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Hope Kelly reports on racial controversy surrounding a rowing race in South Boston
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Program:
[Controversy over racism in rowing race]
Original Airdate: 5/22/1987

Length: 00:04:02
Item Type: newstape - edited story master


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Full Description

1:00:00
Visual: Footage of Andrew Jones (Greater Roxbury Incorporation Project) and Curtis Davis (Greater Roxbury Incorporation Project) at a press conference in front of the L Street Bathhouse in South Boston. Jones reads a prepared statement. The statement reads that Ray Flynn (Mayor of Boston) should not invite New York residents to Boston; that African Americans from New York and Boston are not welcome in Flynn's neighborhood. Footage of Flynn at a press conference. Flynn says that acts of discrimination in the city will not be tolerated. Shots of Davis and Jones at their press conference; of Bruce Bolling (Boston City Council) speaking at Flynn's press conference. Footage of Jones saying that African Americans were stoned when they tried to visit Carson Beach in 1974. Footage of William Geary (Commissioner, Metropolitan District Commission) at Flynn's press conference. Geary says that Carson Beach is open to all citizens. Shots of Flynn speaking at his press conference. White and African American city officials stand behind him.

Hope Kelly says that Flynn's press conference included a full array of testimony about the city's progress in fighting racism; that it is rare for African American community leaders to hold press conferences in South Boston.

V: Shot of the press conference in front of the L Street Bathhouse. The sign over the entrance to the bathhouse reads, "James Michael Curley Recreation Center." A crowd of white residents and media stand in front of the entrance. Shot of a white man standing at the entrance of the bathhouse. Footage of Jones saying that Flynn is doing nothing to combat racism in his own neighborhood. Footage of Flynn saying that a number of minority youngsters have participated in events in South Boston. Footage of John Joyce (President, Boston Irish Rowing Club) saying that the rowing club does not discriminate; that their activities are open to all.

Kelly reports that Joyce directs a group of rowers who row on Pleasure Bay in curraghs; that curraghs are boats which are native to Ireland. Kelly notes that the club competes against other curragh clubs; that the club will host a New York curragh club on Sunday.

V: Shot of Joyce in a curragh; of rowers in curraghs on Pleasure Bay; of white male members of the club on shore; of a white male getting into a boat with two other white rowers. Shots of curragh races.

Kelly reports that Larry Otway (President, St. Brendan Rowing Club of New York) filed a complaint against the Boston club; that the Otway contends that Joyce told the New York club not to come to Boston with African American rowers.

V: Shot of Joyce at Flynn's press conference.

Kelly notes that Joyce apologized; that Otway has now exonerated Joyce.

V: Footage of Otway at Flynn's press conference. Otway says that Joyce is not a racist; that Joyce has always welcomed all of the members of the New York Club; that Joyce has been mistakenly targeted as a racist.

Kelly reports that some people agree that the rowing club has been unfairly targeted as racist. Footage of Jerry Cullitary (L Street bather) saying that the residents of South Boston are hard-working, working-class people; that racism is more of a problem in the white suburbs than it is in South Boston.

Kelly reports that South Boston has become synonymous with racism.

V: Shot of a front page headline in the Boston Herald. The headline reads, "Southie rowing club beached by racial uproar." Footage of a white man addressing Jones and Davis at the press conference at the bathhouse. The man says that "good news in South Boston is no news; that bad news is big news." Davis says that he has not heard anyone utter a racial slur at the press conference. The man says that he would like Davis and Boyce to talk about "good news" in South Boston.

Kelly says that the press conferences pointed up the stereotypes which still exist on both sides of the race issue in Boston; that the "sunny side-up" tone of Flynn's press conference only reinforced skepticism about the issue.

V: Shot of Flynn leaving his press conference.

Hope Kelly stands in the room where Flynn's press conference was held. Kelly said that she wanted to ask Flynn if Carson Beach was presently open to everyone; that Flynn did not answer the question.

V: Footage of Susan Moir (white South Boston resident) in South Boston. Moir says that her son is white; that he gets insulted at Carson Beach because he has dark skin. Moir adds that she has brought African American children to the beach with her; that the children have been hassled by white beachgoers. Moyer says that non-white people cannot use the beach.


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