September 12

This Day in History

General Interest

Sep 12, 1974:

Violence in Boston over racial busing

In Boston, Massachusetts, opposition to court-ordered school "busing" turns violent on the opening day of classes. School buses carrying African American children were pelted with eggs, bricks, and bottles, and police in combat gear fought to control angry white protesters besieging the schools.

U.S. District Judge Arthur Garrity ordered the busing of African American students to predominantly white schools and white students to black schools in an effort to integrate Boston's geographically segregated public schools. In his June 1974 ruling in Morgan v. Hennigan, Garrity stated that Boston's de facto school segregation discriminated against black children. The beginning of forced busing on September 12 was met with massive protests, particularly in South Boston, the city's main Irish-Catholic neighborhood. Protests continued unabated for months, and many parents, white and black, kept their children at home. In October, the National Guard was mobilized to enforce the federal desegregation order.

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