1974 remembered in South Boston - for a movie

Busing protest in South Boston

Southie Spots shows us the road in front of South Boston High School tonight - repainted for filming for the murdering-thug biopic (you may recall how said serial killer shot up the Globe for its support of busing).

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No but really

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Stop Forced Busing, its 2014!

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Wrong

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It wasn't who you think it was.

Battered newspaper syndrome?

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Strange that frauds like "legendary" Boston Globe Democrat columnist Mike Barnacle would continue to claim Whitey was a good guy, while Whitey shot at the Globe headquarters. Was Barnacle warned to duck or was he safely ensconced at home in Lincoln at time of fire?

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Yes, as opposed to our good friend

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Howie Carr, who unlike Barnicle,has made a nice living off of the misdeeds of ole Whitey. Then again, Barnicle isn't in a financial partnership with the murderer of women and children the way Carr is. Funny, I don't see Barnicle hawking his crappy books at liquor stores on weekends....

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I'm pretty sure Howie has explained this before.

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Carr entered into a financial partnership with stand up guys who were serial killers. Bulger was a rat serial killer. See the difference? The moral of the story is stop snitching.

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In a way they are

..like two sides of a coin. Both are maudlin crappy writers who betray their contempt for their readership by dumbing it all down.

It's probably a viable game plan, but still.

Mike Barnicle is an addled heirloom of the Bobby Kennedy staff and surely deserves a shout for surviving that.

Otherwise he is ouah derivative version of some similar and more original guy out of Chicago.

Howie makes a Masshole avatar of himself, someone's gotta do it, but his print platform is down to 90k subscribers and the talk radio drywall guy audience is fading as new constituents cover those trades in other languages.

The difference between them

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The difference between them is that Howie Carr has spent his life trying to hurt people. You are right, his audience is fading and he keeps writing the same things over and over and over.
10 years ago, at least, he said he was leaving MA in five years, no later. Ok. Why are you still here Howie? He is a waste of oxygen.

Difference between Barnicle and Carr

Barnicle got caught plagiarizing. Carr is notorious for lifting the work of other reporters without attribution (most of his non-fiction crime books are rife with stolen second- and third-hand reporting) but has never been called out for it. Carr is a child of privilege, a prep school product. Both are pitiful hacks living in leafy exurbs, playing working-class chumps for suckers by affecting risible Joe Sixpack personae. Carr is just more of a brain-dead rightie, as befits his readership. Which one are you reading, now?

Neither.

My favorite Boston politics writer was probably Al Giordano but he left a while ago.

And my favorite writer of all time here is probably Peter Anderson. He had a great Sunday column in the Globe about backwater road trips with a style akin to E. B. White,

When I actually paid attention to print here, (the 80s), I was unimpressed by the rampant sophomorism and mediocrity.

When I checked some of your columns for food last week I was psyched to see it as evidence that old media here was beginning to discover that dumbing it down sux.

Unfortunately, it coincided with the roll out of web 2.0 and things like craigslist to wreck a business model that depended on classifieds.

I've met a few of the old Kennedy crew over the years. The murder of Bobby probably wrecked our psyches even more than the murder of John.

And for years, the remnants of their old staffs and people they favored were accorded some combination of sympathy and tolerance of lapses.

Barnicle was in Bobby's press staff. That was his ticket for years.

Howie is just a worthless blowhard from jump street.

By the way, the Google Plus crew liked your piece and gave it a bunch of pluses which helps with SEO.

Let me know if you want a few optimization tips for the blog.

Who?

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Barnicle? Carr? Whitey?

Who are these people?

Anyway, back to managing my hedge fund.

- The Original SoBo Yuppie

The sanitizing of history

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That's nice that they recreated the scenes from outside of South Boston High. However in Hollywood's newfound romance with good ole' Southie it seems as if love is truly blind. It seems as if Hollywood is attempting to diminish the racist sentiments that were the undercurrent and fuel of the white anti-busing crowd. In South Boston there were several signs and graffiti on walls that read: "Niggers Go Home" and "Kill Niggers" which was often chanted by crowds as well. If we want to go down memory lane, let's not detour down the road of selective memory.

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Let's not detour down the

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Let's not detour down the road of selective memory. What were the anti-busing crowds in the rest of the neighborhoods of Boston chanting, how did they behave? Or was it just the residents of South Boston that acted so horribly?

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good point

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no it was Charlestown as well... and I don't remember "Blacks" if that's what you are inferring, assaulting white children in groups in Boston or any other part of the country despite years of jim crow, lynching and the domestic terrorism of the kkk and other groups which persists to this day.

You are delusional, ignorant or a bald faced liar

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Black on white violence was FAR MORE common than any white on black. I lived in neighborhoods with large black populations and witnessed MANY full scale violent antiwhite riots that were barely reported or not reported at all. I can well remember parts of Columbus Ave in Mission Hill / JP being closed off by police because large groups of black people were rioting, swarming cars with non blacks at red lights (not just white but hispanic too) dragging the occupants out and beating the snot out of them. I know at least one was left paralyzied, one was murdered. And as a white kid I had to be extremely careful getting on mbta buses because brutal assaults on white kids by gangs of black kids was commonplace.

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I'm assuming

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That's because you weren't on any of the buses.

I was there....

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Boston Tech (now Latin Academy) Warren and Townsend. Two thousand white kids in a very black neighborhood, and we didn't leave that building in groups of less than 10.

And driving a cab in Boston, 1979, was the scariest job I have ever had.

Believe me, racial violence cut both ways in Boston in the late '70's. And it sucked all the way around.

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It really doesn't matter what

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It really doesn't matter what you remember. Some pretty awful things were done by individuals of many different races. But that's fine, focus on the "South Boston and Charlestown whites". Also, I didn't infer anything about blacks, I would have insinuated and you would have inferred, which you did quite well. Your posts seem to perpetuate the racist behavior, that most of us are trying to overcome.

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Uh, actually that did kind of

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Uh, actually that did kind of happen during the busing thing. There was violence on both sides.

It's a drama, not a documentary, dude

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And it's not even about busing. I personally see no need for the N-word to be scrawled all over that street. Nor does it need to be depicted in the movie.

It's film. there are many other ways to express sentiment and depict historical times.

But the film makers are aiming for such versimilitude

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Johnny Depp's gone bald, they've rounded up every single '80s car in the Boston area, and I'm sure the teeth-pulling incident will be recreated in exacting faithfulness to the written accounts of it.

No, the movie's not about busing, but that played as much a role in the story of the psychopath as anything else; why wuss out and not recreate things as they really were?

I see your point. If instead

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I see your point. If instead of a bald Whitey they had gone with an asian Whitey then it would make sense to veer away from the racist undercurrent of busing as they did.

Arbys in Brigham Circle

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I also recall a late night robbery at an Arbys (think it was Arbys) in Brigham Circle around this time where the two workers were tied up in the back and set on fire, suffered severe burns, not sure if one or both died. That building is still there in Brigham Circle, directly across from Harvard Medical library.

The crime had racial overtunes

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the two teenage workers were white, the perps were black. And I believe that building is still empty today, it certainly was basically abandoned for decades.

Re: That building was burned to the ground,

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The building was burned to the ground. Arby's rebuilt it, but business was never the same after that and the restaurant was razed. The spot has been a parking lot for at least 25 years now.

The filming of this movie in

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The filming of this movie in South Boston has thrown into sharp relief the fact that while Boston is no longer dominated by thugs and criminals, it still suffers the same drastic educational inequality that caused so much trauma in the 1970s.

Looking only at 'South Boston High,' or 'Excel High School' as it is now properly called (Boston Green Academy was housed in the building but will move to Brighton next year; Odyssey and Monument High Schools also occupied the building in recent years, but were closed as funding for the small schools initiative, once championed by the Gates Foundation, dried up), it is apparent that neglect by the city and by the surrounding community has had an extreme negative impact on the school. Inside this historic school building, the steam heat system is failing. Pipes that have burst and been repeatedly repaired are exposed through holes in the floor. Excess steam causes paint to peel from the walls and ceiling and allows rampant mold growth. Classrooms are heated to above 80 degrees in the winter, and staff must open windows to make rooms bearable. Unfortunately, the windows are extremely difficult to open, and rarely can be pushed up more than two or three inches, then need to be literally stood on to close again. Student bathrooms in the basement have not been accessible for years because of the need for repairs that are never made. Bathrooms frequently lack soap and paper towels. Desktop computers do not work due to old age or lack of technical infrastructure. The city's recent Chromebook initiative (to prepare students for the PARCC tests, which are run completely online, and profit Pearson rather than students) provided laptop carts to the building, but overloaded internet servers mean that students spend excessive time waiting for things to load.

This past year the school struggled with only two disciplinary administrators, so calls for security in the building sometimes went unanswered, and areas with high potential for disruption, like the gym, were frequently unsupervised and became gathering places for skipping students. The school plans to add a third administrator for next year, but at the same time, cuts across the district mean that several teaching positions were cut, despite some classes being fully enrolled or over-enrolled in the past year. There's no visual arts or music classes; the school had to engage in massive fundraising just to get enough money to support a dance teacher for two periods a day. Many teachers chose to leave the school due to an administration that seemed uncaring and struggled with basic tasks, like test administration and class scheduling.

For high schools in the district, any student who lives anywhere in Boston can technically apply to any of the 24 high schools or 3 exam schools (though they must take a test to be accepted to the exam schools, of course). Excel isn't full of neighborhood kids, though. In the morning, as students travel in to school from Roxbury and Dorchester, the neighborhood around the high school empties out as high school students who live nearby head to exam schools or Catholic institutions. Congressman Stephen Lynch lives literally on the same block as the school, and graduated from South Boston High School in 1973, but his daughter and niece don't go to Excel.

Excel High School is 72.8% low income, which is relatively average for the district. The only high schools with less than 2/3 low income? Boston Latin School 30.4%, Latin Academy 54.9%, Kennedy Academy for Health Careers 65.1%, Mary Lyon Pilot 56%, Boston Arts Academy 65%. The only school on that list that doesn't require an additional application or exam is the Mary Lyon Pilot, which draws students with severe needs and learning disabilities as well as typical students. Busing, and then the 'end' of busing, didn't succeed in integrating the schools, it merely made wealthier families flee the city school system if their children didn't make it into the exam schools. The 'pilot' system within the district means that schools that are already higher achieving can select for themselves a pool of similarly higher-achieving new students simply by adding an application process, something that deters less advantaged students and their families. Boston high schoolers now travel all around the city, but their opportunities are still limited by the ability of their parents to advocate for them. Boston Latin School has an active alumni organization and can take donations right through their website. The current occupants of South Boston High School lack the resources to organize and solicit donations and volunteer hours from successful alumni, like Congressman Lynch.

The residents of Telegraph Hill have chosen to abandon their neighborhood high school, despite the newly revised school assignment plan that would make it easy for local residents to band together and decide to send their kids en masse to the high school next door. As a result, back-to-school nights are sparsely attended by the out-of-neighborhood parents, because the trip is as long and tedious for parents as it is for students, which will only increase in the coming year as yellow bus service is eliminated. The neighborhood has become more prosperous than it was in the 1970s, with residents wealthy enough to pay dog walkers to tend to their pets and leave bags of dog poop littering the sidewalk around the school. Boston Latin School would surely never have the facilities and staffing problems that Excel families currently face. Having parents who can advocate for their children makes it easier to get support for a school. Having parents and alumni who can volunteer time and effort toward fundraising makes it possible to offer enrichment opportunities. This is where exam schools compound their advantage over regular schools, as their involved families give back to the school, making it seem more attractive to other involved families, nudging out the children who need this help the most.

There has been speculation that the district or the neighborhood is hoping for the school to fail entirely, so that it can be taken over and converted into a charter school, forcing out lower-class families by using an application system similar to the existing exam and charter/pilot schools. That wouldn't be a fair outcome, either. All children in Boston deserve a high-quality education. If the high school occupying South Boston High School had an actual mix of students from different neighborhoods and different socioeconomic statuses, and it had the support of some of the more prosperous families in the surrounding neighborhood, it could thrive, providing a strong education to all of the kids who would attend. But while middle class and upper middle class families in Boston continue to send their children only to the exam schools or to private or charter schools, the community as a whole falters, and the children of less-wealthy parents get left behind.

Southie only cares about the school now because there's free overnight parking. Maybe the school should start charging for parking spots. That might raise enough funding for another teacher or two.

