School Integration in Boston: Introduction

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". . . [Assistant principal] Bob Jarvis [knocked] at the door to report that police had isolated the whites on the staircase, freeing the fire stairs on either side. Buses were drawn up in the adjacent alley, ready to receive the minority students. Detectives would lead them to safety. . . . Just then, the whites got wind of what was happening. 'They're getting away!' they shouted. 'They're going out the side!' Around the corner raced a dozen white boys, heaving stones at the buses as they rumbled down the alleys." [1]

Such scenes are usually associated with desegregation of schools in the Deep South. This one, however, occurred at Charlestown High in Boston, Massachusetts. Boston had been regarded as the "cradle of liberty" ever since it played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, but two hundred years later, a court-ordered plan that utilized busing to achieve integration of the city's public schools led to frequent protests, demonstrations, and confrontations between blacks and whites. Northerners who had called for desegregation in Southern schools for decades soon discovered that their own schools were just as segregated and that integrating them was just as difficult.

  1. Background
  2. Boston Under the Phase I Plan
  3. Devising the Phase II Plan
  4. Phase II In Action

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Adapted from School Integration in the United States: Problems with Integration, a web project written for my tenth grade African history class, as well as some additional research.

Copyright © 1998 Lisa Cozzens ( ). Please read this before you email me!
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Last modified: Sun Jul 12, 1998