Directed by Gordon Quinn • Documentary • 2017 • 30 minutes
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. 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.
“With footage shot a half-century earlier as a college student, director Gordon Quinn planned the boycott documentary for its 50th year. He missed the anniversary date. But with co-producers Rachel Dickson and Tracye A. Matthews, he reimagined it as a 30-minute short doc, and produced one packed full of facts.” —The Chicago Sun-Times