Andover was ripe for a well-defined program that addressed civil rights. The members of ACEO had not found a way to go beyond promoting an open housing market in Andover. The need for a way to introduce black families into the community was apparent in the fall of 1966 when a call came to Bruce Van Blair concerning a program for qualified disadvantaged high school students, “ABC.”
Events originating in 1964-65 at the national level of ABC led to the inquiry about an ABC program for Andover. At that time 19 private secondary schools, including Phillips, had become hosts to some six hundred ABC students. An affiliate of the ABC, the Independent Schools Talent Search Program, publicized ABC at high schools populated by disadvantaged minority students. Their representatives provided opportunities for motivated students to apply. By 1964, six thousand qualified students had applied. There was capacity for only 600 at the 19 private schools. It was decided to introduce the ABC program to public schools such as Andover High.
Next Week: The town rallies support.