The Boston Busing Crisis

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Thesis: The Boston Busing Crisis was not a spontaneous event that created new tension around race throughout the city—it occurred in the context of very high levels of intolerance and inequality.

In June 1974, Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled in Morgan vs. Hennigan that Boston’s public school system had been purposefully segregated based on race and that these separate schools were not equal and therefore unconstitutional. (Gellerman) The 152-page decision came after a group of black parents had filed a lawsuit saying that the public schools in Boston were segregated and did not allow for their children to gain an equal education when in comparison to the majority white schools. Garrity’s bases for this ruling caused based on the unconstitutional
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Furious parents and students who were against the busing concept, congregated to voice and act upon their beliefs in the near vicinity of South Boston High School. (Gellerman) The violence that plagued schools and buses on that first day of busing, September 12, 1974, and when the buses rolled into the school that day they were met by protesters who threw rocks and insulted them with racist remarks. Hyde Park High School was situated in a predominately all-white area of middle class people that had an equal amount of resistance and uproar based on this busing decisions, however it did not receive as much press. (Taylor) Many dangerous altercations based in race occurred, sometimes to the extreme in which school had to be closed only to reopen to a severely tense environment. (Taylor) This anger and hostility was not confined to school grounds alone, as it began to spread into the community where it caused more attacks and violence based on race. These actions and words used against students caused Mayor Kevin White to enact a ban of crowds greater than 3 to assemble near any public school in fear of retaliation. (Balloon-Rosen) ROAR, or Restore Our Alienated Rights was an anti-busing group formed in opposition to the mixing of schools and called for a two week boycott of the Boston Public Schools and the white students attendance at these city schools decreased dramatically after this. President Ford was seen as opposing the forced busing order yet told the citizens of Boston that they must obey the new law, regardless of his viewpoint.
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