Public Affairs; United States Civil Rights Commission Hearings On Boston School Desegregation
From Boston National Public Radio presents a special report the hearings of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The Boston school desegregation case. Reporting from NPR member station WGBH. Here is Frank Fritz Marise. Today's hearings by the civil rights commission focused on the case studies of three of Boston's largest high schools and how they've been affected by the federal district court order to desegregate the Boston public schools. Roslindale high school was one of the major components of the busing scheme which started last September known as phase one. Though the early part of the school year there was briefly marred by student scuffles. The school has been basically peaceful in recent months thanks to the efforts of sensitive administrators and community groups as well as a bi racial council made up of students in South Boston High School though was the scene of bitter confrontations last fall including a knifing inside the building and frequent mob scenes of angry residents who
congregated outside Southey high. The third school Charles Town High doesn't come under the busing order until this September when phase two of the court's busing order becomes effective the commission wants to know how Charles Town is preparing for the new school year and how the community plans to avoid the school boycotts and racial tension which put Southey into the national headlines last year. During today's session the commission members were confronted by open refusals to testify by three of the subpoenaed witnesses. They were members of two of the city's largest anti busing organizations. The powder keg Information Center and roar an acronym for restore our eliminated rights. Reporter David Friedberg has the story. The civil rights commissioners had reason for pause yesterday when an editor of The Boston Globe announced he would resist a subpoena to appear in a panel on news coverage of integration. He asserted that the First Amendment guarantee of free
speech protected him from government investigation. As to his editorial role but today three witnesses none of them journalists claimed immunity from testifying as well on the ground that as members of an anti bussing organization they cannot be subjected to examination. Their attorneys cited restrictions on the commission against investigating private clubs. The legal issue before the panel then is whether the group ror an acronym for restore our alienated rights in fact constitutes a private club. The three silent witnesses pleaded the Fifth Amendment among others and their lawyers were directed by commission chairman Arthur Fleming to prepare a legal memorandum defending the refusal by tomorrow. Late today State Representative Raymond Flynn who was subpoenaed last week on the floor of the Massachusetts House announced he also will not testify as scheduled for tomorrow. Flynn is a staunch opponent of court ordered busing and a
declared candidate for mayor of Boston in explaining his decision not to testify. He credited legislative duties. Thus for local residents have refused to answer questions by the commission and they are all active in the effort to resist desegregation. Chairman Fleming using his typical mild manner suggested that the busing opponents would enjoy an opportunity to charge the commission with having investigated only the pro integration side of this controversy. Today's developments further muddle how the commissioners will dispose of yesterday's bulking by Globe editor Robert Healy. They were scheduled to announce a resolution on that tomorrow and the four other reluctant witnesses must appear on Friday for a determination by the panel's legal council. This is David Freud Berg big commissioners today heard from the only student scheduled among the 100 some subpoenaed witnesses. Their
pupils at Roslindale high school attended before integration almost completely by whites. In September when the court order to desegregate took effect Laurie Bligh a black youngster travelled from his home in the mad upin section of Boston to Roslindale high. He's part of a bi racial committee of students along with Cheryl to bagi a white student who testified first. I think if the parents left the students alone in the whole school the headmaster teaches that everything would have been less confusing at the beginning of the year because parents outside and some inside the school want to get their kids out. That just added to the confusion because they don't know what's going on inside the school. We're the ones that have to go to school. If you saw your parents outside of school what would you say to them today. Tell me. I have no further questions at this time. Rational frame of
mind. Appreciate your. Your statement that if you are left alone you can solve your difficulties I sure hope you can help you place yourself. I'd like to ask both of you Cheryl and Laurie do you feel the future of America requires a degree. The segregated society. Yes I do. What was the attitude of faculty do you think. That was sufficiently their attitude was sufficiently positive to enhance and be supportive of the bi racial. Situation in Roslindale. Well I feel that the only support that we really had came from Mr Burgess and the teachers didn't really bother to get involved in the bi racial committee in a sense just with any slurs racial slurs from the faculty. You know now that I can say
that I love Sheryl. No but they were not really involved. You know is it accurate to say that in general black parents were more cooperative with phase one then white parents. Well I can't really say that I can only speak for myself. I know that my parents were fair I would you know my parents went along with it. You said it is trouble of. Do you feel that you're going to get her to sleep in maybe interfere with me going to school at all. What do you think about the role of the police. Why is it a constructive one. I guess it all depends on how you look at it whether you're black or white. I believe the white students had it didn't take long for them to gain a friendship. You know with the police officers because I
