Interview with Robert Kiley

Now I'd like you to think back to that day in October '74, when the mob in South Boston attacked the Haitian on his way to pick up his wife from work, and beat him up. How had this city come to that place? Where was the leadership.


The attack on the Haitian, which occurred roughly a month after school started can't be seen in isolation because violence was, was a major dimension. The day after school opened, the first day, was a moderately calm day, but by day two, day three, things were in very, very difficult straits both in South Boston and in Hyde Park. So that the Haitian event was a kind of, the attack on the Haitian, was a kind of exclamation point, but there had been incidents involving kids on buses coming from a staging area on the edge of South Boston into the high school and junior high school complex. Nary a day went by without there being a close call of one kind or another, and of course the South Boston schools were under-attended, to say the least, for most of that first year. But there was a highly charged atmosphere and the sense one had on the ground was that almost anything could happen. The goal really of the people in charge at that stage was to try to keep people from being killed.