History of Youth Resistance in US


  1. There were fourteen different movements covered with a majority of activism occurring during the 1960s.
  2. Our research found youth resistance in every historical movement in America for the last 100+ years.



Our research found youth resistance in every historical movement in America for the last 100+ years.  There were fourteen different movements covered with a majority of activism occurring during the 1960s. We examine the events during the 20th and 21st centuries below:


In 1906, an Indian chieftain was interviewed for Cosmopolitan magazine regarding the most surprising thing he saw on his tour of New York City, he replied, "little children working." One in five children worked by 1900 selling newspapers, shining shoes, and carried messages. "Newsies" were the face of child labor in America. Mines, cotton mills, factories, home workshops, and farms were children s workplaces.  Children were parent's property.


In 1938, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provided the first guidelines for child labor. It wasn't until 1970 that the Supreme Court's Darby decision accomplished a monumental reform victory of the young mother's "Child Labor Movement".

1912: Young Women's suffrage movement

In 1912, the Women's Suffrage Movement marched on 5th Ave. in New York City. Their campaign lasted from 1912 to 1920. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted American women the right to vote. The Women's Suffrage Movement secured the right for women to vote in America.


In 1918, the black resistance to racialized violence was documented in a book titled, "As the Current Flows." Young black men, women, and children had to fight back against white, vigilante mobs in urban centers during the "Red Scare." The Red Scare was a nationwide fear of communists that radicals were plotting revolution in the United States.


In addition to being politically active among the youth of today, "Black Lives Matter" made policy changes to advance serious reforms of a broken criminal justice system. Economic justice reforms evolved to improve the lives of the working poor. "Death in Custody Reporting Act" to reduce racial profiling by federal law enforcement officials. Current efforts focus on unnecessary violence during encounters with police.

1950-2016: antisemitism at city college of New York

1950s Antisemitism demonstration at the City College of New York. The allegations of antisemitism stem from a letter penned by the "Zionist Organization of America" to CUNY, accusing the group "Students of Justice in Palestine" of antisemitic actions on campuses.


The New York State Senate voted to slash $485 million from senior colleges funding in the City University of New York system in 2016. Not enough was being done to fight campus antisemitism.

1960: free speech movement university of California at Berkeley. Student civil rights activism for the "Free Speech Movement" of the 1960s at UC of Berkeley spread nationwide. The Jackson State University in Mississippi had two students killed by police during a free speech demonstration. The result of this movement was that free speech restrictions were lifted in the end.


1963: Peace and Love Movement -or- rebellion and defiance of the establishment. The 1960s counterculture wanted to build a system based on love, trust, brotherhood, and "flower power" according to Abbie Hoffman, icon of the movement. New York's Village Voice published Abbie's works in the sixties.


 Tom Hayden was a radical youth who penned the Port Huron statement in 1962. It became a call-to-arms for the "Students for a Democratic Society" which was made up of affluent students attracted to rebellion and defiance of the establishment.


The movement was undermined by the Vietnam War, drugs, and the loss of idealistic leaders like President Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy, to name a few. These events were witnessed first-hand by your author, and it signaled a loss of innocence and the movement specifically.

1970: Anti-Vietnam War Demonstration at Kent State

On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard fired on unarmed student protesters at Kent State. Four students were killed and nine others seriously injured during "anti-war protests" on the college campus. This event resulted in fear of the possibility of war on the home front.

1970: Women Movement & Gay education at UGA

"Many female students who had protested for civil rights and against the Vietnam War began fighting for the equality of women." These women also changed abortion laws and tried unsuccessfully to get the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) approved by the Georgia legislature.


The University of Georgia's homosexual men and women began speaking out at the time of the women's movement. The Committee on Gay Education successfully sued the university and won the right to hold a dance in late 1972. A dance was held for gays and lesbians on university grounds.

 2017: Women's "Anti-Trump" Resistance Movement 

The organized "Left" has experienced a 5.2 million people "Women's March" on Feb. 6, 2017 which was held to protest President Trump's election.


"Run for Something" organized millennial candidates to run for political offices on Jan. 20 2017. Over 3,000 people signed up to run for office by Feb. 2017.


"Next Up Huddles" is a part of the "10 Actions for the 100 Days" campaign which was responsible for launching the "Women's March." There have been 5.447 Huddles groups organized by Next Up.


 #ENOUGH National School Walkout guidelines were established to hold student, teacher and administrators or parents walkouts to bring attention to school shootings.  Their goal is to ask that something is done about the 200 school shootings and 400 people shot since the Sandy Hook incident. #ENOUGH is focusing on schools and universities across America. Their objective is to guide youth-led action.


The #MeToo movement that evolved after the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal sparked a movement calling for the acknowledgment and equality of women. It began back in 2006 by Tarana Burke who spoke at the University of Minnesota on Feb. 16, 2018.  The students took a stand with the victims and survivors of sexual abuse. The University had expelled the former Gophers basketball star Reggie Lynch for alleged sexual misconduct. He did not challenge the action.


Our research found youth resistance in every historical movement in America for the last 100+ years.  There were fourteen different movements covered with a majority of activism occurring during the 1960s.








[Source 1] The Present and Future of Civil Rights Movements: Race and Reform in 21st Century America | Duke University School of Law



[Source 2] 1960's Youth Rebellion - massive post-World War II baby boom generation



[Source 3] The Kennedy Assassination and the Vietnam War



[Source 4] Student Movements of the 1960s-Women's Rights and Gay Liberation Movements



[Source 5] "My God! They're killing us" Kent State Shooting 1970



[Source 6] Free Speech and Campus Protest - Public Higher Education in America - CUNY Calendar and Curricula Websites - CUNY cuny.edu


[Source 7] Women's Suffrage/ Voting Rights and Citizenship www1.cuny.edu

[Source 8] The History of Child Labor Laws in the United States



[Source 9] Black Lives Matter, youth militancy, and resistance



[Source 10] https://www.thenation.com/article/your-guide-to-the-sprawling-new-anti-trump-resistance-movement/popularresistance.org


[Source 11] Womens March Jan. 21, 2017 - Mission harness political power to transform social change.



[Source 12] 2018-The #MeToo and other social movements to dominate 2018 - INDIA New England News indianewengland.com


[Source 13] History of child labor in the United States-part 1: little children working bls.gov


[Source 14] Part II: History of child labor in the United States-part 2: the reform movement



[Source 15] What is the Red Scare: answers.com


[Source 16] Campus Anti-Semitism Prompts New York Lawmakers To Slash Funds forward.com


[Source 17] Tarana Burke, the founder of Me Too movement, speaks at U about 'the power of empathy.'startribune.com