A quarter-century after buses first rolled across racially divided neighborhood lines in Boston, school desegregation is again making headlines in Boston. Alumni and faculty of the Harvard Graduate School of Educationmany of them long involved in this unique American sagaremember a tumultuous period of social planning, activism, and partial victories.
Twenty-nine years old and idealistic, Robert Peterkin confronted a dizzying array of news on June 21, 1974. Not only did he learn that he had been appointed as the first black headmaster of Boston's English High Schoolan embattled, predominantly black school that angry students had briefly closed down the year beforebut he also found out that he would be running a school that had been ordered that very day, along with the rest of the Boston Public School system, to desegregate.
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