People of African descent in Boston continued to struggle for school integration in their city, despite stiff opposition from many in the white community. Their task was made more difficult because of splits within their own ranks. A majority of black Bostonians wanted to end segregation in all the city schools, but a vocal minority advocated keeping the black public schools while integrating the rest. Nonetheless, in 1855 the state legislature passed a law integrating all of the commonwealth's schools. Inadvertently, the bullying tactics of the South made the difference. The Fugitive Slave Law combined with the Kansas-Nebraska Act convinced many New Englanders that there was a Slave Power subverting their values and even their way of life. The Bay State's success inspired African Americans in southern New England to work for integration, particularly in Providence, Rhode Island.
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