Pasadena Time Travel

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Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, John Muir High School, 1970

In 1970, Pasadena began a controversial busing program to desegregate the public schools. Rick Cole, who had recently graduated from Blair High School, remembers strong emotions at a 1973 meeting after the pro-integration school board was voted out of office in a recall election.

“It was the week after the school board election. There were 800 high school students at McKinley Auditorium and it was standing room only. One student after another spoke about what integration had meant to them.

There was a woman named Ruby Williams. She was the longtime president of the Pasadena NAACP. She went to the microphone and said, ‘Let’s sing the song that brought the South together!’ Eight hundred students joined her in singing, "We Shall Overcome." The school board members got up, locked arms, and sang along.”

-Rick Cole, Santa Monica City Manager, former Mayor and City Councilmember of Pasadena, Blair High School class of 1971

©2018 Deborah Aschheim. This project is made possible in part by the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. Courtesy John Muir High School [1970 Yearbook]; Rick Cole