Youth Activism and the Black Freedom Struggle in Lawnside, New Jersey

Date created: 
African American history
Civil rights movement
Black power
Black freedom struggle

This thesis is an examination of youth activism during the black freedom struggle in Lawnside, New Jersey; one of ten self-governing African American communities in the United States. A critical factor in Lawnside’s narrative is that its young people both historically and today do not experience integration until the high school level where they are a distinct minority of the student body in a white community’s high school. During the civil rights/black power era, Lawnside’s young people created their own activist organization called the Young Blacks of Lawnside that pursued an agenda of non-violence, community improvement, educational advancement, and peaceful activism. Many African American youth from Lawnside were also inspired to address inequality and African American educational and cultural concerns at their high school by engaging in acts of collective violence and non-violent direct action. In these protest efforts, which included a boycott, two sit-ins, and a protest march, female students often held positions of influence and leadership and students acted with little direction or interference from parent groups or African American civic leaders.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Senior supervisor: 
Jennifer Spear
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of History
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.