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Eyes on the Prize
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The Federal Court Order to Integrate Boston Schools

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A school child from the Roxbury section of Boston at the Francis Parkman School in Jamaica Plain, 1965.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Ruth Batson of the NAACP and other activists investigated Boston public schools and found tremendous differences and inequities in the staffing, supplying and maintenance of schools that served mostly white or mostly black students. They held meetings and rallies, organized freedom schools and independent busing programs, and successfully lobbied for state legislation to demonstrate the segregated and unequal nature of Boston schools. The Boston School Committee continued to reject the notion that the schools were essentially a segregated system and took steps to maintain that segregation. So the NAACP turned to the federal courts. In 1974, US District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr. found the city of Boston guilty of unconstitutional and intentional segregation in its schools. The remedy proposed by the court was desegregation; the most controversial aspect of his plan was two-way busing -- sending black students into predominantly white schools and white children into predominantly black schools.

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