do believe the police officers officers were from that community. Was there any problem with racial slurs from the police or were they really helpful in keeping the peace and conveying to the black students a feeling of protection. Well no there wasn't any racial slurs but when there were walkouts and Mr. Burgess thought that the police officers should be called Inside the building. At the time when they came into the building only the black students were in the building so therefore who was in the cars in not in classes. And we were kind of leaned on and I don't think you would call that at least I don't call that adequate protection. How about you Cheryl what do you think of the role of the police. Was it a positive helpful one or negative. I think it was negative and what stands in the place would be every morning in the many white kids will be every for the
buses even arrived in it. It's like they were like you friends and may tell you to go in school and what to do when they were only like yeah and you know they were saying they said things like well why don't you go in and show whose school it is. Like they provoke us you know and they should knew police were provoking the white students. Yeah they they they'd say things like that you know kids would laugh and some kid would say yes you're right. You know they talk you like did the I you buddy stand on the corner. Some of them not all. One final question. Would you like to see phase one work successfully and people face to work successfully and peacefully. Yes I would. How do you think their students can advance that goal. Well when face to next year at the beginning instead of going through everything that
we've been through this year get into school instead of getting into activities and planning things for your school that the students can do together. I think Mary I think that just wants to get to school and try and work with the staff not just schools and try to get some kind of social club. You know what are students going to have to get to know one another. I believe that will really help. Thank you Laurie Bly a black student completing his first year at the newly integrated Roslindale high school. Testifying before the commission with Cheryl to bagi who is white Also testifying today before the six commissioners were three members of the staff at South Boston High School the scene of frequent violence during the fall semester. The knifing of 17 year old Michael Faith a white student triggered street rioting one afternoon prompting school officials to cancel classes for weeks attendance at Southey
high had been played throughout the school year by a boycott organized by opponents to court ordered busing. The atmosphere there remained tense for months especially with state and local police. Sometimes in the hundreds patrolling the campus. South Boston is a tightly knit ethnic community with a reputation for resisting integration. When the federal order for busing was handed down last June administrators planned for a troublesome autumn appearing as witnesses before the Civil Rights Commission today where a guidance counselor at the school Joan does a and it's headmaster William Reed. How would you characterize the response of the community in South Boston in relation to your high school in terms of desegregation. First the community didn't believe it would ever happen. And secondly I think the boycott expressed their opinion. Do you believe was the voice caught successful in the keeping students out of school
all through the year. I would say it was extremely successful. How many students did in fact and up attending South Boston High School. We had in the main building nine hundred forty six register and average daily attendance of 550 to 600. How many of those were white. How many were black. Approximately one hundred fifty to one hundred and seventy blacks attend daily. A balance white. Were you involved in the law enforcement planning through the little city hall. Yes sir I was. How did that process operate when were you brought into that. The very first meeting I believe in June the day after school closed. We had a meeting at the Old Street house and I don't move to the public library and we met all summer. Did you make specific recommendations for the number of police that you believe might be needed within the school or outside of the school or was that a law enforcement to so we hope that no police would be needed in the school. We discussed the possibilities with various police officials they were the final determinants on
the numbers to be made it was a juror recommendation then in effect that for a local police profile within the schools. I think we want to long with that idea. What about outside of the school. I think that was part of the idea outside to him. Did that idea come from the law enforcement authorities or did it come from the school with the straightest such as yourself. I would say it was mutual. It was mutual. Mrs. Darcy Could you tell us what type of teacher or interned patient was provided for phase one from your perspective as a teacher. I attended human relations workshop after school for X number of weeks during the spring I think it started in March. That was Dorothy can choose which event did you find that of you said all to you during the school year. Somewhat but there again not that practical would have like something more practical more specific. Could you tell us what the atmosphere in the school was upon the opening of
school. Dreadful. Would you expand on that. Patron terrible fear. Anticipation. All kinds of dire things that may or may not be happening. Trying to remember all of our orientation about not listening to rumors and trying to imagine but nonetheless keeping our backs to the wall in our eyes in all directions. Where were you stationed at the first out of the front gate behind Dr. Reed and some of the police. What was your what was your role to be that first day greeting the bus students and the walking students as they came in trying to I would think give some semblance of normalcy to an otherwise busy scene. How did the year progress from your point of view from that day. We went through a peak to the stabbing.
