Boston Schools Desegregation, Then And Now: Through The Eyes Of A Black Student Who Survived The 1970s Turmoil

Cedric Turner was 16 years old when bell bottoms were polyester and “The Bump” filled radio airwaves, moving young people to knock their hips together to the beat. It was the dawn of the disco era, with colored lights flashing in nightclubs as music blasted away.

A street-wise kid from Mattapan, Turner was Black, six-foot-two and a standout football player at English High School in the Fenway. Until 1972, English was all boys, with some of the biggest, fastest athletes in the city.

But when Turner remembered the football games recently, his stories weren’t about high school glory days. They were stories of violent racist encounters.