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

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


Ferguson: Urgent Action – Forever Black History

a message from Congressman Hank Johnson

The following sponsored email was sent to you by AlterNet on behalf of Congressman Hank Johnson:

Urgent Petition: DontMilitarizeMainStreet.com

Dear AlterNet Reader,

I’m outraged.

The failure of the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson is a travesty of justice. And, the reaction of the police? The tear gas. The armored vehicles. The body armor. It’s the kind of action we expect from despotic governments, not the United States.

We in Congress can’t fix the grand jury’s terrible decision, but what we can do is stop the militarization of our police.

Join with me and sign my petition at DontMilitarizeMainStreet.com.

Police don’t need more armored vehicles to enforce the law. They need the trust of our citizens.

Police don’t need more grenade launchers. They need to build trust with people in our communities.

Police don’t need more assault rifles. They need more accountability.

I’m leading on this issue. I have introduced a bill in Congress to stop the militarization of our police. Both Republicans and Democrats alike are supporting this effort. Now, I need your support.

Sign the petition now. As a nation, we need to have discussions to tackle difficult questions about how officers patrol communities, prevent crime, and arrest suspects. Seeing the way a militarized police confronted protestors after the murder of an unarmed teenager makes it clear to me we have more work to do – the struggle for equal justice under the law must continue. That’s why Congress must pass our bill to stop the militarization of Main Street.

We have some incredible news. Our bill to end Main Street militarization now has 45 co-sponsors and our own petition now has hundreds of signatures. And it’s not just Democrats. Republicans have joined our effort as well. Help put us over 2,500 signatures. Together, will pressure Congress to act!

Our quest for justice continues. I hope you’ll stand with us.

For justice,

Hank Johnson


Equal Rights Amendment Passed by House, 354‐23 – Black History

About the Archive

By EILEEN SHANAHAN        OCT. 13, 1971

October 13, 1971, Page 1 The New York Times Archives

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive. To preserve articles as they originally appeared in print — before the start of online publication in 1996 — The Times does not alter, edit or update these articles.

Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems — along with other suggestions or feedback — to archive_feedback@nytimes.com.]

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12—The House of Representatives passed today, 354 to 23, a constitutional amendment prohibiting discrimination based on sex.

The amendment was passed in the form long favored by women’s rights advocates.

The key vote was on the issue of including in the amendment provisions that would continue the legality of drafting men, but not women, into the armed forces and provisions asserting the validity of many existing laws that treat men and women differently.

Women’s rights advocates said that these provisions nullified the intention of the Equal Rights Amendment, as it is known. They were stricken from the amendment by a vote of 265 to 87.

Today’s vote marked the second time in two years that the House has passed the amendment in the form advocated by women’s rights activists. Last year, there were only 15 votes against.

The amendment will now go to the Senate, which has never passed it in the version that feminists want, although it has passed amended versions three times.Continue reading the main story

AdvertisementContinue reading the main story

The fate of the amendment in the Senate in the current Congress is uncertain. If the Senate does pass it, it must be ratified by 38 states to become effective. The Senate majority leader, Mike Mansfield of Montana, has placed the bill on the Senate calendar so it can legally be called up for a vote at any time. This was a device to keep the Senate Judiciary Committee, where there is strong apposition to the amendment, from burying it there.

Since Mr. Mansfield can bring up the bill at any time, the Judiciary Committee is expected to act on it.

But there appeared to be strong probability that Senator Sam J. Ervin Jr. of North Carolina, the commitee’s leading opponent of the amendment, would be able to attach provisions similar to those that feminists find unacceptable and that were defeated in the House today.

Whether these provisions could then be eliminated on the Senate floor was questionable. Women’s rights groups expressed optimism that they would pick up more and more votes for their position as the 1972 elections drew closer.

The day’s debate in the House was long and conducted before galleries that were two‐thirds full of women of all ages, —ranging from elderly veterans of the fight for the women’s suffrage amendment, which was adopted in 1920, to college and high‐school girls.

At one point in the debate, Representative Thomas G. Abernethy, Democrat of Mississippi, said that enactment of the amendment would mean that there was no way of compelling a man to support his family. And he said that his wife had instructed him to vote against the amendment “because she doesn’t want to lose her home.”