And in just over January it was pretty bad. Then after the state police came in and we got ourselves together somewhat. We were constantly being oriented or having briefings with Dr. Reid and with each other when we had time to talk and I think by that time we began to go through another maybe a plateau and feel not not necessary that we were going to make it but maybe we'd make it through the day. I think what was going on within your specific classroom during the strong contrary to a lot of the rumors going around. I personally was teaching every day and everyone around me was. I can remember a teacher one student. I think we did better this year than we've ever done in terms of being able to teach. You know you want maybe self disciplining ourselves and I think the faculty became closer. We had a common purpose.
Safety of youngsters as well as implementation of the law really. We had to leave personal feelings out of it as much as we could. Dr. Reed earlier our. Mr. Burgess describe to us the process used in Roslindale high school which was an extremely limited access to the school. What only those students who had a ticket in a sense could enter. And the teachers and one or two community very still going say sions was was that the procedure followed in South Boston or not what was the procedure on pretty much except by Scott it's not a good idea. It can be passed around to anyone. It's not very valid legitimate ID is really needed everyone. And at the front door and now everyone and it's the front door and goes through the metal detectors and I highly recommend this as a standard procedure for any school on going to segregation.
What kind of. Based on your experience of the past year. Clearly a very difficult year. What kind of recommendations would you make you just made one to other schools undergoing desegregation kind of things can be done from the from the headmaster's point of view and also from teachers point of view. I think you have to arrive early. You have to go through the building preferably with some scrub brushes a paint pot so something to take especially if a building is used at night by community people. I think the metal detectors are essential. I think staff wise you have to have people who are available at any time to investigate both before and after incidents. I think you need smaller classes more teachers skilled in teaching reading and subjects. Basically to bring youngsters who may have
been out especially true next year maybe when our school year or so and bring them up back to stand it. And I think you could go on indefinitely you need extra secretarial help because of the paperwork that's caused by all the reports that have to be completed. This sort of thing and I think it helps to have a party on Friday afternoon. This is based on your experience what kinds of things would you as a teacher at large like to see happen for school undergoing two surgeries and what kind of training or class size would you think yours is essential. I think a combination of the human relations workshop and more practical application would be a good sign. But I don't believe in any of these being anything but voluntary I think they ruin the whole concept of human relations that way.
I think that the staff should be apprised of every every kind of incident that occurs. Perhaps not daily but certainly during the week. Meet with the headmaster just briefly after school. I think that helped us an awful lot rather than being left in the dock you know not knowing we'd hear rumors. There again rumor control tried very hard not to let these rumors get the best of people and I agree about the party. John does a guidance counselor and teacher at the tense South Boston High School testifying today along with headmaster William Reid. The racial tensions experienced last fall of South Boston High took up most of today's hearing as the commissioners heard next from Jim O'Sullivan and Peggy Kaufman two members of the parents bi racial Committee a group which was formed at the height of the disturbances over the busing of blacks in the south. Did you as a quote average or do anything in particular to try to keep force of high school open.
