Fear, Apprehension, and Student Interest Leading up to Phase II
Throughout the busing crisis, a wide range of responses to the attempted desegregation of Boston’s public schools presented themselves. As Phase II expanded to influence more schools and a wider range of age groups, fear and defiance continued to accompany any support for the program. But even as attention began to move away from acceptance of Garrity’s plan itself, there remained the debate about acceptable methods of resistance and public interaction. Some still justified extreme measures of protest and felt that passivity would only perpetuate issues of division. Consequently, the public apprehension toward busing as a method of integration remained significant. As implementation progressed, explicit language concerning violence prevention began to commonly appear among concerned parents, organizations, and other impacted parties.
A call for peaceful resistance appeared early in Phase I in many areas including Roxbury and South Boston, which at the time had become centers for violence and extreme protest. Even individuals who supported busing for integration began to call for increasing efforts to protect students. On October 23, 1974, the Cooper Community Center in Roxbury came together to vote on a public statement to be sent to Mayor White. In it, they express the necessity to remain peaceful in order to prevent the children from suffering further. The following is taken from this resolution:
…it is their deepest belief that violence and disobedience of the law makes, above everyone else, the children the injured parties. We in this country can not afford to have the childrens’ point of view and attitude to their companions wounded. We can not afford to generate hatred in any child regardless of color or age.
We recognize the right to protest, even by demonstrations, laws that are enacted. But this action must be taken without violence, scurrilous language or outright disobedience to the law.
Parents began to impart discrimination, hate, and anger to their children, fueling the racial and community tension inspired by busing. The contagious state of these sentiments created a transferrable conflict that spread from the classrooms to the neighborhoods and many places in between. A Brighton resident wrote to Mayor White and explained that students they worked with both in Roxbury and South Boston felt a solution could be reached if the parents would no longer intervene. They go on to say, “Perhaps we can only hope that time is in fact a great healer, and the stereotypes that people have nurtured in their minds for years may quickly be dissolved.”
Unfortunately, the violence did not end with these pleas, and concern escalated with the coming incorporation of Phase II. The fear expressed by parents sending their children into conflicted schools and neighborhoods spread to the public. The summer before the second phase began, a concerned retired police officer and citizen of Hull reached out to Mayor White intending to articulate this fear. He cautioned, “I am afraid of Phase Two. I did riot duty in Grove Hall the summer of 1967 and have seen what enmity, waste and despair can occur when wiser and cooler heads no longer prevail.”
 Cooper Community Center, “Letter to Mayor Kevin White,” October 23, 1974, Mayor Kevin H. White records, 1929-1999 (Bulk, 1969-1983), Box 2, Folder 24, Boston City Archives.
Redacted, “Letter to Mayor Kevin H. White,” October 15, 1974, Mayor Kevin H. White records, 1929-1999 (Bulk, 1969-1983), Box 3, Folder 2, Boston City Archives.
 Redacted, “Letter to Mayor Kevin H. White,” July 21, 1975, Mayor Kevin H. White records, 1929-1999 (Bulk, 1969-1983), Box 3, Folder 13, Boston City Archives.