In the 70s and 80s Los Angeles, there was “forced busing” from the rich wealthy neighborhood to poor PoC neighborhoods and vice versa. The rich white people called it forced and made sure that the City Council kept it that way…until:
Pioneers of LAUSD desegregation
They aren’t the kind of heroes usually honored during Black History Month. They didn’t challenge Jim Crow laws or invent more ways to use peanuts.
But they were pioneers 40 years ago in this city’s first school integration campaign.
Rudy Pittman, now a teacher, was 14 when he took that first bus ride from Watts, one of seven kids, escorted by police, headed over the hill to Van Nuys’ Birmingham High.
It was 1972 and the Los Angeles Unified School District had been found guilty of intentionally segregating city schools. White families, fearful of having their children bused, had begun fleeing the district and transferring to private schools.
The new busing program, called Permits With Transportation, or PWT, was partly seen as a way to fill empty classroom seats. It was a prelude to the much larger mandatory desegregation program the district would begin in 1978. It helped integrate Valley campuses and extend the bounty of predominantly white suburban schools to a small group of black children from poor neighborhoods.
So what did the rich white folks do when desegregation happened and Tommy who lived in South Los Angeles a male African American went to the rich white Valley school and little blond hair blue eyes cutey pie Mary had to go to school in Compton?
White families, fearful of having their children bused, had begun fleeing the district and transferring to private schools.
White flight! Little white Mary’s parents put her into private school. They didn’t want some big, black, hulking of a negro who could probably shave and stand 6'5" tall touching their little rose petal.
I was PWT and I was protected by the Latinos and Black folks, as I was a small and scrawny Japanese American.