Interview with Jean McGuire

I want you to bring it down to home a little bit. How did you personally feel. You've been a resident of this city, this city that's called the Cradle of Liberty. How did you feel watching all this go on?


Basically, I listened to most of it. I didn't have a television then, so I depended upon the print media, the newspapers, and my actual experiences, um, then having been in the system in the years prior to desegregation and then being director of METCO, where our buses which were rolling as they had since '66 out to the suburbs were catching much of the response to school desegregation because the yellow bus was seen as an enemy, often by children who didn't know, I mean, even Black children didn't understand that the bus was carrying their brothers and sisters too, and sometimes they would throw stones at them. But basically, we found that people would, um, sometimes attack buses, or go by you, make obscene gestures, adults in cars, to the children and to the drivers, and you felt naked. You felt unprotected by that public, um, environment which you as citizens say is for us. I mean, you know if you have a fire the firemen are going to come. You know if there is a need for public safety, the police will come. Or the state police. Or whoever, the sheriff. Whatever. You know that they are supposed to be there for you. We did not feel that public government was there for us. We felt very much alone, except for a few people who provided leadership and who joined with us. And were often considered pariahs by Whites in their community. It took a lot of healing to heal up the wounds that n- didn't need to be opened in the first place.


Great, good.