Youth Organizations Lead Movement for Change

Seven Generations 2020

The National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) and the American Indian Movement (AIM) were not the only youth-led activist movements to emerge in the 1960s, and their struggles, goals, and tactics often overlapped with these other struggles. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded in 1960 from the student groups that fought segregation through the lunch counter sit-ins in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Nashville, Tennessee.

In 1966, SNCC’s leader, Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) coined the phrase “Black Power” just months before NIYC co-founder Clyde Warrior coined “Red Power.” That same year, college students Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland, California, which served Black communities through community service programs like free breakfasts for children, community health clinics, legal aid, and armed self-defense against the police.

As the Black Power and Red Power movements gained traction, the Chicano Movement—which had a diverse makeup of grassroots organizations—also grew in prominence. The Brown Berets, formed by Mexican Americans in Los Angeles, held its first protest in 1967, when members demonstrated in protest of police killings of Latino men. In 1969, Richard Moore founded an Albuquerque chapter of Las Gorras Negras (the Black Berets), which also advocated for community self-defense against police violence. United Farm Workers was another prominent Chicano organization fighting for better working conditions and economic opportunities for laborers. At various points in their history, Red Power organizations frequently allied and collaborated with the Chicano movement.