Led by John Gwynn, Peoria’s NAACP chapter staged a “singing sit-in” in front of the school administration building for four hours. The seven protesters — later supplemented by a group that included six white ministers — wanted to discuss with the Peoria school board their grievances and recommendations for Peoria’s school system.
The list of recommendations suggests the breadth of NAACP protest in Peoria. Many were employment-related: better procedures to ensure more black administrators, teachers, counselors, custodians, bus drivers, and construction workers. Some were curricular: the teaching of black history and the replacement of “biased, stereotyped school books with newly available books…that accurately reflect the history of Negroes and other minorities,” books chosen from a 200-book list that Gwynn presented.
The school board listened to the demands and responded that there was no racial discrimination in school hiring, but agreed to a special meeting in a week to address the full slate of recommendations.
During the school board meeting, the protesters were not disruptive and the school board deferred pressing charges for the earlier incident.