Dara R. Walker

Faculty Spring 2024: Dara R. Walker

High School Rebels: Black Power, Education, and Youth Politics in the Motor City, 1966-1973

Assistant Professor of African American Studies, History, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Much like the 1930s, the 1960s constituted a moment of crisis in the U.S. The convergence of dynamic social forces like dramatic shifts in the nation’s racial geography, the Vietnam War, urban renewal and displacement projects, and the massive infusion of federal funds all converged to create a moment of radical possibility for Black teenagers. High School Rebels reveals how ideas about Black adolescence shaped the War on Poverty and Black adolescents’ use of federal funding to actualize their vision of liberatory education. It explores this history by drawing from the historiography of Black education, Black Power, and the history of childhood and youth to understand how ideas about age and power shaped one of the central movements of this era, the Black Power Movement (1965-1975). Using oral history interviews and archival research, this study engages with and sharpens broader humanistic concerns about power, where it appears, and how it has functioned historically. Learn more about Dr. Walker.