In September, 1971, San Francisco's elementary-school students were bused to schools newly desegregated by order of the federal district court. In this study of San Francisco's experience with desegregation, David L. Kirp examines the political background that led to recourse to the court, the constitutional context within which the case was decided, and the implementation of the decision. The events in San Francisco illustrate not only the tensions that typically surround desegregation but, equally importantly, the idiosyncratic circumstances that make one city's experience with the issue unique. The author concludes that it is inappropriate to address the problem of racial imbalance with a standard desegregation policy which ignores the diversity among cities. He also points out the problems in integrating as well as desegregating and the tension between shifting political perceptions and the role of the courts.

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