The Project: About The Avoidable Crisis

Photo:, Pulitzer Prize 1977, “The Soiling of Old Glory”

emersonThe Avoidable Crisis is a project conducted by the Emerson College Journalism Department. Three journalism students, one recent graduate and two faculty members researched Boston’s busing crisis during Summer 2014. Over a three month period, the team examined 5,000 documents, including articles, books and reports. Five hundred artifacts spanning 1958–2012 were outlined and cataloged in an effort to thoroughly consider a tumultuous period of the city’s history. The result is five personal stories and a timeline of the nation’s most expansive court-ordered school desegregation.

The Student: Surrounded by racial violence both at Charlestown High and at home, a teenager takes a courageous step and becomes responsible for her own education.

The Master: A victim of the segregated South spends his life’s work tearing apart educational inequity, starting in Boston.

The Insider: An All-American athlete of South Boston High School struggles to keep his alma mater open and ascends to political prominence.

The Headmaster: South Boston’s High School builds a series of innovative programs under court protection. But, the situation quickly descends the moment an elected School Committee takes control.

The Outsider: A beating in City Hall Plaza turns a son of Harlem into a symbol of racial violence and a prominent voice that leads Boston out of the busing era.

The Timeline: Read about the chain of events that brought chaos to Boston’s schools.

Spare Change News Editor-in-Chief Adam Sennott was a member of the project and approached Emerson College this past fall about publishing it. Though it sat on ice for nearly two years, The Avoidable Crisis Project takes a much needed look back into one of the most tumultuous periods Boston has ever known.

Spare Change News is proud to publish The Avoidable Crisis Project and hopes to run similar projects in the future.





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