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'Beyond Black & White.' Roosevelt High alumni explore the legacy of Seattle's busing program

caption: Roosevelt High School in the Seattle School District.
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Roosevelt High School in the Seattle School District.
Flickr / Joe Wolf

In the early 1960s, Seattle Public Schools launched the "voluntary racial transfer program."

It was a plan to bus students to different neighborhoods to better integrate high schools. But the early effort left a large number of Seattle schools with big racial imbalances.

So in 1977, the school board adopted "The Seattle Plan" — which was no longer voluntary — busing thousands of mostly Black students to schools in white neighborhoods.

The ripple effects of these integration efforts still permeate through Seattle Public Schools — including at Roosevelt High School.

A new documentary features voices of students, past and present, reflecting on the legacy of busing and racism in the halls of Roosevelt High School and the district at-large.

It's called "Roosevelt High School: Beyond Black & White." Tony Allison and Joe Hunter Jr. are co-chairs of RARE: Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity, the group behind the documentary.

Allison and Hunter Jr. joined Soundside Libby Denkmann to discuss how the murder of George Floyd launched a turning point in alumni's reflections of how race was (or wasn't) discussed at their alma matter. They were joined by 2021 Roosevelt High graduate Leah Scott.

You can find out more about RARE at their website. "Roosevelt High: Beyond Black and White" premieres on KCTS Tuesday, June 14, at 7 p.m.

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