Support The Christmas Boycott – 1963

In 1963, Ossie and Ruby Davis, James Baldwin, John O. Killens, Odetta, and Louis Lomax formed the Association of Artists for Freedom, which called for a Christmas boycott to protest the church bombing, and asked that, instead of buying gifts, people make Christmas contributions to civil rights organizations. I remember that my extended family participated in the boycott.  My sister and I were teenagers. I don’t remember anything else about that Christmas. The article below was printed in the Illustrated news in November 1963.

Christmas_boycott_1963 1
Click to enlarge.
Insert, Louis Lomax, James Baldwin, Louis Lomax, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Odetta called for a boycott of Christmas gifts.
Insert, Louis Lomax. Back row:  James Baldwin, Louis Lomax, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Odetta  artists who called for the boycott of Christmas Boycott in 1963.


Other links for 1963

Kennedy Refuses to Support Civil Rights Demands

Remembering 1963

Six Dead After Church Bombing – Washington Post article from 1963

8 thoughts on “Support The Christmas Boycott – 1963”

  1. What a wonderful idea that can provide support for a good cause! Maybe I’m just dreading shopping, but I almost wish that there would be another Christmas boycott. 🙂

    1. Me too! It just seems like everybody has so much stuff already. I tried to interest them in me donating the money in their name to Kiva or the Heifer project or something, but that went over like a lead ball in most cases.

  2. Forgive me if I sound a wee bit jealous Kris, I know during this time period we faced tremendous struggle, but I can’t help admiring the strength of our people then and their willingness to just stand up for what’s right; what was just. Picture what trying to get well known celebrities to unite and BOYCOTT CHRISTMAS would look like today? These were leaders that stood & continued to stand. And I am a bit envious I have to vicariously live through you. Be glad I’m not in Atlanta anymore. I’d be bugging you every minute — oh wait I already do!:)


    P.S. Did folks support/honor the boycott? Did more work come from the group?

    1. I wasn’t a big success. Most people didn’t want to deny their kids. Some figured it was all going to be over soon anyway, no need to boycott Christmas. I’m going to do another post about the group later in the week.

  3. Wow! Thank you for posting this article Kristin. I had no idea that this boycott happened. This is the year that I was born, I’m giving my age away here, 🙂 They weren’t afraid to stand for what they believed. Beautiful. 🙂

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