry 58 (Winter 1988): 4–21.

(p.276) (23.) Dominique Apollon, Millennials, Activism and Race (Oakland, CA: Applied Research Center, 2012), 5.

(24.) Johanna Wyn and Rob White, Rethinking Youth (London: Sage, 1997), 15.

(25.) Lisa García Bedolla, Fluid Borders: Latino Power, Identity, and Politics in Los Angeles (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

(26.) Nancy Whittier, “Political Generations, Micro-cohorts, and the Transformation of Social Movements,” American Sociological Review 62, no. 5 (October 1997): 762.

(27.) Peter Edelman, “American Government and Politics of Youth,” in A Century of Juvenile Justice, ed. Margaret K. Rosenheim et al. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 310–315.

(28.) E. Franklin Frazier, Negro Youth at the Crossways: Their Personality Development in the Middle States (New York: Schocken Books, 1967 [1940]), 168–176 and Charles S. Johnson, Growing Up in the Black Belt: Negro Youth in the Rural South (New York: Schocken Books, 1941).

(29.) This is discussed in a number of works: Clayborne Carson, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981); Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom; and Jennifer Frost, “An Interracial Movement of the Poor”: Community Organizing and the New Left in the 1960s (New York: New York University Press, 2001); Young Wisdom Project of the Movement Strategy Center, Making Space, Making Change, 11.

(30.) For a discussion of patron-client relations, see James C. Scott, “Patron-Client Relations and Political Change in Southeast Asia,” American Political Science Review 66, no. 1 (1972): 92; Laura Guasti, “Peru: Clientelism and Internal Control,” in Friends, Followers and Factions: A Reader in Political Clientelism, ed. Steffen W. Schmidt et al (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 422–438; Martin Kilson, “Political Change in the Negro Ghetto, 1900–1940s,” in Key Issues in the Afro-American Experience, vol. 2, ed. Nathan I. Huggins, Martin Kilson, and Daniel M. Fox (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1971), 171–174.

(31.) Christine Kelly, Tangled Up in Red, White, and Blue: New Social Movements in America (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001), chap. 5.

(33.) Ibid., 19–24.

(34.) Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003), 245.

(35.) This was revealed to me at SNCC’s forty-year anniversary conference in April 2000 in Raleigh, North Carolina, in an informal discussion with James Lawson, the nonviolence activist-theoretician and advisor to the Nashville student group that contributed the most committed members to SNCC’s initial organizational base. Furthermore, I have had several discussions with Lawson about this topic, and specifically King’s role at SNCC’s founding conference, during his time as a lecturer at Vanderbilt University from 2006 to 2010 and as an advisor to the Nonviolence Resistance and Social Justice Committee in Nashville. King also (p.277) experienced his own difficulties working in the South and competing with the NAACP, which was wary of the SCLC because both organizations competed for a similar church-based constituency. See Piven and Cloward, Poor People’s Movements, 222; and Taylor Branch, Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954–1963 (New York: Touchstone, 1988), 222, 264–265.

(36.) Tricia Rose, Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America (Wesleyan, CT: University Press of New England, 1994); Michael Eric Dyson, Know What I Mean? Reflections on Hip-Hop (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2007); S. Craig Watkins, Hip Hop Matters: Politics, Pop Culture, and the Struggle for the Soul of a Movement (Boston: Beacon, 2006); Nelson George, Hip-Hop America (New York: Penguin, 2005); Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation (New York: Picador, 2005); Robin D. G. Kelley, Race Rebels: Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (New York: Free Press, 1996), chap. 8; Andreana Clay, The Hip-Hop Generation Fights Back: Youth, Activism, and Post–Civil Rights Politics (New York: New York University Press, 2012), 104.

(37.) Tamika Middleton, interview by Sekou M. Franklin, July 15, 2004. Middleton was the regional coordinator of Critical Resistance South, a criminal justice reform organization based in New Orleans. This assessment is based on her accounts of the conference.

(38.) To protest California’s Proposition 21 in 2000, Riley organized mobile rallies where “flatbed trucks with loudspeakers drove through Oakland and other city streets with local hip-hop stars on the mic [microphone], educating about the impact of Prop 21.” See Youth Force Coalition, Schools Not Jails: A Report on the Northern California Youth Movement Against Proposition 21 (San Francisco, April 2000), 8.

(39.) Murray Forman, “’Hood Work: Hip-Hop, Youth Advocacy, and Model Citizenry,” Communication, Culture & Critique 6 (2013): 244–257.

