The Boston Phoenix: St. Patrick’s Day, Busing, and a Divided City

Posted by: Daniel Lavoie


For many, St. Patrick’s Day is undoubtedly one of the most important dates in the Boston calendar, highlighted by the annual South Boston parade. But in 1974, St. Patrick’s Day occurred at the beginning of the Boston busing crisis, a controversial solution to court-ordered citywide school desegregation. From 1971-1976, The Boston Phoenix covered the crisis with over 70 in depth articles. On March 26, Phoenix journalist Michael Ryan penned “Where was everybody on St. Patrick’s Day?” addressing the conspicuous absence of politicians at parties and the parade.




At the center was State Senator William “Billy” Bulger’s, brother of mob boss Whitey Bulger, cancellation of the traditional St. Patrick’s Day party at Dorgan’s restaurant in South Boston. Bulger canceled “to draw attention to his contention that South Boston would be irreparably damaged as a neighborhood, its cohesion destroyed and its spirit shattered, if the forced busing plan for school integration were to go into effect as scheduled for September.” Instead, he held an open house after the parade which was only attended by one political figure, Father Sean McManus.

In response, State Representative Royal Bolling held his own party, “Roxbury’s Salute to St. Patrick’s Day.” Bolling, unlike Bulger, was a supporter of the court-ordered desegregation as author of the Racial Imbalance Act of 1965. He also secured funding for METCO (Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity) which assisted with school desegregation. However, his party also garnered very little attendance from politicians.

Were the politicians at the South Boston parade, which normally drew 200,000 spectators annually in the 1970s? Yes, and no. Billy Bulger attended before his party. Mayor Kevin White, who in 1967 ran a tough campaign against anti-desegregation Boston School Committee member Louise Day Hicks, decided at the last minute to attend the parade. More importantly, Hicks—by then a Boston City Council member—and fellow member Albert Leo “Dapper” O’Neil, both ardently anti-busing, were in attendance and received cheers from the crowd. The busing crisis clearly had divided the city. The Phoenix’s Ryan concluded that “the political leadership of the state, so conspicuous on the busing issue, had done it again.”

The Boston Phoenix Collection and METCO records can be viewed at Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections. In addition, Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections is coordinating a multi-archive scanning project whose goal is to make available archival material that relates to how and why busing happened in Boston, as well as the after effects it had on the community. The project announcement is available on Snell Snippets.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


2016 Call for Proposals: The DRS Project Toolkit

Posted by: Sarah Sweeney


DRS Call for Proposals


The Digital Scholarship Group (DSG) is now accepting proposals for the next round of DRS Project Toolkit development. The DRS Project Toolkit is a user-friendly set of tools for building digital projects and publications using the Digital Repository Service (DRS). With the DRS Project Toolkit users can create exhibits, galleries, and playlists that draw digital materials dynamically from the DRS.

Development for DRS Project Toolkit will be a collaborative endeavor and a great opportunity to experiment with publishing your project’s materials. If you have a project idea, we’d love to hear from you! Just answer a few questions about your project to apply.

Examples of successful projects from the pilot phase of the DRS Project Toolkit include:

Accepted projects will partner with the DSG and DRS teams to use the DRS Project Toolkit to securely store their project materials in the DRS and create a customized WordPress site to publish those materials on the web.

If you have questions, the DSG staff are glad to meet and discuss project proposals before the deadline; please contact us at DSG@neu.edu to set up a meeting.

Please visit the DRS Resources page for more information about the DRS. If you don’t think the DRS Project Toolkit is right for your project, but you are still interested in securely storing project files in the DRS, contact Library-Repository-Team@neu.edu.

Posted in: Library News and Events


Happy 50th to the Boston Phoenix!

Posted by: Daniel Lavoie


March 2, 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Boston Phoenix! In 1965, the paper began as “Boston After Dark,” a four-page insert in the Harvard Business School’s newspaper The Harbus News. On March 2, 1966, Boston After Dark became a free, independent newspaper – “Boston’s only complete entertainment weekly.”   The paper featured event, music, theatre, and film listings and reviews. Theatre reviews were penned by Larry Stark, a prominent local journalist who later was nicknamed “Boston’s dean of theatre critics.” The first issue features a review of “The Subject Was Roses” at the Wilbur Theatre in which he writes about its long run as “perhaps the cast is a little tired by now, but the script was a little tired to start with.”

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In 1972, Boston After Dark acquired the Cambridge Phoenix and was reborn the Boston Phoenix. It became an invaluable source of reporting on not just Boston’s arts and culture but major local subjects—from school desegregation to LGBTQ issues to Occupy Boston. Over its 47 year run, the paper received multiple awards in journalism from the New England Press Association, the Penny-Missouri Newspaper Awards, and the American Bar Association Gavel Awards.

The Boston Phoenix Collection can be viewed at Northeastern University’s Archives and Special Collections. The first issue can be viewed or downloaded in Northeastern University’s Digital Repository Service.

Posted in: Archives and Special Collections


Check out the New Homepage!

Posted by: Kaley Bachelder


Have you heard? Our homepage has a new look! Check out all the great improvements we’ve made!

1.  No more hovering

Ever gone to our website on your phone and gotten stuck in the drop-down menus? I can’t be the only one. Now, our menus open when clicked (it used to be on hover) so you won’t be trapped in ‘News & Events’ forever!

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2. Pretty tiles

Our finding aides are much easier to…err…find. The most-used research aides now have fancy tiles right below the search bar, letting you start your research right from the homepage. Don’t know where to start? Check the Subject Guide for your topic! Crafted specifically for the Northeastern community by our subject librarians, Subject Guides offer an overview of over 80 subjects as well as links to relevant resources.

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3. news@Snell

There’s now a nifty box just for all the happenings coming up in the library! Get the scoop on all our events, from informal office hours to free workshops.

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4. Talk to us

Lastly, see what this button says?

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We really mean it! This new homepage is designed to make your library experience more rewarding. Something not working right? Let us know!

Posted in: Library News and Events, Serendipity, Staff Interests, Tech Alerts


Snell’s 2016 Presidential Election Guide is Here!

Posted by: Sam Quinon


News and information about the upcoming 2016 Presidential Election is everywhere! It’s practically information overload, and for you, a busy member of the Northeastern community, it’s probably just one other thing to stay on top of or avoid completely. To help make the time leading up to the primaries and election more manageable, Snell Library has created a 2016 Presidential Election Guide. It’s your one-stop-shop for news, voting how-tos, candidate and campaign information, debate analysis and transcripts, important dates, a refresher on the Electoral College system, and more! So much more—in an easy to use and fun (yes, fun) web resource. There’s even a poll to determine which candidate the NU community would like to see elected. Aren’t you curious? Check it out HERE.


And remember: the Massachusetts Primary Election is this Tuesday, March 1st. So get out there and vote if you are a resident of this state! And if you aren’t, remember to vote in your home state’s primary if you haven’t already done so. You have to be registered to vote to do so, and while the deadline for voter registration for the primaries has passed in most places, it’s not too late to become a registered voter and let your voice be heard in the Presidential and/or (the always important) Congressional Election in November. Snell’s 2016 Presidential Election Guide has all the information you need learn how to register, along with where and when to vote.

Posted in: Serendipity