– Lowell Politics and History

  • Lowell Walks

    Lowell Walks Summer 2015 Schedule

    Lowell Walks is a series of guided walking tours of downtown Lowell on Saturday mornings throughout the summer.  Each tour has a different topic led by a different tour guide.  All tours begin at 10:00 A.M. from the Lowell National Historical Park Visitor Center at 246 Market Street in Lowell.…

    Read More »
  • Lowell logo

    Lowell Week in Review: May 17, 2015

    It was another quiet council meeting this past Tuesday night which has been the norm since the snow melted. That might all change since the city’s FY16 budget should be out soon.  City Manager Murphy has done a good job of addressing the priorities of the city councilors and he…

    Read More »
  • Cloud Gate

    Chicago Lessons

    I’m back from a family vacation in Chicago, Illinois, one of the great cities of the USA. It was my first visit to a city that I associate with Carl Sandburg, Barack Obama, Studs Terkel, Albert Halper, Poetry magazine (founded by Harriet Monroe and Alice Corbin), Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor, the Cubs…

    Read More »
  • Sec of A&F Jay Ash Tweet

    Lowell Week in Review: May 24, 2015

    Hamilton Canal District This past Wednesday I drove to Springfield to speak to the Real Estate section of the Hamden County Bar Association about technology and the registry of deeds.  While the 40+ lawyers listened politely, the topic that created a buzz was the future Springfield casino.  They pointed out…

    Read More »

Make Peace not War ~ Viet Nam Veterans Arrested on Lexington Green ~ May 30, 1971

The twists and turns of life and the human condition are often unpredictable. On this day ~ May 30 1971 ~ our former United States Senator for Massachusetts – one-time Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and our current United States Secretary of State – the President’s chief foreign affairs adviser - John Kerry found himself not a law-maker or treaty-negotiator  but as a protester for peace on the historic Lexington Green. And the rest – as they say – is history! From the archive in 2012….

Viet Nam Veterans Arrested on Lexington Green ~ May 30, 1971

May 30, 2012 by Marie Posted in Greater LowellHistoryPolitics Leave a Comment

At the iconic Vietnam Veterans Memorial on Monday May 28, President Obama began a national commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the Vietnam War. “In an opinion column published today [May 28, 2012] in the military’s  Stars and Stripes, the President reminds that it was in January 50 years ago the first U.S. Army helicopters helped to ferry South Vietnamese troops out into the jungle near Saigon, ushering the U.S. into long years of combat in  Southeast Asia.  The President declares in Stars and Stripes that  the U.S. will never stop searching for the 1,666 Americans still missing.” (Ann Compton, ABC NEWS)

This is a repost of an article from May 30, 2011 on the 40th anniversay of this Lexington Green event.

John Kerry, a director of the Vietnam Veterans against the War, testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations committee April 22, 1971. (UPI)

MassMoments reminds us this morning that on this day May 30, 1971, hundreds of anti-war protestors  – in an operation organized by Vietnam Veterans Against the War – occupied Lexington Green. Viet Nam veteran John Kerry had emerged as a leader of the VVAW. Earlier that spring, the future Massachusetts senator and presidential candidate testified at a nationally televised Congressional hearing. Arguing that the war was wrong, he posed the now famous question, “How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” His appearance was a catalyst for this Paul Revere-like march and protest when they would “alarm the countryside”— sounding a message that the war was unjust and must end.

 On this day…

…in 1971, over 450 anti-war protesters occupied the historic Lexington Green and refused to leave. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War had organized a three-day march from Concord to Boston — Paul Revere’s route in reverse. According to Lexington’s by-laws, no one was allowed on the Green after 10 PM, so the selectmen denied the protesters permission to camp there. With many townspeople supporting the veterans, an emergency town meeting was held. When no agreement was reached, the veterans and their Lexington supporters decided to remain on the Green. At 3 AM on Sunday, they were all arrested in the largest mass arrest in Massachusetts history. After being tried, convicted, and fined $5.00 each, they continued their march to Boston.

