School Busing During Kamala Harris’ Childhood Was Both Voluntary and Volatile: ‘Berkeley Was an Oxymoron’

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a television interview after the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019, in Miami, Fla. (Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks during a television interview after the second night of the first Democratic presidential debate on June 27, 2019, in Miami, Fla. (Credit: Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

The school bus ride was less than three miles from one side of Berkeley to the other, but from 1969 to 1973 it transported Carole Porter to an entirely different world.

Like her neighbor and friend Kamala Harris, Porter was one of thousands of black children bused into predominantly white neighborhoods to learn. It was part of Berkeley’s bold experiment in desegregation.

But even in a city that had become a worldwide symbol of 1960s counterculture revolt, systemic racial prejudice in education and housing remained deeply entrenched.

“That’s a really hard thing to reconcile,” said Porter, 55. “Berkeley was an oxymoron. It was a contradiction in many ways.”

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

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