The attainment of freedom by the blacks in the United States was a gradual process as they reduced the pervasive racism that dominated the country in its early years. Segregation was so widespread that black students were barred from attending the same schools as white students. Throughout the last century, racism was so pervasive in the United States that any effort by black parents to enroll their children in white schools was met with hostility. The Boston Busing, which took place between 1974 and 1988, is the best example of the struggle for liberty (Berkman, Kawachi & Glymour). Around 1974, the court required for the abolishment of segregation of schools in Boston. Following the reasoning of an earlier decision by the Supreme Court, it was decided that the schools start admitting students from any race as the segregation that apparently compromised a section of the law so that the system was unfair to the black children compared to the whites.
The Boston Busing was characterized by violent confrontations between the whites and blacks as the former attempted the black children from attending schools that were located in the Irish-American neighborhoods. The Boston busing marks the highlight of how extensively racism had engrossed the society at the time. The whites threw stones at buses that carried the black students on their way to the white-preserved schools following the decisions of the court. Such served to exemplify their hatred of the blacks, which was for an extended period a normal thing as they were accustomed to limited interaction with the whites. The 20th Century was therefore marked by widespread racism, especially in the sharing of facilities and housing. The whites preferred to reside in exclusive neighborhoods and attend their schools. However, for the blacks, attending exclusive schools and living in certain neighborhoods were a form of segregation and deemed unfair. The riots that rocked parts of Boston following the court order required the end of the segregation of schools across the country brought to the fore the in-group solidarity among either race to champion for their courses (Berkman et al.). In other words, Boston musing was an exemplification of the desire by the blacks to access the quality education accorded to the whites while the whites preferred to maintain their exclusivity.
Before the order of the court leading to the Boston Busing, there have been many cases revolving around the issues of segregation. Brown v. the Board of Education is one case that is instrumental in the contextualization of the Boston Busing. Around the time of the case, in the 1950s, Linda Brown and family, who were black, lived near a school that was exclusive to the white students. However, she had to walk a long distance daily to attend a school that was preserved for the black kids. The family challenged the situation in court arguing that the segregation by color violated the Fourteenth Amendment (Landmark Cases). In the district court, the separation of the schools was upheld with the argument that though separate, schools had similar facilities. However, when the case proceeded to the Supreme Court, it was declared illegal to discriminate the blacks and the whites.
In 1965, through the Bradley v. Richmond Richmond School Board, the court decided that any further delay in the implementation of desegregation measures could not be tolerated any further. Ths had implications on the Boston busing as it necessitated immediate desegregation in the Boston schools rather than wait for the 1975-1976 school year. In the Morgan v. Hannigan case of 1973, the court affirmed that NAACP was right to allude to the extent of permeation of the segregation in schools across Boston. Subsequently, through this assertion, the court called for the disruption of the segregation in Boston and elsewhere across the United States.
In relation to the Boston musings, various sources of information were utilized. One of the items from the archives is a video from The Boston Globe. Taken during the Boston Busing in the video illustrates the on goings at the height of the Boston Busing. The video gives a precise description of what the situation looked like, especially the confrontations between the whites and the blacks at the time. The black children were stoned while in a bus. In the video, the windows of the bus were shuttered (Irons, Murphy, and Russel). In the video, people who were directly affected by the happening of the Boston Busing give accounts of what transpired. The resistance by the whites against the desegregation orders of the court emanated from their preference to maintain a status quo. The video is instrumental in bringing to the fore the events of the Boston Busing. The illustrations advance the knowledge about what it took us to reach where we are today, as far as equality is concerned. The video was motivated by the need to highlight the struggles leading to the attainment of racial equality that is apparent across the country today.
Another material is the All Souls selection. The selection details the happenings in the Southern Part of Boston, where the Boston Busing events were concentrated. The southern Boston residents, who identified themselves as Irish-Americans were against the concept of desegregation. Published around 1999, the All Souls folder gives accounts the events that took places during the Boston Busing from the viewpoint the residents at the Southern part of the state. Standing from their rooftops, the residents of the Southern Boston at the time of the Boston Busing threw stones at the buses carrying the black children in a show of dissatisfaction with the orders of the court (MacDonald 83). All Souls shows the general mood across Southern Boston through the exemplification of the reaction of the local population. The Irish-Americans perceived themselves to be superior to the blacks and preferred to remain isolated rather than share facilities with the blacks. The book is helpful in highlighting the extent of racism at the time. Segregation efforts were met with brute from the Irish-Americans. The selection helps in the understanding the position of various people at the height of the Boston Busing.
