posts 1 - 15 of 29
freemanjud
Boston, US
Posts: 257

Readings: Read at least 3 of these 6 (your choice as to which ones you read, though you are certainly welcome to read all)

(I have linked PDFs of these articles in Google classroom for those who hit the paywall from the Boston Globe or The Atlantic ☹ )


Meghan E. Irons, Shelley Murphy, and Jenna Russell, “History Rolled in on a Yellow School Bus,” Boston Globe, September 6, 2014.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/09/06/boston-busing-crisis-years-later/DS35nsuqp0yh8f1q9aRQUL/story.html OR https://drive.google.com/file/d/1syyYP4YyodGsXHcgE7C9dJtZOvED8J6d/view?usp=sharing


Farah Stockman, “Did Busing Slow the City’s Desegregation?” Boston Globe, August 9, 2015.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2015/08/08/did-busing-slow-boston-desegregation/5HXQbNFyuvD0SV4UdhNgAL/story.html OR https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SJY3mT2HLkjZ3T5qk2UJZgpu32CNd_zP/view?usp=sharing


Farah Stockman, “How a Standoff Over Schools Changed the Country,” Boston Globe, December 20, 2015.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/12/20/how-standoff-over-schools-changed-country/oP7xEwikHvdAgjtc0lfNdN/story.html OR https://drive.google.com/file/d/13Oaq9udIFlOFVDTqRTfc6-Y4FXFD3p8b/view?usp=sharing


Michael Patrick MacDonald, “Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation,” Boston Globe, September 2, 2014.

http://www.michaelpatrickmacdonald.com/articles-backend/2016/9/2/whitey-bulger-boston-busing-and-southies-lost-generation


“Echoes of Boston’s Busing Crisis,” WGBH, Fall 2014. Students (now adults) reading the essays they wrote while 6th graders in 1974 at the Holmes Elementary School in Dorchester. [NOTE: Currently you cannot listen to the folks read their essays but if you click on the thumbnail image of each essay, you will be able to see the typescript of each short essay] http://projects.wgbhnews.org/busing-letters/


Matthew Delmont, “The Lasting Legacy of the Boston Busing Crisis,” The Atlantic, March 29, 2016.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-boston-busing-crisis-was-never-intended-to-work/474264/ OR https://drive.google.com/file/d/16pVJxSS1bWTJUTcZq76eEZT7GyTrCraD/view?usp=sharing


To understand the effect of the desegregation ruling of 1974 and its effect on the Boston public schools beginning in school year 1974-1975, you have to understand the state of schools in the city prior to 1974 AND to understand the demographic tidal wave that resulted as well.


In 1972, when the Morgan v. Hennigan case, charging that the School Committee had discriminated against their children, was filed in US District Court by black parents, there were 96,000 students in the Boston Public Schools. Approximately 60% of them were white. By 1988, the number of students in the BPS dropped to 57,000. At that time 24% of the students were white, 48% were black, 19% were Hispanic, and 8% were Asian. As of 2018, there are 56,000 students in 125 schools: 14% are white, 34% are black, 42% are Hispanic, 9% are Asian with 1% identifying as other/multiracial.


So to say that there has been a seismic shift in the population of the BPS would be an understatement at best.


In class (on Wednesday), we are looking at the very important segment from Eyes on the Prize (from the “Keys to the Kingdom” episode) on Boston busing [for anyone who was absent, here’s a link to an online version of the film via Kanopy, which you can access using your Boston Public Library account; you want to watch from 0:36 to 29:48]. You will also be looking at several additional short clips on this topic in class on Thursday.


Using these readings as well as the film(s) we looked at in class, weigh in on the following questions (and respond to what at least one previous student in the thread had to say):


  • Did the ends (desegregating the Boston public schools) justify the means (busing)?
  • Was desegregation a worthy goal or not?
  • Did change need to happen in the Boston Public Schools or were there other solutions to the remedy prescribed by Judge W. Arthur Garrity?
  • Can you imagine going to school in the environment of 1974-1975? What would have been tolerable? What would have been intolerable?
  • What do you see as the most visible effects today of the desegregation era of 1974-1975?
gato927
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 16

