Interview with Ellen Jackson

Of all the pressing concerns facing Blacks in Boston in the 1970s, why this focus on education?


The focus on education in the '70s really was because, ah, the fact that there had been no real effort made by the elected officials to bring, what we would be considered, equitable, equitable resources to the Black community. And I think that many tries and many, ah, strategies had been used to, ah, no avail. And finally the last recourse was to try the one entity within the United States that people always turn to and that was the court. I think that we found that it was time to bring it to the attention of the federal government, through the courts, to see if they could remedy, ah, these inequities and therefore the suit was brought and of course won by the plaintiffs, by the NAACP of Boston. It started, ah, a real revolution in education in Boston in many ways, many ways. I mean by that that there was concern within the Black community as to whether or not we would just reclaim numerical gains and that is just putting children into a school to balance a school, desegregate or if you will integrate a situation, a school. Was it going to change the quality of education? Was it going to bring more administrative, Black administrators? Because if you remember, one of the other concerns as well, was the lack of, ah, Black administrators within the structure, the Boston Public School structure, and, ah, those who were, ah, capable and qualified to be superintendents and be principals had not been promoted in years. So there was a dual concern that, ah, impacted on the quality of education for Black children. Ah, and that, that, ah, issue was trying to be addressed through, we thought best, through the courts.