(40.) Aisha Durham, Brittney C. Cooper, and Susana M. Morris, “The Stage Hip-Hop Feminism Built: A New Directions,” Signs 38, no. 3 (Spring 2013): 721–737.

(41.) Yvonne Bynoe, Stand and Deliver: Political Activism, Leadership, and Hip-Culture (Berkeley, CA: Soft Skull Press, 2004), 20.

(42.) Spence, Stare in the Darkness, 15–17. Also, for a discussion of authenticity in hip-hop, see Jeffrey O. G. Ogbar, Hip-Hop Revolution: The Culture and Politics of Rap (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2007).

(44.) Kurt Schock, Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Nondemocracies (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004), 35.

(45.) John Krinsky and Ellen Reese, “Forging and Sustaining Labor-Community Coalitions: Workfare Justice in Three Cities,” Sociological Forum 21, no. 4 (December 2006): 625.

(p.278) (47.) Russell L. Curtis and Louis A. Zurcher, “Stable Resources of Protest Movements: The Multi-organizational Field,” Social Forces 52, no. 1 (1973): 53–61.

(48.) See the following studies for a discussion of mobilizing structures: Dieter Rucht, “Movement Allies, Adversaries, and Third Parties,” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, ed. David A. Snow and Sarah A. Soule (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), http://www.blackwellreference.com/subscriber/tocnode?id=g9780631226697_chunk_g97806312266979 (accessed June 28, 2012); Steven Buechler, Women’s Movement in the United States: Women Suffrage, Equal Rights, and Beyond (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1990); Suzanne Staggenborg, “Social Movement Communities and Cycles of Protest: The Emergence and Maintenance of a Local Women’s Movement,” Social Problems 45, no. 2 (May 1998): 108–204; Kevin Djo Everett, “Professionalization and Protest: Changes in the Social Movement Sector, 1961–1983,” Social Forces 70, no. 4 (June 1992): 957–975; Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy. “Social Movement Industries: Competition and Conflict,” in Social Movements in an Organizational Society, ed. Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy (New Brunswick, NJ: Transactions, 1987), 161–180; LISTEN, Inc., “An Emerging Model for Working with Youth” (New York: Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing Occasional Paper Series on Youth Organizing No. 1, 2003), 19.

(53.) Sherwood and Dressner, Youth Organizing; Julie Quiroz-Martinez, Diana Pei Wu, and Kristen Zimmerman, ReGeneration: Young People Shaping Environmental Justice (Oakland, CA: Movement Strategy Center, 2005), 48–55.

(54.) Andrews, “Social Movements and Policy Implementation,” 79; Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom; John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995).

(56.) Dara Z. Strolovitch, Affirmative Advocacy: Race, Class, and Gender in Interest Group Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007), 8.

(57.) Ibid., 78–79.

(58.) Cathy Cohen, The Boundaries of Blackness: AIDS and the Breakdown of Black Politics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).

(59.) Verta Taylor, “Gender and Social Movements: Gender Processes in Women’s Self-Help Movements,” Gender & Society 13 (1999): 8–33; Mary Margaret Fonow, “Protest Engendered: The Participation of Women in the 1985 Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Strike,” Gender & Society 12, no. 6 (December 1998):710–728.

(60.) Aaronette M. White, “All the Men Are Fighting for Freedom, All the Women Are Morning Their Men, but Some of Us Carried Guns: A Race-Gendered Analysis of Fanon’s Psychological Perspectives on War,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 32, no. 4 (2007): 857–884.

(p.279) (61.) Herbert Haines, Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream, 1954–1970 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988), 84–88; Doug McAdam, Political Process and the Development of Black Insurgency, 1930–1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), chap. 8.

(62.) Suzanne Staggenborg, “The Consequences of Professionalization and Formalization in the Pro-Choice Movement,” American Sociological Review 53 (August 1988): 590.

(63.) McCarthy, Britt, and Wolfson, cited in Minkoff, Organizing for Equality, 12.

