Flaunting the Freak Flag, by Gael Graham


In the late 1960s and early 1970s, high schools were political and cultural battlegrounds. Gael Graham's article uses conflicts over boys' long hair to trace the connections between the desire for personal autonomy and the quest for power and participation among public high school students. Centering her narrative on the legal battles between Chesley Karr, a male high school student in El Paso, Texas, and school officials in that city, Graham sheds light on the high school student rights movement and the public debate about long hair. This installment of "Teaching the JAH " gives students the opportunity to explore the legal issues of the Karr case as well as the broader question of high school student rights. The exercises draw on a variety of documentary sources, including student dress codes, student declarations of rights, court cases, and letters to newspaper editors.

Sections Guide

You may use the "Sections" menu on the upper right side of each page to navigate through this installment. Provided below is a summary of each section in this installment.


The full text of the article as it appeared in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of American History.

Teaching the Article

The author's comments about using this article in the classroom. This installment includes 4 exercises:

You may also download all the exercises along with their supporting documents and images as a single PDF file.

Primary Sources

A set of primary source documents and images selected for use in teaching this article.

Further Reading

A bibliography of related secondary sources recommended by the author.


A list of links to related Web sites.