Discover the Program2022-11-14T14:10:23-05:00
Discover the Program

Discover the Program

“Centering Youth Agency in the Civil Rights Movement” is a professional development program hosted by Children’s Defense Fund and Florida A&M University. The institute will select 25 K–12 teachers of all subject areas, exposing participants to new approaches to civil rights history that center the agency of young people. “Centering Youth Agency in the Civil Rights Movement” is a two-week combined program, with the first week in person and the second week hosted virtually.

The institute’s aim is to give educators the knowledge and tools they need to teach a richer, more representative version of civil rights history that also activates students’ power to become engaged citizens and positive change agents in their communities.

Stipends: The institute offers 25 stipends of $2,200.

Seminars and Institutes are designed for a national audience of full- or part-time K-12 educators who teach in public, charter, independent, and religiously affiliated schools, or as home schooling educators. Project directors may admit a limited number of educators who work outside the K-12 classroom and who can demonstrate that their participation will advance project goals and enhance their professional work.

At least three seminar spaces and at least five institute spaces must be reserved for teachers who are new to the profession (those who have been teaching for five years or fewer).

Participants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. U.S. citizens teaching abroad at U.S. chartered institutions are also eligible to participate. Foreign nationals teaching abroad are not eligible to participate.

A participant need not have an advanced degree in order to take part in a seminar or institute. Individuals may not apply to participate in a seminar or institute whose director is a family member, who is affiliated with the same institution, who has served as an academic advisor to the applicant, or who has led a previous NEH-funded Seminar, Institute or Landmarks program attended by the applicant. In any given year an individual may apply to a maximum of two projects but may attend only one.

Participants may not be delinquent in the repayment of federal debt (e.g., taxes, student loans, child support payments, and delinquent payroll taxes for household or other employees). Individuals may not apply to participate in a seminar or institute if they have been debarred or suspended by any federal department or agency.

To be considered for selection, applicants must submit a complete application as indicated on the individual seminar or institute’s website.

NEH Seminars, Institutes, and Landmarks programs are intended to extend and deepen knowledge and understanding of the humanities by focusing on significant topics, texts, and issues; contribute to the intellectual vitality and professional development of participants; and foster a community of inquiry that provides models of excellence in scholarship and teaching.

NEH expects that project directors will take responsibility for encouraging an ethos of openness and respect, upholding the basic norms of civil discourse.

Seminar, Institute, and Landmarks presentations and discussions should be:

  1. firmly grounded in rigorous scholarship, and thoughtful analysis;
  2. conducted without partisan advocacy;
  3. respectful of divergent views;
  4. free of ad hominem commentary; and
  5. devoid of ethnic, religious, gender, disability, or racial bias.

NEH welcomes comments, concerns, or suggestions on these principles at questions@neh.gov.

Project applicants who accept an offer to participate are expected to remain during the entire period of the program and to participate in its work on a full-time basis. If a participant is obliged through special circumstances to depart before the end of the program, it shall be the recipient institution’s responsibility to see that only a pro rata share of the stipend is received or that the appropriate pro rata share of the stipend is returned if the participant has already received the full stipend. 

Once an applicant has accepted an offer to attend any NEH Summer Program (Seminar, Institute, or Landmark), they may not accept an additional offer or withdraw in order to accept a different offer. 

Deadline to Apply:
March 3, 2023

Apply Now

Week One

Dates: June 26–30, 2023
Location: CDF Haley Farm, Clinton, Tennessee

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.: Breakfast
9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.: Morning Session
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch/Break
1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.: Afternoon Session
Evening Activity

  • Welcome: “The Student as a Force for Social Change in the Civil Rights Movement” with Dr. Kristal Moore Clemons and Dr. Darius Young
  • “The Preschool is Political: A Look at Youth Agency in Civil Rights Era Head Start Centers in the Magnolia State” with Dr. Crystal Sanders
  • “Reframing Brown v. Board: Turning Our Sights to the Clinton Twelve” with Dr. Darius Young
  • “To Teach in the Light of Freedom: A Long History of a Curriculum and Pedagogy for Liberation” with Dr. Jon Hale
  • “‘I Want to Become Part of History:’ Writing and Youth Agency in the 1964 Freedom Schools” with Dr. William Sturkey
  • “Black Women and Intergenerational Mentorship in The Movement” with Dr. Kristal Moore Clemons and Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
  • “Black Girlhood, Punishment and Resistance” with Dr. Nishaun Battle
  • Closing Keynote: “In Search of a Usable History” with Dr. Charles Payne
  • Walking Tour of Haley Farm
  • Visit to the Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Museum
  • Film Screening: “Freedom Summer”
  • V.P. Franklin, The Young Crusaders: The Untold Story of the Children and Teenagers Who Galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, 2021.
  • Jon Hale, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016.
  • Jeanne Theoharis, “Preface and The Great Man View of History: Where Are the Young People?” in A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018.
  • Dara Walker, Jon Hale, Alex Hyres, eds., Youth in the Movement: High School Student Activism in Postwar America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, forthcoming.
  • Crystal R. Sanders, “More Than Cookies and Crayons: Head Start Programs and African American Empowerment in Mississippi, 1965-1968,” Journal of African American History 100, Fall 2015: 586-609.
  • Dara Walker, “Moving Beyond the ‘Dark Africa’ Narrative: Black Girls, Black Power, and the Battle for a Culturally Relevant Curriculum” in The Global History of Black Girlhood, eds. Corinne T. Field and LaKisha Michelle Simmons, 2022
  • William Sturkey, “I Want to Become Part of History: Freedom Summer, Freedom Schools, and the Freedom News,” Journal of African American History 95:3-4, 2010: 348-368.
  • Charles Payne, “Teaching the Struggle,” in When They Come for the Children: Defending Black Youth in a Post-Trump World, forthcoming.
  • Hasan Jeffries, ed. Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2021.

Week Two

Dates: July 10–14, 2023
Location: Online

10:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Morning Session
12:30 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Lunch/Break
1:30 p.m.–4:00 p.m.: Afternoon Session

  • “Finding Youth Voices in FAMU’s Black Archives” with Dr. Darius Young
  • “African American Women in the Civil Rights Movement” with Dr. Kimberly Brown Pellum
  • “‘But what is your analysis?’: Youth Agency and Political Study in Detroit’s ‘Short Black Power Movement’” with Dr. Dara Walker
  • “Teachers in the Movement” with Dr. Derrick Alridge
  • “The Transformative Legacy of the Mississippi Freedom Schools of 1964 on Mississippi Youth” with Dr. Kisha Howell
  • “Digital Humanities Workshop: The Emmett Till Memory Project” with Dr. Davis Houck
  • Pedagogy Workshop: “Bringing Youth-Centered Humanities into Your Classroom: Lessons from CDF Freedom Schools” with Dr. Lauren Lefty and Shaquité Pegues
  • Pedagogy Workshop: “Culturally Relevant Youth-Centered Literature” with Keely Norris and Ciara Mackey-Hall
  • Panel Discussion: “A Conversation with Today’s Youth Activists” with Dr. Dara Walker and Joy Masha
  • Closing Remarks: “Raising Democracy: Reflections on the 50th Anniversary of the Children’s Defense Fund” with Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson 
  • V.P. Franklin, The Young Crusaders: The Untold Story of the Children and Teenagers Who Galvanized the Civil Rights Movement. Boston: Beacon Press, 2021. 
  • Jon Hale, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. 
  • Jeanne Theoharis, “Preface and The Great Man View of History: Where Are the Young People?” in A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History. Boston: Beacon Press, 2018.
  • Dara Walker, Jon Hale, Alex Hyres, eds., Youth in the Movement: High School Student Activism in Postwar America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, forthcoming.
  • Crystal R. Sanders, “More Than Cookies and Crayons: Head Start Programs and African American Empowerment in Mississippi, 1965-1968,” Journal of African American History 100, Fall 2015: 586-609. 
  • Dara Walker, “Moving Beyond the ‘Dark Africa’ Narrative: Black Girls, Black Power, and the Battle for a Culturally Relevant Curriculum” in The Global History of Black Girlhood, eds. Corinne T. Field and LaKisha Michelle Simmons, 2022
  • William Sturkey, “I Want to Become Part of History: Freedom Summer, Freedom Schools, and the Freedom News,” Journal of African American History 95:3-4, 2010: 348-368.
  • Charles Payne, “Teaching the Struggle,” in When They Come for the Children: Defending Black Youth in a Post-Trump World, forthcoming.
  • Hasan Jeffries, ed. Understanding and Teaching the Civil Rights Movement. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 2021.

Endowment programs do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability, or age. For further information, write to the Equal Opportunity Officer, National Endowment for the Humanities, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20024. TDD: 202-606-8282 (this is a special telephone device for the Deaf).

Lodging & Accommodations on Haley Farm

CDF Haley Farm

CDF’s Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, will serve as the location for the institute’s first week, which includes participant lodging.

Nestled in the foothills near Knoxville, Haley Farm is a beautiful 157-acre property that once belonged to author Alex Haley. Currently, the property serves as CDF’s home for renewal, leadership development, intergenerational mentoring, and interracial and interfaith dialogue about children’s issues.

Luminaries who have walked the paths and graced the podium include Maya Angelou, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Dr. Vincent Harding, Dr. Dorothy Height, Toni Morrison, and many more.

On the farm, all facilities offer enough space to provide proper COVID-19 social distancing protocols in accordance with CDF and CDC guidelines.

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The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

National Endowment for the Humanities

The K–12 Institute “Centering Youth Agency in the Civil Rights Movement has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.