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

  • In a way, I think desegregation did justify busing. It was an important change made in Boston, but it benefited the community for the better. It must have been hard on the black students though. They would be attacked for just trying to go to school and get a good education, and this probably affected them a lot. In the article “Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation” it explains how many white students dropped out of school, and got addicted to drugs, and most eventually died because of this. It is sad to think that people would rather throw their lives away than attend a desegregated school.
  • I think desegregation was a worthy goal because it was inhumane for children to be separated based on their race. In “Eyes on the Prize”, a black woman talks about how her son did not receive projects that the white kids did. And the principle of the high school mentions how many of the kids cannot write at all. It was an important step to take for equality.
  • Change needed to be made because of the insufficient education that black children were receiving. Even with the remedies prescribed by Judge Garrity, there was still prominent racism in Boston and the fight for the desegregation of schools brought that into light. No remedy would be able to fix the ongoing racism in Boston. In the article “How a Standoff Over Schools Changed the Country”, Farah Stockman mentions how Boston’s white fight is infamous in many court cases. She also mentions how educators thought black children could not learn at the rate white children could. This was an important change to get rid of that stereotype and give black children the education they deserved.
  • As a white person at the time, I would probably still go to school. I believe that the white protesters are more dangerous than the black students were seen as. The white protesters, their violence, and their racism would have been intolerable. I do not really see anything as tolerable because going to a desegregated school at the time would not have impacted me.
  • Through the desegregation of schools in 1974-1975, the most you can see today is how some public schools are extremely diverse, and some are not. For elementary and middle school, it is easier to attend a school closer to your home. However, some high school students have to choose high schools farther away from their homes if they do not get into an exam school. This is similar to when kids from Roxbury would attend schools in South Boston and vice versa.
flowerpower
Posts: 14

Boston, race, redlining and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

I'm not sure if the ends justify the means because the means were not the best option they could've been. Desegregation was definitely a worthy goal because integration is key to eliminating racial biases in our society. The desegregation of schools and access to equal quality of education are necessary for the success of students anywhere. Busing was not the best solution for this goal, taking kids away from the comfort of their neighborhoods and placing them in extremely hostile environments does not lead to a quality education. The city could've focused on resolving the root of the issues, why boston was so segregated between neighborhoods, a mostly black roxbury mostly white southie etc. Desegregating Boston as a whole would eventually lead to diverse school environments in which children could be successful. We know from a previous discussion that students in more diverse schools seem more hopeful about the relationship between black and white people. Boston is a city with plenty of racism and positive interracial interactions from an early age, in classrooms, are important to teaching children anti-racism. Going to school during this time would've been difficult and distracted. The tensions between students with each other and with teachers would create a bad learning environment. It may be difficult to get yourself out of the house to school knowing what you would be facing everyday, and it would be difficult to focus in class with people outside of your protesting. One effect busing had was the lost generation of kids (mostly white) who dropped out of school to protest busing. This turned over a large amount of youth to the hands of whitey bulger and drugs.

gato927
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 16

Originally posted by flowerpower on October 22, 2021 07:03

I'm not sure if the ends justify the means because the means were not the best option they could've been. Desegregation was definitely a worthy goal because integration is key to eliminating racial biases in our society. The desegregation of schools and access to equal quality of education are necessary for the success of students anywhere. Busing was not the best solution for this goal, taking kids away from the comfort of their neighborhoods and placing them in extremely hostile environments does not lead to a quality education. The city could've focused on resolving the root of the issues, why boston was so segregated between neighborhoods, a mostly black roxbury mostly white southie etc. Desegregating Boston as a whole would eventually lead to diverse school environments in which children could be successful. We know from a previous discussion that students in more diverse schools seem more hopeful about the relationship between black and white people. Boston is a city with plenty of racism and positive interracial interactions from an early age, in classrooms, are important to teaching children anti-racism. Going to school during this time would've been difficult and distracted. The tensions between students with each other and with teachers would create a bad learning environment. It may be difficult to get yourself out of the house to school knowing what you would be facing everyday, and it would be difficult to focus in class with people outside of your protesting. One effect busing had was the lost generation of kids (mostly white) who dropped out of school to protest busing. This turned over a large amount of youth to the hands of whitey bulger and drugs.

