Connects the massive 1963 Chicago Public Schools boycott to contemporary issues around race, education, school closings, and youth activism.
Directed by Gordon Quinn
Produced by Rachel Dickson, Tracye A. Matthews
Editor: Liz Kaar
Executive Producers: Gordon Quinn, Betsy Steinberg, Justine Nagan
Music: Tom Sivak
Camera: Gordon Quinn, Rachel Dickson
A film by Rachel Dickson, Tracye A. Matthews, Gordon Quinn
A Kartemquin Films Production
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 them enroll in nearby white schools.
"Unforgettable reminder of the power of collective action and our continued need...to address the living legacy of racism." David J. Harris, Harvard Law School
Blending unseen 16mm footage of the march shot by Kartemquin founder 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.
Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adults
US Release Date: 2020
Copyright Date: 2017
DVD ISBN: 1-948745-42-9
"A remarkable film...A magnificent piece of film-making...Engaging from opening to closing credits. But it is the narrative, woven from historical and contemporary footage along with interviews of the participants that truly grips the viewer and immediately catapults this film into the must-see category. The film-makers have given us an unforgettable reminder of the power of collective action and our continued need for it to address the living legacy of racism in Chicago and beyond."
David J. Harris, Managing Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School
"History teachers like me feel lucky when we can get our hands on a short, uplifting, and teachable film like this. 63 Boycott adds a vivid and inspiring missing chapter. History has much to teach us these days, and honest images can enliven a classroom. In an era of weakened public schools, ongoing racism, and a looming climate crisis, young people and their parents and teachers welcome clear examples of how to think big and speak out together."
Peter H. Wood, Emeritus Professor of History, Duke University, Author, Black Majority and Strange New Land: Africans in Colonial America
"A terrific documentary...poignant and timely. This film helps you realize that some issues endure for generations. '63 Boycott offers a powerful reminder of the struggle post-Brown v. Board of Education to integrate our schools. This is a story about the limits of law and the need for grassroots activism. A wonderful tool for classroom use and larger settings."
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Professor of Law, Adjunct Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies and Political Science, Indiana University-Bloomington
"[Provides] piercingly intimate portrayals of the protestors' experiences."
Elaine Chen, South Side Weekly
"While the 1963 boycott did not achieve its specific demands, it is clear from the recollections of multiple participants that it sparked something, including a desire to achieve personal educational goals, a long-term interest in community activism and school improvement, and an awareness of injustices that weren't just happening in another part of the country."
Mark Walsh, Education Week
"63 Boycott is a timely look backward as the U.S. public education system stands vulnerably in the crosshairs of public officials who seem determined to destroy it."
Marilyn Ferdinand, FerdyOnFilms.com
"The 1963 boycott in Chicago public schools was a pivotal event in the history of the struggle to desegregate education. Even more compelling are the powerful connections '63 Boycott makes to the contemporary struggle for equal educational access. It's a captivating story that unearths a little-known chapter in the history of the black freedom movement and showcases grass roots engagement by ordinary people."
Premilla Nadasen, Professor of History, Columbia University-Barnard College, Author, Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African-American Women Who Built a Movement
"The school boycott in Chicago in 1963 taught students the value of demanding better conditions and '63 Boycott expands that lesson with a reminder that should resonate with the students of today. The film adds to our appreciation of the Civil Rights Movement, by highlighting an important story that makes clear that the movement for desegregation and equitable education was not limited to the south. It captures a spirit of activism for schooling in Chicago that echoes to this day."
Daniel Kiel, Professor of Law, Associate Director, Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis, Director, The Memphis 13
"Vivid...A quality education is something each generation has had to fight for. Using compelling, fast-paced interviews with community activists, students, and teachers from 1963 and the present, 63 Boycott ties the struggle for quality education as a civil right from the 1960s to now. For community groups working to support their own schools across the country, to student leaders, to teachers in classrooms teaching about the power of local people to impact their own lives, this film makes connections and raises questions that help us fight for the most basic tool every child needs to thrive: a quality education."
Wesley Hogan, Director, Center for Documentary Studies, Research Professor, Franklin Humanities Institute and History, Duke University, Author, On The Freedom Side: How Five Decades of Youth Activists Have Remixed American History
"'63 Boycott is a compelling deep dive into an important chapter of Chicago's troubling history of racial inequality. Sadly, public education today remains an arena in which many of our entrenched policies and practices continue to limit the opportunities of minority youth. This film offers some very powerful insights into both the importance of community organizing and the need to take the long view in the battle against institutional racism."
Julie Biehl, Professor of Law, Director of the Children and Family Justice Center, Northwestern University
|Reduced rates for activist and grassroots groups. Please inquire.
* 40 minutes of bonus material
* Language Options: English, Spanish
* Closed Captioning
* Scene Selection
Awards and Festivals
Short-Listed, Best Documentary Short, Academy Awards®
Jury Award, Best Short Documentary, Nashville International Film Festival
Best Film, Black International Cinema Berlin
Audience Award, Pan African Film Festival
Best Documentary Short Film, Roxbury International Film Festival
Best Documentary Short, Adrian International Film Festival
Chicago International Film Festival
St. Louis International Film Festival
Kansas City Film Festival
Bermuda International Film Festival
Sarasota Film Festival
Virginia Film Festival
Festival International du Film Pan-Africain de Cannes
Langston Hughes African American Film Festival
Toronto Black Film Festival
San Francisco Black Film Festival
Charleston Civil Rights Film Festival
Monadnock International Film Festival
Reframe Film Festival
Gary International Black Film Festival
(In)Justice For All Film Festival
Montreal International Black Film Festival
DC Shorts Film Festival
Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival
AfricanDiaspora Cinema Festival
Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest
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