Boston Against Busing: Race, Class, and Ethnicity in the 1960s and 1970s

Ronald P. Formisano, Author University of North Carolina Press $45 (323p) ISBN 978-0-8078-1929-6
This work offers a convincing and dispassionate assessment of an emotionally charged subject: court-ordered school desegregation in Boston and, most particularly, the white backlash associated with it. Calling the conflict a ``war that nobody won,'' Formisano ( The Transformation of Political Culture: Massachusetts Parties, 1780s-1840s ) examines the social and economic roots of what he terms ``reactionary populism,'' concluding that more than simple racism underlay it. Class was an important issue, as evidenced by the frustration of city residents dictated to by legislators and members of the media whose own children attended schools in the ``lily white suburbs,'' beyond the reach of the controversial desegregation plan. He describes the variety of white responses to the court order, for example, South Boston's collective hard-core resistance in marches and clashes with police and West Roxbury's more individualist (white flight) and legalist approach. Here, too, are the public characters, such as Boston School Councillor Louise Hicks, and the street theater of protest, such as a mothers' prayer march led by Hicks counting her rosary beads. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/04/1991
Release date: 03/01/1991
Paperback - 323 pages - 978-0-8078-4292-8
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 376 pages - 978-1-4696-0232-5
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