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VIRTUAL EVENT: PANEL DISCUSSION: Confronting Racial Injustice: Boston School Desegregation through the Rearview Mirror

Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Registration is requested
Free and open to the public


Panel Discussion: Boston School Desegregation through the Rearview Mirror

Martha Minow, Harvard Law School; Becky Shuster, Boston Public Schools; Rachel E. Twymon; and moderator Matthew F. Delmont, Dartmouth College

In 1972, a group of African-American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools.  After a trial, a federal court determined that the Boston School Committee had intentionally discriminated on the basis of race by operating a dual school system that extended to school assignments, facilities and staffing.  When officials failed to produce a timely remedy, the court ordered institutional reforms, including redistricting and the re-assignment of students.  In this program, panelists will reflect on the lessons to be learned from Boston’s school desegregation experience.

This program is in partnership with Northeastern University Law School Criminal Justice Task Force

Please note this program with be hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Society. Please contact with any questions. 

The goal of this five-part virtual series is to explore historical events in Massachusetts history in order to probe how slavery, racism and their legacies have and continue to influence the criminal justice system.

Series Calendar

May 19, 2021
The War on Drugs in Massachusetts: The Racial Impact of the School Zone Law and Other Mandatory Minimum Sentences

In the 1980's, Massachusetts embraced The War on Drugs, enacting harsh mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. It took decades to confront the reality that, in addition to being ineffective and costly, mandatory minimums resulted in the pervasive and disproportionate incarceration of Black and Brown people.  Panelists will discuss this troubling history, recent reforms, and the prospects for implementing drug policies that are effective, fair and just.

June 9, 2021
The Charles Stuart Case: White Lies and Black Lives

Sponsored by:

Northeastern University School of Law
Massachusetts Historical Society
Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston
Boston Athenæum
Boston College Law School
Boston University School of Law
Dorchester Historical Society
Flaschner Judicial Institute
Jamaica Plain Historical Society
King’s Chapel
Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
Massachusetts Black Women Attorneys
Massachusetts School of Law at Andover
Museum of African American History
New England Law/Boston
Rappaport Center for Law and Public Policy at Boston College Law School
Roxbury Historical Society
Royall House & Slave Quarters
South Asian Bar Association of Greater Boston
Suffolk University Law School,
The UU Urban Ministry
Trinity Church Boston
Tufts University
University of Massachusetts School of Law
West End Museum
Western New England Law School


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Auto-generated captions are available for most virtual programs. To request live captioning or other accommodations, please contact Hannah Weisman at or 617-720-7617 at least four business days prior to the event.