Western Carolina University

BOOK BY WCU HISTORY PROFESSOR                                                                                                        

Image: Gael Graham at work in the classroom
Gael Graham at work in the classroom.

A new book by a Western Carolina University history professor examines the rise of student activism in U.S. high schools during the turbulent 1960s and investigates the lingering impact of teenage social and political protest on modern American society.

In “Young Activists: American High School Students in the Age of Protest,” Gael Graham, associate professor of history at Western, discusses how the civil rights movement, the Vietnam War and the antiauthoritarian spirit that was so pervasive on college campuses in the 1960s spilled over into American public high schools.

For the book, Graham draws upon the memories of students and teachers from that era, and analyzes education journals, court cases and news magazines. She finds that, in addition to debating larger social issues such as Vietnam and civil rights, student activists also had their own specific agendas, including relaxing dress codes, taking part in school governance and initiating changes to the curriculum.

“A monograph is a milestone in a faculty member's scholarly career, and this work places Gael among the foremost interpreters of the 1960s in American historiography,” said Jim Lewis, head of WCU's history department.

A faculty member at Western since 1990, Graham earned her bachelor's degree at the University of California-Santa Cruz and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan. She currently holds the Creighton Sossoman Professorship of History at Western and directs the university's graduate program in history.

“Young Activists” is Graham's second book. Her “Gender, Culture and Christianity: American Protestant Mission Schools in China, 1880-1930” was published in 1995. She also has published articles in the Journal of American History, Signs and Journal of Women's History.

For more information on Western's history department, call (828) 227-7243.

Maintained by the WCU Office of Public Relations
Last modified: Friday, March 17, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Western Carolina University