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Academic Standards (1)

Lesson 1: Resistance to Integration in Boston

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.9: Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.Civ.1.9-12: Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of local, state, tribal, national, and international civic and political institutions.
  • D2.His.1.9-12: Evaluate how historical events and developments were shaped by unique circumstances of time and place as well as broader historical contexts


Lesson 2: Busing Crisis in Boston

CCSS English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies

  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.11-12.7: Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self-generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

NCSS C3 Framework

  • D2.Civ.14.9-12: Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
  • D2.His.12.9-12: Use questions generated about multiple historical sources to pursue further inquiry and investigate additional sources.
  • D4.6.9-12: Use disciplinary and interdisciplinary lenses to understand the characteristics and causes of local, regional, and global problems; instances of such problems in multiple contexts; and challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address these problems over time and place.
Button showing two cartoon students and text, "March on Boston, Keep the Buses Rolling"
Button for an NAACP march in support of school desegregation, 1975

Key Terms and Concepts

  • busing
  • white flight
  • gentrification
  • de facto
  • de jure

Essential Questions

What claims have people made to support and oppose school desegregation?
How has the fight over school desegregation affected people differently?


Resistance to Integration in Boston

Synthesize information and evidence from multiple texts on the Boston busing crisis to explain the challenges of desegregation and to complete classwork and Exit Ticket.


Warm Up (1)

Start by showing students “The Soiling of Old Glory”, the iconic photo taken by Stanley Foreman on April 5, 1976, during the Boston desegregation protests. Refrain from providing students with any context, including when or where the photo was taken. Have students complete the Photo Analysis tool independently.

Debrief (1)

  • Facilitate small group discussions with students sharing their observations and making predictions.
    • What do they imagine about the men in the foreground?
    • Do they think this photograph was taken in the North or South?
    • When was this photo probably taken?
    • How many years after Brown v. Board of Education?
  • Encourage students to support their predictions and inferences with reasons and evidence from the photograph. Discussion strategies include:
  • Students can then share with the whole class. Transition to mini-lesson.

Mini-Lesson (1)

  • Listen to the podcast “Life After Iconic 1976 Photo” or read the article “Stars and Strife” as a class. Craft text-dependent questions for students to answer and use to collect evidence as they work through either text.
  • Teacher Tips:
    • If you are using the podcast, pause to allow processing and answer text dependent questions.
    • If you want to extend the time, have students hear the podcast and read the article.
  • Have students revisit their predictions after learning the story behind the photograph.
    • Where were they right or wrong?
    • What did they learn about the context of this iconic photograph?
    • How does that context change after getting insight into the perspectives of Ted Landsmark and Joseph Rakes?

Independent Practice (1)

  • In the following task, students will learn about the resistance to school desegregation that followed the Brown v. Board of Education decision and boiled over during Boston’s busing crisis. Emphasize that, just like with this photograph, perspective and context are required for historical understanding. The various and divergent points of view held by Bostonians during the crisis are critical in learning about desegregation.
    • Assign students to read about the opposition to desegregation in Boston during the mid-1970s. Select from the texts to differentiate instruction, or task students with reading each and then distinguishing the format, content, and author’s point of view: “Busing in Boston,” “Rethinking Busing,” and “Boston Busing Timeline.”
    • Allow students to use highlighters, post-its, and other tools to make “thinking notes” as they closely read. Task them with reading for the content areas outlined on their Civil Rights Done Right note-taking sheet and to jot down their new knowledge (leaders, groups, events, context, opposition, tactics, connections).

Exit Ticket (1)

  • Close by checking for understanding with an Exit Ticket in which students write down the answers to two of the following questions using evidence from the texts to support their answers.
    • What was the outcome of Brown v. Board of Education? What questions were left unresolved?
    • How did the courts deal with the challenges of implementing desegregation?
    • What is busing and how did the courts rule on the issue of busing?
    • How did the city of Boston react to the practice of busing?
  • Depending on time, students can turn in their Exit Ticket and/or discuss in a small group using Timed Pair Share or Single Round Robin.
Busing Crisis in Boston

Explain different perspectives on an issue using primary and secondary sources about the Boston busing crisis to complete Exit Ticket.


Warm Up (1)

Use the “Stand Up, Hands-Up-Pair-Up” discussion structure to help students review the previous lesson’s materials. Ask questions that will reactivate prior knowledge.

Primary Source Lab (1)

Prepare all of the materials required for a primary source lab in advance of class. You can set the lab up in six stations that students rotate through, or have them work in groups or jigsaw style. The lab focuses on desegregation in Boston, and each station studies the busing crisis through a different lens or type of primary source. Print the following documents and images, placing them in separate folders or taping them to separate pieces of chart paper.

  • Tell students to move through the circuit of primary source stations in groups, pairs, or individually. Explain that they are expected to closely read and examine the materials at each station. What information or themes are repeated throughout the stations? What unique insights were they only able to gain with particular sources?
    • Station 1: Artifacts (seven items)
    • Station 2: Newspaper articles (four items)
    • Station 3: Oral histories (three items)
    • Station 4: Court decisions (six items)
    • Station 5: Community responses (four items)
    • Station 6: Photographs (eight items)
  • Task students with completing the What Would They Say? worksheet while they examine the primary sources. Choose, or have students choose, five of the figures/people listed below and write them onto the worksheet. Remind them to read for point of view and try to imagine how diverse people may have felt about school desegregation and busing in Boston in the mid-1970s. They must cite evidence from the primary sources lab to defend each claim or hypothesis they make on the worksheet.
    • Judge W. Arthur Garrity Jr.
    • Bus driver
    • Police officer
    • School principal
    • School board member
    • Black teacher
    • White teacher
    • Black parents
    • White parents
    • Black student
    • White student

Exit Ticket (1)

Close with students revisiting their Civil Rights Done Right note-taking worksheet and jotting down any new knowledge in these areas: leaders, groups, events, context, opposition, tactics, and connections.