After the Rebellion

Black Youth, Social Movement Activism, and the Post-Civil Rights Generation

368 pages

2 b/w figures

July, 2014

ISBN: 9780814764817



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Sekou Franklin is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and is the Coordinator of Urban Studies Minor Program at MTSU. He has published works on urban politics, social movements, juvenile justice, the anti-death penalty movement, youth activism, Venezuelan politics, African-American politics, and state and local politics. He is also been active with numerous social justice organizations and does expert preparation analyses for voting rights and redistricting cases.

All books by Sekou M. Franklin

What happened to black youth in the post-civil rights generation? What kind of causes did they rally around and were they even rallying in the first place? After the Rebellion takes a close look at a variety of key civil rights groups across the country over the last 40 years to provide a broad view of black youth and social movement activism.  Based on both research from a diverse collection of archives and interviews with youth activists, advocates, and grassroots organizers, this book examines popular mobilization among the generation of activists – principally black students, youth, and young adults – who came of age after the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Franklin argues that the political environment in the post-Civil Rights era, along with constraints on social activism, made it particularly difficult for young black activists to start and sustain popular mobilization campaigns.

Building on case studies from around the country—including New York, the Carolinas, California, Louisiana, and Baltimore—After the Rebellion explores the inner workings and end results of activist groups such as the Southern Negro Youth Congress, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the Student Organization for Black Unity, the Free South Africa Campaign, the New Haven Youth Movement, the Black Student Leadership Network, the Juvenile Justice Reform Movement, and the AFL-CIO’s Union Summer campaign.  Franklin demonstrates how youth-based movements and intergenerational campaigns have attempted to circumvent modern constraints, providing insight into how the very inner workings of these organizations have and have not been effective in creating change and involving youth. A powerful work of both historical and political analysis, After the Rebellion provides a vivid explanation of what happened to the militant impulse of young people since the demobilization of the civil rights and black power movements – a discussion with great implications for the study of generational politics, racial and black politics, and social movements.


  • "Where others have bemoaned the absence of youth activism after the ‘70’s, Franklin’s impressive scholarship finds thoughtful, creative, and impactful Black youth activism into the 2000’s. Both theoretical and practical in approach, this book will require the rethinking of several well-worn narratives about Black youth activism in the post-civil rights generations."

    —Charles M. Payne, author of I've Got the Light of Freedom

  • “This is an important book that examines the changing context of youth activism in the post-civil rights era. Sekou M. Franklin explores the dilemma youth activists since the 1960s have faced between pursuing transformative social movement activism versus engaging in mobilization focused on leveraging the institutional resources now available in the post-civil rights era. Anyone committed to understanding or promoting activism among youth of color needs to read this book.”

    —Cathy Cohen, author of Democracy Remixed: Black Youth and the Future of American Politics

  • After the Rebellion is an exceptional work. Franklin’s keen analysis is a welcomed antidote to the clichés and wish fulfillment that hinder conventional thinking about youth politics and so-called hip-hop activism.”

    —Cedric Johnson, author of Revolutionaries to Race Leaders: Black Power and the Making of African American Politi

  • “With ‘black lives matter’ emerging as a national rallying cry, this book is a timely and compelling contribution to contemporary social movement theory and to histories of African American protest.”

    The Journal of American History

  • “[T]his book is useful to social movement scholars across disciplines as well as current activists in need of historical markers and anchors for their ongoing campaigns.”

    —, Labour