Confronting Racial Injustice: Boston School Desegregation Through the Rearview Mirror

In 1972, a group of African American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools. After a trial, a federal court determined that the Boston School Committee had intentionally discriminated on the basis of race by operating a dual school system that extended to school assignments, facilities, and staffing. When officials failed to produce a timely remedy, the court ordered institutional reforms, including re-districting and the re-assignment of students. In this program, panelists will reflect on the lessons to be learned from Boston’s school desegregation experience.

Matthew F. Delmont, Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History, Dartmouth College

Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard University, and Former Dean, Harvard Law School
Becky Shuster, Assistant Superintendent of Equity, Boston Public Schools
Rachel E. Twymon, whose family was profiled in J. Anthony Lukas’ Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Common Ground.

About the Series

Massachusetts is often heralded as the home of the abolition movement and one of the first states to abolish slavery. Yet the Commonwealth’s economy developed in collaboration with states that claimed people as property. This series explores how enslavement and white supremacy shaped the history of Massachusetts and how they continue to shape its present. From the first program “Slavery, Wealth Creation, and Intergenerational Wealth” to the final event “The Charles Stuart Story: White Lies and Black Lives,” the series asks us all to understand, acknowledge, and confront racial injustice.

Developed by Northeastern Law's Criminal Justice Task Force, Confronting Racial Injustice is a free, five-part series hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society and sponsored by a number of Boston-area organizations.

Download the flyer


The Confronting Racial Injustice panel series is chaired by
Barbara F. Berenson, Lecturer, Harvard Law School; Senior Administrative Attorney, Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (ret.)
the Hon. Barbara A. Dortch-Okara, Massachusetts Superior Court (ret.), former Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

Sponsored by

Northeastern University School of Law
Massachusetts Historical Society
Anti-Defamation League of New England
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Boston Athenaeum
Boston Bar Association
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Beyond Conflict
Dorchester Historical Society
Flaschner Judicial Institute
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
King’s Chapel
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
Museum of African American History
New England Law/Boston
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Revolutionary Spaces
Roxbury Historical Society
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
Suffolk University Law School
The UU Urban Ministry
Trinity Church Boston
Tufts University
University of Massachusetts School of Law
West End Museum
Western New England Law School

April 15, 2021

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Register Online