New York City school boycott

“The New York City school boycott, known as Freedom Day, was a mass boycott and demonstration on February 3, 1964 to protest segregation in the New York City public school system. Students and teachers stayed out of public schools to highlight the deplorable conditions, and demonstrators held rallies demanding integration. It was the largest civil rights demonstration of the 1960s and involved nearly half a million participants. Freedom Day was part of a larger effort by New York activists to target the Board of Education through acts of civil disobedience for their failure to implement a reasonable integration plan. The demonstration followed the smaller Chicago Public Schools boycott, also known as Freedom Day, which took place in October 1963. Although school segregation was illegal in New York City since 1920, housing patterns and continuing de facto segregation meant schools remained racially segregated and unequal. At the time of the boycott, schools that enrolled mostly black and Latino students tended to have inferior facilities, less experienced teachers and severe overcrowding, with some schools operating on split shifts of as little as four hours a day of class time for some students. Opponents of integration, including a coalition of predominantly white neighborhood groups called Parents and Taxpayers, emphasized the importance of children attending schools closest to their homes and expressed concerns over busing. Just prior to the boycott, Board of Education released a plan for integrating the schools over three years, including limited rezoning, improving educational quality in schools serving black and Latino students and reducing overcrowding. Pro-integration activists argued the plan was not comprehensive enough. A few days before the planned event, The New York Times printed an editorial titled ‘A Boycott Solves Nothing’ condemning the activist leaders and claiming it would be violent, illegal, unreasonable and unjustified. The boycott was led by the Reverend Milton Galamison, who organized and chaired the Citywide Committee for Integrated Schools, supported by the NAACP, the Congress of Racial Equality, the National Urban League, the Harlem Parents’ Committee, and the Parent’s Workshop for Equality. …”
NY Times: Segregation Has Been the Story of New York City’s Schools for 50 Years
The Origins of “Antibusing” Politics: New York City Protests and Revision of the Civil Rights Act
The Largest Civil Rights Protest You’ve Never Heard Of

Parents and students heading from Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s office in Midtown to City Hall during a pro-integration boycott that kept over a third of the city’s roughly one million students out of school. Feb. 3, 1964.

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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