Race Street runs through the center of Cambridge, and for much of the town's history, it was a physical as well as a symbolic divide: Whites lived on one side, blacks kept to the other. That is why the election this week of Victoria Jackson-Stanley, a 54-year-old social worker, as Cambridge's first black mayor marks a historic turning point for the town that's just a few miles from Harriet Tubman's birthplace.
In 1967, Cambridge's biggest employer was a canning factory and segregation was a fact of life despite Congress' passage of landmark civil rights legislation earlier in the decade. Blacks couldn't use the swimming pool, skating rink or other public facilities. More than a decade after the Supreme Court outlawed segregated public schools, the town maintained separate schools for blacks and whites.