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AFAM 2600: Race, Science and Technology (Angel Nieves)

The 1970s and Beyond

Struggles over Integration, Gentrification and Inclusion

Integration busing

Violence erupted in Boston in the 1970's when a court order required the city to integrate schools through busing.

Gentrification and Redlining

Closely aligned with school segregation was redlining. Widely practiced before the 1970s, redlining was a practice of denying loans to developers and homeowners who wished to purchase homes and land within certain neighborhoods, outlined with a red line or red coloring in the real estate maps used by banks.  The practice was made illegal by the Fair Housing Act in 1968, but its effects continue.  Not being able to own a home creates wealth disparities and housing insecurity, which have implications for generations to come.

Sources for Additional Research

Globe Spotlight: Boston. Racism. Image. Reality

spotlightBoston globe

Sportlight series: racism in Boston

Published in December 2017, in installments:

  1. Image and reality [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  2. Seaport [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  3. Hospitals [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  4. Colleges [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  5. Sports [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  6. Power [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]
  7. Solutions [Boston Globe site] [Proquest]

Boston Globe site: available with a personal subscription. (learn more)

Proquest: access with myNortheastern username and password

Inclusion in Boston Art

Two issues present themselves when Boston examines its own cultural institutions: what is included and displayed in our museums, and how is the public welcomed into them?  Read more below:

Diverse Public Art in Boston: A guide to murals and sculptures around the city, from Boston Magazine

In 2019, a group of black students taking a tour of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), experienced racist remarks and treatment by museum staff.  Learn more below about the incidents and what prompted change at the MFA.

Myra Kraft video: panel with Museum of Fine arts

Myra Kraft Open Classroom: 12/9/2020 | Community Outreach and Cultural Institutions Post-COVID: A conversation with the Museum of Fine Arts

Panel featuring Matthew Teitelbaum, Ann and Graham Gund Director of the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA)- Makeeba McCreary, Patti and Jonathan Kraft Chief of Learning and Community Engagement - Rosa Rodriguez Williams, Senior Director of Belonging and Inclusion


Search the Boston Globe database for background information about what prompted change at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA) afterwards.

Sample search of Boston Globe database


What about "white face" in the arts? The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum exhibit about John Singer Sargent's model for his murals:

The collaboration between Sargent and McKeller resulted in one of Sargent's only full male nudes. The striking piece, on loan from the MFA, depicts McKeller not as a model for a Greek god, but as himself. But that masterwork is alone in a sea of preparatory sketches where McKeller models for what will become a mural full of white bodies. In "Study for Apollo in Classic and Romantic Art for the Rotunda of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston," viewers can see point-blank how McKeller's face, in the upper right hand corner, is altered to look white in the sketches of Apollo below.

"When you can visually see someone's identity being erased, as an African American in this country it's hard not to have a visceral reaction to that," says Theo Tyson, Polly Thayer Starr Fellow in American Art at The Boston Athenaeum and a community collaborator for the Gardner show. The relationship is further complicated by the implicit power dynamic at play between artist and model, when the artist has both physical and observational control over the subject.

(Source: The Bay State Banner, February 19,2020)