Mr. Abernethy was followed to the rostrum by Representative Bella S. Abzug, Democrat of Manhattan, who started her speech with the announcement, “I do not come here under instructions from my husband as to how to vote.”

The galleries applauded and cheered—which is forbidden by the rules of the House.

Of the 11 women members of the House, nine, including Mrs. Abzug, voted for the amendment today. One absentee, Representative Edith Green, Democrat of Oregon, has supported it in the past. The lone opponent among the women members was Representative Leonor K. Sullivan, Democrat of Missouri.

The text of the amendment, H. J. Res. 208, is as follows:

Section 1. Equality of rights shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Most of the debate focused on the question of whether women would have to he drafted, if men were, if the amendment were adopted.

The sponsor of the modirication of the amendment that would have exempted women from compulsory military service, Representative Charles. E. Wiggins, Republican of California, said that the general counsel of the Department of Defense had told him it would be “impossible for the military to operate” If the amendment were adopted.

Not only would the services be forced to draft more women than they wanted, he said, but separate barracks and other separate facilities would not be permitted.

Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, demanded to know why, if the military was concerned, it had not asked to testify at the hearings on the amendment. Mr. Wiggins said that he could not answer that question.

A version of this archives appears in print on October 13, 1971, on Page 1 of the New York edition with the headline: Equal Rights Amendment Passed by House, 354‐23. Order ReprintsToday’s Paper|Subscribe

Black History Month: The Need Remains … a repost

Lonnie Bunch, museum director, historian, lecturer, and author, is proud to present A Page from Our American Story, a regular on-line series for Museum supporters. It will showcase individuals and events in the African American experience, placing these stories in the context of a larger story — our American story.A Page From Our American StoryEditor’s Note: This edition of A Page from Our American Story was originally a speech made by Lonnie Bunch. It is reprinted here in its entirety.Knowing the Past Opens the Door to the Future
The Continuing Importance of Black History Month

Carter Woodson,
father of Black
History Month,
was commemorated
by the United States
Postal Service with
a stamp in his
image on
February 1, 1984.

No one has played a greater role in helping all Americans know the black past than Carter G. Woodson, the individual who created Negro History Week in Washington, D.C., in February 1926.

Woodson was the second black American to receive a PhD in history from Harvard — following W.E.B. DuBois by a few years. To Woodson, the black experience was too important simply to be left to a small group of academics. Woodson believed that his role was to use black history and culture as a weapon in the struggle for racial uplift. By 1916, Woodson had moved to DC and established the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and Culture,” an organization whose goal was to make black history accessible to a wider audience. Woodson was a strange and driven man whose only passion was history, and he expected everyone to share his passion.

This impatience led Woodson to create Negro History Week in 1926, to ensure that school children be exposed to black history. Woodson chose the second week of February in order to celebrate the birthday of Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. It is important to realize that Negro History Week was not born in a vacuum. The 1920s saw the rise in interest in African American culture that was represented by the Harlem Renaissance where writers like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglass Johnson, Claude McKay — wrote about the joys and sorrows of blackness, and musicians like Louie Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Jimmy Lunceford captured the new rhythms of the cities created in part by the thousands of southern blacks who migrated to urban centers like Chicago. And artists like Aaron Douglass, Richard Barthe, and Lois Jones created images that celebrated blackness and provided more positive images of the African American experience.

Woodson hoped to build upon this creativity and further stimulate interest through Negro History Week. Woodson had two goals. One was to use history to prove to white America that blacks had played important roles in the creation of America and thereby deserve to be treated equally as citizens. In essence, Woodson — by celebrating heroic black figures — be they inventors, entertainers, or soldiers — hoped to prove our worth, and by proving our worth — he believed that equality would soon follow. His other goal was to increase the visibility of black life and history, at a time when few newspapers, books, and universities took notice of the black community, except to dwell upon the negative. Ultimately Woodson believed Negro History Week — which became Black History Month in 1976 — would be a vehicle for racial transformation forever.  Read the full speech now…

All the best,
Lonnie Bunch