School DesegregatioN in Boston By Jitao Zhang

In 1965, a decade after the desegregation of southern schools, school segregation in Boston is a natural by-product of segregated neighborhoods. Predominantly African American schools lack permanent teachers, basic furniture and supplies, even books. The NAACP helps black parents bring their complaints to the Boston School Committee, whose chair, Louise Day Hicks, claims the schools are not inferior.

Louise Day hicks claimed :" a racially imbalanced school is not educationally harmful."

After years of struggle, when community strategies to improve their children's education fail, black parents take the school committee to court. On June 21, 1974, federal district court judge W. Arthur Garrity rules in the parents' favor, saying the school committee has consciously maintained two separate school systems. Garrity orders students to be bused city-wide to integrate the schools.

Blacks students are bused back to the Roxbury section from South Boston under a heavy police guard, September, 16, 1974, on the third day of court-ordered busing as a means of public school integration.

Boston residents anticipate trouble. Less than a mile apart, the black community of Roxbury and the white community of South Boston (Louise Day Hicks' stronghold) are slated to integrate their schools. City politicians make matters worse by promising white residents they will seek to overturn the decision. Senator Edward Kennedy, once a favorite son of the city's Irish community, is threatened by a mob during a demonstration at the federal building. In September, buses carrying black students are met by white crowds in South Boston, yelling slurs and threatening violence. White parents stage a boycott, pulling their children from the schools. The violence persists inside and outside the schools, and white resistance continues for years. Not until Louise Day Hicks is unseated and a black school committee member is elected in 1977 will the situation start to stabilize.

Anti-busing demonstrators, some dressed in colonial costume, march down bunker Hill Street in Boston's Charlestown section.

The Mayor, Kevin White, said the city's neiborhood tradition is "clearly defined, proud of the past, conscious of their own sense of community." The blacks would bring "inconvenience and hardship that (white) parents and children both will be forced to endure."

The school desegregation issue which happened in Boston in 1974 led the directly conflict between white dominated suburban area and black dominated suburban area, however, state government chose to stand on the side of blacks because of the pressure from both blacks community and domestic media. Blacks won their final victory in 1977 after a black was elected as a school committee member; the movement promoted the civil rights movement by this victory.


Created with images by Ron Cogswell - "'It Seemed Like Reaching for the Moon.' -- Virginia Civil Rights Memorial Richmond (VA) 2012"

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.