Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


School of Journalism and Broadcasting

Document Type



The 1960s became one of the most tumultuous decades in American history because the decade experienced ideological polarization between the younger and older generations, and there was a mass influx of protests by many from the country’s younger generation in support of political and social changes for the country. Protest movements, including the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women’s liberation movement and the Civil Rights movement, became significant to the political and ideological landscape of the 1960s. Clothing became a central visual tactic to create cohesion between the protesters of these movements in order to make their protests more effective and create symbolic forms of expression and rebellion against the traditions, standards and rules of society, thus creating some of the most memorable protest movements in the 20th century in the United States. This paper examines these three protest movements and how they each used clothing in unique ways, including black armbands and bell-bottoms for the Vietnam War protest movement, bras and other pieces of clothing for the women’s liberation movement, and the uniforms of the Black Panther Party for the civil rights movement. They each utilized these underrated forms of expression in order to rebel against societal standards and the expectations of previous generations, make statements about their views on society, call attention to specific issues by which they and their communities are impacted, and develop community among one another. During this decade, these separate protest movements, which developed from societal griefs and desires for equality, defied the traditional standards of American life and ideologically divided the younger and older generations.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Rich Shumate, Mac McKerral


History | Journalism Studies