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Mass. House Bill 45

On March 25, 1845, the Massachusetts legislature guaranteed that every child in the state would have access to a public school. A major source of pressure on the lawmakers was a petition submitted by a group of black Nantucketers. Strong Quaker influence caused most white Nantucketers to be sympathetic to abolition, but this did not translate into support for racial equality. On the contrary, a majority of white islanders voted to prohibit school integration. The island's blacks began a boycott and petition campaign. After a bitter struggle, they succeeded in bringing about the desegregation of the island's public schools.

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