explain why you think each one was a contributory cause of the Boston busing crisis.

Week 6 Submissions

On this page, you will review both your Week 6 Short Responses and the work you have done on your historical event analysis essay this week, in preparation for their submission in your learning environment.

Week 6 Short Responses

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During the second week of Theme: Analyzing History, you have been asked to respond to several questions designed to show your understanding of key concepts. Now it is time for you to submit your responses to those questions.

First, review your answers to each response. Check for errors and incomplete answers, and make sure that you have used proper grammar throughout. If you have not completed any of these questions, do this now. When you are finished reviewing and editing, follow the instructions at the bottom of the page to download your work and submit it to your instructor.

Here are the Week 6 Short Response exercises:

Week 6 Short Responses – Question 1

Which source will you analyze using active reading strategies? Include the name of the article, the author, the publication, the date, and where you found it.

Read your chosen source using the active reading strategies you learned on the previous page. Then, summarize the overall meaning and content of the reading. Write your summary below. Your summary should be at least one paragraph long.

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Week 6 Short Responses – Question 2

What events or historical forces contributed to the Boston busing crisis of the mid-1970s? Name at least three, and briefly explain why you think each one was a contributory cause of the Boston busing crisis.

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Week 6 Short Responses – Question 3 Name three specific consequences of the Boston busing crisis.

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Week 6 Short Responses – Question 4

Describe one cause of the event you have chosen for your historical analysis (keeping in mind that there are many), and explain one piece of evidence from your research that you will use to support this assertion. Describe one consequence of the event, and explain one piece of evidence from your research that you will use to support this assertion.

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Click “Download Word Document” below to download your short responses to the questions posed during the week’s assigned learning blocks. After downloading, save this document locally on your computer or in a cloud drive, being sure to rename the document to reflect the assignment you are submitting (Week 6 Short Responses).

After downloading, review your responses. Make sure they completely answer the questions in the prompt. If you have not answered a question, the words “[no response]” in brackets will appear. Your short responses will be graded using the guidelines and rubric document included in your learning environment in Theme Three under 6-4 Week 6 Short Responses.

When all of your responses are completed, saved, and edited, submit your assignment in your learning environment by clicking on the assignment title within Theme Three under 6-4 Week 6 Short Responses, then Add Attachments and uploading your assignment.

Active Reading

Reading comprehensively is important in order to understand and process the information presented in text, especially in scholarly sources. Active reading is one strategy that will help you read critically in this course and others.

 

Active reading refers to a process of reading in which you approach the text with an intention to understand not simply what it says but also how it says it. In passive reading, we read simply for information, or sometimes we read only to be entertained or distracted for a short time. After engaging in passive reading, the content doesn’t always stick with us. And most of the time, it doesn’t matter.

But if we want to remember and learn something while we read, active reading practices will help us get a better grip on the reading, and what we have read will stick with us later on. Up until now, you have been reading excerpts of texts and finding sources for your historical analysis essay. You should apply active reading strategies as you begin to read your sources closely.

Active Reading Strategies

Click on each of the following tabs to learn more about each active reading strategy.

Pre-Reading Inquiry

Take Notes

Make Connections

Summarize

Apply What You Have Learned

 

 

Critical Analysis

As you engage in active reading, you should also be critically analyzing the texts. This approach will ensure that you are not a passive reader. As you read your sources, you should consider questions like:

· What is the author’s main argument?

· Is the author’s argument supported with evidence?

· Can you find evidence from the text itself to support your argument?

· What connections can you make to this text and others you have read on this topic? What differences do you see?

· Do you agree or disagree with the author?

Keep these strategies in mind in this course and your future classes, and you will become a more active and critical reader.

 

Week 6 Short Response

Using the active reading strategies you were introduced to in this learning block, critically analyze one of your secondary sources for your historical analysis essay. Those active reading strategies include:

· Ask yourself pre-reading questions, such as: What will be the subject of this reading? What do I hope to learn from this reading?

· Take notes while reading

· Make connections to other texts you have read

Week 6 Short Responses – Question 1

Which source will you analyze using active reading strategies? Include the name of the article, the author, the publication, the date, and where you found it.

