Kamala Harris had a break-out moment during the first Democratic presidential debate, putting Berkeley’s vanguard voluntary school integration efforts of the 1960s back into the spotlight. https://lat.ms/2FKRYXp
In a heated exchange during the debate, Harris accused Joe Biden of not taking a morally correct position in favor of an assertive federal role in the busing of students to achieve integration. https://lat.ms/2FHruq0
Harris’ three years of busing from her family’s mainly black working-class neighborhood to a prosperous white enclave in the hills overlooking San Francisco Bay was at once universal and uniquely Berkeley. https://lat.ms/2FKRYXp
Thelette A. Bennett, a retired vice principal of Berkeley High School, grew up in the same neighborhood as Harris.
“There were only certain areas where they could buy a home,” Bennett said. “We lived where they allowed us to live.” https://lat.ms/2FKRYXp
Today, Berkeley operates under a newer desegregation plan that is based on socioeconomic and demographic data instead of a student’s race.
The original desegregation policy remains a source of civic pride. https://lat.ms/2FKRYXp
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