The Harvest was a community engagement initiative in 2017 examining the history and consequences of our nation’s failed effort to achieve racially integrated public schools. Neighborhood-based readings and facilitated discussions of former Boston Globe columnist Farah Stockman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series of commentaries on “Boston After Busing,” followed by a screening and panel discussion program featuring excerpts from a new documentary film, The Harvest. Co-produced by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist/historian Douglas Blackmon, the film explores the legacy of public school integration in Blackmon’s home town of Leland, Mississippi. By comparing and contrasting the outcomes in Boston and Leland, we expect to glean insights that help us to understand and address current inequities in our public schools.
Reading Circles were held in Boston, Brookline, Charlestown, East Boston, Jamaica Plain, North Attleboro, Roxbury, and South Deerfield,
The screening of the film and panel discussion was held on November 1, 2017 at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury. Panelists included Douglas Blackmon, Cheryl Harris, Michael Patrick Macdonald, and Farah Stockman.
This program was funded in part by a grant from the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfires Initiative and the Federation of State Humanities Councils. Additional funding has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Resources used for the readings:
Boston After Busing
Farah Stockman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series of columns examining race and education. READ
Whitey Bulger, Boston Busing, and Southie’s Lost Generation
Michael Patrick Macdonald’s commentary on Boston’s busing forty years later written for the Schuster Institute at Brandeis University. READ
Boston Busing/Desegregation Project Report
Key findings from data collection to date prepared by Union of Minority Neighborhoods READ (pdf)
Unfinished Business: 7 Questions/7 Lessons
Linking Boston’s “Busing/Desegregation Crisis” to Struggles for Equity, Access and Excellence for All in Boston Today. Prepared by Union of Minority Neighborhoods READ (pdf)
Racial Discrimination in Public Schools: A Historical Timeline
A timeline of events. Sourced from Story of American Public Education, Master Timeline, PBS; and Teaching Tolerance READ (pdf)
School Desegregation Reading Circles Facilitators Guide
A guide to facilitating a Reading Circle. Prepared by Fran Smith and Bethany Allen for Mass Humanities. READ (pdf)
The Resegregation of Jefferson County
What one Alabama town’s attempt to secede from its school district tells us about the fragile progress of racial integration in America. By Nikole Hannah-Jones, New York Times Magazine, 9/6/17 READ