Lorne Cress Love

Camera original footage shot for the documentary '63 Boycott from Kartemquin Films. ’63 Boycott is a thirty-minute documentary and web project highlighting the stories of participants in the 1963 Chicago Public School (CPS) Boycott (also known as Freedom Day). One of the largest Civil Rights demonstrations in the city’s history, on October 22, 1963, a coalition of civil rights groups, local activists, and 250,000 students staged a mass boycott and demonstration against the Chicago Board of Education to protest racial segregation and inadequate resources for Black students. This interview features Lorne Cress Love, organizer for the '63 Boycott with the Chicago area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and founder of the Woodlawn Community School, which teaches an African-centered curriculum. She is the sister of Dr. Frances Cress Welsing.

00:00Copy video clip URL Director Gordon Quinn situates the camera. Interviewer Tracye Matthews offers interview advice to Lorne Cress Love.

00:25Copy video clip URL Introductory questions.

00:51Copy video clip URL Cress Love attempts to recall her life situation in the years preceding 1963.

02:53Copy video clip URL A sound issue interrupts the interview. The film crew make adjustments.

03:33Copy video clip URL Interview resumes. Cress Love talks about some initial moments of self-realization as it coincided with the awakening of collective African American identity in the 1950s and 60s. Cress Love recalls being aware of the Freedom Riders in the South and having long discussions about the cause with her sister.

08:36Copy video clip URL Cress Love first learns of the organizing efforts for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Upon becoming a volunteer, Cress Love first met a number of other activists in the Chicago area who would play integral roles in organizing the 1963 Chicago school boycott.

10:23Copy video clip URL Relationship between the March on Washington and the 1963 boycott. Cress Love also talks about her early involvement with the Chicago area Friends of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”) and the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations (CCCO).

12:44Copy video clip URL Cress Love’s initial involvement with the school boycott organizing efforts.

14:00Copy video clip URL Cress Love describes early actions centered around education reform in Chicago. She recalls the Chicago area Friends of SNCC involvement with the parent-led protests at a proposed all mobile-unit school at 73rd and Lowe. Cress Love tells stories of the different activists and neighborhood personages involved and their role in sparking collective attention and action.

17:22Copy video clip URL Cress Love attempts to remember her role leading up to the boycott. She reflects on her memory of the March on Washington and the difficulty of organizing while also working a full time job in Chicago Public Schools. Examples of early organizing efforts such as religious communities and distributing fliers through Chicago’s jitney cabs.

19:46Copy video clip URL Cress Love tells of a meeting at the house of Edwin C. “Bill” Berry, former director of the Chicago Urban League, with the CCCO, which envisioned the 1963 school boycott. Cress Love tells about the decision to make the boycott one day only. Other names of activists mentioned who made the banner dropped from the Chicago Board of Education building on the day of the boycott.

24:20Copy video clip URL Memory of the day of the boycott. Cress Love reflects on the boycott’s location in American history and the development of Black identity and culture in America.

28:45Copy video clip URL Relationship between the Chicago area Friends of SNCC office and the Southern branches of SNCC during the Sit-In movment. Cress Love describes how the Chicago area Friends of SNCC drew some criticism for their action in Chicago. The dynamics of Chicago politics that shaped the decisions of the Chicago area Friends of SNCC.

30:22Copy video clip URL Status and conditions of the educational system in Chicago in the 1950s and 60s compared to the current day. Impact of education on the development of Black lives and communities.

33:11Copy video clip URL School intercom interrupts the interview.

33:16Copy video clip URL Interview resumes.

33:44Copy video clip URL Cress Love addresses the use of mobile-unit classrooms, also known as Willis Wagons, and then-superintendent Benjamin Willis’ plan to build an all mobile-unit school at 73rd and Lowe.

34:18Copy video clip URL Cress Love’s reflection on the history of racism in America. The role of social movements in changing the conditions that attempt to improve Black lives and importance of changing the educational system in order to shape society’s perspective of race, class, history, and politics. Examples of racist and segregationist policies implemented in Chicago, such as redistricting and redlining.

38:20Copy video clip URL Importance of teaching a curriculum based on the importance of Black lives and history.

41:54Copy video clip URL Cress Love talks about the origin of the Willis Wagon name. “They were Ben Willis’ idea of how you contain Negros,” says Cress Love.

42:38Copy video clip URL Cress Love directs the conversation to talk about the impact of the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka decision on the movement for de-segregation of schools in America.

44:17Copy video clip URL Matthews plays the song “These Schools are Your Schools,” written by Don Rose to the Woodie Guthrie tune “This Land is Your Land,” which Cress Love recognizes. She then tells the history of its recording and her involvement.

48:23Copy video clip URL Cress Love’s perspective of the 1963 boycott’s legacy.

50:46Copy video clip URL Cress Love’s personal journey following the boycott.

59:23Copy video clip URL Cress Love shares her relationship with Hyde Park and Woodlawn’s history. She talks about the role of activists like the Reverend Al Pitcher at the University Church of Christ and presents a portrait of her family history in Chicago’s South Side, racially restrictive covenants, and other racially exclusive and discriminatory housing policies that shaped the residential landscape of Chicago’s South Side.

65:08Copy video clip URL Cress Love presents an account of the University of Chicago’s troubled relationship with the Woodlawn community and the loss of Black home ownership.

66:50Copy video clip URL Woodlawn Development Associates and the historical development of their Covenantal Community at 61st Street and Woodlawn Avenue. In 1994, Cress Love became involved in the organization, taking her mother’s place.

69:55Copy video clip URL Cress Love connects her work with the small schools movement in Chicago as related to education activism and the Civil Rights movement, inspired by such actions as the 1963 boycott and Freedom Schools.

71:47Copy video clip URL The beginnings of Cress Love’s work to establish the Woodlawn Community School, an elementary school that teaches African centered curriculum. Interviewers coach Cress Love to shape her answer in a more transparent way for the setting.

77:36Copy video clip URL Cress Love describes the Woodlawn Community School’s difficult journey in finding a proper building.

80:56Copy video clip URL The school’s current building was built as a result of the 1963 school boycott and the Woodlawn Experimental School Project, Cress Love explains.

83:36Copy video clip URL Cress Love talks about the values, influential actors, and intentions behind the small school movement.

87:28Copy video clip URL Cress Love addresses the totality of racism in America.

89:37Copy video clip URL Cress Love’s perspective on the goals and intentions of the Civil Rights movement and Black freedom.

91:52Copy video clip URL Influence of Carter G. Woodson on Cress Love’s life.

93:38Copy video clip URL Cress Love mentions Dr. Wade Nobles and his idea that education is a spiritual experience. She talks about the current brokenness of the Chicago Public Schools and America’s educational system.

96:48Copy video clip URL Herb Mack, Ann Cook, and Timuel Black’s role in introducing high school students to Friends of SNCC. Mack and Cook’s involvement in the small school movement as models for Cress Love.

99:25Copy video clip URL Further recollections of people involved at the Friends of SNCC office as well as the recording of Don Rose’s version of “These Schools are Your Schools.”

102:55Copy video clip URL B-roll footage of Woodlawn Community School’s exterior.

 

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