Read your chosen source using the active reading strategies you learned on the previous page. Then, summarize the overall meaning and content of the reading. Write your summary below. Your summary should be at least one paragraph long.

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Desegregating Boston’s Schools

In  Brown v. Board of Education (1954)*, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in the public schools is unconstitutional. What it did not provide was an answer to the practical question: How do we do that?

A year later, in a decision that became known as Brown II, the court provided an answer to that question—sort of. It delegated the task of carrying out school desegregation to federal district courts and said that schools in segregated districts should be integrated “with all deliberate speed.” The ambiguity of that phrase was seized on by many opponents as a license for delay, and for close to a decade, there was little progress in integrating many segregated districts. (Civil Rights Movement Veterans, 2016)

The passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, coupled with later Supreme Court decisions ordering school districts to speed up the pace of desegregation, lent the process more urgency. But resistance to school desegregation—not just in the South but in many cities of the North and West as well—remained a formidable obstacle to the goal of achieving racial balance in public schools.

In Massachusetts, the state legislature in 1965 passed a law requiring the integration of all segregated schools in the state, the vast majority of which were in the capital city of Boston. (Levy, 1971) But the Boston School Committee resisted, and it was not until 1974—when a federal court ordered a citywide school busing* plan to end segregation of the Boston schools—that the process of integration finally began.

That process did not go smoothly. Fierce resistance in several of the city’s predominantly white neighborhoods forced state police and National Guard troops to escort African-American students into the schools, and the ensuing “Boston busing crisis” roiled the schools, and the city, for years. (Lukas, 1985) The Boston public schools were not declared fully desegregated until 1987.

 

This learning block uses the events of the Boston busing crisis as a prism for looking once again at the concepts of cause and consequence, and as a way to illustrate how you can use historical evidence to make an argument that supports your thesis.

Learning Objectives

In this learning block, you will:

· Describe the causes, course, and consequences of a historical event

· Use historical evidence to support the development of an analytical thesis statement

 

Boston, Busing, and Backlash

The struggle for voting rights, which we looked at in Theme: Analyzing History, Learning Block 3, was a struggle against  de jure segregation* that existed in just one part of the country: the states of the Old South. But the problem of  de facto segregation* was one that existed throughout the country, and its effects were perhaps seen most clearly in the nation’s public schools.

A series of Supreme Court cases in the early 1960s made it clear that de facto school segregation was unconstitutional and that segregated schools would be integrated by court order if necessary. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Court began requiring school busing* plans, which would send African-American students to largely white schools and send white students to largely African-American schools, as a means of achieving greater racial balance.

In Boston, the city’s small but growing African-American community began protesting the quality of public schools in largely black neighborhoods in the early 1960s. In 1965, in response to a federal investigation of possible segregation in the Boston public schools, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Racial Imbalance Act. The new law outlawed segregation in Massachusetts schools and threatened to cut off state funding for any school district that did not comply. (Levy, 1971)

 

A R.O.A.R button opposing Boston’s desegregation. (Click button for citation) 

Of the 55 Massachusetts schools identified as racially imbalanced, 45 were in the City of Boston. But the Boston School Committee, an all-white elected body led by Louise Day Hicks, refused to acknowledge the segregation and balked at any plan to remedy the situation. Hicks’s opposition to school desegregation boosted her popularity, particularly in the city’s working-class, heavily Irish-American neighborhoods; in 1967, she narrowly missed being elected mayor, but in 1969, she was elected to the city council, and in 1970, she was elected to Congress to represent her home neighborhood, the Irish-American enclave of South Boston. (Lukas, 1985)

The School Committee continued to stonewall demands to implement a meaningful desegregation plan. But in June 1974, federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity, deciding a lawsuit brought against the School Committee by the NAACP*, ruled that Boston’s schools were unconstitutionally segregated. He ordered that any school whose enrollment was more than 50 percent nonwhite must be balanced according to race.

