Why Busing Failed: Race, Media, and the National Resistance to School Desegregation

Univ. of California. Mar. 2016. 304p. illus. notes. index. ISBN 9780520284241. $65; pap. ISBN 9780520284258. $29.95. HIST
Busing students as a way to promote school desegregation was among the most divisive civil rights issues in the decades following Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In this work, Delmont (history, Arizona State Univ., The Nicest Kids in Town) applies oral histories, governmental reports, and news coverage to demonstrate how this response to the Supreme Court decision was destined not only to fail but was also used to change Americans' understanding of desegregation. Delmont argues that forced busing allowed politicians, school districts, and white communities to alter the discussion of educational inequality, as busing allowed them to transfer the burden of racial integration from the local to the state level. While Delmont covers some of the more infamous busing protests, including those in Chicago, New York, and Boston, as well as rallies in Pontiac, MI, he further describes how white communities created the first media campaigns focusing the issue of school desegregation as one specifically about busing.
VERDICT By looking at the antibusing uprisings that were presented in mainstream media, this recommended narrative presents civil rights through the lens of media studies and offers an entirely new way of seeing how recent history was written.
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