Yes. As a matter of fact the day we made the deposition we were invited up. I was one of the ones who were I was invited up to Superintendent Larry's office in on the agenda for that meeting was the closing bust in high school. And to say I got piano was you know upset about the whole thing. And when it came down to the question why was the parent still in auditor help to solve the situation. So what that time it came to me that I knew I could get enough parents who were willing if the police couldn't provide protection I felt that the parents could keep things under control. And which seemed like a good idea at the time nobody objected anything else. So I spent the next two days completely on the telephone trying to get parents who were willing to go into the school and I didn't know what they were going
to do. I really didn't. Just to patrol the car into just just to give the kids moral support to let them know that the parents were with them and they want them to continue their education and such as it was it was a bad idea as everybody knows I mean you cannot have that. How many people you were able to contact who were willing to do this. I had from from late Friday night when I got home until early Sunday evening and I had close to 120 parents now where these people were these parents who were in favor of the desegregation of school or were these parents who were strongly opposed to the school desegregation. I would say we were all opposed. You know I feel so middle of the road ish you know I think that we were opposed to it. But at the same time we didn't want any trouble we didn't want any kids to get hurt and were willing to go in and have the students both black and white. Received their education without any
violence if if we could help in any way. I gather the current committee was never at the laws of the state police force or school. Well not completely actually. When they found out I had no idea this was going to boring like it did the day that as America cried Sunday night Miss Solomon called me up and asked me if I would go over and let the school committee know how well I was doing getting people you know involved in. I had no idea that it was going to be on television and that it was going to make us make such a big impression on people. All I was concerned with was impressing the kids so that they would go back to school and they would know that in this short time we had that many parents who were willing to do and stand by them 100 percent. This was my this was my whole idea certainly not being on television or be an interviewer. That was the furthest thing from my mind but it
just sort of I didn't know I was. I didn't know I was being like positive in my thinking because I was only thinking of the kids I wasn't thinking of anything nationally or anything else if you encounter a group you'll get criticism for your position. I did. I didn't. Would you still be willing let's say for face to do to organize parents to protect the school system to protect to protect the buses coming in to protect the children walking from the busses to the pool to the classroom door. If such were achievable. Yes I would. The funny thing is though we did I had called Mystery our principal and I told him about the parents that I had had which he was very plays so he said to me Mrs. Kaufman do you have any black parents in the course I had to say no. I didn't know any black parents. So he said I can't bring just white parents into the school. We have to
bring both black and white. So he said I will be willing to go to the Freedom House and get black parents who are also willing to give their time and go and. And he did. And actually we went up there on just two occasions and we found out that we really weren't needed off. I think the fact that the kids know. There we were behind them and the people did really care. We were not needed and Mr. Reed gave us as mere fact he took us from the basement up to the top. In every room we went by and nobody was aware that we were common classes were being conducted. And I don't know where or what but it was particularly odd away on the day that we were there and but I think that we are even as far as lunch. He had us go down to the lunchroom that day so that we wouldn't be you know because that's where most disturbances had occurred was in the lunch room when you came in known in the community from news
or television appearances. Did you start receiving you there on a name basis or an anonymous basis request from other parents to for help of any sort. Yes I had one in particular. I still don't know who the woman is to this day that called me up and she was she was quite upset about boycotting her children up until that time. And she says why are you telling us to send our children back when I was a telling us to keep them warm. And I said I'm not telling you to send your children back. That decision has to be yours and your husband's certainly not mine. I said I'm just the ones I was referring to which I thought I had made myself clear were the ones who were in school to please go back in. You know we're trying to make things work out for them but she really I really felt that this woman was looking for someone to tell her what to do. So I said the only thing I could
suggest to you all is to go to both schools and speak to the principal and ask him to bring you through the school and then you and your husband decide for yourselves because I cannot make the decision file about two weeks later. The woman did call me back and thanked me for my time and said that she did send her children back to school. Did you become involved with the biracial committee as a result we were primitive. I did I didn't want to go. I really didn't because the high school itself did not want it. So if they didn't want it I didn't want it because I felt that it should have been just you know for high school involvement. But I also felt that how can you knock a thing. Like the biracial committee they said that it didn't work in high power and it didn't work here and I said Well I think that we should at least get together and
try it if we try it for three or four weeks and then you don't get any satisfaction. Then you can abolish it and say The heck with it it didn't work. But how can you abolish something that you've never tried. Mr. O'SULLIVAN what kind of things would you like to see done this coming year. Phase two will be there by your group I understand when you're a member of the CCC now is that correct. What kind of things do you see and done for South Boston in South Boston. Has solved Washington rather than the Boston roast with your search. Well I'd like to see this old Washington High School restored. I'd like to mention at this moment that when I graduated in 1940. So I was in high school was a beautiful high school. You could see the flaws they had French doors going into the assembly hall beautiful assembly hall. The walls were always freshly painted and the place was
clean and it was just a good place to go to school. Well anybody youngster that has to go even. But when I went back in October and saw the appalling condition of that school I coulda cried the felt the pain peeling off the walls. The girls jam hadn't been heated in three years. The girls the doors on the girls let the ladies room for the girls students hadn't had doors on them for two years. You can study under these circumstances. Obviously it would my conclusion that the reason it was in that condition is that because of our posture in Washington against desegregation the federal funding that would normally be put to keeping the schools up were held back. So we were here we were in South Boston with the Filipina school you
can imagine. I would for one for whatever reason I can understand why we want to wanted to keep it open. Peggy not with standing. You know it would you know I was shocked and ashamed down in the dish Street project we have two temporary schools that you wouldn't put the pigs in. We send our children there. This is they've been up 10 years ago we were promised so long as we change the law or we're going to get ourselves in them nice new schools while it's 10 years later when the kids are still going to those temporary schools. So I guess what I want for the for Solve Washington I want all federal funds. I want the federal funds and I want to come back to us we want to desegregate because we want our schools put in a one condition. I want the federal government to protect my children and my neighbor's children. I don't want any Morris obscenities I don't want any more congregating in front for purposes of terrorizing.
