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The History of Boston Essay


Transformation and modernization in Boston from 1950 to 1970

Boston is one of the cities of the world with fascinating history. Its foundation was laid in 1630 followed by a series of events, which led to developing the city into what it is today. Bostonians were determined to develop the city by erecting structures around a port.

As the area grew, more needs emerged, evoking the need for industries for the manufacture of consumables and other products. This essay analyses the transformation and modernization in Boston from 1950 to 1970.

By the year 1950, the city began experiencing a wide range of transformations. There were countable major buildings that were erected in the city. Importantly, most of manufacturing industries found it hard to operate in the city because of high cost of production.

As a result, a number of them closed their operations and shifted to the southern side of the city, where labor was believed to be affordable. During this time, Boston had several assets including but not limited to hospitals, banks and learning institutions (O’Conner 37).

Politicians moved in to prevent continuous migration of people and relocation of manufacturing industries to the south by implementing urban renewal policies. The enactment of these regulations led to the elimination of neighborhoods like Scollay Square and the Old West End, which were dominantly occupied by Jews and Italians.

These neighborhoods were replaced with the Massachusetts General Hospital, Charles River Park and the Government Center. These policies contributed to the displacement of thousands people, disrupted business and triggered angry reactions (O’Conner 288).

By the year 1963, Boston had 536,986 jobs, while suburban regions registered higher growth for employment opportunities. It was evident that much of the economic growth of the city was occurring in non-urban regions due to affordable land and accessibility of this ring, enhanced by the Interstate Highway connection (O’Conner 79).

Easy highway access further made the manufacturing and distribution of goods to be cheaper and convenient as compared to the use of port and railway services. As a result, Boston became more boring, with people finding a lot of comfort in the outskirts of the city.

The city was also transformed by the kind of buildings, which were designed and constructed for commercial use. For instance, the construction of the Prudential Tower was initiated in 1960 (O’Conner 227). The building made world history upon its completion.

It emerged to be the tallest building in the world, with an exclusion of New York City skyscrapers. This bred rival that led to the construction of John Hancock Tower that was completed in 1975. It surpassed the Prudential Tower by 240m to emerge as the tallest building in the city to-date.

The city also advanced in terms of education. The year 1964 saw the establishment of the University of Massachusetts Boston, with classes being launched in September of 1965. An opening convocation for the institution was conducted in December 1966 in Boston.

However, the University of Massachusetts Boston joined forces with Boston State College in 1982. In addition, the city advanced the establishment of Phoenix Publishers, which was founded by Hanlon Joe in 1965.

This turned out to be a boost in the city’s publication sector. In 1970, Boston opened the Giant Ocean Tank in 1970 as the largest tank of its nature in the world. Importantly, the modernization and transformation of Boston has remained a continuous process.

Boston in the 1960’s

In 1960s Boston continued to experience transformation and development in various ways. Economical, social and political factors played a major role during this period. In 1960, the State Legislature expanded Chapter 121A to allow tax breaks on development projects, a move that encouraged development, as the city shared the financial risks on the projects.

Importantly, this law was first applied during the construction of the famous Prudential Center (O’Conner 178). Together with other office buildings, the city was able to pull jobs and services, which became the backbone of the city’s economy.

The name of John Frederick Collins is also common in Boston’s 1960s history, who served as the mayor of Massachusetts for eight years, starting in 1960 (O’Conner 210). During 1959 mayoral elections, he was viewed by analysts as an underdog.

After exiting active politics in 1968, Collins held several professorship roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for thirteen years. In 1961, Boston witnessed the opening of the Callahan tunnel.

It is said that the tunnel was named in memory of William Callahan’s son, who was killed before end of WWII. In 1962, the Scollay Square was named in honor of William Scollay, who was a militia officer and developer in 1795.

Similarly, 1962 saw the rise of the Boston Strangler, who was responsible for several murders of single women in Massachusetts in 1960s. Even though Albert De Salvo was convicted for most of the murders, investigative findings indicated that crimes might have been committed by a gang and not an individual criminal achievement.

In a span of less than a year starting 1962, the Boston Area registered thirteen murders of women who had been sexually assaulted and strangled with stockings (Lambert 1).

Due to lack of evidence, it was always assumed that those who committed the crimes were familiar to the victims since there was no sign of forceful entry into the apartments. This became a major security threat, forcing a large number of women to relocate to other residential areas.

