Interview with Ruth Batson
QUESTION 10
JACKIE SHEARER:

Can you paint a picture for us of riding a bus to South Boston. Tell us what you saw, what you heard inside the bus, outside the bus.

RUTH BATSON:

Well, I remember the time that I rode the bus that stands out in my mind mostly, because I w--was not on the bus at the very beginning of the year, but sometime in around October I started riding the bus. I would always go to the staging area, see the kids on to the bus, meet our team, um--

JACKIE SHEARER:

Cut. Sorry for the Sirens.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Let's pick up with your riding the buses and to Southie.

RUTH BATSON:

Well, um, s--beginning in October I decided I would the ride the buses, along with some of the other team members, to find out for myself, you know, what was happening. We would get reports from team members and from other members of our group ah, like Percy Wilson, who would ride, and a number of people who would ride the buses. Well I hadn't done it so I thought I would do it. And I remember the first morning I got on the bus and the kids were like kids are on a bus--boisterous and happy and having a good time. And then they would sing, "Here We Come Southie, Here We Come." You know, and, just a real raucous occasion. And I remember as you start up that hill going to the um, school seeing signs that people would hold out of windows, or they were on walls and so forth. And um, it really shocked me that this was going on. The other thing that shocked me as we pulled up to the school was the large number of women standing there making noises and making ah, gestures at these children. And you know, it really bothered me because somehow I felt that you know, women would be more understanding, and even if they didn't agree with what was happening, they, they would at least have this motherly feeling or aunterly[SIC] feeling , some kind of feeling for these children. So I was amazed at the number of women there. And then, along with the o--these were older women, I'd say, middle aged women that I saw there. Then the other group that I saw, there were a large number of younger men who should have been working in my opinion, you know. They seemed to be in their early twenties. Large number of them. And then the other thing that bothered me was that as we went up the hill and approached the school our students got very, very quiet, where they had been just like any other kid riding the bus, making noise, laughing, talking. Suddenly, as they approached this place they got very, very quiet. And um, then they would have to stay there until the police came over, escorted them out the bus, and in through the metal detectors, into the school. It was ah, I began for the first time to say, "Ruth, maybe you shouldn't have gotten involved. Maybe you shouldn't have urged this desegregation." It, it, it killed me to see our Black students go through that procedure.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Cut.