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Why should a neighborhood invest in a school?

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Busing destroyed the idea of neighborhood schools. People aren't goin to invest in schools that their children are not allowed to attend (or won't attend because they are substandard). Getting people to send their kids to and invest in neighborhood schools will take some time. 30 years of ingrained behavior is not going to be u done overnight. And I don't blame parents who are unwilling to offer their kids as guinea pigs for a grand social experiment.

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Did you read before commenting?

Did you read the posting to which you just replied? In particular, the part that said,

the newly revised school assignment plan that would make it easy for local residents to band together and decide to send their kids en masse to the high school next door.

Don't let the facts get in the way of your narrative, though.

Hey Bob. Did you miss this part of my post?

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"Getting people to send their kids to and invest in neighborhood schools will take some time. 30 years of ingrained behavior is not going to be u done overnight. "

Not really sure what you are talking about, are you Bob?

To the grammar nazi below - you got me! I've been hoisted on my own smartphone and will now retreat, having been bested by your withering jabs.

When posting about schools

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Please consider spelling out words and using proper grammar.

Also consider this: the racists who ran the Boston schools could have integrated the system by redefining the boundaries around each school - shifting them to include different areas - while maintaining walk zones.

They didn't. That's why the judge was forced to order busing. Cambridge did do this. No busing.

Play "neighborhood blah blah uber alles" all you want - the problem was that neighborhood = race and race = level of investment. Neighborhood schools is a code phrase that only sounds less racist to you, but not to anyone with a brain.

Cambridge vs Boston = Apples & Oranges

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With all due respect, Cambridge is:

1) Geographically tiny

2) Is far less racially (not ethnically but racially, especially in reference to African Americans) than Boston, and especially in the time period we're discussing, but it holds true even today.

Busing

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I have lived in SB my whole life, and yes, it is true that the School Committee chose political grandstanding over making desegregation less disruptive for everyone. I wish more people were aware of this.

But honestly, the population of SB in 1974 was over 35,000 people, yet we were all out stoning buses and yelling racist slurs??. Most people protested - and those protests are well recorded and they contain nothing of the sort.

They were awful days, and a lot of innocent kids had their educations disrupted, some never went back.

South Boston

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There are a lot of kids from SB at the high school - the catholic high schools are out of reach now for so many, so if a kid doesn't get into an exam school you'd have no choice.

But seriously, who are you to say what parents should do with their kids? They should do what you want and not what they think is best?

We have provided stability in the neighborhood by staying and raising our kids here, but we got them the absolute best educations we could and all have gone to college. We aren't the problem. A lot of the elementary schools have a lot of middle class families coming back so that is a good thing, a rising tide lifts all boats. But no parent "owes" anything to anyone except their own children. Talk to the people who moved out and are now complaining about the condos and yuppies. It's unbelievable. They are outraged. It's comical.

As if ...

As if the letters were so carefully written in real life, and I'm pretty sure they spelled it 'bussing' by accident.

How does South Boston feel about the Commonwealth funding this movie in part with its own taxpayer money?

Classy, Hollywood, classy.

Why, did people here have any

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Why, did people here have any control,over this or clamor for it to be made? What's your point?

The filming of this movie in

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The filming of this movie in South Boston has thrown into sharp relief the fact that while Boston is no longer dominated by thugs and criminals, it still suffers the same drastic educational inequality that caused so much trauma in the 1970s.

Looking only at 'South Boston High,' or 'Excel High School' as it is now properly called (Boston Green Academy was housed in the building but will move to Brighton next year; Odyssey and Monument High Schools also occupied the building in recent years, but were closed as funding for the small schools initiative, once championed by the Gates Foundation, dried up), it is apparent that neglect by the city and by the surrounding community has had an extreme negative impact on the school. Inside this historic school building, the steam heat system is failing. Pipes that have burst and been repeatedly repaired are exposed through holes in the floor. Excess steam causes paint to peel from the walls and ceiling and allows rampant mold growth. Classrooms are heated to above 80 degrees in the winter, and staff must open windows to make rooms bearable. Unfortunately, the windows are extremely difficult to open, and rarely can be pushed up more than two or three inches, then need to be literally stood on to close again. Student bathrooms in the basement have not been accessible for years because of the need for repairs that are never made. Bathrooms frequently lack soap and paper towels. Desktop computers do not work due to old age or lack of technical infrastructure. The city's recent Chromebook initiative (to prepare students for the PARCC tests, which are run completely online, and profit Pearson rather than students) provided laptop carts to the building, but overloaded internet servers mean that students spend excessive time waiting for things to load.

