More than a decade before court-ordered busing pushed Boston school desegregation into national prominence, the Rev. Dr. James P. Breeden co-organized the Stay Out for Freedom one-day boycotts that led thousands of Black students to trade the city’s public schools for Freedom Schools to protest racial inequities.
Well-acquainted with using civil disobedience to right wrongs, he had been arrested in Mississippi three years earlier when he was among 15 Black and white clergy who entered a segregated restaurant at a bus stop during the era’s Freedom Rides.
Breeden, whose activism reached from the civil rights era through anti-apartheid demonstrations and beyond, died in his Easthampton home Sept. 20 of cancer. He was 85.