Interview with Jane Duwors

Now I want you to move to the first day of school, September 12, 1974. Court-ordered busing. I want you to describe to me what you saw, what you heard, and how you felt as you stood outside South Boston High waiting for the busses to arrive.


I, I, went up to South Boston High School the first day of school and I wanted to see what was going to happen. I wanted to see if children were going to boycott, or if parents were going to send their children to school. I wanted to see all the police they told us were all over South Boston, it was like an armed camp, policemen shoulder to shoulder all the way up Dorchester Street, all the way, along the Boulevard, all the way up I Street to Sixth Street, all the way up Sixth Street hill to the Hart-Dean[SIC] School and further on up to the high school and all the way up to the L Street Annex, and, um, it was like an armed camp, and you'd think that the, I don't know, the third world war was coming down or the President was coming to, to visit, there was such high police visibility. And, um, I was out there with other parents, and, I, I really can't remember much of the crowd. I do know that when the buses carrying the students pulled up to the school I felt a sense of, of loss. Not a sense of loss because they were going into the school, but a sense of loss that our children, children who grew up in the community who sort of had heritage and looked forward through the years to going to South Boston High School would no longer be allowed to go there, and that children from another section of town, children who didn't even live in South Boston, I guess, and I don't think it would have mattered where they came from, Charlestown, East Boston, Brighton, Allston, a, a sense of loss that these children were being given seats that children from South Boston would have had had not busing, forced busing come into being. People, people sat and stood around and talked and, ah, sat on doorsteps and talked about what a sad day it was. And it was mostly for the children and I think it was also for the thought that an era was coming to an end, an era of neighborhood schools, an era of tightcl- knit closeness, and, um, a sense of belonging, people who lived in a neighborhood that was such, closely-knit as South Boston, um, where everybody knew practically everybody, not only on their street but in the entire town, from One Broadway Station up to Farragut Statue, and it was a sense of loss that a school era was coming to an end, that no longer would some of them be able to take in class days, senior proms, and even, I think for the boys, it was, ah, South Boston High's football team, which was one of the best in the entire state, certainly the best in the conference they were in in Boston. They would no longer be able to play for South Boston High School, and the basketball team, the same thing, baseball- and the girls, you know, wouldn't have that socialization of going to school with their friends that's so important to them, something that's being denied to them.