Chicago 1963 CPS Boycott

I previously profiled this new documentary film which Kartemquin Films has currently in development, and now they have created a new way for you to help out on the new film.

Following in the tradition of many important movies, Kartemquin has made in the past, such as Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and their new film, The Trials of Muhammad Ali (which premieres this month at the Tribeca Film Festival), their new project - ’63 Boycott - deals with the always combustible mix of race, politics and education in a now little remembered event that shook a city to its foundations.

What occurred in Chicago on October 22, 1963, on a day to be called “Freedom Day” was a massive protest march involving over 200,000 Chicagoans - including adults and school students - to downtown Chicago, where they went to protest the segregationist policies of the racist Chicago Public Schools Superintendent Benjamin Willis.

The film, which is being directed by Kartemquin co-founder Gordon Quinn, who directed the documentary A Good Man, about choreographer Bill T. Jones, will combine hours of unseen footage of the event with then-and-now interviews of boycotters. The project’s genesis began from footage shot by Quinn and his filmmaking partner Gerry Temaner while they were students at the University of Chicago at the time.

However Kartemquin is still currently looking for participants of the march. So, in other to help them find people who were involved in the boycott, for the first time in the company's 47-year history, they will be using an interactive website.

Boycotters will be located through the website where they can identify and tag themselves in over 500 stills pulled from the film, as well as upload their own images and stories.

Anyone visiting the site will be able to view 500 photos pulled from never-before-released footage of the boycott, and will allow users to identify themselves and others they may know in the photos, share their stories with each other and the filmmakers, and upload their own images.

According to the filmmakers, the project has already gotten a tremendous response from former boycotters and they spoke with former CPS teachers and students involved in the boycott, in addition to having already filmed two interviews with the organizers of the event itself.

The filmmakers will select individual stories for inclusion in the film which is scheduled to be completed in time for the 50th anniversary of the boycott this fall.

To contact them go to HERE, via email at, or call 773-413-9263.

Here’s a film teaser of footage from the boycott: