Gordon Quinn, director (Kartemquin Films, 2016)
On October 22, 1963, more than 250,000 students boycotted the Chicago Public Schools to protest racial segregation. Many marched through the city calling for the resignation of School Superintendent Benjamin Willis, who placed trailers, dubbed “Willis Wagons,” on playgrounds and parking lots of overcrowded black schools rather than let those students enroll in nearby white schools. Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Gordon Quinn with the participants’ reflections today, ’63 Boycott connects the forgotten story of one of the largest northern civil rights demonstrations to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.
Elizabeth S. Todd-Breland, University of Illinois at Chicago, and Tracye A. Matthews, University of Chicago, will introduce the film and lead a discussion afterward.