To achieve that balance, Garrity ordered the schools to adopt a widespread busing plan by the first day of school in September. That announcement triggered a powerful backlash among white parents and students. Hicks formed an anti-busing group called Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) that spearheaded much of the opposition to Garrity’s desegregation order.

While the plan involved the busing of thousands of students from different neighborhoods across the city, the greatest attention was focused on the high schools in South Boston—a heavily working-class and overwhelmingly Irish-American part of town—and Roxbury, an overwhelmingly African-American neighborhood. Garrity’s order effectively paired the two schools, by requiring that they essentially swap hundreds of students.

 

Decades after the fact, Garrity’s busing order is still hotly debated in Boston. Supporters say that his unyielding approach was the only way to overcome white resistance and achieve racial balance in Boston’s schools. Critics say Garrity focused too much on the goal of achieving mathematical balance, rather than focusing on a plan to improve school quality for both African-American and white children. (Gellerman, 2014)

Robert J. Allison, professor of History at Suffolk University in Boston and author of A Short History of Boston, describes the causes and consequences of the Boston busing crisis in this video:

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When school opened in September, resistance to the busing plan was fierce. A throng of white protesters greeted the buses rolling into South Boston High School that September with jeers and epithets; some of the protesters began throwing bricks and rocks at the buses and at the state police escorting them. The incident marked the beginning of two years of angry and often violent confrontations between white and black parents, students, police, and protesters. (Wolff, 2015)

 

Anti-busing protesters attack attorney Theodore Landsmark as he exits Boston City Hall, 1976. (Click button for citation) 

From 1974 through 1976, the process of public education in Boston was turned into an ongoing tableau of state troopers and National Guardsmen in riot gear, escorting children into schools past jeering crowds; fights both inside and outside of schools, leading to hundreds of arrests; thousands of high-school students, both white and African-American, boycotting classes on a regular basis; and angry confrontations between protesters and public officials, such as Mayor Kevin White and Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who were deemed to be “pro-busing.” (Lukas, 1985)

All of this did not leave a lot of time for actual education. In the 1974-75 school year, school officials estimated that 12,000 of the school system’s 93,000 students were chronically or permanently absent; in the following year, that figure was estimated at 14,000. (Wolff, 2015) The average rate of absenteeism during the 1974-75 school year was approximately 50 percent. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1975)

The Boston protests, taking place in the heart of what was presumed to be one of the most “liberal” cities in America, attracted widespread media attention. They exposed sharp racial divisions in the city, and they also highlighted divisions based on class: many of the white protesters in working-class neighborhoods such as South Boston and Charlestown felt aggrieved that their neighborhoods had been singled out for busing, while schools in Boston’s more affluent suburbs were unaffected. (Lukas, 1985)

The worst of the violence and protests was over by the end of 1976, but the city and its schools were permanently changed. By the time Boston’s schools were declared desegregated in 1987, the student population had declined by almost 40 percent and the overwhelming majority of students were nonwhite. (Hoover Institution, 1998) While historians still debate whether the Boston busing crisis was a necessary cause* of these sharp demographic shifts in the city’s public school system, the events of 1974-1976 clearly contributed to changing perceptions of the school system among parents and students.

 

 

 

The Consequences of Boston’s Busing Crisis

Forty years after the fact, it’s worth asking the obvious question: what were the effects of Boston’s tumultuous school desegregation effort? To put it another way: What were the consequences of this historical event?

In assessing the consequences of any event, we first need to identify the groups or institutions that might have been affected. We could, for instance, look at the effects of busing on individual students—by tape-recording interviews with former students who were actually on the buses, to see what effect the experience had on their later lives. This type of research is known as oral history*.

