Seattle Living

Back Page: Seattle’s Turbulent Times in 1966

1966 school boycott called attention to segregation, inequality

By Rob Smith January 9, 2023

October BackPage Option 2 hero

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Seattle Magazine.

As President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty raged across the country in 1966, Seattle was fighting its own battles.

In 1966, civil rights groups organized a two-day boycott of Seattle Public Schools to protest racial segregation, according to The Seattle Civil Rights Labor History Project at the University of Washington. Students instead attended one of eight “freedom” schools. The boycott was organized by the Seattle chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality, the Central Area Civil Rights Committee and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

“All the sponsors of the boycott considered it a huge success,” writes Brooke Clarke. 

Unfortunately, segregation and inequality still exist more than half-a-century later.

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