NAACP Youth Council

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The NAACP Youth Council is a branch of the NAACP in which youth are actively involved. In past years, council participants organized under the council's name to make major strides in the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights Movement. Started in 1935 by Juanita E. Jackson, special assistant to Walter White and the first NAACP Youth secretary,[1] the NAACP National Board of Directors formally created the Youth and College Division in March 1936.[2]

Claudette Colvin, the first person to refuse to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955, was a member of the local Council. In 1957-59, Lyman T. Johnson led the Louisville chapter's Youth Council to open downtown stores to African Americans; and in the early 1960s the Louisville NAACP Youth Council led the boycotts called the "Nothing New for Easter" campaign that, with numerous arrests of juveniles with no previous jail records, forced over 80 percent of Louisville merchants to integrate their stores.[3] The 1958 Oklahoma City Lunch-counter Sit-in, guided by activist Clara Luper, was organized by the local Youth Council.

The NAACP Youth Council is composed of hundreds of state and county-wide operations in which youth (usually teens) volunteer to share their voices or opinions with their fellow council members, and then strive to address the issues raised on a local or national level. Sometimes this volunteer work expands to an international scale. Today there are over 600 NAACP Youth Councils, high school chapters and college chapters addressing issues of social justice including education, economic empowerment, health, juvenile justice, and civic engagement.[2]


"The mission of the NAACP Youth & College Division shall be to inform youth of the problems affecting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities; to advance the economic, education, social and political status of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities and their harmonious cooperation with other peoples; to stimulate an appreciation of the African Diaspora and other people of color’s contribution to civilization; and to develop an intelligent, militant effective youth leadership"


  • Leadership and Activism Training
  • Proactive Political and Community Activism
  • Recruitment of new Youth Units
  • Maintenance of existing Youth Units
  • Public awareness of the necessity of youth involvement
  • To be the leaders and trendsetters in the area of youth leadership and civil rights training


  1. ^ Bynum, Tommy L. (2007). "Our Fight is for Right": The NAACP Youth Councils and College Chapters' Crusade for Civil Rights, 1936-1965. Georgia State University Press. ISBN 0549380450. 
  2. ^ a b "History of the NAACP Youth and College Division". Baltimore, MD: NAACP. Retrieved 2 April 2013. 
  3. ^ Fosl, Catherine; Tracy E. K'Meyer (2009). Freedom on the Border: An Oral History of the civil Rights Movement in Kentucky. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 9780813125497. 

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