I agree that going to school at this time would be difficult, but in a way the desegregation of schools was really only effective because of busing. White people did not want to send their children across the city, but they also did not want black kids attending schools like the ones in Southie, which was a white school. It is important for us to have diverse schools now, but there is still the aftermaths of busing when students do not have a high school close to their home, and they need to attend schools farther away.

giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy? Response

The ends (ending segregation) were incredibly important. The school system was highly segregated and Boston officials were ignoring the issue. Busing did seem to help segregation itself, but created much more resentment and anger against Black people and children. It also created a lot of danger for them. A lot of them weren't comfortable being driven to school by all white drivers, and being escorted in by only white police officers, which I think is completely valid. I think it would have been better to desegregate a little slower, so that people weren't as angry and violent. Desegregation is a worthy goal, however. Desegregation is very important for children, because they will grow up with diversity. Growing up with diversity is one of the most important things in education, so that kids grow up with less bias against people who don't look like them. Especially white bias against Black people. Change absolutely needed to happen in BPS, but I think the way that they went about it was very dangerous to Black children. Those who were bused to South Boston were in constant danger of white parents and of white kids. Also, some of the poorer children in South Boston were affected by busing as well. Whitey Bulger took advantage of it to sell drugs to more kids, and many got addicted to drugs and even died. I can imagine that going to school back then would be very intolerable. The amount of racism was skyrocketing. The Black children must have had to endure so much, even more than they do now; even though today, BPS is still very segregated and there are many instances of racism and microaggressions. A huge effect that we see from Boston desegregating is how white the private schools are. When the public schools desegregated, many richer white parents sent their kids to private schools. Today, private schools in Boston are still mostly white. We can see that the public schools are more diverse than they were, but many are still not very diverse, like BLS.

giraffes12
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 15

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy? Response

Originally posted by gato927 on October 21, 2021 13:05

  • In a way, I think desegregation did justify busing. It was an important change made in Boston, but it benefited the community for the better. It must have been hard on the black students though. They would be attacked for just trying to go to school and get a good education, and this probably affected them a lot. In the article “Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation” it explains how many white students dropped out of school, and got addicted to drugs, and most eventually died because of this. It is sad to think that people would rather throw their lives away than attend a desegregated school.
  • I think desegregation was a worthy goal because it was inhumane for children to be separated based on their race. In “Eyes on the Prize”, a black woman talks about how her son did not receive projects that the white kids did. And the principle of the high school mentions how many of the kids cannot write at all. It was an important step to take for equality.
  • Change needed to be made because of the insufficient education that black children were receiving. Even with the remedies prescribed by Judge Garrity, there was still prominent racism in Boston and the fight for the desegregation of schools brought that into light. No remedy would be able to fix the ongoing racism in Boston. In the article “How a Standoff Over Schools Changed the Country”, Farah Stockman mentions how Boston’s white fight is infamous in many court cases. She also mentions how educators thought black children could not learn at the rate white children could. This was an important change to get rid of that stereotype and give black children the education they deserved.
  • As a white person at the time, I would probably still go to school. I believe that the white protesters are more dangerous than the black students were seen as. The white protesters, their violence, and their racism would have been intolerable. I do not really see anything as tolerable because going to a desegregated school at the time would not have impacted me.
  • Through the desegregation of schools in 1974-1975, the most you can see today is how some public schools are extremely diverse, and some are not. For elementary and middle school, it is easier to attend a school closer to your home. However, some high school students have to choose high schools farther away from their homes if they do not get into an exam school. This is similar to when kids from Roxbury would attend schools in South Boston and vice versa.

I agree with how terrible it was that teachers actually thought that Black children could not learn at the rate that white children could. This is especially horrible when you think about how the teachers knew the kids and worked with them, and still thought about them that way. We still see similarities to these situations in today's world though, how white people can be friends, co-workers, or even a partner of a Black person, and still be racist when it comes down to it. It really is just that implicit bias that gets passed down generation to generation, some of the time on purpose, and some of the time without even realizing it.

groot
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 17

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

I’m apprehensive to say that the ends justified the means for desegregating Boston public schools. The goal to desegregate these schools was lofty for the time but nonetheless very important. The issue was that the change to bus in kids to the different schools around Boston happened too quickly and not in a safe way, especially for the black children. I think there should’ve been a better, more thought-out plan, accounting for the many flaws in the plan regarding children’s safety. Instead, they acted on the desegregation plan too fast, and it most likely only added to the frustration of people who were already against bussing. I also don’t think the students’ safety was taken into account as much as it should’ve. The protesters littered themselves outside the front of one school and forced the black students to escape out the back, all while those white protesters smashed in the mirrors of the decoy buses in the front.


