The Other Boston Busing Story

What's Won and Lost Across the Boundary Line

Susan E. Eaton

METCO, America’s longest-running voluntary school desegregation program, buses black children from Boston’s city neighborhoods to predominantly white suburban schools. In contrast to the infamous violence and rage that greeted forced school busing within the city in the 1970s, the work of METCO has quietly and calmly promoted school integration. But how has this program affected the lives of its graduates? Would they choose to participate if they had it to do over again? Would they place their own children on the bus to suburbia? In The Other Boston Busing Story, sixty-five METCO graduates who are now adults answer those questions and more, vividly recalling their own stories and assessing the benefits and hardships of crossing racial and class lines on their way to school. As courts and policymakers today are forcing the abandonment of desegregation, this book offers an accessible and moving account of a rare program that, despite serious challenges, provides a practical remedy for the persistent inequalities in American education. This new edition puts the original findings in a contemporary context.

Paper: $34.95 | E-book: $33.95
ISBN-13: 9781684580293
Pages: 272 | Size: 5.5 in. x 8.5 in.
Date Published: September 1, 2020

General readers who are seriously interested in race relations or education reform will want to read this book.
–Publishers Weekly


  • Affecting personal narratives tell of the survival of a subtler form of segregation which no amount of busing could overcome.

  • Emotionally stirring and, at times, almost unbearably disturbing . . . . A candid narrative of courage.

    Jonathan Kozol
  • General readers who are seriously interested in race relations or education reform will want to read this book.

    Publishers Weekly
  • [Eaton's] prose is eloquent and devoid of the stuffiness of much academic writing. A work of research [that is] fascinating.

    Anand Vaishnav
    Boston Globe

About the Author

Susan Eaton

Susan E. Eaton is professor of practice in social policy and director of the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University’s Heller School. She is the author, most recently, of the book, Integration Nation: Immigrants, Refugees and America at Its Best.

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