‘‘I cried when I drove away, when I saw this, how much change had happened,’’ she said.
Quinlan said her experiences opened her own eyes to black culture, and she became the first white member of a black gospel choir at a local university.
Davis, a 50-year-old African-American, said he was bused to Boston’s Brighton section in 1976. Davis said neighborhood kids had paved the way at the mostly white school by then, and he didn’t experience bias.
But as a substance abuse counselor in Roxbury near where he grew up, Davis said many clients have said busing-related trauma put them on a path to addiction. He’s heard stories from black clients about how white police officers who were in schools called them names; others have confessed that they threw rocks at white students.
Some dropped out of school to avoid conflicts that came with busing.
‘‘For a lot of people this has never been closed. This is still open. The pain that they feel has never been addressed,’’ Davis said.
But for story circle participants like Powell, talking about busing has been healing, as was her trip to South Boston.
‘‘It’s sort of making myself whole ...,’’ she said. ‘‘I had no control as a child being bused, but as an adult I can go into these spaces.’’