Go away. I want I want the children to go to school like they do in totally in Weymouth doctrine in Newton center in 19 in the 1930s Boston had they had a beautiful position if you will of having one of the best school systems in the country. Today it has the worst school system in the country. I want this all turned around and I want a dollar for a dollar I want my tax dollars to gold for the schools I want the people that work for the schools to keep them clean. I want the ditch each is who I am and really want to teach be allowed to teach. And I want to break down this terrible racism that that's all around. The final case study on the Civil Rights Commission's agenda for the day was Charles Town High School. Charles Town is an all white working class community which comes under the busing order for the first time in September when the court's
second phase of school desegregation goes into effect. The commissioners heard first from Father Robert Boyle a Catholic priest. Roberta Delaney the manager of the little city hall in Charles Town and John Gardner a resident of suburban Newton who serves as executive director of the Kennedy services center in the neighborhood. Your children Tim. He said yes yes yes they do. How are they are they bust or do you take them in private car to the school. They go to the local to go to the local parochial school which is the neighborhood school inside Johnstown. Yes and the other two go to Christopher Columbus in the north end of Boston they go by bus they go by bus. Yes. About half the high school students go to parochial schools in Charleston we were told a while ago. Yes and they are bused as a rule most of the day are not fast. They go on a bass voluntarily. Well anyway they go on a bus don't they are not fast they go voluntarily by my choice
and I want to. Can I ask you this question then yes what if the population of Boston was not a man a man a man 100 percent white. Would there be any objection to busing to even forced busing as you call it. Yes because it isn't freedom of choice. So that is your real objection here is that there's a freedom of choice is that it. It's not racism doesn't enter in the ball no it isn't. I think every parent has a right of freedom of choice to send their children where they want them to go to school today while neighborhood schools. One of the other school was better and your neighborhood school was very poor and they were forced to one of us and the forced to go to the neighborhood school they were forced to go to the neighborhood school. Yes. It's kind of tricky. Are you going to tell you I just I just wonder about them. Father Boyle I'd like to ask you a question.
