School Desegregation in Boston and the United States

TUE, JUN 23, 2020 (1:26:50)

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Farah Stockman and Boston Public Library President David Leonard discuss the historical context around what is commonly known as a time of “busing in Boston” that took place in the early 1970s, as well as the wider effort to desegregate public schools across the U.S. Ms. Stockman shares her experiences reporting decades later on the busing crisis and gives a thoughtful take on the impacts of this monumental moment in Boston and United States history.

Image: Public domain

The four women Ms. Stockman names in the opening of this event are:

• Ellen Jackson, founder of Operation Exodus, a program in the 1960 that raised private money to bus students from overcrowded black schools in Roxbury to schools with seats in other parts of the city.
• Ruth Batson, an early architect of METCO, a voluntary busing program that still exists that brings black students in Boston to schools in the suburbs..
• Jean McGuire, first black woman on the Boston school committee, who fought for black teachers in Boston schools
• Kim Janey, now president of the Boston City Council, who has fought for equity in schools for years.

+ BIO: David Leonard

David Leonard, President of the Boston Public Library, leads the 170-year old institution, one of Boston’s great educational, cultural and civic treasures. David began working at the BPL in 2009, bringing a wealth of experience from the technology, management and consulting fields. Appointed president by the Library’s Board of Trustees and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in June 2016, David’s focus is on developing the BPL as a twenty first century institution providing dynamic library experiences to the residents of Boston, of Massachusetts and beyond.

Prior to his appointment as President, David served as Interim President for one year. During that time he focused on the completion of the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which opened in July 2016, as well as a significant number of branch and collections management improvement projects, enhancing access and the customer experience; collaborating with city departments and with local cultural institutions; and supporting Mayor Walsh’s arts and culture vision. During his time at the Boston Public Library David has also served as Director of Administration & Technology, acting Director of Administration & Finance, acting Chief Financial Officer, and Chief Technology Officer. He led the Library’s capital improvement project for the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center, worked to modernize the library’s technology infrastructure - including the migration to the new Integrated Library System, and deployment of new Pay-for-Print Systems system wide - and oversaw master planning and design for the renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square.

David initially pursued an academic career, transitioned to the non-profit sector, and then spent ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that spanned business development, management, and technology consulting, working on both strategic and tactical projects and services. David is currently enrolled in a PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons College. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin. Photo Credit: Boston Public Library

+ BIO: Farah Stockman

Farah Stockman is a former columnist for _The Boston Globe_ and now writes for _The New York Times_. She is the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for her series of columns examining the legacy of public school desegregation in Boston.

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Boston Public Library
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History Talks at the Boston Public Library
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