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A street in Roxbury Boston's negro ghetto. Sandy Jackson and her friends live here. On June 15th 1964 Sandy received notice that she could not return to her school the William Lloyd Garrison. The reason given by the Boston school administration the garrison school was overcrowded. In the fall she was to be transferred along with 250 other children to the William LP Boardman's also in Roxbury. Many of the parents refused to let this happen and now their children ride this bus. The pros and cons of bussing children to integrate schools rage in the headlines
in many northern cities the issue of busing has become a political football obscuring the important question. What happens to the Negro children involved. This is their story. Last year when I rode the bus Well I thought we were going to meet someone that wasn't better. And now I read the bus every day. These are some of the parents of the 53 children who ride the bus to the Peter final school on Beacon Hill. For a year and a half they have met as a group to discard it. They call themselves the Boardman parents group. Today we're calling our children Mrs Jackson a good report.
Thank you Mrs. Sneed. Parents. We know that our. Weekly bus bill is one hundred fifteen dollars which brings us to four hundred sixty dollars monthly because this is the way we receive our bills now. We have taken care of for this month. We have a two hundred twenty six dollars and six cents contribution from Mrs. Snavely gave her dinner for our board member parent group. We have sixty six dollars and twenty cents from Mr. Sneed who gave an open bar party. Which brings our total to two hundred eighty two dollars and twenty six cents. We have $100 from the parents. Which is now three hundred eighty two dollars and twenty six cents so you can see we are short for next month. We struggled to raise money is today's crucial problem at the board when parents have not forgotten why the bus came into their lives. It's money. I was very angry when the children brought the slip song in June
because I had no forewarning whatsoever. This condition existed at the Garrison school. We knew absolutely nothing about us. I knew I wouldn't send them. Perhaps I was influenced more because of the manner in which I got this notification. When you suggested it to me if the parents went to the gas or school to find out what the reason was a letter they just about the same time I would talk about the same problem. So we just sort of haphazard just got together with us. This was a lot of it. And found out they had relocated to districts and hadnt seen fit to tell I mean by just gone and done it on their own that apparently we were in to being considered. They just decided more children would go. It was supposed to go to the board meeting or something.
And I don't want to go there. Yeah I decided to go down to the border and school on my own. The building is completely accurate. Yes many of the Boston public school buildings are the new why I was being. I was under construction and dynamite was being used. The whole condition which looked like a bombed out area and I thought well how will the children ever be able to concentrate. They say our problem is so very great so why handicap us with this type of us saying. There was but he had made up their mind definitely. They were not going to send them to the Boardman to alert the parents to what's going on. Everybody was contented before they let the school go. Whoever got in. If if the benefit of children are great evident then we shouldn't squawk about it. Well that was the wrong thing.
The Boardman parents spent a long summer fighting to get their kids back into the garrison. They went to the principal deputy superintendent and finally the Boston School Committee. But all to no avail. They then sought an injunction to have the Boardman school closed but the court denied this. When school started in September 1064 they tried to enroll their children back into the garrison but were unsuccessful. For 13 days teachers recruited by the parents held classes in the auditorium of the garrison school. For this the School Committee accused the parents of encouraging truancy. The parents immediate solution was Boston's open enrollment plan where any child can go to any school that has vacant seats. This meant renting a bus to send their children to another school. But where. To look to find a school that had enough vacancies that could take printed all the children through our investigation with about the repeat offender
school on Beacon Hill. We maybe looked at a big you know that you figure that the way the school committee was on Beacon Hill they wouldn't come to us or give us any satisfactory so we'd bring our children out of their mess and also give them a good education at the same time. Most of them got to know me by Mr. Roxbury. And Roxbury going through and back winding up in the West and.
Things I saw. As a bus. Window. The lady with the nice clothes I. Like. To stand in. Right. Down in the so I thought up you look bad but it really did look bad they were tearing it not picking up after themselves. An. Elevated train everything. Out. And. The people down liquor
stores I've never seen so maybe some of them were some waving their hands around it as I was going by. Oh I saw the Boston traffic. And it is a sign it tells me it's fair all cloudy. All the time. I always used to look and see if it was before 8:30 so that we could play in Washington the Yad. And now when we go on the bus you see all different sorts of odd a little far because my brother Richard would always say is released it was OK but they gave it like the
floods. Now these particular children they do quite a bit of singing. I don't have. Much trouble with them at all. But Peter Feaver knew I liked it more because you go to school and you do you before school work and the teacher who knows he's so nice misled and she gives us like if we have a hundred She'll give us a piece of candy or something and then attend to any comes recess. And we can go out and play squash. We play a game which the girls made up called Pizza Pizza did. Play punch ball. And. Just go. Through just. Play tag.