Here I come up here from the south. We have had our and I've always heard he is a hard headed southern there or something like that. We have our likes and dislikes down south on things and we didn't particularly enjoy the court stepping in and telling us what to do but we've knuckled down to do it. Yeah and we try to overcome our intense feeling. I can't put my hand on the intense feeling that exists up here because in some ways I think it's more strong than what we had down south. Can you explain this. I think the neighborhood concept in Boston has been in fact a very strong factor for many years I think while it is one city it is still made up of many individual neighborhoods in a sense but I don't think that is the total answer. I think the problem would go down into other areas that I think possibly also ought to be considered such as housing and other
factors I think that are involved. But it's still difficult to explain. Yeah I think this fear. Certainly would have to say there is some prejudice. When it is not even down south I can tell you that we still have our problems and we still have our troubles. But there is an intensity of feeling here that I noticed. Maybe we had it 14 years ago and you're just getting it today. It really is unusual isn't it if you look at. Yes I wish we had started 10 years ago. Thank you so often Father Boyle are in the early days of our hearing. Community leaders and religious leaders have pointed out that in the past year in response to phase one they maintained a low key profile did not exert what they considered adequate. Moral
leadership in the community and where this moral leadership was largely silent from the business the religious the social service the educational institutions they felt that kind of lead and life did allow for perhaps in the community less cooperation and there might have been. And I noticed that there's a concentration in the community agencies represented here today. The safety of the pupil rather than on the active supportive effort to implement the court order. And perhaps that kind of thing has a self fulfilling quality to it because as other witnesses have said where in the community
violence and obstructionism was expected then people lived up to that expectation. And I fear in Charlestown as I hear the story there is an expectation that may produce a self fulfilling result is a fearful kind of prospect for the next year. It seems to me that. There is some lack of information on individual rights constitutional rights and the nature of America which you point out is a diverse society and for which I think you expressed some Thanksgiving in the future promise of what America can be. We must arrive at some sensitivity to this diversity and bring people of all races of all
national origins of all religions into some harmonious cooperative efforts and in particular in our school systems. If America is to be true to its highest quality and character. Do you think an adequate formulation of that kind of spirit is taking place in Charleston. I would say in general we're struggling toward it. I can't speak for others because I'd be conjecture and all but I would say we're struggling toward that. But I would like to say in defense of fellow clergy of all faiths really the profile in one sense was low and yet friends of mine rode buses last fall and were on the streets and were where the action was happening on the other hand it wasn't done with a great deal of fanfare
they just were there and they did what they had on the line to a great extent more could have been done granted. Speaking of forced busing. Mr. Gardner Father Boyle Where should this started 10 years ago. Has it been your opinion that desegregation in Charleston should have been implemented as long as 10 years ago. Yes it is and I. I wrote a piece which was published in the local newspaper to that effect. And I you know I'd like to make it very clear that that to my knowledge the people with whom I talk and with whom I'm associated are not racists. I'm not anti anti anything. Charles Town is a is a very historical area of the city of Boston as you know. The Kennedy Center for 10 years has been involved in the urban renewal process. This was a town a small town within a city that was going under there where
you there used to be 40000 people when the county Center was established there were less than 11000 people. The majority of them had had problems housing problems educational problems. Social emotional problems and whatever so that all of these programs that have now been developed and are now approaching the million dollar level have been a response to the needs of the community. And this is is once again in an effort to respond to the needs of the community. But we must remember that this community is is a growing community it is beginning to build back up the population is back up to seventeen or eighteen thousand new houses of being built shopping centers are being built. The concept of your neighborhood your community school has been part of the of the of the propaganda for 10 years to build pride in the neighborhood who lives and works with. Who do you believe is principally responsible for this delay of 10 years. The school committee the school committee. Yes. Now if it is your belief that this should have been done in the
past. I don't believe it should have been done in this way. Do you subscribe to the philosophy that it's better late than never. Yes it is. And in that capacity we asked Judge Kerry for years Mark Tory him at which time we we sent signed a declaration by all groups in Charlestown rock powder keg anti busing as well as pro bussing individuals that they would sit down and work out an agreement for integration providing it does not involve forced busing. And this this is a this is a realistic possibility in my opinion because I know this community and I know other communities within the within the service area that that I I believe we could get voluntary parents if they were assured of quality education. Nobody is really dealing with the issue of quality education at the other end of it. Well we have to face the reality that that request was denied worse. Yes it was them that's not a misunderstanding but understanding with it is a
disagreement with the courts ruling which represents the law of the land. Who are you saying disagrees with. I'm saying a lot of the people disagree with it yes yes that's right. This is these are the same people that they either because of this because of the forced busing issue will in all probability keep the children out of school. You made yourself clear. Thank you Mr. Barker. Of course Mr. Gardner I certainly don't want you to think that I'm facetious in asking this question but I would I really would like to have your definition and perhaps a definition of people with whom you've talked in Charlestown of the phrase forced busing. What does it really mean. It means having to have their children go outside of the school district the neighborhood school district. So it doesn't have anything to do with the bus.
