BOSTON: From the Schools To the Streets

The front-page picture showed a terrified black man clinging to a railing as whites clawed at his shirt. Headlines summarized the sorry situation: SCHOOL SITUATION WORSENS, VIOLENCE SPREADS, BLACKS URGE FEDERAL ACTION. It might have been Birmingham or Biloxi in the 1960s—but it was Boston, last week.

As the court-ordered desegregation of Boston's public schools went into its fourth week, an explosion seemed imminent. "We can no longer maintain either the appearance or the reality of public safety," Mayor Kevin H. White said in a letter to Federal Judge W. Arthur Garrity,...

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