Interview with Jane Duwors

And what about the specific idea of a boycott? How did that come into being?


Well, the boycott was that if there were no children in school they couldn't implement the plan. So we decided to, and it came from another thing, it came from the Freedom Schools in Roxbury in the '60s. We said that if they could, ah, boycott theirs and be successful and have the METCO plan come out of it, then we could boycott here and hopefully we'd be as successful. We took from the Civil Rights Movement too. Public opinion--if public opinion's for you, maybe the ground-swell of people would be so great that even if a federal court wouldn't listen to you the United States government and Congress and Senate in Washington would listen to you and, ah, issue a piece of legislation that would say that, ah, you could not use forced busing as a tool for integration. You'd have to use something else to integrate. So we decided, we had a community meeting. Asked the parents, explained what we thought and asked the parents if they would go along with the boycott. The majority of people did**. And in the meantime we set up schools in yacht clubs. We set up schools in veteran's posts. All over South Boston there were schools. We had them during the day at first and then somebody complained. I, to this day I don't know who complained and said that you couldn't set up a school and have tutoring gone on during normal school hours. So we said, "The hell with it. If that's the way you want to be. We'll let the kids out in the daytime to play and they'll go to school at night." And they did. We switched the tutoring hours over from daytime hours to nighttime hours. And the yacht clubs and the veteran's posts and wherever we had them agreed that we could use them at night instead of the daytime. We had teachers in the Boston public school system who were tutoring our kids at night for free. We had, ah, prospective teachers, kids going to college, tutoring our children at night. And it worked out pretty well. I used to say that during the first year of busing that the children that were tutored, being tutored, were learning a lot more in a much nicer environment than the children that, ah, were going through the school hall, through the metal detectors, et cetera, at South Boston High School. And the Pandemonium in the rest of the, ah, community, you know that the fights in the schools and all the upheaval.