Well the bus not much per say if you know it. If you flew them out then I would be forced helicopters. It's the concept of forcing children to go to school other than the school that we had to witness with morning who is a very good witness who testified that she took her own child to a school which she had previously not wanted her to go to. She does not seem to have any concern about her daughter going to that school now. But you suggest that she did that because she was opposed to forced busing. What's the difference between what she did in her own car and what the bus might have done. If I could answer that I could I could resolve the whole civil rights issue that's been going for 15 years. There are a number of people in Charlestown who would be willing to send their children. Again as I say if they were convinced that they would their children would receive quality education. So it isn't a matter of forced busing even. For some it is. For some it's a matter of individual rights. For others it
isn't. Would it be a contribution to any kind of understanding. If individuals for example like yourself who will. I think you've explained the concept of forced busing. I would use another phrase to identify precisely what the problem is because the problem really is not that bus that an animate object the bus. It's something else isn't it. Well it's it's the forced. Not the first bus though. Well what term would you use there was. It's the transportation is the requirement for in for desegregation. To my knowledge I have not heard one individual verbalized that he or she cared about children coming into the school in terms of integrating the school. The concern is that they their children will have to leave their neighborhood school and be forced bussed over there
wherever you are. Perhaps one of you does anybody walk to school here in Boston. Quite a few. Quite a few do. And then you also object to force walking. Well you indicated that their community has grown quite a bit. But at one time there were 10000 and now there are about 17000 and there is a great deal of construction that is going on. So I my question is concerning the housing. I believe somebody also said that the population of Charlestown is ninety nine point forty four percent white. Suppose an artist would then that buy homes in Charles Town. Do you know of any objection that would be made to those two black people moving into China. I don't know of any if they want to buy homes if there are homes available.
And those kids that went to the neighborhood school wouldn't enjoy the neighborhood school. It's the forced issue that's that's at stake if for example multiple housing was built and 50 percent of that housing had to be black or minority. I would imagine that there'd be some problems again because of the of the of the forced the forced ness of the issue where you're not you wouldn't be forced to live there. So what would you what would be objection. I mean I'm speculating that there might be some objection on the part of the people I don't know. You're asking me you know you're asking me to to speculate on how people would react. And you're saying that if there was a market for housing and Charlestown I'm saying that the issue is one of the forced issue of The Numbers Game. Where do the people in Charlestown pay their taxes. To my best
knowledge they do. Yes and that's not voluntary is it. No thank you. I will call the next witness from Tom Johnson and Russell. You're right you're right. For years to tell the whole truth of matters to which you are touched on. Thank you very much. Name an occupation. Dartmouth ruffle. Paragraphs 9 County collection chows down parent of nine children. John Thomas Johnson seventy one vote was reach out. Miss Russell. Do you live in Charleston in the Charleston area. Yes I do. How long have you lived there. I was born and brought up in Charleston. Do you work in Charleston also. Pag may do you work in Charleston also. I'm with the children yes with at the Boys Club is that correct. Yes I am. What do you do there. Cook.
Are you active in any other community organizations in Charleston. Yes. Are you the president of the powderkeg Information Center. Yes. Can you tell us what the information center does. It's a private organization. Does it have a purpose. I'm played in the first the fourth the fifth and sixth in the 14th Amendment. I'd like. I made that moment. I'd like to make a statement at this point before the council proceed further. But I'm sure that Lee what Mrs.. I understand the role of the Civil Rights Commission and our objective. We tried to make clear in my opening statement in behalf of the commission
that we have come to Boston in order to a trained information relative to all the operations under phase 1 and Phase 2. The evidence that is developed at this hearing will be evaluated by the commission. And on the basis of that evaluation we will prepare a report which will contain findings and recommendations. We feel under obligation to do everything we can. To have him our record all points of view. If we came to Boston or went to any other city and conducted a hearing.
