Interview with Alan Lupo

OK, now, I hear what you're saying in terms of the violence wasn't the only story in Boston but it did happen, and as someone who knows this city how do you understand and how do you explain the phenomenon of the hatred that did explode?


The hatred is almost inherited in this city. We had, ah, people, early on, who came here for religious freedom. And as soon as somebody stood up and said, "Gee, I think I'll be a Quaker," they either hanged him or they banished them. That kind of set the tone, all right. And when the Irish showed up, the brutality exhibited toward them was as close as anything anyone has ever seen, not counting what has happened to the Blacks, even more so than other immigrants. So we had a tradition of this in the city, not just in this city, in many places, but particularly poignant here because everybody was fighting for crumbs. And the economy was hardly ever good. I remember personal experiences of the early '40s, into the '50s, being in a gang, happens to be a gang of Jews, self protection. Protect your religion. Protect your class. Protect your turf, because somebody else is calling you names. Somebody else wants to get you. So we had religious wars here. We had class wars here. The Blue Hill Avenue now runs through a Black neighborhood. Once upon a time it was a Jewish neighborhood and the Irish kids called it Jew Hill Avenue. And they didn't say that as a joke, maybe to them it was a joke, but if you were Jewish, it wasn't a joke. So that's the kind of atmosphere you had here. Now you have two groups clashing on the day busing begins. Two oppressed groups of people, you've got Blacks who have been denied equal educational opportunity among many other things they're being denied. But they include some very tough customers from very tough neighborhoods because it's the history of the world, that when you're poor, you're often tough. And they include a lot of White folks who are very tough, very tough customers from very tough neighborhoods, not necessarily as poor but not that distant. How else could it have, how else could violence have been avoided?