Chicago Freedom Movement

Fulfilling the Dream


CFM40 Commemoration

View Photos from the Fulfilling the Dream Conference by Julia Cheng.

In 1966, the Chicago civil rights movement, called the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations, was joined with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in a direct challenge to racial segregation led by Martin Luther King and Al Raby. Rallies, marches, demonstrations, on the pattern of the Southern civil rights movement, captured the attention of the whole city and the nation. This joint initiative by the Coordinating Council of Community Organizations and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference became known as the Chicago Freedom Movement.

Veterans of the Chicago Freedom Movement, current civil rights activists, and historians are planning a conference and a variety of related events in 2006 to challenge continuing discrimination by race and ethnicity, to correct and expand the historical record and assess this experience of non-violent direct action.


  • Draw on the experience of that period to support and strengthen a new generation of activists addressing current racial, ethnic and economic inequities in Chicago and the United States.
  • Recover, correct, expand and document the history of the Chicago Freedom Movement for this and succeeding generations.
  • Organize public exhibitions and cultural performances to present that history and its relevance to social justice in Chicago and other urban centers.
  • Assess the strategies and effectiveness of that experience of non-violent social change and its relevance to current inequities in American society.

Expected Outcomes

  • Stronger, more effective networks of activists and organizations working to create healthy interracial, inter-ethnic neighborhoods free of violence throughout metropolitan Chicago and replicable in similar urban settings.
  • New print and visual educational materials, faithful to history, relevant to the present, and focused on a better future, directed to schools, activists and policy-makers.
  • Broader, more effective networks of organizations and individuals throughout the nation committed to nonviolent approaches to strengthening communities and resolving conflict.

Loyola University’s Center for Urban Research and Learning is a leading sponsor of the Chicago Freedom Movement 40th anniversary commemoration.

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