October marks 60 years since nearly 250,000 CPS students “skipped school.”
It wasn’t a skip day, though — it was a boycott. Students and their parents flooded the streets of Chicago in what’s known as Freedom Day — a massive protest of segregation in Chicago Public Schools and the superintendent at the time, Benjamin Willis. He placed mobile units on playgrounds and parking lots to solve overcrowding in African American schools.
“Chicago Tonight” co-host Brandis was joined by education activists and leaders from Freedom Day to reflect on the historic demonstration and the precedent it set for the education fight years later, as well as remaining inequities within Chicago Public Schools.
Joining the discussion were Rosie Simpson, parent and 1963 boycott organizer; Charles Smith, a former organizer and leader with the Congress of Racial Equality, known as CORE; Don Rose, a political activist who was the press spokesman for the 1963 boycott; and Tanesha Peeples, founder and president of The Roots Initiative.