This past year the school struggled with only two disciplinary administrators, so calls for security in the building sometimes went unanswered, and areas with high potential for disruption, like the gym, were frequently unsupervised and became gathering places for skipping students. The school plans to add a third administrator for next year, but at the same time, cuts across the district mean that several teaching positions were cut, despite some classes being fully enrolled or over-enrolled in the past year. There's no visual arts or music classes; the school had to engage in massive fundraising just to get enough money to support a dance teacher for two periods a day. Many teachers chose to leave the school due to an administration that seemed uncaring and struggled with basic tasks, like test administration and class scheduling.

For high schools in the district, any student who lives anywhere in Boston can technically apply to any of the 24 high schools or 3 exam schools (though they must take a test to be accepted to the exam schools, of course). Excel isn't full of neighborhood kids, though. In the morning, as students travel in to school from Roxbury and Dorchester, the neighborhood around the high school empties out as high school students who live nearby head to exam schools or Catholic institutions. Congressman Stephen Lynch lives literally on the same block as the school, and graduated from South Boston High School in 1973, but his daughter and niece don't go to Excel.

Excel High School is 72.8% low income, which is relatively average for the district. The only high schools with less than 2/3 low income? Boston Latin School 30.4%, Latin Academy 54.9%, Kennedy Academy for Health Careers 65.1%, Mary Lyon Pilot 56%, Boston Arts Academy 65%. The only school on that list that doesn't require an additional application or exam is the Mary Lyon Pilot, which draws students with severe needs and learning disabilities as well as typical students. Busing, and then the 'end' of busing, didn't succeed in integrating the schools, it merely made wealthier families flee the city school system if their children didn't make it into the exam schools. The 'pilot' system within the district means that schools that are already higher achieving can select for themselves a pool of similarly higher-achieving new students simply by adding an application process, something that deters less advantaged students and their families. Boston high schoolers now travel all around the city, but their opportunities are still limited by the ability of their parents to advocate for them. Boston Latin School has an active alumni organization and can take donations right through their website. The current occupants of South Boston High School lack the resources to organize and solicit donations and volunteer hours from successful alumni, like Congressman Lynch.

The residents of Telegraph Hill have chosen to abandon their neighborhood high school, despite the newly revised school assignment plan that would make it easy for local residents to band together and decide to send their kids en masse to the high school next door. As a result, back-to-school nights are sparsely attended by the out-of-neighborhood parents, because the trip is as long and tedious for parents as it is for students, which will only increase in the coming year as yellow bus service is eliminated. The neighborhood has become more prosperous than it was in the 1970s, with residents wealthy enough to pay dog walkers to tend to their pets and leave bags of dog poop littering the sidewalk around the school. Boston Latin School would surely never have the facilities and staffing problems that Excel families currently face. Having parents who can advocate for their children makes it easier to get support for a school. Having parents and alumni who can volunteer time and effort toward fundraising makes it possible to offer enrichment opportunities. This is where exam schools compound their advantage over regular schools, as their involved families give back to the school, making it seem more attractive to other involved families, nudging out the children who need this help the most.

There has been speculation that the district or the neighborhood is hoping for the school to fail entirely, so that it can be taken over and converted into a charter school, forcing out lower-class families by using an application system similar to the existing exam and charter/pilot schools. That wouldn't be a fair outcome, either. All children in Boston deserve a high-quality education. If the high school occupying South Boston High School had an actual mix of students from different neighborhoods and different socioeconomic statuses, and it had the support of some of the more prosperous families in the surrounding neighborhood, it could thrive, providing a strong education to all of the kids who would attend. But while middle class and upper middle class families in Boston continue to send their children only to the exam schools or to private or charter schools, the community as a whole falters, and the children of less-wealthy parents get left behind.

Southie only cares about the school now because there's free overnight parking. Maybe the school should start charging for parking spots. That might raise enough funding for another teacher or two.