We could also look at the impact of busing on the public school system itself. A few relevant statistics:

· In 1971-72, three years before busing began, there were 93,000 students in the Boston public schools; 61% were white; 32% were African-American; and 7% were other racial minorities. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1975)

· In 1990, three years after the schools were declared desegregated, there were 60,000 students in the Boston public schools; 22% were white; 48% were African-American; and 30% were other racial minorities. (Boston Studies Group, 2010)

· In 1971-72, Boston public schools had one of the highest dropout rates in the country. (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 1975) In 1990, the dropout rate had dropped below the national average. (Boston Studies Group, 2010; National Center for Education Statistics, 2015)

· In 1970, 10 percent of Boston public school students went on to graduate from college; in 1990, 30 percent did so. (Boston Studies Group, 2010)

Do these statistics tell us all we need to know about the impact of busing on the public school system? Are there factors, other than school busing, that might have caused some or all of these statistical shifts? Are there other ways that we might be able to measure the quality of the Boston public schools, both before and after busing?

What about the impact on the city itself? In the early and mid-1970s, there was a lot of discussion about the possibility of white flight*, the phenomenon in which white residents move out of mixed-race urban areas and relocate to largely white suburbs. In a narrower sense of the term, white flight can refer to the decision by white parents to take their children out of public schools and send them to largely white private or parochial schools.

Again, consider a few statistics:

· In 1970, Boston’s population was 641,071, and approximately 82% of residents were white. (U.S. Civil Rights Commission, 1975)

· In 1990, Boston’s population was 574,283; approximately 59% of residents were white. (Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2011)

Do these statistics suggest that Boston experienced a period of white flight between 1970 and 1990? Would it affect your thinking if you knew that Boston’s overall population had declined by 20 percent between 1950 and 1970—well before school busing began? (Kennedy, 1992)

Are there any other factors that might have caused these demographic changes? It’s worth noting that this was a time of strong suburban growth all around the country: between 1970 and 1990, the proportion of Americans living in suburbs rose from 37.6 percent to 46.2 percent. (US Census Bureau, 2002) Was Boston simply following the national trend toward suburbanization—a trend spurred by increased automobile ownership, expanded access to home mortgages, job growth in suburban areas, and the coming of age of the Baby Boom generation, among many other factors? Or was Boston a special case, with the busing crisis serving as the driving force behind suburbanization in the region?

Next, consider one more statistic:

· In 2010, Boston’s population was 617,594; approximately 47% of residents were white. (Boston Redevelopment Authority, 2011)

Long after the end of busing, then, the city’s population was increasing, but the proportion of white residents was still declining. Do you think that’s evidence of white flight or some other demographic trend—or maybe a combination of factors?

 

Mel King. Image courtesy of the South End Historical Society.

Finally, let’s look at the impact of busing on the city’s leadership and institutions. One of the leaders of the resistance to busing was Raymond L. Flynn, an Irish-American state representative and city councilor from South Boston. One of the strongest supporters of the desegregation plan was Mel King, an African-American state representative from Boston’s South End. In 1983, Flynn and King ran against each other for mayor.

 

Ray Flynn speaking in Boston. (Click button for citation) 

King was the first African-American candidate for mayor ever to make it past the preliminary round and into the November final election. Although Flynn won the mayoralty with 65 percent of the vote in 1983, King’s emergence as a strong and credible candidate was seen as evidence that Boston was at least beginning to move past the racial animus that marked the busing era. And Flynn, as mayor, devoted a great deal of time and effort to cooling racial tensions and promoting housing and economic development in largely African-American neighborhoods. (Walker, 2015)

Among Flynn’s significant accomplishments as mayor: in 1991, he sponsored, and Boston voters approved, a referendum to abolish the elected school committee and replace it with a panel appointed by, and directly answerable to, the mayor. The old School Committee that was, throughout the busing era, a defiant symbol of opposition to school desegregation, is now a long-gone relic of the distant past.

 

Week 6 Short Responses

The desegregation of Boston’s public schools was a major historical event that was the product of many different historical forces and events. In turn, it gave rise to many other important events. The following questions ask you to consider the Boston busing experience in relation to some of those historical forces and events. Be sure to respond to each question in 2-3 complete sentences, using proper grammar.

Week 6 Short Responses – Question 2

What events or historical forces contributed to the Boston busing crisis of the mid-1970s? Name at least three, and briefly explain why you think each one was a contributory cause of the Boston busing crisis.

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Week 6 Short Responses – Question 3 Name three specific consequences of the Boston busing crisis.