Desegregation was most definitely a worthy goal, just one that was very opposed at the time. Those children who were only exposed to people of their own race were most likely incredibly racially biased. In order to eliminate these biases, kids have to talk to and interact with children of different races. Hence why the bussing plan was even created in the first place, the issue was the way they decided to act and the way they executed it. It was an inadequete plan and way too many children were put in harm’s way and risked their lives just trying to go to school.


The change certainly needed to happen. The lack of diversity in all the schools previous to these changes is alarming. The schools that were majorly white all received significantly more funding than those that were predominantly black. Many white people at the time even had beliefs regarding how black children couldn’t learn quite as fast as white children. Teachers too. Teachers believed that their white students could learn faster than black students. Hearing this information makes it clear how needed the change was, but again the way it was done was undoubtedly ill-planned and not thought out.


Nothing about this situation would’ve been tolerable in my opinion. As a white person, seeing that crowd of white people protesting the exit of black students from a school is sickening. The thrown rocks, chanted slurs, and fights between the opposing sides would’ve been appalling to witness. Even though as a white person, I most likely would’ve still gone to school it’s awful thinking about the despicable acts white protesters committed and how hard they made black children’s (who just wanted to go to school) lives.


I think one of the most visible effects today from the desegregation era is the diversification of public schools. Looking at the tables which display the diversity of BLA and The O’Brien we can see that the race distributions are much more equal than us and have almost an equal distribution across all races. BLS on the other hand is still majorly white and Asain with only a small number of racial groups other than those. Hopefully, in the future, we are able to see even more diversification here at BLS as well as many other Boston public schools.

groot
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 17

Originally posted by gato927 on October 21, 2021, 13:05

  • In a way, I think desegregation did justify busing. It was an important change made in Boston, but it benefited the community for the better. It must have been hard on the black students though. They would be attacked for just trying to go to school and get a good education, and this probably affected them a lot. In the article “Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation” it explains how many white students dropped out of school, and got addicted to drugs, and most eventually died because of this. It is sad to think that people would rather throw their lives away than attend a desegregated school.
  • I think desegregation was a worthy goal because it was inhumane for children to be separated based on their race. In “Eyes on the Prize”, a black woman talks about how her son did not receive projects that the white kids did. And the principle of the high school mentions how many of the kids cannot write at all. It was an important step to take for equality.
  • Change needed to be made because of the insufficient education that black children were receiving. Even with the remedies prescribed by Judge Garrity, there was still prominent racism in Boston and the fight for the desegregation of schools brought that into light. No remedy would be able to fix the ongoing racism in Boston. In the article “How a Standoff Over Schools Changed the Country”, Farah Stockman mentions how Boston’s white fight is infamous in many court cases. She also mentions how educators thought black children could not learn at the rate white children could. This was an important change to get rid of that stereotype and give black children the education they deserved.
  • As a white person at the time, I would probably still go to school. I believe that the white protesters are more dangerous than the black students were seen as. The white protesters, their violence, and their racism would have been intolerable. I do not really see anything as tolerable because going to a desegregated school at the time would not have impacted me.
  • Through the desegregation of schools in 1974-1975, the most you can see today is how some public schools are extremely diverse, and some are not. For elementary and middle school, it is easier to attend a school closer to your home. However, some high school students have to choose high schools farther away from their homes if they do not get into an exam school. This is similar to when kids from Roxbury would attend schools in South Boston and vice versa.

