Evening Compass Covers Busing for Integration, 1974-1976

[caption id="attachment2133" align="alignleft" width="300"]<a href="http://bostonlocaltv.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/54634123908thumbnail.jpg">School buses Buses pulling up to a Boston school[/caption]

In 1974, federal judge Arthur Garrity Jr. mandated a school busing plan with the goal of abolishing de facto segregation of school children in Boston. What followed was one of the most heated struggles the city has seen in recent history. WGBH program Evening Compass, a precursor to the Ten O'Clock News, developed a special ongoing segment to cover the tensions, political actions, and social events related to integration busing in the Boston area. WGBH reporters, including Ed Baumeister, Pam Bullard, Paul deGive, Greg Pilkington, and Judy Stoia, interview citizens and politicians in the studio and on location to portray a street-level view of the situation.

Evening Compass offers a relatable first-hand look into the social climate that had the American public on edge for over a decade. Broadcasts include daily statistical reports on school attendance and anecdotes of the violence and fear that follow students as they acclimate to one of the largest changes made to the educational system in the 20th century. Professionals, politicians, and journalists are consulted to construct the story around the clash of cultures and classes that transformed Boston into a battleground during these years. Investigating cause and effect of events during this time period is a pivotal part of understanding the culture of Boston and American society at large.

A broadcast from December 12, 1974—during year one, phase one of busing for school integration—a crowd of 1,500 protesters takes a violent turn outside South Boston High School. Students and parents express outrage, and WGBH reporter Greg Pilkington asks some important questions about the unfolding events. The story includes coverage of influential people such as NAACP Boston president Thomas Atkins, anti-busing figurehead Louise Day Hicks, and urban minority advocate Mel King, who calls the events of the day the "most bizarre and diabolical set of circumstances [he had] ever seen." Have a look here. The busing coverage starts at the 4 minute mark.

For more Evening Compass stories search the catalog and check out the gallery of images highlighting the controversy.

[gallery columns="4" ids="2140,2139,2135,2138,2141,2142,2134,2137"]