Exclusive essays and interviews from former students kick off multimedia news partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, with research contributed by the Boston Busing and Desegregation Project

BOSTON, Mass. (September 8, 2014) – Today WGBH News launched a yearlong multimedia news series that chronicles the impact of busing and desegregation in Boston over the last 40 years. The project will be produced in partnership with the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, with research assistance from the Boston Busing and Desegregation Project. It will include firsthand accounts from Bostonians, never-before-seen historical documents and new reporting across radio, TV and digital.

“WGBH News is excited to kick off this yearlong reporting series and present new perspectives about how this chapter in Boston’s history shaped the city today. We are excited to work together again with the Schuster Institute and bring in unique research from the Boston Busing and Desegregation Project,” said Phil Redo, general manager for WGBH Radio. “This type of comprehensive reporting is what we strive to bring local audiences in Massachusetts every day in order to help us better understand and reflect on our past and our future.”

It was 1975 when students at the Oliver W. Holmes Middle School in Dorchester sat down and wrote essays about their experience attending an integrated school in the first phase of desegregation. Brandeis professor David Cunningham discovered these essays in former Mayor Kevin White's archives and 40 years later, WGBH senior investigative reporter Phillip Martin tracked down many of those same students to capture their thoughts on desegregating Boston’s schools and its impact on the city. Martin’s report, the first in the series from multiple reporters, aired this morning on WGBH Radio’s Morning Edition with Bob Seay. It will also air later today on All Things Considered and on WGBH 2’s Greater Boston beginning at 7pm. The essays and interviews will be available online for audiences to see and hear at and Schuster Institute Investigations.

“When Boston exploded with riots over busing, much of the national news media portrayed the city as deeply racist, a reputation that still clings to it forty years later,” said Florence Graves, founding director of the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism. “But archival research and individual memories reveal that, even at the time, busing was never quite so simple. The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism is pleased to partner with WGBH to offer a more nuanced and complicated account.” 

WGBH News is among the fastest growing local news providers in greater Boston and draws on the talent of a multi-platform newsroom that includes 89.7 WGBH Radio, Boston’s Local NPR®, television and digital reporting. The WGBH newsroom continues to invest in substantive local coverage and has established dedicated desks for innovation, higher education and politics as well as unique partnerships to expand on that commitment, including the Schuster Institute, Boston University’s New England Center for Investigative Reporting (NECIR) and the Ground Truth Project.

About WGBH

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content for TV and the Web. Television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the digital channels World and Create. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with 89.7 WGBH, Boston Public Radio; 99.5 WCRB; and WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR® Station. Find more information at

About the Schuster Institute

The Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University is an independent reporting center dedicated to high-quality, in-depth investigative reporting that educates and informs policymakers and the public. Its central focus is on finding and exposing systemic violations of social justice and human rights locally, nationally, and internationally. 

About the Boston Busing and Desegregation Project

The Boston Busing and Desegregation Project (BBDP) is a project of the Union of Minority Neighborhoods (UMN), which developed out of a need to revisit the period of busing and desegregation in Boston. By gathering knowledge from written history, individuals and communities, BBDP’s goal is to move past old misunderstandings, build on successes and shared values, and acknowledge the many forms of truth about this history and its impact. The project includes the staff of UMN, a steering committee, a learning network, a local and national advisory group and partnering organizations committed to research, analysis and dialogue to understand our history of busing and desegregation and its impact on our public education system and city today.