Lessons from the 1963 Boycott: The Struggle for Quality Education in Chicago Then and Now

On the 50th anniversary of the 1963 school boycott, activists from then and now will talk about one of Chicago's largest civil rights marches at a screening of in-progress documentary '63 Boycott.

Lessons from the 1963 Boycott:
The Struggle for Quality Education in Chicago Then and Now

Tuesday, October 22, 6-8p.m., Free, open to the public
The DuSable Musuem of African American History: 740 East 56th Place, Chicago.
Register at 63boycott.eventbrite.com

Join us on October 22nd, the 50th anniversary of the 1963 Boycott of Chicago Public Schools, when an estimated 250,000 Chicagoans – mostly CPS students – protested segregation and inequality. The evening features a screening of in-progress documentary '63 Boycott from Kartemquin Films (The Interrupters), a panel discussion with education activists from then and now, and a spoken word performance by Malcolm London of Young Chicago Authors. The panel includes Rosie Simpson and Fannie Rushing, organizers of the 1963 Boycott; Elizabeth Todd, an historian at University of Illinois in Chicago; Karen Lewis of the Chicago Teachers Union; and a student from the Chicago Student Union.

There will also be an interactive teach-in organized by the Chicago Teachers Union Black Caucus and Education for Liberation Network with a screening of a short clip from the film and a chance to talk with boycott organizers and participants in a series of small group discussions on Sunday, October 20th, at Lawndale Community Church, 3827 W. Ogden Ave. Childcare and Spanish interpretation will be provided at the teach-in.

Directed by Gordon Quinn of Chicago nonprofit Kartemquin Films '63 Boycott explores the legacy of racism and inequality in Chicago's public schools. The film chronicles the demonstration when 250,000 Chicago Public Schools students boycotted school to protest segregationist policies of CPS Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers on school playgrounds and parking lots as a permanent solution to overcrowding in black schools. The documentary features original 16mm footage of the 1963 boycott and past and present-day interviews with students and parents. According to Bob Lucas, a 1963 boycott participant interviewed for the film in 2012, “The education in Chicago today in the black community is as bad now as it was then.” '63 Boycott will air on local PBS in Spring 2014.

Boycotters are being located through the film's interactive website www.63boycott.com, where they can identify and tag themselves in over 500 stills pulled from the film, as well as upload their own images and stories. Kartemquin invites those that participated in the 1963 Chicago Public School boycott to contact us through the website, by sending an email to 63boycott@kartemquin.com, or calling 773-413-9263.

“Lessons from the 1963 Boycott” is sponsored by Kartemquin Films, Chicago Teachers Union, Education for Liberation Network, the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture at the University of Chicago, and Culture, Crossroads Fund, Young Chicago Authors, Chicago Grassroots Curriculum Taskforce, the Human Rights Program at University of Chicago, Chicago Freedom School, and the Chicago Area Women’s History Council.

Light refreshments will be served. For more information about the film and event, visit www.63boycott.com or call 773-472-3797. Please register at 63boycott.eventbrite.com. For more about the film and filmmakers, visit http://63boycott.kartemquin.com/about-the-project/. For photos, visit http://63boycott.kartemquin.com/gallery/. The film’s director as well as education activists from then and now are available for interviews.