White and Black students begin to fight outside Hyde Park High School in Boston, Mass., Feb. 14, 1975. Photo Credit: Associated Press

The Busing Battleground

September 11, 2023 | GBH’s American Experience

On June 21, 1974, in response to decades of racial segregation and evidence of educational disparities, the U.S. District Court Judge W. Arthur Garrity ordered the Boston Public Schools to integrate through a court-mandated busing plan. Despite the city’s self-proclaimed reputation as the “cradle of liberty” and the “birthplace of abolition,” it had always been, as historian Zebulon Miletsky writes, a deeply racially divided city. Forced busing would catalyze racial violence and class tensions across the city, and media coverage of the unrest would shape Boston’s reputation and attitudes towards school desegregation across the country for decades to come. Drawing upon eyewitness accounts of participants, oral histories, and rare news archive, The Busing Battleground examines the 1974 effort to end segregation in Boston’s public schools, detailing the decade’s long struggle for educational equity that preceded the busing crisis.


Sharon Grimberg has more than 20 years of experience working for public television. Her latest project, McCarthy, aired on PBS in January 2020. Sharon’s film, The Circus, aired on PBS in October 2018, and The Wall Street Journal named the mini- series one of the best TV programs of 2018. Grimberg was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for the script. Grimberg was the executive producer of the three-part series The Abolitionists, which was nominated for a Primetime Emmy and a Writers Guild Award. She was executive producer of the multi-platform mini-series We Shall Remain and a producer/writer on the first episode, “After the Mayflower.” As senior producer of American Experience for more than a decade, Grimberg played a key role in the origination, development, acquisition and editorial oversight of more than 130 films for the series. Grimberg served as the supervising producer of “They Made America”, a series on innovation based on award-winning writer Sir Harold Evans’s book of the same title. From 1992-1995 Grimberg worked as a writer and associate producer for CNN Headline News.

Cyndee Readdean is an award-winning director, producer and writer. Her films have appeared on PBS, ABC, MSNBC and EPIX. Readdean directed and produced episode two of the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University award-winning series Reconstruction: America after the Civil War and the Emmy nominated film The FBI & the Panther. She served as the Series Producer on the four-hour series By Whatever Means Necessary: The Times of Godfather of Harlem. Her producer credits include Freedom Summer, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the George Foster Peabody Award, the Emmy nominated Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities, which also premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and two-hour premiere episode of the OBAMA series. Readdean is a member of DGA, PGA and WGA.

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