School Busing Upheld by Supreme Court --Boston Busing Crisis -- 1970s

external image 21_boston_03.jpg
A protest against forced busing


Forced busing is the act of assigning students to certain school buses based on their race, ethnicity, or religion, in order to address the prior racial segregation. In 1954 the Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education ordered the desegregation of schools. In the 1971 decision of Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education the institution of busing of black students to mainly formerly all-white schools in the suburbs, and vice versa. Although public schools were desegregated in 1954, many public schools were still segregated due to financial and housing problems. Starting in the mid-1970s, some minority students, especially blacks, were transported miles from poorer core cities to newer affluent suburbs.In the 1970's and 1980's, many school districts created and imposed mandatory busing plans. These busing plans were implemented by the federal government and not all schools welcomed the change. Boston resisted the most to this new change, specifically South Boston, otherwise known as 'Southie' The trouble was started in Southie in an upper class, white, Catholic neighborhood. Some blacks were attacked, and later retaliated. An organization called "Restore Our Alienated Rights" was formed in Boston,MA by Louise Day Hicks around 1974. The purpose of this group was to protest against the Federal courts order to desegregate the buses. At the groups political height in 1975, it began to be broken apart by enemies. Since then, schools have started using new technology to create their busing plans. Due to the new efforts and changed and improved housing plans, by the early 1990's, most schools had been detached from the federal government and allowed to create their own busing plans.


external image segregation.jpg
Three boys holding up signs against desegre
gation of schools and school buses

external image busing_4.jpg
A desegregated school bus

Busing in Boston
Busing in Boston

Children of different colors getting off of a school bus

Video: Charlestown - Forced Busing

Video showing the effects and issues of forced busing to this day

Why is Forced busing controversial?

  • Opponents claimed busing compromised the quality of the students' education
  • Students were forced to travel to schools in dangerous neighborhoods that are unfamiliar to students from safer neighborhoods
  • People would move to the suburbs were forced busing wasn't pushed because it is less diverse than the city. This made the property values decreased because the city was not desirable at that time
  • Due to the upper class whites moving from the city to the suburbs, the quality of the education decline

What are the effects of forced busing?

Forced busing led to:
    • White Flight -- The demographic trend where working and middle-class white people move away from increasingly racial-minority inner-city neighborhoods to white suburbs

Key Players

  • external image HicksLouiseDay.jpg Louise Day Hicks - Founder of the organization, "Restore Our Alienated Rights", founded in Boston, MA,1974
  • external image garrity.jpgW. Arthur Garrity Jr. - U.S. District Court Judge that ordered forced busing upon Boston Public Schools (He was extremely pro forced busing and desegregation)
  • external image ewarren.gif Chief Justice Earl Warren - Chief Justice that claimed that segregation is psychologically harmful to black children and implied that all-black classrooms are inherently inferior. His opinion gave others in the court system the thought that just stopping segregated schools was not enough
  • external image brennan3.gifJustice William Brennan - The Justice that ruled to desegregate white and black schools
  • The Supreme Court
  • The Board Of Education