’63 Boycott and the anniversary of Freedom Day received quite a bit of media attention yesterday. Below are some of the highlights:
’63 Boycott parent organizer Rosie Simpson and one of the film’s producers Rachel Dickson on WBEZ’s The Morning Shift:
“The parents were sick of what was going on … Many of those parents came to meetings and that’s how the school boycott was first decided.” – Rosie Simpson
Later, ’63 Boycott director Gordon Quinn was interviewed on WBEZ’s The Afternoon Shift:
“It was exciting to us to see young people making the connection to the ’63 Boycott and talking about it in the contemporary protests. We had a little 3 minute clip up online, and some young people saw it, they took our clip and interwove it with their own material and made their own little YouTube video out of it.”
See the video that Gordon is talking about here:
Gordon also appeared on Huffington Post Live, with ’63 Boycott participant, genealogist and author Tony Burroughs, poet and activist Malcolm London, and Aja Reynolds of Teachers for Social Justice.
Historians have finally admitted that the Civil Rights Movement in Chicago was sparked by parents fighting for education.
– Tony Burroughs
Rachel Dickson, one of our project producers, wrote an op-ed for Good + You about the significance of the 1963 Boycott today:
Indeed, though some details have changed, much of the school segregation and unfair resourcing of public education remains. Now, the systematic decimation of public housing has uprooted black communities and displaced many. The resulting low enrollments gives the city fathers grounds to say the schools are underutilized and this inefficient use of space means these schools must be closed. Never mind that at the same time that CPS is closing schools they are accepting proposals for new charter schools.
WTTW’s Chicago Tonight played the ENTIRE preview of our film, as you can see here:
Valerie Strauss also blogged about the boycott for Washington Post:
Today, Chicago Public Schools remains the most segregated big-city school district in the country, as school systems around the country have experienced re-segregation after a period of integration as a result of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision prohibiting separate public schools for black students. In fact, this recent report shows that African American students are more isolated than they were 40 years ago nationally, while most education policymakers and reformers have abandoned integration as a cause.
In These Times wrote about our sister event on October 20th, held by Education Liberation Network:
[Gracy] Jordan, 77, who was among the panelists last Sunday, said black people back then were on the bottom and are still on the bottom today. Things have not changed since, Jordan insists, but if they have changed, it’s been for the worse. “What they need to realize is that you can not have schools without students,” he said. “I came to Chicago from Mississippi in 1961 and what is done in our community is done without thoughts to the black folks.”
Daily Kos‘s Black Kos Editor Denise Oliver Velez wrote an op-ed about the Boycott:
Educators, parents, students and community groups across the U.S. don’t see any of this as ancient history, because no matter the advances, it becomes more and more clear each day that we still have racial/ethnic segregation in many of our public schools across the U.S. though now it is de facto rather than de jure.
Rebecca Burns wrote an excellent piece on school segregation today for In These Times, which mentions our film and features an interview with Boycott participant Dr. Fannie Rushing:
In many ways, the present-day fight against school closings is the successor to Civil Rights-era desegregation struggles, says Fannie Rushing, a professor of history at Benedictine University who helped organize the Chicago school boycotts at the age of 17 as a member of the Chicago Area Friends of SNCC. The boycotts successfully forced the eventual resignation of Willis and greater representation of African Americans on the city’s school board, but the legacy of school and neighborhood segregation in Chicago remained largely intact, laying the groundwork for the closing of schools deemed “underutilized” or “underperforming” in predominantly black and Latino communities.
Thanks to all the media people who took time to cover this important historical event!