Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Lily Geismer

Reader 2

Diana Selig

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2020 Carlos G Mendez


Throughout the 20th century, New York City underwent a number of changes, most of which occurred due to waves of immigration. Amidst all of the changes, the lack of attention students of color in low-income areas received remained constant. The lack of attention resulted in deteriorating school conditions and a widening achievement gap between students of color and white students. In 1964, 10 years after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, civil rights activists across the City reached a boiling point and organized themselves to protest against the Board of Education. It was an effort that resulted in over 450,000 students walking out of their schools. In spite of this effort, few changes were enacted and the City’s public school system remains today as one of the most segregated in the country. This thesis aims to examine the 1964 Freedom Day boycott in an attempt to better understand how the fight for integration has evolved in the years before and after the boycott, as well as what City officials can do today in order to better school conditions and even the playing field for low-income, minority students across the City, regardless of race, class, and religion.