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Boston’s Busing Crisis: Further Reading

This page offers you two readings that provide very different views of the Boston busing crisis.

 

The first article argues the need for busing as a means to desegregate the schools; the second argues that busing hurt the quality of Boston’s schools. Both readings are required, to help you gain a better understanding of both sides of this issue.

The first reading is excerpted from “Deep Are the Roots: Busing in Boston”. This article was written in 1976, while the busing crisis was taking place. Click on the title of the article to read, download, and print a copy of the text. These readings are provided by the Shapiro Library. You will have to log into Shapiro Library with your SNHU credentials to access this article.

“No Other Alternative”

Frightening scenes have been observed in streets and schools. Caravans of buses have been escorted by squads of motorcycle police. Other police, all the force could supply, stood elbow to elbow to protect black youngsters. Still, violence was not prevented. Stones and bottles thrown at buses broke the windows and cut children’s skin. High school students beat each other with fists and clubs. A black man who happened to be parked near a gang of white youths was dragged from his car, kicked and beaten until rescued—and only because he was black.

…The[se] episodes seem to be most incongruous with the state which originated the nation’s first open-housing law and subsequently passed an admirable racial imbalance law to assure equal educational opportunity for all of its children. Indeed, such hostile acts do not seem consistent with Boston—the “cradle of liberty”—the city that desegregated schools in 1855! Dan Richardson, a former Federal housing official, has provided a possible explanation: “We pass great laws here, but when it comes to Boston, there’s never any enforcement. This must be one of the most segregated cities anywhere in housing and in schools, North or South.”

…On Monday night, protesters firebombed the birthplace of former President John F. Kennedy and scrawled “Bus Teddy” on the front sidewalk. One of the 94 persons arrested during the first four days of school was a South Boston youth who was carrying 15 firebombs in his car. A school bus had disappeared, but 69 per cent of the students were in attendance and there were no serious injuries. School authorities were anticipating a successful school year. Busing is an unpopular term in Boston and many white parents are asking why it is necessary. They feel that if all schools had quality education busing would be unnecessary. Busing is not totally accepted by black parents, but they realize that segregated housing, in many instances, leaves no other alternative to quality integrated education.

The second reading is excerpted from “Busing’s Boston Massacre”. This article was written in 1998, long after the crisis had ended. Click on the title of the article to read, download, and print a copy of the text. These readings are provided by the Shapiro Library. You will have to log into Shapiro Library with your SNHU credentials to access this article.

“Cause for a Revolution”

“Eighty percent of the people in Boston are against busing,” said Mayor Kevin White. “If Boston were a sovereign state, busing would be cause for a revolution.” On the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, [Federal Judge] Arthur Garrity ruled over Boston like a reincarnated King George. In the school system, his word was law and integration without representation had become the new tyranny.

…Busing has not only failed to integrate Boston schools, it has also failed to improve education opportunities for the city’s black children. When Boston introduced Stanford 9 testing to the public schools in 1996, 94 percent of seventh-graders at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School scored “poor” or “failing” in math, as did 73 percent of fifth-graders at Brighton’s Alexander Hamilton School. At Dorchester’s William E. Endicott School, 95 percent of the fifth-graders scored “poor” or “failing” in reading and 100 percent scored “poor” or “failing” in math. Yet all of these students were promoted to the next grade.

On the statewide Iowa Reading Test, the Boston Public Schools ranked 275 out of the 279 cities and towns in Massachusetts. Even the working-class city of Lawrence, with a large immigrant population and a high crime rate, outscored the Boston Public Schools despite the fact that Lawrence teachers make almost $15,000 less on average than Boston teachers.

…On the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), Boston fares even worse. On average, SAT test takers in the city’s high schools scored 845 (out of 1600) in 1996, surpassing only those in Chelsea. If you exclude the three exam schools, Boston would surely be last. With pathetic standardized test scores and an average promotion rate of 94 percent, it is hard to imagine the Boston Public Schools have improved since busing began. In fact, the evidence suggests they are probably worse.

 

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