Interview with Robert Kiley
QUESTION 5
JACKIE SHEARER:

How do you understand that, that things weren't more like this.

ROBERT KILEY:

Well, I came to Boston in 1972, ah, and found the attitudes surrounding the Boston school case, which was already being litigated, to be very odd. There was one group of people who was reluctant to admit that there was even a lawsuit, or that there were issues at stake. They were people who tended to look in the other direction. If they had kids, their kids were in the parochial schools or the private schools. Then you had, you had people who were deeply dependent on the public schools for education. White parents and Black parents. They were pitted against one another. And then you had the school committee, which was really not so much concerned about school policy as about advancing themselves politically. The school committee then had a reputation as a means to higher office, as Louise Hicks seemed to be underscoring, although, paradoxically, in the case of Mrs. Hicks, I think she really did care about these issues. She was opposed to school busing. She genuinely was against it. She was not just another politician trying to use the issue to advance herself. I think this was a question, a conviction in her case.