And through that hearing endeavored to get on the record. Just one point of view on a difficult issue. We would very properly be subject to criticism. We are anxious to hear. And we are anxious to have on the record both points of view and the Congress of the United States created the Civil Rights Commission. It conferred on the same authorities that congressional committees had namely in order to enable it to get all points of view on the record before it right reaches the conclusion that authorize the commission to issue subpoenas and to put persons under oath. Our basic object is to have a right to
represent all points of view. Our live statement I would like to return to console and ask him to proceed in the light of the statement that has just been made by what. Would you describe the activities of the powderkeg Information Center regards school desegregation first fourth fifth sixth and the 14th Amendment is a powder keg Information Center concerned with education issues other than school busing. First Fourth Fifth Sixth and 14th Amendment. Does it have any proposals for improving the quality of education in Charlestown schools. First Fourth Fifth Sixth and 14th Amendment does it have a provision regarding Section 7 6 6 special needs for children in Charlestown first fourth fifth sixth and 14th Amendment doesn't have a position regarding Title 1 program first fourth fifth sixth and 14th Amendment
right to council. I also cite page 17 18. Of the report issued by this agency and released in the news media. I'm much to eleven thousand nine hundred seventy three. Console halves. I asked but I instruct you to answer the questions. The issues that you have raised are some were two issues that were raised earlier today. The commission will take under advisement the requests of the console that I and structure to
answer the question. We will ask your council to prepare a memorandum specifying how the questions that have been addressed to you reflect. They involve your rights under the amount of moves that you have. Cite the subpoena under which you have appeared before the commission remains in a fire and I will instruct in behalf structure in behalf of the commission to be here at 9 o'clock on Friday morning. At that time we will advise you of are the safe on the issues that you would have. Great Mr. JOHNSON. Do you live in the Charlestown area.
All of you live there all my life. Are you a officer of the home and school association in Charlestown. Elect What office. President elect. When do you take office Mr. JOHNSON. I really couldn't tell you. There's no designated term. Whenever she wants to give it up I guess. I'm a little confused. Perhaps you can explain to me how you could be president elect and not have a definite term. I imagine we'll start somewhere around September. Oh OK. So that you will then be the president during the coming school year right. President elect of the Charlestown High School homeschool association What role do you think that association should play in assisting in the lawful implementation phase to school desegregation. I'm just the president I'm not going to have any say an out of school is going to be run on a school.
We have a board of directors. You don't you don't participate with the board of directors. I will but I don't have a chalet in it. I don't I don't have a vote. Do you have any opinion as to what the Home School Association might be doing doing better than they were. You know I met are what they might be doing in the fall to help phase two. No opinion. You were elected to head an association which you have no opinion about. I won't know until I start. There's a whole. The home and school association have a statement of purpose and if so do you know it. Not really. First time out. Do other home and school associations have any statement of purpose. I imagine there would have to ask them. Is this home and school just recently formed. I really don't know.
What proposals or recommendations would you make an incoming president of the nation improve the quality of education in the high school have more meetings and we had an impact. It is reported in the press that you are a member of a large executive board so I refused to speculate. I respectfully decline to answer that question on the grounds of 17 shape paragraph 8 or paragraph section. What counsel. Section 5. If you work in the potted Information Center in troll St. during the last year or so.
A total of three Eddie busing leaders refused to answer any of the commission's questions. They will be submitting written reports outlining the various grounds which they cited today and all of been summoned back before the committee on Friday morning along with the messages that state representative who was also balked at honoring the commission's subpoena. Tomorrow the Civil Rights Commission is scheduled to hear from Boston civic leaders including members of the school committee. The city council and mayor Kevin White. To hear what plans they have developed for the peaceful implementation of desegregation in the Boston public schools from Boston I'm Frankfurt's Marcus. From Boston Massachusetts National Public Radio has presented a special report on the hearings of the United States Commission on Civil Rights. The Boston school desegregation case. This program was produced by Frank Fitzmaurice and
- Public Affairs
- Producing Organization
- WGBH Educational Foundation
- Contributing Organization
- WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
- AAPB ID
Producing Organization: WGBH Educational Foundation
Production Unit: Radio
- AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: 75-3020-00-00-003 (WGBH Item ID)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
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- Chicago: “Public Affairs; United States Civil Rights Commission Hearings On Boston School Desegregation,” 1975-06-18, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 13, 2021, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-47dr85g2.
- MLA: “Public Affairs; United States Civil Rights Commission Hearings On Boston School Desegregation.” 1975-06-18. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 13, 2021. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-47dr85g2>.
- APA: Public Affairs; United States Civil Rights Commission Hearings On Boston School Desegregation. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-15-47dr85g2