(64.) Minkoff, Organizing for Equality, 12–13; Bishwapriya Sanyal, “NGOs’ Self-Defeating Quest for Autonomy,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 554 (November 1997): 30; Joel A. C. Baum and Christine Oliver, “Institutional Linkages and Organizational Mortality,” Administrative Science Quarterly 36, no. 2 (June 1991): 187–219; Joseph Craig Jenkins and Craig M. Eckert, “Channeling Black Insurgency: Elite Patronage and Professional Social Movement Organizations,” American Sociological Quarterly 51, no. 6 (December 1986): 812–829; Gary T. Marx, “External Efforts to Damage or Facilitate Social Movements: Some Patrons, Explanations, Outcomes, and Complications,” in The Dynamics of Social Movements: Resource Mobilization, Social Control, and Tactics, ed. Mayer N. Zald and John D. McCarthy (Cambridge, MA: Winthrop, 1979).

(66.) This type of organizational behavior is called isomorphism. See Paul DiMaggio and Walter R. Powell, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields,” American Sociological Review 48 (April 1983): 147–160; John W. Meyer and Brian Rowan, “Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony,” American Sociological Review 83, no. 2 (1977): 340–363.

(67.) G. William Domhoff, “The Role of Nonprofits in American Social Conflict,” American Behavioral Scientist 52, no. 7 (March 2009): 966.

(68.) Debra C. Minkoff, “From Service Provision to Institutional Advocacy: The Shifting Legitimacy of Organizational Forms” Social Forces 72, no. 4 (June 1994): 943–969.

(70.) J. L. Cohen, cited in John J. Chin, “The Limits and Potential of Nonprofit Organizations in Participatory Planning: A Case Study of the New York HIV Planning Council,” Journal of Urban Affairs 31, no. 4 (2009): 455.

(71.) Kenneth T. Andrews and Bob Edwards, “Advocacy Organizations in the U.S. Political Process,” Annual Review of Sociology 30 (2004): 498.

(72.) Hasan Kwame Jeffries, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt (New York: New York University Press, 2009), 212–245.

(73.) E. J. Dionne, Jr., Why Americans Hate Politics (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991); David Chalmers, And the Crooked Places Made Straight: The Struggle for Social Change in the 1960s (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996), 141.

(p.280) (74.) See Tom Hayden’s comments in Cheryl Lynn Greenberg, A Circle of Trust: Remembering SNCC (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1998), 33.

(75.) Winston A. Grady-Willis, “The Black Panther Party: State Repression and Political Prisoners,” in The Black Panther Party [Reconsidered], ed. Charles E. Jones (Baltimore, MD: Black Classic Press, 1998), 369–375; McAdam, Political Process, chap. 8.

(76.) Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro, Black Wealth/White Wealth: A New Perspective on Racial Inequality (New York: Routledge, 1995), 65; John P. Blair and Rudy H. Fitchtenbaum, “Changing Black Employment Patterns,” in The Metropolis in Black and White: Place, Power, and Polarization, ed. George C. Galster and Edward W. Hill (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research, 1992), 77; William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The New World of the Urban Poor (New York: Knopf, 1996).

(77.) Michael C. Dawson, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994), 29–33; Martin Carnoy, Faded Dreams: The Politics and Economics of Race in America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 61, 145–147; Gerald David Jaynes and Robin M. Williams, Jr., eds., Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 1989), 338–339; Jack Douglass, “The Growing Importance of Youth and College Students in American Society,” in Youth: Divergent Perspectives, ed. Peter K. Manning (New York: John Wiley, 1973), 46–50; Lisa Y. Sullivan, “Beyond Nostalgia: Notes on Black Student Activism,” Socialist Review 20, no. 4 (October–December): 21–28; see Lang, “Political/Economic Restructuring,” 32–33; Luke Tripp, “The Political Views of Black Students during the Reagan Era,” Black Scholar 22, no. 3 (Summer 1992): 45–51.

(78.) Philip G. Altbach and Robert Cohen, “American Student Activism: The Post-Sixties Transformation,” Journal of Higher Education 61, no. 1 (January–February 1990): 34; Bruce Hare, “Structural Inequality and the Endangered Status of Black Youth,” Journal of Negro Education 56, no. 1 (1987); Lani Guinier, “No Two Seats: The Elusive Quest for Political Equality,” Virginia Law Review 77, no. 8 (November 1991): 1423n31; Hanes Walton, When the Marching Stopped: The Politics of Civil Rights Regulatory Agencies (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1988), 187; Reed, “Demobilization in the New Black Political Regime.”

(80.) Robert C. Smith, “Black Power and the Transformation from Protest to Politics,” Political Science Quarterly 96, no. 3 (Autumn 1981): 437.

(81.) For more discussion on this, see Greenburg, Circle of Trust, 39–60.

