In a white, middle-class, liberal kind of way, that is.
It took leaving Boston to appreciate it anew, and the city's increasing diversity is encouraging, although some of it is taking place with the taint of gentrification, more an invasion of black areas than a mutual crossing of boundaries. I'd already crossed the river for Cambridge anyway and found it incrementally more soothing. Slowly, I am learning to understand why. In fact, slowly, I am learning to understand all of this better.
So. Another piece of that growth in understanding, from "A Tale of Three Cities in One," by George H. Hanford (Cambridge Historical Society, 1996):
In the 1880s Boston was engaged in a bitter fight over the issue of segregated versus integrated public schools. Segregation won, with the result that many African-American families moved to Cambridge, whose schools were integrated.
More than a decade after the Civil War, Boston, home of the great abolitionists, voted to segregate its schools.
Cambridge, to my great relief, did not.