The Tower Road Bus, a documentary directed by Professor Mike Streissguth of Le Moyne’s communications and film studies department, details the experiences of students, teachers and administrators on the frontlines of public school integration in Prince George’s County in Maryland during the 1970s.
Attending the screening will be 89-year-old Dotson Burns Jr., the first African-American principal of an all-white public school in Prince George's County, which was the largest school district in the United States during the 1960 and 1970s. Burns, who is featured prominently in the documentary, was a pioneer in school integration. In 1959, he began his distinguished career in education in the Washington D.C. area, serving on the frontlines of public school integration as the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision (1954) began to take effect in the region. In Prince George’s County, Maryland, he taught at a segregated elementary school and, later, was often called upon to be among the first to integrate the teaching ranks in previously all-white schools.
Eva Williams, director of retention for the Syracuse City School District and a former principal in the district, will join Mr. Burns for a conversation following the screening.
Watch a trailer for the documentary here.