Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Boston against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Excerpt

I just want to let you know how opposed I am to your forced bussing order, but opposed though we are, my husband and I are trying so hard to be law abiding and set a good example for our 6 children, 3 of whom attend the South Boston-Roxbury District. We have silently protested and aloud to each other, but never marched or felt violent or even angry about your decision, so on Sept. 12 my children all went to school even though they were frightened, and among the very few in South Boston who did so.

[But] I haven't sent my 3 older children since that first day, why -- because I'm terrified 24 hrs a day. Living if that's what you can call it in a nightmare, helicopters over head, police everywhere (for which I'm thankful), but which are constant reminders, people so full of hate, I never dreamed possible. I guess I'm quite a fool, I never thought a lot of people I see in church so often were so unchristian like, it truly hurts, and makes the job of being a parent so much harder. -- South Boston mother to Judge W. A. Garrity, Sept. 23, 1974

In September 1974 I was living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and commuting to work at Clark University in Worcester. From the comfortable remove of Harvard Square I watched with dismay the violence that erupted as Boston began to desegregate its public schools under court order. Unlike many throughout the country who associated Boston with an abolitionist past and a liberal present, as a historian I was better prepared to understand the conflict. I knew that there had been several Bostons whose diverse cultures had often generated religious bigotry, nativism, and ethnic and racial conflict. I knew that discord between Irish Catholics and African-Americans extended back to before the Civil . . .

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