Boston School Desegregation / Boston Busing Crisis
The events around the desegregation of the Boston Public Schools in the 1970s are a significant part of the history and culture of Boston. While the roots of the issue stretched back to the 1960s and 1950s, problems of inequalities in education in Boston came to light with the U.S. District Court decision in the case of Morgan v Hennigan (379 F.Supp 410). This led to a well-known chain of events, ending with oversight of the Boston Public Schools passing into the hands of W. Arthur Garrity, the judge in the case, until the 1980s. The following is not exhaustive, but represents materials held by the Boston Public Library and some materials available from databases.
- Books – Popular Literature
- Books – Scholarly Work and Dissertations
- Government Information and Related Materials
- Other Materials
Books – Popular Literature
- Liberty’s Chosen Home, by Alan Lupo. (First edition and Second edition) This was written shortly after the 1974-75 and 1975-76 school years by a reporter various Boston media outlets at the time. (1977)
- Common Ground, by J. Anthony Lukas. This Pulitzer Prize volume follows how busing affects three Boston families, one Irish American from Charlestown, one African American from Roxbury, and one urban professional living in the South End. (1985)
- A People’s History of the New Boston, by Jim Vrabel (2014)
- Southie Won’t Go: A Teacher’s Diary of the Desegregation of South Boston High School, by Ione Malloy. An account of a year in the life of the school most impacted by busing. (1986)
- Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s, by Ronald Formisano. (First edition and Second edition) This was an attempt to view the issue beyond the usual racial prism. (1991 and 2001)
- Turmoil and Transition in Boston: A Political Memoir from the Busing Era, by Lawrence S. DiCara. DiCara shows how public policy decisions and economic and demographic changes from that time transformed Boston into one of America’s most diverse, affluent, and successful cities in the twenty-first century. (2013)
Books – Scholarly Work and Dissertations
- Desegregation: The Boston Orders and Their Origin, by John Adkins. A 1975 work by the Boston Bar Association.
- Organization of Anti-Busing Protest in Boston, 1973-1976, by Thomas Begley. (1981)
- School Desegregation and Defended Neighborhoods: the Boston Controversy, by Emmett Buell. (1982)
- The Hardest Lesson: Personal Accounts of a School Desegregation Crisis, by Pamela Bullard and Judith Stoia. (1980) Describes how the desegregation of Boston’s schools in the 1970s affected the lives of selected individual students and several adults, chosen to represent a cross section of the community.
- Nothing Will Stop Us: the Climax of Racial Segregation in the Boston Public Schools, 1963-1974, by Howard John Chislett (1979)
- Schools on Trial: an Inside Account of the Boston Desegregation Case, by Robert A. Dentlet and Marvin Scott. (1981)
- Busing, by Thomas Cottle. (1976)
- Battle of Boston, by Jon Hillson. (1977)
- An Alternative Plan for the Integration of Boston’s Public Schools, by Mel King. (1973)
- Great Expectations: the History of School Desegregation in Atlanta and Boston, 1954-1990, by Susan Margaret McGrath. (1992 dissertation available through Dissertation Abstracts) The Boston Public Library does not hold this in print or microform.
- From Little Rock to Boston: the History of School Desegregation, by George R. Metcalf. (1983)
- Social Conflict and Social Movements: an Exploratory Study of the Black Community of Boston Attempting to Change the Boston Public Schools, by Tahi Lani Mottl. (1976 dissertation available through Dissertation Abstracts)
- Court Desengagement in the Boston Public Schools: Toward a Theory of Restorative Law, by Marsha Marie Murningham. (1983)
- The Effects of Court-Ordered Desegregation on the Public School System of Boston, Massachusetts, by Mark D. O’Donnell. (1996 dissertation available through Dissertation Abstracts)
- “I Respectfully Disagree with the Judge’s Order”: the Boston School Desegregation Controversy, by J. Michael Ross and William Berg. (1981)
- Boston’s Experience with School Desegregation and White Flight, by Christine Rossell. (1977) The Boston Public Library does not hold this in print or microform.
- Boston School Integration Dispute: Social Change and Legal Maneuvers, by J. Brian Sheehan. (1984)
- Black Sisyphus: Boston Schools and the Black Community, 1790-2000, by Bryn Eric Upton. (2003 dissertation available through Dissertation Abstracts)
- Reforming Boston Schools, 1930 to the Present: Overcoming Corruption and Racial Segregation, by Joseph M. Cronin. (2011 and earlier editions)
Government Information and Related Materials
- Boston Public Schools
- 1966-1967 Plan Toward the Elimination of Racial Imbalance in the Public Schools. (1967) Available online.
- In the Matter of the School Department of the City of Boston (1973)
- Proposals of the Boston School Committee for Conditions for Termination of Receivership with Related Timetable. (1977) Available online.
- Report to the United States District Court on Administrators. (1983) Available online.
- Statement of Policy and Recommendations on the Subject of Racial Imbalance and Education in Boston Public Schools. (1965)
- Student Desegregation Plan, December 16, 1974, in Accordance with the Order of October 31, 1974.
- Student Desegregation Plan Submitted by the School Committee of the City of Boston, Jan 27, 1975. Available online.
- Massachusetts Board of Education
- Boston School Desegregation. Report to the United States District Court, District of Massachusetts. Jul 15, 1983. Available on microfiche as part of the ERIC collection, EDs 236277 and 236278. Not yet digitized.
- Report No. 2 to the United States District Court, District of Boston, on School Integration. Feb 1, 1984. Vols. 1 & 2 are available online.
- Report No. 3 to the United States District Court, District of Boston, on School Integration. Jul 15, 1984. Vols. 1, 2A, and 2B are available online
- Report No. 4 to the United States District Court, District of Boston, on School Integration. Feb 1, 1985. Available online.
- Report No. 5 to the United States District Court, District of Boston, on School Integration. Jul 15, 1985. Vols. 1 & 2 are available online.
- Massachusetts Research Center
- Massachusetts Task Force on Racial Imbalance
- United States District Court. District of Massachusetts
- Student Desegregation Plan. May 10, 1975. Covers phase 2.
- United States Commission on Civil Rights
- Desegregating the Boston Public Schools: A Crisis in Civic Responsibility. Report of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. (1975) Available online.
- Hearing Before the United States Commission on Civil Rights – Hearings Held in Boston, Massachusetts, June 16-20, 1975. (Online)
- School Desegregation in Boston – a Staff Report Prepared for the Hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Boston. (1975) Available online.
- United States Comptroller General
- The City of Boston Archives has extensive holdings of materials relating to desegregation.
- The ERIC database of the United States Department of Education holds many items relating to desegregation in Boston.
- The Microtext Department holds a 2 reel collection of articles from the Boston Globe entitled Boston Busing, 1969-1975. These are arranged chronologically. The call number is LC214.53.B67B38x.
Compiled by John J. Devine of the Government Information Department with the assistance of the entire staff of the Government Information Department and Michael D’Ortenzio, Jr.