High School Student Organizing

August 8, 2021 by

In 2020, we launched an exhibition reflecting on over five decades of student activism, Walkout: a brief history of student organizing.

We’ve recently received a donation of material that paints an even clearer picture of high school student involvement in that movement, and we thought we’d share an update here.

New York’s High School Student Union played an important role in bringing together students from different schools across the city, largely around the Vietnam War. Their inaugural flyer also details fights for the right for female students to wear pants in public high schools, and for the right to student government.

New York High School Student Union, front cover
New York High School Student Union, interior
New York High School Student Union, back cover

High school students helped organize picket lines, anti-war meetings, and parties, as evidenced in the following flyers:

High school students also produced their own regular publications, to share ideas, opinions, artwork, and organizing strategies. We were thrilled to include an issue of Rip Off from Taft High School in the Walkout exhibit, and we now have copies of Naissance and The Other Side, produced by students at various schools across the city.

Three issues of The Other Side
Naissance, issue 2, April 1968

High school students in other cities were also in on the action: high school students in New Haven joined protests against the war, as did the Greater Boston High School Student Mobilization Committee.

Do you have other material about high school student organizing, in other times and places? Or, do you have other material that gives voice to social movements that you’d like to see represented in our archive? Read more about how to donate material to our collection, and get in touch!