Dr. Nader his new fame says it would be needed for in the past this. Year I learned. We have 20 children. My name is Mr. Francis Mary. I teach to fifth grade year the beautiful used to live in a tutu about 10 years and I've been here I think this is my fourth year of. School. Normally why two years ago as a result of the move your make believe section the youngest kept on the mission by one of them 20 years ago. And then last year he started sending in a bus load of children ranging grades one through six. If you're going to succeed there's you know children. Will go for your girls. And. Or going to the
negro boys. And the gay manly makes them all him of abuse and call him their grade levels. There was no trouble think or interview you go. Over there very well I guess but I never hear any Ivanova from it when you go out and Harry might say you know they found out there never been any racial traveling like that and they all seem to enjoy writing this for us. When I was growing up in any way at least the boy down with my. Section of the boys and. In September 164 the Boardman bus wrote the first Negro children to the Peter final school. By accident more than design they had integrated themselves into a white school. In September 1965 the Boston public school administration started busing in an additional fifty eight Negro children whose school had been damaged by fire. This caused the State Department of Education to declare that Peter final schools racially imbalanced. More than 50 percent of the students
are Negro. Just say if I find these children coming in lower than by what I consider my stand maybe anywhere from five to six months or more. In a reasonable degree level should be maybe the cream of the crop of somewhere else and I myself feel that investing is not a panacea not a cure all. You just don't put people on the one side of the city you know become from one to another overnight. So a lot of problems with social economic backgrounds. I think that a lot of them have little say to use drugs against them when they.
These people the dream is to think that investing is a cure all it is not I mean I'm far believin you've got this somewhere and all the bad press because I've been upset because the boss and teachers always think I mean I think we were anybody else we have a good system here and we're always taking on the chin by the press and everything else I mean I don't begin here with the kids and what a couple of the children read this with me and then they're going to save the world I know they get a very good summer break because otherwise I can be completely objective about it.
We have a lot more homework. So do fun with your spelling. Of class when I couldn't. I could think but. The kids will be sending notes back and forth to each other about giving you answer to this is real both you know and everything. And I just quote the right good. Teachers spend more time. Well I like my teacher because she teaches a lot of nice things. She took us. To the baby. He says. Japan. Told us. That was the first thing of my teachers said.
I think it's more fun riding the bus and then instead of walking. This is Robert Cole a man who also rides the bus from rocks were into Beacon Hill but not to go to school. Dr. Coles is a child psychiatrist is studying the effect of bussing children to an integrated school. Today he has come to see Sandy Jackson and her brother Mark two children whose performance in school has improved markedly since they came to the Peter final. Sandy flunked fourth grade at the garrison and was about to be held back a second time. Now a. Sixth grader at the Peter final she is doing above average work.
At three o'clock class. When Mark Jackson called his now school his teachers discovered that he was an exceptional student. You know attends accelerated classes in well. During the past year Dr. Coles has worked with many of the Boardman children individually comes to their home house plays games with watches them draw pictures. He talks with them to discover how they feel about their new school and the bus ride the other day I was just going to do that. Because. I was quite interested. In several of the techno Yeah well I was interested in the one about school itself that she drew one of the other. There are several things that struck me first of all for the first time you made the sun so we can actually have some real sunlight school in the school seeing the happy place
all of us and bring us a moment and I wondered if you could give me some idea about what you were doing. Thank you in the city you see in this province for these rights that we are here. When you get up here the people around the school that you go to now that happened to him for. Some of them have garage. Here I'm going to see in an hour. Give us a really good point here on the street. And I have. That's free. How about the school itself. I notice you've got some grants here. Like the house. Right next door to this and they have a little guy out in the back of the house. They have grass and some of the
grass cut is near. Yeah like just school but only thing is separate is that. It shows you that grass doesn't just grow naturally depends on the neighborhood where the grass is. That you drew from months ago. It's a very nuanced wasn't a show us my wife and she said I'm sure you know who you are thank you. How's everything going school. Firing. Has it always been the same. Been having a nice time since I got this. But first they came as kind of great because I never saw so many white children in the class but it was really a small class. But in the garret I went for they had a flooded class there was one question there were too many yes but.
