BLC Sponsors Boston Public Schools Desegregation Collection

In an effort to spark informed, city-wide conversations about Boston’s struggle to integrate Boston Public Schools and the resulting court-ordered desegregation effort commonly known as “busing” (1954-1988), New England area archives have made a treasure trove of primary sources freely and publicly available for research. The Boston Public Schools Desegregation Collection documents the experience of politicians, parents, students, community members, and school staff beginning with the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954 through to the Morgan v. Hennigan case in 1974 and the resulting citywide response.

Nearly 4,500 items from Boston’s school desegregation history are now available via a portal to the collection created by project lead Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, and are also available nationally via the Digital Public Library of America, and Massachusetts’ partner hub, Digital Commonwealth. The idea to create this collection was sparked by the Boston Public Schools History and Social Studies Department’s decision to create a curriculum that marked the 40th anniversary of the Morgan v. Hennigan decision (1974).  

Project partners would also like to acknowledge that this project received financial and administrative support from the Boston Library Consortium. The current 4,500 items have been selected, scanned and carefully cataloged from partnering institutions’ archival collections.  Partners include University Archives and Special Collections at UMass Boston, the Northeastern University Archives and Special Collections, the State Library of Massachusetts’ Special Collections, Boston College Libraries, the Moakley Archive and Institute at Suffolk University, the Boston City Archives, WGBH Media Library and Archives, and the National Archives and Records Administration in Boston.

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