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Jan von Mehren talks to students about school desegregation and race relations
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[Integrated school in 1990]
Original Airdate: 3/20/1990

Length: 00:03:34
Item Type: newstape - edited story master

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Full Description

Visual: Footage of a West Roxbury student imitating an Eddie Murphy comedy routine in front of other members of the Boston Student Advisory Council. The students are of mixed races and laugh at the routine.

Jan von Mehren reports that the Boston Student Advisory Council is a group, which represents students in the Boston Public School System. Von Mehren reports that students today are educated in a desegregated school system; that the students do not know a lot about Boston's experience with school desegregation in the 1970s.

V: Footage of South Boston High School in 1974 from Eyes on the Prize II.

V: Footage of a student speaking in front of the other members of the Boston Student Advisory Council saying that he remembers a photo of a white man battering an African American man with the American flag. He says that it is horrible to see the American flag used as a weapon; that the American flag is a symbol of equality and racial peace. Shot of another student in the group. She says that administrators always talk about the racial breakdown of the student population, and that she never understood why it was important. Shots of other students in the group.

Von Mehren reports that the busing crisis seems like ancient history to these students; that they go to school in desegregated classrooms every day.

V: Shot of von Mehren sitting with the students. One student says that she has friends of all races and ethnicities; that she never knew South Boston existed before she went to her present school in 1987. Shots of other students in the group. One student says that one Latino student was able to create a war within the school a few years ago. He continues by saying that the student has left the school; that the school is now peaceful. A student from Roslindale says that there is tension in the air; that "there is more talk than action." Another student says that racial tension is never out in the open; that it is apparent when students divide up into groups. He says that white students stick together; that African American students stick together; that there are whispers of tension. One African American student says that she once saw some white supremacist graffiti; that she was frightened. Another says that she was once insulted by a carload of whites while waiting at a bus stop. Shots of the group of students; of individual students.

Von Mehren reports that the students do not want to return to segregated schools.

V: One of the students says saying that ignorance causes fear, and that students need to learn about other races and cultures. A white student says that he recently acted in a play with a racially diverse cast of performers. He continues by saying that integrated schools are working; that there is still some work to be done. Shots of the students.

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