I really like what you said in your last point about how some schools are extremely diverse, and some are not. It just shows how schools have either truly made an effort to diversify themselves or are very far on the opposite side of the spectrum and don't even make an effort to be more diverse. When we looked at the diversity charts in class that displayed the percentages of the different races at the three exam schools, we saw exactly what you talked about. BLA and the O'Brien are pretty well balanced regarding diversity, which is great and a major improvement from 1974-1975. Yet when you look at the BLS statistics, the school contains a greater majority of white and Asian students than any other race.

etherealfrog
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 16

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

I think the intended goal may have justified the means, but in practice, busing caused many problems that we are still dealing with today. Many of these problems did not stem directly from busing, but from parents’ reactions to busing, especially white parents. It created an atmosphere of hatred and fear. In the Globe article “History Rolled in on a Yellow School Bus”, there were many accounts of white parents in Southie being afraid to send their children to school in Roxbury, and these are the some of the same parents involved in the protests and violence against Black students entering South Boston High School. However, I’m not sure that a different solution would have changed these people’s attitudes, because if sending their kids to Roxbury could provoke them to attack innocent children with racial slurs and throw rocks at school buses, it seems unlikely that their attitudes on race and desegregation would be different with a different solution. Ultimately, it’s hard to say whether the ends justified the means, but the means (busing) did not justify the reaction that was elicited from the community.


Desegregating BPS was absolutely a worthy goal— it would have been completely unsustainable to continue to allow for such a gross imbalance in resources, funding, and quality of education in majority white versus majority Black schools, and the lack of diversity was harmful to everyone involved. However, busing also causes many problems, as we saw in every source we watched or read. The underlying problem that caused all of this was the way Boston neighborhoods were largely segregated, and the schools were assigned by neighborhood. A disturbing fact I learned in an article I read (“Did Busing Slow the City’s Desegregation?” by Farah Stockman) was that Boston’s public housing desegregated in the 60s, but re-segregated when Boston Public Schools tried to desegregate because white teenagers attacked their Black neighbors and pushed them out of their homes. Boston neighborhoods remain very segregated, so even if the schools are more diverse, the reason for why the schools were segregated in the first place has still not been resolved. If anything, as the article argued, the busing may have slowed progress on desegregating Boston.


Change definitely needed to happen in BPS, because at the time, Black children were not receiving a quality education, and their schools were underfunded. Having segregated schools was also harmful to both white and Black children because they were not exposed to people too different races. In an essay from a white 6th grader at the Holmes elementary school, he said that he didn’t want to go to a school with Black kids for a whole year, because he had almost exclusively been at all white schools. This is just one of many examples of how kids are affected by only being surrounded by people who look like them. However, the way change was done may not have been the best way. It put Black children in danger and made so many people stay out of school or leave Boston, which was harmful to the school system in general.


I can imagine that going to a BPS school in 1974-75 would have been very difficult, especially for people of color being bused to majority white schools like in South Boston. I myself might have been a bit annoyed at having to be bused to a different neighborhood simply because of the inconvenience, but I don’t think that alone would be intolerable. I don’t think that would have been a big issue for me. What would have been difficult would be trying to learn in that environment because of the racial tensions, and it would be hard to have a normal learning experience while knowing what was going on around me.


One of the most effects of the desegregation era that I’ve seen is the way that “white flight” still happens in terms of schooling in Boston. Many white parents who can afford it send their children to private schools or move to the suburbs if their kids don’t get into the public schools they want them to (this could mean the elementary schools that are considered to have better academics or advanced work classes for younger children or the exam schools for high school) because many of the Boston schools are still underfunded and don’t have enough resources, and as a result, the population of BPS has a much lower percentage of white students than the city as a whole.

etherealfrog
Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 16

Originally posted by groot on October 22, 2021 10:23

I’m apprehensive to say that the ends justified the means for desegregating Boston public schools. The goal to desegregate these schools was lofty for the time but nonetheless very important. The issue was that the change to bus in kids to the different schools around Boston happened too quickly and not in a safe way, especially for the black children. I think there should’ve been a better, more thought-out plan, accounting for the many flaws in the plan regarding children’s safety. Instead, they acted on the desegregation plan too fast, and it most likely only added to the frustration of people who were already against bussing. I also don’t think the students’ safety was taken into account as much as it should’ve. The protesters littered themselves outside the front of one school and forced the black students to escape out the back, all while those white protesters smashed in the mirrors of the decoy buses in the front.


Desegregation was most definitely a worthy goal, just one that was very opposed at the time. Those children who were only exposed to people of their own race were most likely incredibly racially biased. In order to eliminate these biases, kids have to talk to and interact with children of different races. Hence why the bussing plan was even created in the first place, the issue was the way they decided to act and the way they executed it. It was an inadequete plan and way too many children were put in harm’s way and risked their lives just trying to go to school.


