During the 1960s and ‘70s, many Seattle students joined the Voluntary Racial Transfer Program to attend schools across town as part of an effort to diversify the Seattle School District. RARE is working on a documentary film to revisit the program’s lifelong effect on students at Roosevelt and on the school’s racial atmosphere.
Many Black and Asian students were bused to Roosevelt, which was a predominately White school, and friendships formed. When the Black Lives Matter movement and social activism on the nation’s streets grew dramatically in 2020, these friends reached out to one another and soon formed RARE.
Statistics now show that most of Seattle’s schools have returned to their previous segregated status. The documentary will revisit the program, how it worked, how it did not, and how it affected the lives of participants.
The Roosevelt High School Foundation is supporting this project through serving as its fiscal agent and making a financial contribution. The film will be used in classrooms and other educational venues, with a curriculum guide to be developed in collaboration with Roosevelt High School staff.
“RARE’s planned documentary film, Roosevelt High School in Black and White, will help to engage our students, staff and community in a thoughtful conversation about our school’s past and present, and about the role of racial integration and diversity in education.” -Kristina Rodgers, Principal of Roosevelt High School
“I have no doubt the documentary film, “Roosevelt High School in Black and White,” will be a profound and welcome contribution to discussions of racial equity issues at Roosevelt High School, its community and beyond. The film’s producers, Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity, are working hard – with great care – to assure the film will illuminate historical and contemporary issues of race, using personal perspectives based on interviews with Roosevelt alumni, students and teachers. The film promises to be a great teaching and learning tool, and it’s wonderful the Roosevelt High School will be the owner of the film for future generations of Roosevelt students.” -Pam Walters Eshelman, RHS 1975, and president of Roosevelt High School Foundation