1974 – Violence occurred on the opening day of classes in Boston, MA, due opposition to court-ordered school “busing.”

Valerie Banks was the only student to show up for her geography class at South Boston High School on the first day of court-ordered busing, Sept. 12, 1974. (AP)Valerie Banks was the only student to show up for her geography class at South Boston High School on the first day of court-ordered busing, Sept. 12, 1974. (AP)

First of two parts. Here’s Part 2. Note: Report contains some offensive language.

African-American students board a school bus outside South Boston High School on Sept. 12, 1974 -- the first day of school and the first day of court-ordered busing. (AP)
African-American students board a school bus outside South Boston High School on Sept. 12, 1974 — the first day of school and the first day of court-ordered busing. (AP)

BOSTON — With Boston public school students back in class, we recall a very different start to school 40 years ago. Then, classes began a week late to give students, schools and the police extra time to prepare for the first day of court-ordered desegregation.

Earlier that summer of 1974, federal District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity ruled that the Boston School Committee had deliberately segregated the city’s schools, creating one system for blacks and another for whites — separate, unequal and unconstitutional.

The remedy to achieve racial balance and desegregate schools was busing. Some 18,000 black and white students were ordered to take buses to schools outside of their neighborhoods.

‘The Words. The Spit.’

Here’s how The Boston Globe headlined that first day of court-ordered busing: “Boston Schools Desegregated, Opening Day Generally Peaceful”. The headline was reassuring, if not exactly accurate. It was only Phase 1 of the federal desegregation plan. Just 59 of 201 schools were desegregated that day, and it was far from peaceful at South Boston High School.

Southie was ground zero for anti-busing rage. Hundreds of white demonstrators — children and their parents — pelted a caravan of 20 school buses carrying students from nearly all-black Roxbury to all-white South Boston. The police wore riot gear.

“I remember riding the buses to protect the kids going up to South Boston High School,” Jean McGuire, who was a bus safety monitor, recalled recently. “And the bricks through the window. Signs hanging out those buildings, ‘Nigger Go Home.’ Pictures of monkeys. The words. The spit. People just felt it was all right to attack children.”

One of those children was Regina Williams.

“I had no idea what to expect [with] this busing thing,” Williams said. “I didn’t know anything about South Boston. I didn’t know anything about, you know, they didn’t like us. I didn’t know anything that was in store for us. But when we got there, it was like a war zone.

“I came back and I told my mom, and I’ll never forget, I said, ‘Ma, I am not going back to that school unless I have a gun.’ At 14 years old. I am not going back to that school.”

To read more … wbur.org/news



1992 Dr. Mae Carol Jemison became the first African-American woman in space

1992 – Dr. Mae Carol Jemison became the first African-American woman in space. She was the payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Endeavor. Also onboard were Mission Specialist N. Jan Davis and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Mark C. Lee. They were the first married couple to fly together in space. And, Mamoru Mohri became the first Japanese person to fly into space.

Jesse Owens Biography Track and Field Athlete, Athlete (1913–1980) HERO

Jesse Owens
Jesse Owens (September 12, 1913 to March 31, 1980), also known as “The Buckeye Bullet,” was an American track and field athlete who won four gold medals and broke two world records at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

Owens’ athletic career began in high school, when he won three track and field events at the 1933 National Interscholastic Championships. Two years later, while competing for Ohio State University, he equaled one world record and broke three others before qualifying and competing in the 1936 Olympics.

The 2016 movie Race depicts Owens’ budding track and field stardom in college through his wins at the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin, where he defied Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.Made in consultation with Stephen Owens’ three daughters, the movie stars Stephan James as Owens and Jason Sudeikis as Larry Snyder, Owens’ coach at Ohio State University.

Jesse Owens’ Wife and Kids

Jesse Owens was married for nearly 48 years to Ruth Owens. The longtime chairwoman of the Jesse Owens Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting the development of young people,

Ruth died in 2001 of heart failure. The couple had three daughters together: Gloria, Beverly, and Marlene.

When and Where Was Jesse Owens Born?

Jesse Owens was born James Cleveland Owens on September 12, 1913, in Oakville, Alabama.

Family and Early Life

The son of a sharecropper and the grandson of slaves, Jesse Owens was a frail child who was often sick from battles with chronic bronchial congestion and pneumonia.

Still, he was expected to work, and at the young age of seven he was picking up to 100 pounds of cotton a day to help his family put food on the table.

At the age of nine, Owens moved with his family to Cleveland, Ohio, where the young “J.C.” discovered a world far different than the slower, Southern life he’d known. School proved to be one of the bigger changes. Gone was the one-room schoolhouse he’d attended in Alabama, replaced by a bigger setting with stricter teachers.

Here, Owens earned the nickname that would stick with him the rest of his life: One of his instructors, unable to decipher his thick southern accent, believed the young athlete said his name was “Jesse,” when he in fact had said “J.C.”

Rising Track and Field Star

At East Technical High School, Owens quickly made a name for himself as a nationally recognized sprinter, setting records in the 100 and 200-yard dashes as well as the long jump. After graduating, Owens enrolled at Ohio State University, where he continued to flourish as an athlete.

At the 1935 Big Ten Championships, the “Buckeye Bullet,” as he was also known, overcame a severe tailbone injury and tied a world record in the 100-yard dash—and set a long jump record of 26-8 ¼ that would stand for 25 years. Owens also set new world marks in the 220-yard dash and in the 220-yard low hurdles.

His dominance at the Big Ten games was par for the course for Owens that year, which saw him win four events at the NCAA Championships, two events at the AAU Championships and three others at the Olympic trials. In all, Owens competed in 42 events that year, winning them all.

1936 Olympics

For Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were expected to be a German showcase and a statement for Aryan supremacy.

Hitler lambasted America for including black athletes on its Olympic roster. But it was the African-American participants who helped cement America’s success at the Olympic Games.

In all, the United States won 11 gold medals, six of them by black athletes. Owens was easily the most dominant athlete to compete. He captured four gold medals (the 100 meter, the long jump, the 200 meter and the 400-meter relay) and broke two Olympic records along the way.

Owens’ world record for the broad jump would last 25 years until being broken by Olympian Irvin Roberson in 1960. After Owens won the 100-meter event, a furious Hitler stormed out of the stadium, though some reports indicate that Hitler later congratulated the athlete on his success.

Jesse Owens and Racism

While Owens helped the U.S. triumph at the games, his return home was not met with the kind of fanfare one might expect. President Franklin D. Roosevelt failed to meet with Owens and congratulate him, as was typical for champions.

The athlete wouldn’t be properly recognized until 1976, when President Gerald Fordawarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The mild-mannered Owens seemed not the least bit surprised by his home country’s hypocrisy. “When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus,” he said. “I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler, but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the president, either.”

Later Years

Following the 1936 Olympic Games, Owens retired from amateur athletics and started to earn money for his physical talents. He raced against cars and horses, and, for a time, played with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Owens eventually found his calling in public relations and marketing, setting up a business for himself in Chicago, Illinois, and traveling frequently around the country to speak at conventions and other business gatherings.


Jesse Owens died of lung cancer in Tucson, Arizona, on March 31, 1980. He smoked up to a pack of cigarettes a day for a good deal of his life.

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