More History of Youth Voice

I told you this has been going on for a little while! Following is an excerpt from the introduction to the New Youth Voice Handbook, with links for your entertainment:

For more than a century youth voice has brought the front pages of newspapers across the United States to life. Examining the New York Times archives shows that as early as 1885 the paper reported about a youth in Arkansas with a headline shouting, “Youngest Mayor a Murderer,” after the youngest leader of any town in the U.S. shot a man during an argument. Schools have been an important focus of youth voice since at least 1937, when the Times reported that, “Children Protest School Transfer: 200 Stage Demonstration in CityHallPark and One Airs Grievance to Mayor.” In 1950 the paper celebrated youth voice as it announced, “Jersey Youth Leads Advisory Council.” Almost appearing surprised, in 1960 a headline stated, “Teen-Agers Blunt at State Discussion of Their Problems,” while in 1963 the paper finally determined that, “Teen-Agers Take Action on Urgent Social Issues.”

Note that in this section I’m trying to introduce events that have gone past my radar in the past, which has included the Newsboys Strike of 1899, the various activities of the American Youth Congress, the Port Huron Statement of the Students for a Democratic Society, and the pamphleteering of Youth Liberation of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And all of that says nothing of Sonia Yaco, Vice-President Agnew’s sympathy with the Youth Liberation Movement, or calls for a “youth nation” within the U.S.

I am ready to admit it: I have become a history geek. I know, I have written about it before. But a

fter recent conversations with a few colleagues here in New York City I have decided to put my energy into writing during this next period of time. There are too many stories, too many lessons and too many opportunities to forward youth involvement that we just shouldn’t loose. Writing is one of the best ways I know to share them.

Written by Adam Fletcher, this article was originally posted to Learn more at!

Published by Adam

For almost two decades, Adam F. C. Fletcher has led international outreach focused on engaging people successfully. Working with thousands of youth-serving nonprofits, K-12 schools, government agencies, international NGOs and other organizations around the world, his work spans the fields of education, public health, economic development and social services, and includes professional development, public speaking, publishing, social media and more. He founded the Freechild Institute for Youth Engagement, SoundOut and CommonAction, as well as writing more than 50 publications and 500 articles. He has also established 150-plus community empowerment projects.

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