The 1954 Supreme Court ruling on desegregation was a touchstone in the fight for Black equality in education. Following this historic decision, civil rights activists, by mobilizing hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters in the streets, won the passage of additional laws protecting other democratic rights for Black people.
We demanded that these laws be implemented. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King: “Legislation and court orders tend only to declare rights; they can never thoroughly deliver them. Only when the people themselves begin to act are rights on paper given life blood.”
During the 1960s, Black people began struggling against de facto segregation in the North as well as the South.
Throughout the 60s, Black students demanded that universities remove all barriers denying equal higher education for Blacks.
As a result of the racism in this country and the current economic crisis, these victories are now under attack. Students in general, and Black students in particular, are victims of educational cutbacks.
In 1974, Black college enrollment decreased for the first time in 14 years. Affirmative action programs are being challenged. Black teachers are the first to be fired as a part of these cutbacks.
On an increasing number of campuses, racists like William Shockley are being invited to propagate their views that Blacks are a genetically inferior race.
It is in the context of these and other attacks on the gains made by the Black student movement nationally that the racist offensive in Boston assumes its importance. The racist drive in Boston represents the sharpest attack so far on the rights won by Black people in the last 20 years of the civil rights and Black liberation movements.
The fight against segregation in the Boston schools is central to all the struggles of Black people. The outcome of the struggle in Boston will affect the overall outcome of fights against segregation in housing and discriminatory hiring practices. The racists in Boston oppose both desegregation and the right of Blacks to control education in the Black community because they stand against the rights of Blacks to any form of equal education.
If the efforts of Boston’s Black community to win equal education are victorious, the struggles of Blacks against cutbacks in education and affirmative action programs, unemployment, and the present drive against our right to a decent standard of living will receive a tremendous inspiration. Similarly, a victory for the racists will encourage even further attacks on the gains won by Black people in the last 20 years.
We encourage all Brothers and Sisters to attend the National Student Conference Against Racism Feb. 14–16 on the BU campus. This historic student conference will be instrumental in mobilizing the student movement to defend the gains of the civil rights movement. In the workshops and plenary sessions students from around the country will map out the plans for the next steps to take to stop the racist attacks against Black people and support desegregation of the Boston public school system and elsewhere. Come and be a part of this historic conference.
Denise Ingrim, President
Black Pre-Med Assoc.
Black Pre-Med Assoc.
Leslie Boyd, coordinator
BU Student Committee for National Conference Against Racism
Former Editor-in-Chief, Watu Wazuri