The change certainly needed to happen. The lack of diversity in all the schools previous to these changes is alarming. The schools that were majorly white all received significantly more funding than those that were predominantly black. Many white people at the time even had beliefs regarding how black children couldn’t learn quite as fast as white children. Teachers too. Teachers believed that their white students could learn faster than black students. Hearing this information makes it clear how needed the change was, but again the way it was done was undoubtedly ill-planned and not thought out.


Nothing about this situation would’ve been tolerable in my opinion. As a white person, seeing that crowd of white people protesting the exit of black students from a school is sickening. The thrown rocks, chanted slurs, and fights between the opposing sides would’ve been appalling to witness. Even though as a white person, I most likely would’ve still gone to school it’s awful thinking about the despicable acts white protesters committed and how hard they made black children’s (who just wanted to go to school) lives.


I think one of the most visible effects today from the desegregation era is the diversification of public schools. Looking at the tables which display the diversity of BLA and The O’Brien we can see that the race distributions are much more equal than us and have almost an equal distribution across all races. BLS on the other hand is still majorly white and Asain with only a small number of racial groups other than those. Hopefully, in the future, we are able to see even more diversification here at BLS as well as many other Boston public schools.

I also had trouble saying whether the ends justified the means, because although desegregation was extremely important, but the way in which desegregation was implemented was dangerous to the students and it was a very flawed plan. I also found it shocking that the teachers believed that white students were faster learners than Black students, and it made it very clear to me that desegregation was urgent at the time.

Bumble Bee
Posts: 15

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?

When white children were bused to Roxbury, the primarily black neighborhood, they were welcomed with open arms. At South Boston High, children were met with screaming crowds throwing rocks at the bus windows. White families’ claimed issue with busing was that they didn’t want their kids to go to a school so far away. They said they didn’t care that black kids were going to school in their neighborhoods, but clearly this wasn’t true. If they had an issue with sending their kids to a school in a different neighborhood then they could’ve just kept them home as a form of protest. Violence against black kids coming to their neighborhood shows there was a deeper racial issue they had.

Clearly desegregation was necessary to end racial prejudices in Boston. Instead of uprooting tons of kids from their neighborhood they could've first made sure that all the schools had equal resources. If all schools were equal then parents might not have been as mad about sending their kids to a different school.

It would’ve been a terrible environment for me and any child. Children learn from their parents so all the white kids seeing their parents be so racist would cause not only the school environment to be divided but also the future Boston. In schools black and white kids would fight all the time and one kid was even stabbed. As a white person, if I was going to South Boston High it would’ve been terrifying. Seeing all the hate and violence is not good for anyone. I would’ve felt ashamed to be associated with a group like that.

Even though BPS schools are more diverse, communities in and out of schools are still very segregated. BLS, catholic schools, and private schools are still very white.

Bumble Bee
Posts: 15

Originally posted by etherealfrog on October 24, 2021 13:23

I think the intended goal may have justified the means, but in practice, busing caused many problems that we are still dealing with today. Many of these problems did not stem directly from busing, but from parents’ reactions to busing, especially white parents. It created an atmosphere of hatred and fear. In the Globe article “History Rolled in on a Yellow School Bus”, there were many accounts of white parents in Southie being afraid to send their children to school in Roxbury, and these are the some of the same parents involved in the protests and violence against Black students entering South Boston High School. However, I’m not sure that a different solution would have changed these people’s attitudes, because if sending their kids to Roxbury could provoke them to attack innocent children with racial slurs and throw rocks at school buses, it seems unlikely that their attitudes on race and desegregation would be different with a different solution. Ultimately, it’s hard to say whether the ends justified the means, but the means (busing) did not justify the reaction that was elicited from the community.


Desegregating BPS was absolutely a worthy goal— it would have been completely unsustainable to continue to allow for such a gross imbalance in resources, funding, and quality of education in majority white versus majority Black schools, and the lack of diversity was harmful to everyone involved. However, busing also causes many problems, as we saw in every source we watched or read. The underlying problem that caused all of this was the way Boston neighborhoods were largely segregated, and the schools were assigned by neighborhood. A disturbing fact I learned in an article I read (“Did Busing Slow the City’s Desegregation?” by Farah Stockman) was that Boston’s public housing desegregated in the 60s, but re-segregated when Boston Public Schools tried to desegregate because white teenagers attacked their Black neighbors and pushed them out of their homes. Boston neighborhoods remain very segregated, so even if the schools are more diverse, the reason for why the schools were segregated in the first place has still not been resolved. If anything, as the article argued, the busing may have slowed progress on desegregating Boston.


