UCSC humanities dean contributes to Time Magazine’s ‘25 Moments That Changed America’

UC Santa Cruz Dean of Humanities Tyler Stovall
UC Santa Cruz Dean of Humanities Tyler Stovall
In late Spring, Time Magazine reached out to 25 historians and asked them to nominate a pivotal moment in history that has changed our nation.

The rules were simple—the selections had to be specific moments (not trends or broad social movements, or even necessarily a well-known date) and these moments had to have occurred sometime during the 20th century.

Time has now published the results in a story titled 25 Moments That Changed America, which includes short essays--based on interviews with each historian--explaining why their moment was selected.

One of the distinguished historians that Time contacted for the piece is UC Santa Cruz humanities dean Tyler Stovall, who is also currently president-elect of the American Historical Association.

Stovall chose for his moment: Busing is Mandated in Boston (June 21, 1974). He said that he chose that moment because it seemed to mark a transition between the push for integration that accompanied the Civil Rights Movement, and the resistance to it that has resulted in the re-segregation of American schools today.

“The Boston anti-busing movement and its national repercussions played a key role in the defeat of school integration in contemporary America,” Stovall noted. “Like the challenges to affirmative action and continued police brutality against African Americans, it illustrated the limits of the nation's commitment to racial justice.”
“The history of the Boston anti-busing movement is an important part of the history of race in modern America,” Stovall added. “Today, America's public schools are more segregated racially than ever, in some respects, and the history of this movement helps explain why this is so.”

The magazine noted in its introduction to 25 Moments That Changed America that the article is “another fitting reminder of just how much can happen in 100 years--and of the way that a single day can change all that comes after. From laws that were passed with unintended consequences to scientific advancements that still affect our everyday lives to a celebrity debut that made a difference, each moment in its own way is an example of how history’s hinges work.”