The Other Boston Busing Story by Susan E. Eaton

Accuweather for Cambridge predicts a 50% chance of rain for Wed. evening, so we'll keep it indoors at Life Alive for now. In the event that you do not see the group, check outside on the lawn of City Hall directly across the street.


In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, we look at some case studies from our own metropolitan area.


METCO, America’s longest-running voluntary school desegregation program, has for 34 years bused black children from Boston’s city neighborhoods to predominantly white suburban schools. In contrast to the infamous violence and rage of forced school busing within the city in the 1970s, METCO has quietly and calmly promoted school integration. How has this program affected the lives of its graduates? Would they choose to participate if they had it to do over again? Would they place their own children on the bus to suburbia?

Sixty-five METCO graduates vividly recall their own stories in this revealing book. Susan E. Eaton interviewed program participants who are now adults, asking them to assess the benefits and hardships of crossing racial and class lines on their way to school. Their answers poignantly show that this type of racial integration is not easy—they struggled to negotiate both black and white worlds, often feeling fully accepted in neither. Even so, nearly all the participants believe the long-term gains outweighed the costs and would choose a similar program for their own children—though not without conditions and apprehensions.

Even as courts and policymakers today are forcing the abandonment of desegregation, educators warn that students are better prepared in schools that reflect our national diversity. This book offers an accessible and moving account of a rare program that, despite serious challenges, provides a practical remedy for the persistent inequalities in American education.

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  • Todd

    A stimulating discussion, but I would have preferred more advance notice of the event to give us more time to read the book.

    1 · June 16, 2014

    • H H

      Glad to see you there Todd. We attempt to post the book one month in advance of each meeting.

      June 16, 2014

  • helene d.

    wonderful discussion and wonderful new attendees: so exciting to have the author present

    1 · June 11, 2014

    • H H

      Agreed - it was interesting to hear her speak.

      June 14, 2014

  • H H

    As I mentioned over email and the last meeting, we might migrate across the street to the grassy lawn in front of City Hall (across Inman St.) in the event of dry weather. There'll be ample space there for the # of people who have signed up, and hopefully the weather will be nice. I'll bring a sheet and some snacks to share. Please keep posted.

    1 · June 9, 2014

  • helene d.

    how exciting! i'll think of some questions, too

    2 · June 8, 2014

  • Connie B.

    that's pretty neat. i'll try to think of some questions.

    1 · May 23, 2014

  • H H

    Great news! Susan Eaton, author of The Other Boston Busing Story, has agreed to come to the Club meeting at 7:15p! If you have any questions for her, please bring them. What an honor!

    1 · May 23, 2014

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