Change definitely needed to happen in BPS, because at the time, Black children were not receiving a quality education, and their schools were underfunded. Having segregated schools was also harmful to both white and Black children because they were not exposed to people too different races. In an essay from a white 6th grader at the Holmes elementary school, he said that he didn’t want to go to a school with Black kids for a whole year, because he had almost exclusively been at all white schools. This is just one of many examples of how kids are affected by only being surrounded by people who look like them. However, the way change was done may not have been the best way. It put Black children in danger and made so many people stay out of school or leave Boston, which was harmful to the school system in general.


I can imagine that going to a BPS school in 1974-75 would have been very difficult, especially for people of color being bused to majority white schools like in South Boston. I myself might have been a bit annoyed at having to be bused to a different neighborhood simply because of the inconvenience, but I don’t think that alone would be intolerable. I don’t think that would have been a big issue for me. What would have been difficult would be trying to learn in that environment because of the racial tensions, and it would be hard to have a normal learning experience while knowing what was going on around me.


One of the most effects of the desegregation era that I’ve seen is the way that “white flight” still happens in terms of schooling in Boston. Many white parents who can afford it send their children to private schools or move to the suburbs if their kids don’t get into the public schools they want them to (this could mean the elementary schools that are considered to have better academics or advanced work classes for younger children or the exam schools for high school) because many of the Boston schools are still underfunded and don’t have enough resources, and as a result, the population of BPS has a much lower percentage of white students than the city as a whole.

I like what you said about white flight. Many white families would rather uproot their children from their neighborhood instead of sending them to the poorly funded town's high school. This is interesting to think about since white parents said that their problems with busing was that kids wouldn't be in their neighborhood.

runningdog96
Posts: 8

Boston, Race, Redlining, and Desegregation: What Do We Make of its Legacy?

I would say that in some ways, the ends (desegregation) did justify the means. I see busing as one of the only immediate ways to desegregate schools; as we’ve seen in class and heard about throughout our lives, much more goes into the desegregation of schools than simply moving students; in order to create a more permanent solution, the city should have focused more on desegregating neighborhoods as well as schools. The schools were only a product of the segregation of neighborhoods, and while busing was a good solution to immediately help to desegregate schools, it wasn’t an effective permanent solution. I agree with @groot when they say that the city most definitely did not take into account students’ safety as much as it should have, but I don’t believe they acted on it too fast; I believe that they should have implemented busing and then worked for a more permanent solution (such as implementing programs to desegregate neighborhoods), as this was evidently not one.

I also believe that desegregation was a worthy goal, and continues to be. We should always be striving for an integrated society in which people are able to interact with people of different races, ethnicities, cultures, and beliefs. Thus, I think desegregation is always a worthy goal. Not only was it vital in order to ensure equal access to a good education, but it was vital to start a change of belief. We all have implicit biases, and if we don’t have any experiences that counter those biases, they will continue to be a part of us. Thus, desegregating not only BPS but all of Boston and beyond is vitally important to changing peoples’ beliefs and stereotypes about others.

Change most definitely needed to happen throughout BPS, and I believe that busing was a worthy first and immediate solution. Once that decision was announced, it was important that change start to happen soon after; therefore, busing was effective in that way. It most clearly, however, was not effective in keeping children safe or acting as a final solution. In terms of something else that could have been done on account of Judge Garrity’s decision, the city should have worked harder to desegregate the neighborhoods of Boston. Schools were only a part of the segregation of the city, and really only a result of neighborhoods being immensely segregated. Thus, a more final solution to the Judge’s decision should have been proposed by the city in order to not only desegregate schools but neighborhoods as well.