Another source explored is the Boston Busing newspaper coverage. The folder gives a chronological account of the events preceding the Boston Busing from 1954 as well as the occurrences after the Boston Busing crisis. The focus of the collection is the various court decisions and their implications on the elimination of segregation in schools. In 1954, the major court decision related to Brown v. Board of Education in which the segregation, which was a normal thing in the American Society was normalized as unconstitutional in line with the provisions of the Fourteenth Amendment. The writer intended to enlighten people about the journey of the fight against racial discrimination, especially in schools. The information is helpful in helping people appreciate the efforts towards attaining the equality.
In 1974, a middle-school student wrote a letter to Judge Garret after the latter recognized that segregation was widespread in Boston. The student recognized the importance of the integration and abolishment of exclusive schools for both races. However, the student had a divergent opinion on how the segregation can be abolished. Instead, of ferrying children to other regions, the student suggested that the government build schools with better facilities for students in their localities (UMASS Boston). The suggestion was to help the government save on the costs of buses and fuel. The student also suggested that the issue of racial prejudice would naturally fade after the old and next generation at the time of Boston Busing die (UMASS Boston). The student offered his views, which coincided with that of his peers at the time. To a reader, especially today, the correspondence helps in the understanding of the existence of contrary opinions on the approach towards the abolishment of segregation across the country at the time. The letter affirms that there was an alternative that could be utilized by the government of the day to avoid the Boston Busing crisis. The writer’s arguments were valid in the building of the school. However, it was impractical to imaging the elimination of segregation with limited efforts as suggested.
The Boston Musing influenced real people in different ways. At the time of the crisis, segregation had been normalized in the society. The busing resembled war, and many people were injured in the process, both white and black. The Boston Busing crisis served as a turning point for real people to change their perceptions, especially how the looked at other races (Delmont). After the Boston Busing, many people realized that segregation was unnecessary and people can peacefully coexist. The violence that rocked southern Boston was not favorable to both the whites and blacks.
During the Boston Busing, the whites argued that there was no segregation. Instead, the whites and blacks were separate but equal (Forminaso). From their viewpoint, the school attended by the blacks and the whites had similar attributes despite being located in different parts of the state. However, the blacks argued that the whites had superior learning facilities, which gave their children an advantage during the learning process. Therefore, they wanted their children also to attend the exclusive white schools to acquire the same knowledge of the white children, who were perceived to be superior.
Segregation is school limited the blacks from accessing the superior learning facilities and environment that was apparent in the white-dominated school. Further, the blacks were compelled to send their children to black schools far away rather than the white schools that were within the neighborhood. The whites were against desegregation as it denied them an opportunity to be on their own. The Boston Busing case captured the attention of the whole country as it marked a moment in the history of elimination of segregation. The blacks, for a long time, had wanted to gain absolute freedom, but their efforts were compromised by the law, which recognized segregation at the time. Other regions across the United States watched the happenings in Boston closely so that they can learn and implement the changes as far as racism and segregation were concerned.
Berkman, Lisa F, Ichirō Kawachi, and M M. Glymour. Social Epidemiology. , Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. Print.
Delmont, Matthew. “The Lasting Legacy Of The Boston Busing Crisis.” The Atlantic, 2016, https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/03/the-boston-busing-crisis-was-never-intended-to-work/474264/.
Formisano, Ronald P. Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004. Internet resource.
Irons, Meghan, Murphy, Shelly and Russel, Jenna. “History Rolled In On A Yellow School Bus – The Boston Globe.” The Boston Globe, 2014, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/09/06/boston-busing-crisis-years-later/DS35nsuqp0yh8f1q9aRQUL/story.html.
Landmark Cases. Brown v. Board of Education (1954): School Segregation, Equal Protection. 2017 http://landmarkcases.org/en/landmark/cases/brown_v_board_of_education
MacDonald, Michael P. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. Boston: Beacon Press, 1999.
UMASS Boston, Letter to Judge Garrity from a middle school student, Stark & Subtle Divisions: A Collaborative History of Segregation in Boston, accessed November 27, 2017, https://bosdesca.omeka.net/items/show/218.