Author Date


Degree Name





Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Dr. Rebecca de Schweinitz

First Faculty Reader

Dr. Christopher Jones

Honors Coordinator

Dr. Daren Ray


civil rights in the North, Black history, student activism, African American history, public history, Black history in New Jersey


By highlighting how youth activism in New Jersey advanced efforts for racial justice in the state and facilitated regional and national collaboration, this project helps us understand the mid-twentieth century's civil rights movement as a national, not just a Southern struggle, led by youth.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in the civil rights movement, with scholars looking beyond the most prominent male leaders of the national movement in the 1960s. This project builds on the work of scholars like Martha Biondi and Tomas Sugrue who have established the significance of the Black freedom struggle in the North. Described as the “Georgia of the North” due to its particularly harsh discrimination practices, New Jersey offers a compelling setting to examine the civil rights movement. Like the rest of the North, New Jersey had civil rights legislation that did not explicitly codify Jim Crow segregation. However, these laws were rarely enforced.Drawing on NAACP youth council branch papers and local newspapers, this project showcases how youth in New Jersey from 1935 to 1955 were active organizers in advancing educational opportunities, facilitating direct action, and organizing community programs, to support local and national civil rights initiatives. This thesis project presents my research in an accessible and interactive format as a digital website.