In that era, it would have been very, very difficult to attend school. Thinking in the context of 2021, we see the people who protested the integration of schools by harming children as complete monsters. But I have to wonder because I am white if I was living during that time, what would I have thought? No doubt, school would have been difficult despite my beliefs because of the immense tension and lack of attendance. But, because I am white, I most likely would have found it tolerable, because the violence wasn’t aimed at me (referring to the violence of white people towards black students entering previously all or mostly white schools). Looking at it, I would have liked to believe I would have fought for integration, but chances are I most likely would not have.

Today, Boston still remains one of the most segregated cities in America, and it is no different for schools. Boston Public High Schools (with the exception of the Exam Schools) are not known to be good, and I believe that is tied mainly to how segregated the city is. Not only that, but because of the reputation the high schools have, many parents pull their children out of BPS for high school, if they do not get into exam schools, or do not want to go. Thus, the idea of “white flight” still very much exists, as @etherealfrog mentions. Even in the past 18 months, when the new system was implemented for exam school acceptance was announced, many parents are pulling their children out or choosing to go to private schools. Thus, the idea of white parents wanting an all or majority-white school because they believe students of color will degrade the school’s value still very much exists.

hisoka
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

Boston Busing

The ends definitely did not justify the means. Yes it got the outcome many wanted but the process children were forced from the comfort of their neighborhoods and put in places where there was no one to stop the violence. Someone was stabbed, there is no justification for that, children were being bullied by literal adults. Desegregation was a worthy goal because the things that would come from this down the line would make lives better for black students than if it never happened. And segregation also helps the white students by growing up in diverse environments and can keep them from having a racist mindset and just make the overall social environment better. Change did need to happen in BPS but there most definitely could have been a better way. Like forcing schools to desegregate and allowing black or white students in their school but definitely not through forced busing. I honestly couldn’t, I would have been terrified because of the behavior of the parents. I probably wouldn’t have cared about moving schools as much as I would about the treatment from the whole situation. The visible lasting effects would be all children being able to pick what school they want to go to and them not being single race schools.
freud
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

Boston, race, redlining, and desegregation: What do we make of its legacy?


While the intentions that were put into busing were justified, the impacts that it left were not. Intention > Impact. Although segregation was an extremely worthy and necessary goal, the lasting impacts that busing left on Boston, and especially the Black community are not justified by the need for that goal. The dilemma is, there is truly not one good solution to fight people with genuine bigotry. The problem that the Black community in Boston was facing was that their schools we're not giving adequate education to their children. The long held idea of, "separate but equal," (which had already been ruled unconstitutional) was not serving to be true. It was shown in the segment of The Eyes on the Prize that schools that were predominantly Black often had insufficient books, supplies, and even teachers. A solution to this could've been to more equally distribute supplies and money to each school, and I say this because in the article about Whitey Bulger it said that white students received about $450 dollars and Black students only received around $250.

These were all genuine problems that were largely caused by segregation, but busing was not a good solution. Most white parents who were so frustrated by the solution were fueled by bigotry, but there was also genuine concern. It didn't make sense for people to not go to schools that were close to home, and this caused parents to be less involved in their school community. Busing was a band aid solution to the bleeding bullet hole which caused by systemic racism. Why should it be the responsibility of black students to endure the racism and bigotry they did? I think that really needs to be considered when talking about any positive aspects of this.

Nevertheless, there were some positive integration experiences which were the hopes of this program. In the WGBH collection of essays by 6th graders it was displayed how both black and white students were able to have a great school year in harmony. While bigotry still existed from some of the white students, for the most part these students being together lessened racial tension. However in South Boston, there was an aspect of class that was not even considered in regard to busing. Southie was a poor white town, and people there were even known as, "white n*****s." I think that when busing happened, Southie was extremely united because of their race and their economic status. They didn't understand why things had to change for them in order to accommodate others, when they were already struggling.

I honestly cannot imagine living in this school environment because there's no way of saying how I as a white person would have responded to racism then. Of course everyone wants to say that they would have been the exception and gone to school and been anti-racist, but who is one to say that? Because that's truly determined by someone's family. The WBGH essays showed that kids largely had no issue with being friends with people of other races, but the documentary made it so clear that it's the parents who instill racist ideas in their children. Depending on where I would've gone to school, my family, and my economic status, I would've reacted differently. I know my family values education, but at what cost?

I think that the longest lasting impacts are the segregation and racism that still remains in schools, as well as the sort of "poor white" pride that still exists in many parts of Boston.

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