By 1963, many African-Americans in Boston had become disenchanted with the quality of education provided to Black students in their town. They had been closely watching the events of the civil rights movement in the south and had begun to organize. That organized effort resulting in a massive boycott of the Boston Public Schools on June 18, 1963, which included more than 3,000 Black students.
Instead of attending their schools, the students spent the day at so-called “freedom schools,” which were set up in churches and community centers around Boston. There, they had lessons in African-American history, the civil rights movement and non-violent resistance.
It was not the first such demonstration. In May 1961, more than 10,000 demonstrators marched on the Massachusetts State House in Boston to lend their support to the civil rights struggle in Birmingham, Alabama. A week later, Paul Parks of NAACP organized a meeting at Freedom House to air grievances to Louise Day Hicks, the new chair of the Boston School Committee. Hicks controlled the school committee and its refusal to acknowledge the existence of de facto segregation.
Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan
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