’63 Boycott — in 1963, 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Unseen 16mm footage of the boycott is combined with insights from the original participants and present-day protesters against school closings. ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, and youth activism.

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On October 22nd, 2017, the 54th anniversary of the great Chicago School boycott, we premiered ’63 Boycott to a sold-out audience at Chicago International Film Festival. Six of the film subjects came up after the screening to share their thoughts on the film and reflections on the importance of seeing this story told.

The day before, more than 200 people had packed into the pews of Rainbow Push Headquarters to see the film the day before its official festival premiere. The remaining four living subjects of the film who had need been present on Sunday, were at the Saturday screening. They came onto stage after the screening, along with Jitu Brown of the Journey for Justice national coalition, and moderator Jay Travis, to speak about the segregation and inequality that led to the boycott, and the similar issues plaguing public education today.

We need your help. Lend a hand and identify participants in the original 1963 Chicago march.

Art Shay's photos of the boycott! See all