The First Step: School Desegregation

nerc46-presbannerTuesday, Seminar II, 1:45–2:45

The First Step: A Little Known Chapter in the Fight for School Desegregation

Susan E. Goodman, Lesley University, Cambridge, MA



Few Americans, even New Englanders, know the first legal challenge to segregation occurred in Boston in 1848. That’s when the Roberts refused to let their daughter walk past five schools for white children to attend an inferior one for African Americans; they took the city to court instead. Author Susan Goodman discusses the far-reaching impact of Roberts v. City of Boston, ways to help students understand the nature of change, and two tools that can spur classroom conversation about it all.

Presentation Materials:
Handouts (docx)
Classroom Bookshelf (docx)
Survey/Letter “Kids Speak Out!” (pdf)

Target Audience: All

Strand Identification: U.S. History, Civics/Government, Education Issues