In 1964, the city was also transformed by the kind of buildings, which were designed and constructed for commercial use. The construction of the Prudential Tower was initiated in 1960 (O’Conner 227). The building made world history upon its completion.

It emerged to be the tallest building in the world, with an exclusion of New York City skyscrapers. This bred rival that led to the construction of John Hancock Tower that was completed in 1975. It surpassed the Prudential Tower by 240m to emerge as the tallest building in the city to-date.

Additionally, the history of Boston in 1960s cannot be complete without the mention of the strides the city made in advancing the education sector. The year 1964 saw the establishment of the University of Massachusetts Boston. An opening convocation for the institution was conducted in December 1966 in Boston.

However, University of Massachusetts Boston joined forces with Boston State College in 1982. In addition, the city advanced through the establishment of Phoenix Publishers, which was founded by Hanlon Joe in 1965.

In 1968, Kelvin White was elected as the mayor of Boston, a post he held for sixteen years. The 1960s history of Boston ended with the construction of the Boston City Hall and the New England Aquarium in 1969 (Lambert 1).

Busing Crisis in Bolton from 1974 to 1988

This was a period of protests in Boston after the endorsement of the 1965 Racial Imbalance Act, which banned racial segregation in schools. According to the act’s implementation plan, students from “white” regions were to be bused to public schools predominated by black students and vice versa.

This declaration triggered fury among white people in Boston, leading to intensive riots across the country as people expressed their dissatisfaction with the court’s ruling. These riots caused a lot of trouble as public disturbance dominated. As a result, the act led to a significant demographic change in Boston as most white people enrolled their children in private schools, which were exempted from the law (Hornburger 235).

It is important to note that the ruling by Judge Garrity in 1974 came after a recurrence of cases of segregation in public schools. This became rampant despite the fact that segregation was unconstitutional. It gave the judge a chance to develop a plan for the implementation of the Racial Imbalance Act, which had been developed before by the State Legislature.

The law required all public schools to balance the enrollment of students according to racial identity to prevent the domineering of a single race in some schools (Hornburger 235). Despite the adoption of the rule, most Boston School Committees ignored it and acted contrary to the provisions of the regulations.

The plan to ferry students from different areas for the purpose of racial balance was therefore considered as the only way to implement the act. By the end of his tenure, Judge Garrity made history, for introducing a famous and influential education system in the history of the United States.

The conflict which erupted, mainly affected learning programs in Irish-American neighborhoods of South Boston, West Roxbury, Hyde Park, Dorchester, Roslindale and Charlestown. Additionally, the Italian-American neighborhood was also affected, with the North End region suffering most.

During this time, schools that were far from Boston were not adversely hit as those bordering the city. This was mainly because of the presence of very small minority groups of people (Hornburger 236).

Amazingly, part of the Judge’s ruling was to bus a whole junior class from South Boston School to a black, Roxbury High School. Additionally, half of the freshmen were to attend the other school, while senior students were allowed to make a choice and attend a school of their preference.

It is important to note that the implementation of the act was met with low turn-up of students as parents continuously protested on a daily basis, leading to the cancellation of a football season. Consequently, black and white students began using different bus doors as anti-busing pressure mounted.

Opponents of the implementation plan argued that the idea was meant to affect the poor. For instance, they mentioned that the architects of the bill had not been affected as their children remained in white schools. Moreover, many schools registered low attendance as it was believed that some parents transferred their students to regions that were not affected by the law.

Violence became severe as opposing groups attacked each other. Nevertheless, South Boston High School was the most hit with the violence, forcing it close down for some time, introduced metal detectors and hired five hundred police officers against four hundred students who reported back after the closure (Hornburger 236).

Works Cited

Hornburger, Jane. “Deep are the Roots: Busing in Boston.” The Journal of Negro Education 45. 3 (1976): 235-245. Print.

Lambert, Tim. , USA. Local Histories, 2012. Web.

O’Conner, Thomas. Building a New Boston: Politics and Urban Renewal 1950 to 1970. New Hampshire: UPNE, 1995. Print.

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IvyPanda. (2019, December 30). The History of Boston. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-history-of-boston/

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"The History of Boston." IvyPanda, 30 Dec. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-history-of-boston/.

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IvyPanda. "The History of Boston." December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-history-of-boston/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "The History of Boston." December 30, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-history-of-boston/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'The History of Boston'. 30 December.

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