Young People Shake Up Elections (History Proves It)
With and without the vote and throughout American history, young people have been a force to be reckoned with as they take action and stand in support of the issues that matter most. In 2020 this legacy will continue; millions of young people will be eligible to vote in American elections for the first time and countless more will likely participate in the electoral process in other ways. The Young People Shake Up Elections (History Proves It) video series from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History shares 10 stories of young people shaping and changing elections throughout American history.
Each video features a cast of teens telling two stories of young people impacting American electoral politics and reflecting through critical dialogue on what it means to be a young person participating in elections today. The videos end with a prompt to spark conversation among your students about the public issues they care about and how they might take part in the upcoming elections.
Taking A Stand
Featured stories: Benjamin Brown Foster and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee
Description: Despite immense obstacles Benjamin Brown Foster and Mabel Ping-Hua Lee stood up for what they believed in.
Discussion prompt: What will you stand for?
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/I2ifyNfGB-4
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/393747328
Featured stories: Amy Kaukonen and Mattie Oblinger
Description: Amy Kaukonen and Mattie Oblinger showed the power of youth by stepping into new roles and speaking up for their generations.
Discussion prompt: Why will your generation matter?
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/W3YC6mkJVpk
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/393750404
Featured stories: Rosie Head and José Ángel Gutiérrez
Description: In the 1960s youth activists Rosie Head and José Ángel Gutiérrez went into their communities to activate people to register to vote and get to the polls on election day.
Discussion prompt: What history are you making?
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/Vw4k1YRvf40
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/393754146
Featured stories: John Roy Lynch and Khmer Girls in Action
Description: John Roy Lynch and Khmer Girls in Action are models of ways that young people, in the face of significant challenges, fight for their right to be active participants in American democracy.
Discussion prompt: How will you participate in the elections?
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/c0vSwFerbEI
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/395247957
Featured stories: The Wide Awakes and youth voters in recent elections
Description: In the 1860s and the 2010s, young people created movements that changed the outcomes of elections in significant ways.
Discussion prompt: How will you shape the future?
YouTube link: https://youtu.be/H-dkf8OKp90
Vimeo link: https://vimeo.com/395252497
The Young People Shake Up Elections (History Proves It) video series was made possible by the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation│Sue Van.