On February 25th, 1964, over 175,000 Chicago Public Schools students boycotted school to protest segregation and inequality. Like the first boycott on October 22, 1963, the protest included a march downtown and Freedom Schools – makeshift classrooms in churches and synagogues featuring Civil Rights-based curriculum – for boycotting students to attend.
Freedom Day II really showed the school board the power of the protest movement, and that it was not going to stop. Superintendent Willis’s days were numbered after this protest, with his career ending in an early “retirement” in 1966.
Below are articles from the Chicago Defender on February 26th, 1964, reporting on the success of Freedom Day II, which coincided with the boxing match that first made soon-to-be Muhammad Ali a heavyweight champion.
If you have any stories to share about Freedom Day II or the initial 1963 Boycott, please contact us!