Student Involvement in the Post Civil Rights Era

by Michael R. Hall, Graudate Processing Assistant, MARBL

“Working for Freedom: Documenting Civil Rights Organizations” is a collaborative project between Emory University's Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, The Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History, The Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, and The Robert W. Woodruff Library of Atlanta University Center to uncover and make available previously hidden collections documenting the Civil Rights Movement in Atlanta and New Orleans. The project is administered by the Council on Library and Information Resources with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Each organization regularly contributes blog posts about their progress.

Many of us are quite familiar with the tremendous student and youth involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, particularly in the 1960s and '70s with such iconic organizations as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  We are less familiar, perhaps, with the continued involvement of young people in Civil Rights organizations post 1980.  The records of the Department of Student Affairs of SCLC document the continued investment of students and young people in rights organizations and viceversa.

Above left:  Proposed list of conference facilitators, Call to Manhood, 1993.  Above right:  Flier, circa early 1990s.  Click to enlarge.

The bulk of material comprising Student Affairs spans from 1983-2005 and documents Brenda Davenport as the Director of Student Affairs and primary organizer of student activities and programs.  Office files consist of administrative records such as correspondence, internal memoranda and meeting agenda and minutes as well as subject files related to the many programs geared toward student and youth development and outreach.  Programs of particular interest to researchers, youth groups and the general public include the rites of passage training programs Call to Manhood and its sibling initiative Growing Into Womanhood.

Above left:  Fliers, 1993.  Click to enlarge.

Call to Manhood was a rites of passage program organized by SCLC in the 1990s to develop young boys into responsible and educated men.  It included seminars and workshops on such things as personal hygiene, cultural heritage and nonviolence as well as an annual conference.  Similarly, Growing Into Womanhood, also organized in the '90s, was a rites of passage program targeting young girls as they transitioned from girls to women.  Growing Into Womanhood also consisted of seminars and workshops on personal hygiene and cultural heritage, but also addressed other issues such as teenage pregnancy and female health concerns.

Above left:  Proposed calendar of activities, Growing into Womanhood, 1996.  Above right:  Flier, The Call to Womanhood, undated.  Click to enlarge.

Other programs of interest include the Stop the Killing Campaign, Rappin' for Our Future, Student Call to Washington, Children's Chapel at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Voter Registration and Summer Youth Employment Programs.  Too this series contains substantial material on student participation at the National Convention as well as a host of other Youth Activities and Programs. 

Above:  First two pages from Growing into Womanhood program, 1996.  Click to enlarge.

Note:  The Southern Christian Leadership records are closed for processing.  All images are subject to copyright and may not be reproduced.  For more information, please contact the archivist.