About The Project

’63 Boycott chronicles the Chicago Public School Boycott of 1963 when more than 200,000 Chicagoans, mostly students, marched to protest the segregationist policies of CPS Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed aluminum mobile school units (trailers) on playgrounds and parking lots as a “permanent solution” to overcrowding in black schools. This Kartemquin film features then and now interviews with organizers and participants of the boycott with never-released 16mm footage of the march and student interviews. ’63 Boycott and this companion website will provide a modern perspective on the impact and legacy of this forgotten history 50 years later as it reconnects the participants to each other and the event itself.

About the Filmmakers

Gordon Quinn
Producer/ Director

Gordon is the Artistic Director and founder of Kartemquin Films, a 47-year-old media organization, and the 2007 recipient of the MacArthur award for Creative and Effective Institutions. His documentaries include Home for Life, Golub, Hoop Dreams, The New Americans, Five Girls, In the Family, Typeface, Milking the Rhino, At the Death House Door, and The Interrupters. Recently he directed Prisoner of Her Past and A Good Man, a film about Bill T. Jones for American Masters.He has been producing documentaries and mentoring filmmakers for five decades. A passionate advocate for independent media makers, he is a noted expert on issues of fair use, ethics and storytelling in documentary.  He was 21 years old when he filmed the 16mm footage upon which ’63 Boycott is based.
Rachel Dickson
Rachel Dickson is an independent filmmaker, journalist, and Spanish translator/interpreter. She is the Supervising Producer of The School Project, an in-progress cross-platform media project about the effects of school closings on the past, present, and future of public education in Chicago. She was a segment producer for Central Standard on Education, WTTW’s first web series. She was an associate producer of Hard EarnedWinner of 2016 duPont-Columbia Award for Broadcast Journalism. She is also the producer of ’63 Boycott, a Kartemquin production directed by Gordon Quinn, and she has worked in various capacities on a handful of Kartemquin projects, including research, translation, and sound. She is currently directing her own short film on school closings, Closed for Good. Before working as a filmmaker, she worked as a journalist in Colombia for four years.
Tracye Matthews
Tracye A. Matthews is a historian, curator, filmmaker, and the Associate Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago, where she served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in 2004-2005.  She is currently writing a book on the gender and sexual politics of the Black Panther Party and producing a semi-autobiographical documentary exploring adoption in African American communities.  Her involvement in documentary production includes work at the award-winning ROJA Productions, Firelight Media and TV Gals Productions in New York City, and Our Film Works, Exhibit Media, Juneteenth Productions and the Morten Group in Chicago.  Matthews was formerly an assistant professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and master’s and doctorate in American History from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
Zak Piper
Zak Piper is an independent producer who previously served as Director of Production at Kartemquin Films for more than 10 years. Most recently he Co-Produced the critically acclaimed film The Interrupters, which received a 2012 Spirit Award for Best Documentary and a 2013 duPont-Columbia Journalism Award, among other distinctions. He has also co-produced the acclaimed film At the Death House Door, which premiered at the 2008 SXSW Film Festival and was officially short-listed in the Best Documentary category for the 81st Annual Academy Awards, along with serving as Associate Producer of the film Prisoner of Her Past (2010) a co-production with the Chicago Tribune that aired nationally on PBS.Zak is also currently producing, with director Steve James, Life Itself, for CNN Films, a film based in large part on renowned film critic Roger Ebert’s acclaimed memoir of the same name.

Matt Lauterbach
Matt Lauterbach is Post Production Manager at Kartemquin Films, where he cut his teeth as an intern in 2008. Since then he has been editing a rich variety of profiles, short documentaries, and other media. He assisted with archival research and media management for Kartemquin’s The Trials of Muhammad Ali; A Good Man; Prisoner of Her Past; and No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson, and is currently editing fellow 2008 intern Dinesh Sabu’s personal documentary, Unbroken Glass. He is excited to continue work ’63 Boycott, a Kartemquin project that began as an exhibit video for the Chicago History Museum.

John Fecile
Associate Producer and Interactive Project Manager

John Fecile is an independent filmmaker. He interned for Kartemquin Films in 2012, where he worked on The Interrupters, Head Games, As Goes Janesville, and many more films now in production. John began working on ’63 Boycott as an intern, building the project’s prototype website.  He worked on Interchange Productions’ upcoming documentary Sister as an assistant editor and as web content administrator for Protect Our Defenders, dedicated to giving voice and support to victims of sexual assault in the military.   John loves this city and the legacy of activism that has so passionately colored our history.

Arlen Parsa
Web Designer

Arlen Parsa is a web developer based in Chicago, Illinois. He has built over 30 websites, which cumulatively have received over 1.5 million hits.  Arlen focuses on building standards-based rich web experiences for a variety of projects, with a special emphasis on nonprofit initiatives and websites for documentary films.


This project was made possible with the support of …

Chicago Digital Media Production Fund,
a project of Voqal Fund administered by Chicago Filmmakers
Illinois Humanities Council
National Endowment for the Arts
The Polk Brothers Foundation
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation