Troublemakers: Students' Rights and Racial Justice in the Long 1960s

Troublemakers: Students' Rights and Racial Justice in the Long 1960s

by Kathryn Schumaker


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A powerful history of student protests and student rights during the desegregation era

In the late 1960s, protests led by students roiled high schools across the country. As school desegregation finally took place on a wide scale, students of color were particularly vocal in contesting the racial discrimination they saw in school policies and practices. And yet, these young people had no legal right to express dissent at school. It was not until 1969 that the Supreme Court would recognize the First Amendment rights of students in the landmark Tinker v. Des Moines case.

A series of students’ rights lawsuits in the desegregation era challenged everything from school curricula to disciplinary policies. But in casting students as “troublemakers” or as “culturally deficient,” school authorities and other experts persuaded the courts to set limits on rights protections that made students of color disproportionately vulnerable to suspension and expulsion.

Troublemakers traces the history of black and Chicano student protests from small-town Mississippi to metropolitan Denver and beyond, showcasing the stories of individual protesters and demonstrating how their actions contributed to the eventual recognition of the constitutional rights of all students. Offering a fresh interpretation of this pivotal era, Troublemakers shows that when black and Chicano teenagers challenged racial discrimination in American public schools, they helped remake American constitutional law and establish protections of free speech, due process, equal protection, and privacy for students.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479875139
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 07/02/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 558,849
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Kathryn Schumaker is Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Classics and Letters at the University of Oklahoma.

Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Introduction 1

1 The Right to Free Speech: Students and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi 11

2 The Right to Equal Protection: Segregation and Inequality in the Denver Public Schools 51

3 The Right to Due Process: Student Discipline and Civil Rights in Columbus, Ohio 92

4 A Right to Equal Education: The Fourteenth Amendment and American Schools 131

5 Tinkers Troubled Legacy: Discipline, Disorder, and Race in the Schools, 1968-1985 171

Epilogue 209

Acknowledgments 215

Notes 219

Index 269

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