...[D]espite the brutality they saw during the Children’s Crusade, young people remained at the center of the movement. For example, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee trained African-American children at “Freedom Schools,” which taught teens everything from black history to how to deal with hostile white peers.
Joined during 1964’s “Freedom Summer” by young men and women who attended colleges in the North, SNCC activists honed in on voting rights as their main goal, even though many of them were not yet old enough to vote themselves. They realized that “the surest way to achieve change was through electoral politics, getting African-Americans right to vote, so they could elect people to act in their political and economic interests,” says Kevin Gaines, a professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University and author of Uplifting the Race: Black Leadership, Politics, and Culture During the Twentieth Century.
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