You know what you mean children in the class and so on. The teacher is teaching this. Much the same. Over it they give us so many they couldn't teach your kids in the PTA. They only have. 50 to 70 to a class. And many fewer children. Her teacher doctor feels strongly about the positive effect of busing. You know Sammy is very much right all the other children that have been going on this. I think it's been a beneficial experience for all of them without exception. These have shown that I've been living in this neighborhood and for that part of their lives have never even been outside of it all they have seen of the rest of the city has been on television which is I go hang out a window from the outside never going inside the store. What they've essentially
done this neighborhood and gone out into Boston and to the rest of the world and gotten another view of this world that we often take for granted. Furthermore they have become much more sensitive that we come along and much more capable academically. As a doctor and as a psychiatrist I can tell you that there has been no doubt in my mind that for these children this is very important and beneficial experience. For them going across the city has meant things that at times I myself didn't realize like when I saw children recognizing a new Volkswagen and becoming aware of it in a way that I wasn't because I took Volkswagen for granted. For them this was the first time that scene of all swotting I've watched their work improve. I watch them and spy on not only their families but some of the other children here in the neighborhood and what I've generally seen is that they have left one secluded part of the city and become a part of this nation a part of the white world that previously they didn't know what
and had no awareness of. If this isn't a valuable thing for China and if this isn't part of a child's education and part of his becoming a citizen then I don't really know what is. One hundred fifteen dollars a week to rent a bus is a constant worry. Part of his money comes from the parents. Each family contributes a dollar a week per child to help keep the bus on the road. To many this is a burden. The parents must then resort to other fund raising devices. Mr. Sneed and his children are off to deliver dinners cooked by the Boardman mothers. They sell these meals to neighbors and friends. Besides these fundraising parties the parents hold fashion shows and solicit funds from friends and local organizations. The latest idea to purchase their own bus
by collecting trading stamps. This is the children's favorite project. It hasn't been easy. But the parents are determined that the bussing shall continue. I don't see why all the trouble is about bussing. You know I mean I understand it. Basically I think that children are really prejudiced. But it's I think it's the parents. Really sometimes I think they think that colored people are something out of this world and this being around us. I think that they get to know that we're people just like them and we have feelings and we cry we eat we sleep the same way they do. And I think this is a way for the children to understand theirs. There were many friendships that go up through the US during the 64 65 school
year I did things together and. Went on their own private field. I think the relationship was absent. To my knowledge I am not saying there weren't any problems because nothing is ninety nine hundred percent. One of the children have indicated their desire. To go to the school every day because teachers take in first and what they're doing. It was the word custom to Iraq for school. For one thing the same teachers are there every day teaching. One day and the next day they were out. And. I don't know they're going to. School children to be. School jimmied learn how to read before you can say as
ABC. Makes me feel wonderful that somebody cares about. Just wonderful feeling of Carnaval cares about what happened to my kids. I have heard. Many learned people say about this horrible thing called bussing my child have thrived on. And make some five more conscious of time makes them very independent and hasn't so I am not against hustling I think it's my what. Makes you feel like you doing something for your children anyway I know I feel that way. So I am much more interested in advancing in school. Well we have made up as a group and as parents we have to do this to the end and we're going to continue doing that to see that these children. Can be available for the best education that we know is available in the city
of Boston. And if it is going to take raising money every week every month every year for the next 10 or 20 years is what we have made up our minds to do. I. Personally feel I don't know the Marcinko school community. I just feel as though they do not understand basically what the Boardman goal is all about. Just we just want equal education for these children who have to grow up and go out into the world and work. And we want them to be qualified not handicap. Every parent wants the best education for his child. The Boardman parents have discovered a way to give their children what they feel is a better education.
Kids, Crayons And VWs
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Episode Description
Program about busing school children from Roxbury to Beacon Hill.
Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
Busing for school integration
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Chicago: “Kids, Crayons And VWs,” 1965-11-05, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 22, 2023,
MLA: “Kids, Crayons And VWs.” 1965-11-05. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 22, 2023. <>.
APA: Kids, Crayons And VWs. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from