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Boston Busing Crisis

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During the mid 1900s,the Boston Schooling System assigned students to schools based on where they lived. Schools in primarily white areas such as South Boston and Charlestown had a mostly white students, while schools in black areas such as Roxbury had an overwhelming black majority. This de facto segregation was later challenged during the Morgan v. Hennigan court case filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, charging the Boston's public schools of unconstitutional segregation. US District Court Judge Arthur Garrity ruled that the Boston public schools were in fact unconstitutionally segregated. As a remedy, he used a busing plan developed by the Massachusetts State Board of Education to implement the state's Racial Imbalance Law. This law required any school with a student enrollment of more than fifty percent "non-white" to be balanced according to race. The plan called for the busing of students from Roxbury to South Boston. In September 1974 the intergration plan was put into affect. However, there was much opposition from white protestors. In South Boston protestors stoned buses, shouted racial epithets, and hurled eggs and rotten tomatoes. Nine black South Boston High School students were injured when angry whites shattered the windows of their buses. Escorts were soon formed to accompany these children and violence soon ended, even though racial tension still existed. On October 7th a black man named Andre Yvon Jean-Louis was severly beaten when he drove into South Boston to pick up his wife. This time the black Roxbury students reacted by stoning cars and attacking passing whites. Governor Frank Sargent to call out the National Guard. Many white families planned a boycott of public schools by sending their children to private and parochial schools. Racial tension continued to escalate. On December 11, a black student at South Boston High School stabbed a white classmate. An angry mob quickly formed outside the school. The principal ordered the black students to go into the ofice and stay there, because the situation was so volatile that any black student found in the halls would be attacked. They managed to get out safely when the parents of Roxbury sent three decoy buses as well as two to carry the children. The results of the Boston Busing incident polarized the community and displayed the underlying racism that existed in society as well as made strides toward equality for minorities in the city.

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Mr. Pyy's AP US History Class
Wareham High School
Wareham, MA. 02571