(82.) Shawn Ginwright, Pedro Noguero, and Julio Cammorato, Beyond Resistance! Youth Activism and Community Change: New Democratic Possibilities for Practice and Policy for America’s Youth (New York: Routledge, 2006); Barry N. Checko-way and Lorraine M. Gutiérrez, “Youth Participation and Community Change,” Journal of Community Practice 14, nos. 1–2 (2006): 1–9; Melvin Delgado and Lee (p.281) Staples, Youth-Led Community Organizing: Theory and Action (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

(83.) Todd C. Shaw, Now Is the Time! Detroit Black Politics and Grassroots Activism (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 18–30.

(84.) Marshall Ganz, “Resources and Resourcefulness: Strategic Capacity in the Unionization of California Agriculture, 1959–1966,” American Journal of Sociology 105 (January 2000): 1019; also see Marshall Ganz, Why David Sometimes Wins: Leadership, Organization, and Strategy in the California Farmworker Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

(85.) Doug McAdam, “Tactical Innovation and the Pace of Insurgency,” American Sociological Review 48 (December 1983): 735–754.

(86.) Tera Hunter, To ’Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), chap. 4.

(87.) James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990); Robin D. G. Kelley; “‘We Are Not What We Seem’: Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South,” Journal of American History 80, no. 1 (June 1993): 75–112; Paul Ortiz, Emancipation Betrayed: The Hidden History of Black Organizing and White Violence in Florida from Reconstruction to the Bloody Election of 1920 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005); Josee Johnston, “Pedagogical Guerillas, Armed Democrats, and Revolutionary Counterpublics: Examining Paradox in the Zapatista Uprising in Chiapas Mexico,” Theory and Society 29, no. 4 (August 2000): 463–505; Victor Montejo, Voices from Exile: Violence and Survival in Modern Maya History (Lawton: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999).

(88.) Belinda Robnett, “African-American Women in the Civil Rights Movement, 1954–1965: Gender, Leadership, and Micromobilization,” American Journal of Sociology 101, no. 6 (May 1996): 1661–1693.

(89.) David A. Snow and Robert D. Benford, “Master Frames and Cycles of Protest,” in Frontiers in Social Movement Theory, ed. Aldon Morris and C. McClurg Mueller (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1992), 137.

(90.) Takis S. Pappas, “Political Leadership and the Emergence of Radical Mass Movements in Democracy,” Comparative Political Studies 41, no. 8 (August 2008): 1122.

(91.) David A. Snow and Robert D. Benford, “Ideology, Frame Resonance, and Participant Mobilization,” in International Social Movement Research: From Structure to Action, ed. Bert Klandermans, Hanspeter Kreisi, and Sidney Tarrow (Greenwich, CT: JAI, 1988), 197–218.

(92.) Robert P. Moses and Charlie Cobb, Jr., “Organizing Algebra: The Need to Voice a Demand,” Social Policy 31, no. 4 (Summer 2001): 8.

(93.) Aldon Morris, “Black Southern Student Sit-In Movement: An Analysis of Internal Organization,” American Sociological Review 46, no. 6 (1981): 744–767; Aldon Morris, The Origins of the Civil Rights Movement: Black Communities Organizing for Change (New York: Free Press, 1984); Minion K. C. Morrison, Black Political (p.282) Mobilization: Leadership, Power, and Mass Behavior (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987).

(94.) Carol Conell and Kim Voss, “Formal Organization and the Fate of Social Movements: Craft Associations and Class Alliance in the Knights of Labor,” American Sociological Review 55, no. 2 (April 1990): 255.

(95.) David Garrow, Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (New York: Vintage, 1988 [1986]), 240–245.

(97.) Ibid., 334.

(98.) For a description of the “canary in the mine” and racial justice, See Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres, The Miner’s Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

(99.) Marco G. Giugni, “Was It Worth the Effort? The Outcomes and Consequences of Social Movements,” Annual Review of Sociology 98 (1998): 371–393.

(101.) Aldon D. Morris and Suzanne Staggenborg, “Leadership in Social Movements,” in The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, ed. David A. Snow, Sarah A. Soule, and Hanspeter Kriesi (Oxford: Blackwell, 2003), http://www.blackwellreference.com/subscriber/tocnode?id=g9780631226697_chunk_g97806312266979 (accessed June 28, 2012); Hahrie Han, et al. “The Relationship of Leadership Quality to the Political Presence of Civic Associations,” Perspectives on Politics 9, no. 1 (March 2011): 45–59.