Biden – Busing – Harris: Will Biden Escape His Past? 3 of 6

(continued from yesterday)

After Hale and Dorr packed up its bags an withdrew from the case, it then fell into the lap of my firm. By that time Garrity had already begun busing students here, there and everywhere under the Board plan but what was on paper turned out to be very helter-skelter when implemented.

Garrity wanted a better plan. This would be the Phase 2 plan. The first big event was the hearing before the four masters appointed by Garrity to listen to the different plans that had been offered by various parties most of which involved busing. The masters aided by two independent “experts” were charged with recommending one to the judge. I handled the case for the Committee that lasted about two weeks. At least a half a dozen lawyers were representing other. parties.

The Committee offered a plan that involved establishing small magnet schools in neutral areas that would be racially balanced. They would be so good that most parents interested in their child’s education would be attracted to them even though they may contain kids of another race. That was given short shrift. For one reason, the Committee had become the bête noire of the judge,  and the other, the idea of forcing people to do things they’d prefer not to do seemed to have an inordinate appeal to some.

You know the result. Garrity instituted a busing plan targeting mainly South Boston, another bête noire of “right thinking” people. The folks there resisted causing the judge to double down on them.  South Boston High School would have crowds around it shouting at the black students entering it from yellow school buses; rocks would be thrown at buses carrying innocent kids; state troopers would be assigned to the corridors to keep peace; and every action taken there was put under a microscope by the judge who even decided the type of basketballs the team would practice with. The one thing lacking at South Boston High and many other schools in the city subject to a white boycott was education – it seemed odd in a case that was brought to better the education of black students.

All sections of Boston were impacted in an effort to achieve more racially balanced schools. That white parents were unwilling to have their kids  go to school with blacks was conclusively shown by their reaction to the busing orders. They fled the Boston public schools fearful that their children would be sent into neighborhoods they believed were both hostile and dangerous. Also, unwilling to have their children subject to an experiment that had little to do with education. They went to private, parochial and suburban schools in a phenomenon known as “white flight.” Those who tried to stay were driven out after two years when they were notified their children were going to be assigned to the third different school that fall.

 Enrollment in the Boston Public Schools dropped drastically, blacks became the majority of the students, and it was impossible to have any racial balance leaving it that schools became more heavily imbalanced than before the experiment began. Most agreed after five or six years that busing had failed miserably. As a commentator said the other day, “Americans do not like to be told what to do.”
Black families had much earlier become disgusted with the Boston School Committee. They together with the state Board of Education and some suburban school districts in 1966 came up with the METCO program that exists to this day. It buses black children from Boston to the neighboring suburban communities that are mostly white. That apparently is the type of program that Joe Biden does not object to, one that is voluntary. Or put another way, one that does not involve busing white kids. How fair is that?
I believe that the METCO program being a state program which in effect admits that the education offered white students in the suburbs is better than the one offered black children in the City of Boston would provide the foundation for a federal court action that could require the suburbs to be part of a plan integrating the schools. More on that later.
(continued Friday)


4 thoughts on “Biden – Busing – Harris: Will Biden Escape His Past? 3 of 6

  1. Often, I would think, as I stood at my post on D Street: If it’s an educational exercise, why don’t they just bus the teachers?

  2. I recall your speaking about your experiences during that era (error) and asking with whimsy…”Do you know what it is like to go two years without winning a single MOTION?”
    My memory is that you were able to read all the newspapers in that courtroom!
    Happy 4th Matt, thanks for the memories!

  3. the race issue was overblown in my opinion.
    Every parent was happy their child got into Boston Latin, Boston English, even if the child had to take a bus and train across the city from Savin Hill, Southie, East Boston or Brighton. They thought these schools offered better education than the local South Boston High or Dot High or Brighton High.
    In the 1960s, the City Schools (Latin, English, Trade) had minority students aplenty and everyone happily studied together and played sports together. Remember the football and basketball teams of the 1960s; remember Latin always had a large contingent of Asian-American students.
    I submit it was simply as was stated, AMERICANS DON’T LIKE THE GOVERNMENT TELLING THEM HOW TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN, WHAT SCHOOLS TO GO TO, ETC . . . .that was the major opposition to forced busing to achieve integration . . . .not race.

    Yes, METCO, and fair housing laws, and equal employment laws, and the civil rights movement and affirmative action were helpful in redressing past wrongs . . .and helpful in raising all Americans consciousness to the evils of bigotry and discrimination, but too often too many good people were labelled “racists” who simply and rightfully were opposed to government intrusiveness in their lives.

    Today, I’m proud to say, as an Irish-American born in South Boston and raised in Savin Hill, that I am related by blood and marriage to every race, religion, ethnic group, sexual orientation, political persuasion and musical proclivity in America, practically speaking, and in my lifetime have courted young women of every persuasion . . .as my lifelong friend Tom Tucker, a Vietnam Combat Veteran born and raised in Savin Hill and good athlete at English High used to say, “We don’t discriminate against women.”

    I do discriminate against Anti-Americans like the NIKE corporation that insults every patriotic American family by insulting the first American flag approved by Congress in June 1776 and by telling us that Colin Kaepernick has “sacrificed all” when he sacrificed nothing by insulting the American Flag and National Anthem, rather he made millions by doing so and NIKE made millions by holding him up as and idol. NIKE was a false god, NIKE forgets the Americans who truly sacrificed all in service to this country, like my uncle Jimmy Rogers who dies in the crash of his B-17 during World War II.

    NIKE forgets that July 4 commemorates the day in July 1776, in the midst of a WAR, the Revolutionary War, shortly after the Americans victory at Bunker Hill on June 17, 1776, when we Americans drove the British from Boston, and on that July 4th in the midst of War, Americans who had pledged “their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor” to be FREE, issued THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.

    FREEDOM and INDEPENDENCE is what we celebrate on July 4. And freedom from government oppression, government intrusion is what folks across the country rebelled against when the government, the FEDs, tried to force “forced busing” on us.

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