Massachusetts Historical Society


Organizing for Education Equity, 1960-1974, Led by the Black Community; Before Busing


Click here to listen to the audio recording of this program.

This program will be presented at Roxbury Community College, Media Arts Building, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury Crossing, 02120

Hubie Jones, Leader on these events, Former Director of Roxbury Multi-Service Center

Jean McGuire, Director of METCO, 1973–2016

Zebulon Miletsky, Stony Brook University, Author of Before Busing: A History of Boston's Long Black Freedom Struggle

Lyda Peters, 25 years of work on these issues as a key aide to legendary organizer for equity and desegregation Ruth Batson

Vernita Carter-Weller , daughter of Rev. Vernon Carter, who picketed the Boston School Committee for 114 consecutive days in 1965 to help win passage of the 1965 State Racial Imbalance Law

Charles Glenn, served as coordinator at his church for School Stay Out Freedom School held 11 June 1964

Gloria Lee, as a 12-year-old participated in the School Stay Out and attended a Freedom School

Jim Vrabel, Boston historian, author of A People's History of the New Boston

This is an in-person event. FREE.

Register to attend in person

This panel will discuss the education issues brought by community groups to the Boston School Committee and the committee’s negative reaction. Topics include the Stay-Outs and Freedom Schools involving 8,000 students on two occasions; passage of the first Racial Imbalance Law in the country in 1965; starting Operation Exodus to transport Black students to vacant seats in better-resourced white schools and starting METCO, (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity), to give some students of color a chance to attend suburban schools. The discussion culminates with reflections on Judge Garrity’s 1974 desegregation decision.

Download a pdf with more information and resources.

Watch The Busing Battleground

On September 12, 1974, police were stationed outside Boston schools as Black and white students were bused for the first time to comply with a federal court desegregation order. Shocking violence, directed mostly at children, ensued. The Busing Battleground from American Experience and GBH illuminates the volatile effort to end school segregation, and the decades-long struggle for educational equity that preceded the crisis.

In-person event.

Masks are optional for this event.

Image credit: published by Globe Newspaper Company, 21 August 1963. In the collection of Northeastern University Library: NAACP pickets School Committee. - DRS (

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