Theresa Mushat, had role in school desegregation - The Buffalo News

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Theresa Mushat, had role in school desegregation

Dec. 17, 1934 – May 30, 2014

Theresa Mushat, of Buffalo, who was instrumental in the desegregation of Buffalo Public Schools, died Friday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a short illness. She was 79.

A native of Gardenville, the former Theresa Hill attended local public schools.

Mrs. Mushat began volunteering for Buffalo Public Schools in 1958 at School 16.

In 1964, she was hired by the Buffalo School Board as a teacher’s aide.

A decade later, she was asked to work with other parents on a plan to desegregate Buffalo schools, and she became a parent advocate. The goal was to integrate different cultures. Her role included traveling by bus to schools throughout the district to help with the integration process.

In 1976, Mrs. Mushat, other parents and church ministers rode buses that transported children who attended Waterfront Elementary School to ensure that the bus rides were incident-free. Waterfront was the first desegregated school in Buffalo.

In the early 1980s, Mrs. Mushat became a resource cultural specialist and traveled to different cities along with her colleagues to educate other school districts on desegregation.

Her efforts to integrate schools was documented in the book “City on the Lake” by Mark Goldman, her family said.

Mrs. Mushat retired in 1999 from Waterfront Elementary School.

Surviving are four sons, David Jr., John, Robert and Darren; and three daughters, Barbara, Deborah Daniels, and Denise.

The family will hold private services.

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