Using the active reading strategies you were introduced to in this learning block

Using the active reading strategies you were introduced to in this learning block

As you engage in active reading, you should also be critically analyzing the texts. This approach will ensure that you are not a passive reader. As you read your sources, you should consider questions like:

· What is the author’s main argument?

· Is the author’s argument supported with evidence?

· Can you find evidence from the text itself to support your argument?

· What connections can you make to this text and others you have read on this topic? What differences do you see?

· Do you agree or disagree with the author?

Keep these strategies in mind in this course and your future classes, and you will become a more active and critical reader.

Week 6 Short Response

Using the active reading strategies you were introduced to in this learning block, critically analyze one of your secondary sources for your historical analysis essay. Those active reading strategies include:

· Ask yourself pre-reading questions, such as: What will be the subject of this reading? What do I hope to learn from this reading?

· Take notes while reading

· Make connections to other texts you have read

Week 6 Short Responses – Question 1

Which source will you analyze using active reading strategies? Include the name of the article, the author, the publication, the date, and where you found it.

Read your chosen source using the active reading strategies you learned on the previous page. Then, summarize the overall meaning and content of the reading. Write your summary below. Your summary should be at least one paragraph long.

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Desegregating Boston’s Schools

In Brown v. Board of Education (1954)*, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in the public schools is unconstitutional. What it did not provide was an answer to the practical question: How do we do that?

A year later, in a decision that became known as Brown II, the court provided an answer to that question—sort of. It delegated the task of carrying out school desegregation to federal district courts and said that schools in segregated districts should be integrated “with all deliberate speed.” The ambiguity of that phrase was seized on by many opponents as a license for delay, and for close to a decade, there was little progress in integrating many segregated districts. (Civil Rights Movement Veterans, 2016)

The passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, coupled with later Supreme Court decisions ordering school districts to speed up the pace of desegregation, lent the process more urgency. But resistance to school desegregation—not just in the South but in many cities of the North and West as well—remained a formidable obstacle to the goal of achieving racial balance in public schools.

In Massachusetts, the state legislature in 1965 passed a law requiring the integration of all segregated schools in the state, the vast majority of which were in the capital city of Boston. (Levy, 1971) But the Boston School Committee resisted, and it was not until 1974—when a federal court ordered a citywide school busing* plan to end segregation of the Boston schools—that the process of integration finally began.

That process did not go smoothly. Fierce resistance in several of the city’s predominantly white neighborhoods forced state police and National Guard troops to escort African-American students into the schools, and the ensuing “Boston busing crisis” roiled the schools, and the city, for years. (Lukas, 1985) The Boston public schools were not declared fully desegregated until 1987.

This learning block uses the events of the Boston busing crisis as a prism for looking once again at the concepts of cause and consequence, and as a way to illustrate how you can use historical evidence to make an argument that supports your thesis.

Learning Objectives

In this learning block, you will:

· Describe the causes, course, and consequences of a historical event

· Use historical evidence to support the development of an analytical thesis statement

Boston, Busing, and Backlash
The struggle for voting rights, which we looked at in Theme: Analyzing History, Learning Block 3, was a struggle against de jure segregation* that existed in just one part of the country: the states of the Old South. But the problem of de facto segregation* was one that existed throughout the country, and its effects were perhaps seen most clearly in the nation’s public schools.

A series of Supreme Court cases in the early 1960s made it clear that de facto school segregation was unconstitutional and that segregated schools would be integrated by court order if necessary. Beginning in the early 1970s, the Court began requiring school busing* plans, which would send African-American students to largely white schools and send white students to largely African-American schools, as a means of achieving greater racial balance.

In Boston, the city’s small but growing African-American community began protesting the quality of public schools in largely black neighborhoods in the early 1960s. In 1965, in response to a federal investigation of possible segregation in the Boston public schools, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Racial Imbalance Act. The new law outlawed segregation in Massachusetts schools and threatened to cut off state funding for any school district that did not comply. (Levy, 1971)

A R.O.A.R button opposing Boston’s desegregation. (Click button for citation)

Of the 55 Massachusetts schools identified as racially imbalanced, 45 were in the City of Boston. But the Boston School Committee, an all-white elected body led by Louise Day Hicks, refused to acknowledge the segregation and balked at any plan to remedy the situation. Hicks’s opposition to school desegregation boosted her popularity, particularly in the city’s working-class, heavily Irish-American neighborhoods; in 1967, she narrowly missed being elected mayor, but in 1969, she was elected to the city council, and in 1970, she was elected to Congress to represent her home neighborhood, the Irish-American enclave of South Boston. (Lukas, 1985)

The School Committee continued to stonewall demands to implement a meaningful desegregation plan. But in June 1974, federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity, deciding a lawsuit brought against the School Committee by the NAACP*, ruled that Boston’s schools were unconstitutionally segregated. He ordered that any school whose enrollment was more than 50 percent nonwhite must be balanced according to race.

To achieve that balance, Garrity ordered the schools to adopt a widespread busing plan by the first day of school in September. That announcement triggered a powerful backlash among white parents and students. Hicks formed an anti-busing group called Restore Our Alienated Rights (ROAR) that spearheaded much of the opposition to Garrity’s desegregation order.

While the plan involved the busing of thousands of students from different neighborhoods across the city, the greatest attention was focused on the high schools in South Boston—a heavily working-class and overwhelmingly Irish-American part of town—and Roxbury, an overwhelmingly African-American neighborhood. Garrity’s order effectively paired the two schools, by requiring that they essentially swap hundreds of students.

Decades after the fact, Garrity’s busing order is still hotly debated in Boston. Supporters say that his unyielding approach was the only way to overcome white resistance and achieve racial balance in Boston’s schools. Critics say Garrity focused too much on the goal of achieving mathematical balance, rather than focusing on a plan to improve school quality for both African-American and white children. (Gellerman, 2014)

Robert J. Allison, professor of History at Suffolk University in Boston and author of A Short History of Boston, describes the causes and consequences of the Boston busing crisis in this video:

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Using the active reading strategies you were introduced to in this learning block

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