UCR Students’ Exhibit on Youth Influence Upon Civil Rights Movement on Display Through June 17

Exhibit at Orbach Science Library profiles the history of the 1960's Civil Rights campaign

group in Orbach lobby

The Orbach Library is hosting the exhibit on the Children’s Crusade during the Civil Rights movement.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — An collection of images, newspaper articles, and other materials that showcase the significant contributions of young people during the civil rights movement of the early 1960’s make up the student-researched exhibit “Children, Youth, and Civil Rights, 1951-1965” at the Orbach Science Library at the University of California, Riverside through June 17, 2013.

"Children, Youth, and Civil Rights, 1951-1965: A Student Exhibit" is on display at the Orbach Science Library - Lobby Level from May 6, 2012 -  June 17, 2012.

“Children, Youth, and Civil Rights, 1951-1965: A Student Exhibit” is on display at the Orbach Science Library – Lobby Level from May 6, 2012 – June 17, 2012.

The exhibit was organized by Distinguished Professor of History and Education and University of California Presidential Chair V. P. Franklin to  commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Children’s Crusade and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in 2013, as well as the 50th anniversary of the Mississippi Freedom Schools in 2014. The exhibit is sponsored by the Department of History, African Student Programs at UCR, and the Journal of African American History, of which Franklin is the editor.

The exhibit is made up of items collected by UCR students enrolled in HIST 191 “Independent Study” and HISA 197 “Undergraduate Research in History.” In addition to the widely known Children’s Crusade in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, it also features information from civil rights campaigns in Prince Edward County, Little Rock, and Philadelphia. It also includes information on the “Freedom Schools” in Chicago, New York and, locally, in Riverside.

“Having documented many of these campaigns in various books, I decided to ask students to work with me on the project that would highlight children and young people’s contributions to civil rights campaigns,” Franklin said.

“Those students researched civil rights campaigns nationally and we identified nine in which children and young people played an leading role,” he added.

The Children’s Crusade was one of the most important campaigns during the civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The march took place during the first week of May, 1963 to protest segregation, with students of all ages leaving their schools to join the non-violent protest and engage the mayor in conversation about segregation. Some marchers were arrested multiple times, and the marches themselves came to an end when police used fire hoses and dogs on the marchers. The march is said to be one of the reasons President John F. Kennedy came out in support of racial equality and helped to lead to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

For the undergraduate researchers, the project provided them with insights on the influence that youth had during the movement for civil rights, something that they hope their audiences also discover.

“The most important thing I learned is that the youth played a remarkably important role in the civil rights movement,” said Viet Trinh, a junior history major. “To be honest, the movement probably would’ve failed without the efforts of children and young adults. They weren’t just front-line protestors; many of them were organizers and leaders within the movement, and, in many cases, adults only became involved in the movement because their children had convinced them to.”

“(The involvement of youth) in the movement drastically shaped perceptions from all over the world,” agreed junior history major Juan Carlos Jauregui. “The most striking thing that I learned while putting this exhibit together was how these young people, in my case the Little Rock Nine, resisted prejudice and social pressures in different forms.”

This summer the exhibit will be on display at the Summit Meeting in DC for the national mentoring program “Pen or Pencil,” then will be installed at the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Public Library. An expanded version of the exhibit will return to UCR in February, 2014.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Prof. V. P. Franklin
Tel: (951) 827-1976
E-mail: vp.franklin@ucr.edu

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