Read the full article here at

Globe struggles to balance Olympics coverage by Marjorie Arons-Barron

The entry below is being cross posted from Marjorie Arons-Barron’s own blog.

Olympics logoYesterday the Boston Business Journal revealed some of Boston 2024’s duplicity in misrepresenting to the public what it had included in its bid for bringing the Olympics to the Hub.  Information the BBJ obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request indicates the bid outlined the need for public funding (and a public authority) for land acquisition and infrastructure costs (not just for security) and the dependence on a Convention Center expansion (already scotched by Governor Charlie Baker).  The BBJ says the bid document mentions only the traffic challenges and nothing about the problems of the T, though one hopes that by 2024 those will be remedied, and goes into considerable detail about required land acquisition, including the New Boston Food Market and other parcels.  This material was “redacted” from what the organizers had previously shared, allegedly to protect their competitive advantage vis-a-vis other bidders.

The Governor has rightly called for Boston 2024 to reveal details of its plan by June 30, which it has agreed to do, and one has to assume the contents disclosed are still in flux. But the revelations validate public skepticism and concerns about getting left holding the bag financially.

In contrast to other local media, the Globe’s treatment of the Olympics story in this morning’s paper are downplayed on page 2 of the Metro section. Above the fold was Mark Arsenault’s piece “Boston Olympic team meets with IOC.”  It quotes new 2024 chairman Steve Pagliuca about how flexible the IOC is being about venue sites and about the optimism of the visiting team, including John Fitzgerald of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, representing Mayor Marty Walsh.

Buried below the fold is an even shorter article by the same reporter with the headline “Olympics panel disingenuous, foes say.”   The italics are mine. In fairness, the online version is headlined “Questions raised about new 2024 documents.” I’d like to think that some editor noticed the print headline was unfairly dismissive about critics of the Olympics bid, but the tone does reflect the attitude of 2024 booster and Business section columnist Shirley Leung, whose contempt for 2024 critics was plastered on the front page last week.  She compares skeptics and critics to two-year-olds throwing tantrums and scoffs that they love to hate and complain.

The paper has tried, in occasional substantive editorials, to explore ways the 2024 Olympics bid could align with certain long-term needs, including improvements in Franklin Park, opportunities for Gateway Cities, and tourism generally. But placement of articles and thought pieces has editorial content as well, and given the watering down of the institutional voice on the Globe’s new look, lamentably diluted editorial pages, the thought pieces have yet to make an impact on the public dialogue.

We’d be better served to have the Globe play a stronger thought leader role in some of the Boston 2030 discussions, helping to plan Boston’s future, instead of bootstrapping the Olympics into something it wasn’t designed to be.

Shirley Leung is bright, energetic, engaged and, except for her overweening Olympics boosterism , frequently on target and a welcome addition to the paper.  The history of Olympics cost overruns (with a couple of exceptions) gives legitimate pause to any rational thinker interested in the well-being of the entire community and the need for long-term strategic planning.  The tail should not wag the dog.

We need a for fact-checking what’s being said about the Boston Olympics bid. Independent vetting of competing claims could go far to dialing back the venomous characterizations of pros and cons as self-serving fat cat elites versus two-year-olds having tantrums.

I welcome your comments in the section below.

Remembering ~ John F. Kennedy ~ May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

From the archive…

On this day – May 29, 1917 – John F. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts to Joseph and Rose (Fitzgerald) Kennedy. John Fitzgerald “Jack” Kennedy - often referred to by his initials JFK – was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963.

From the White House Presidential Biographies site:

John F. Kennedy

On November 22, 1963, when he was hardly past his first thousand days in office, John Fitzgerald Kennedy was killed by an assassin’s bullets as his motorcade wound through Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the youngest man elected President; he was the youngest to die.

Of Irish descent, he was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917.Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boatwas rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries,led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.

Back from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area,advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12,1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles inCourage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history.

In 1956 Kennedy almost gained the Democratic nomination for Vice President,and four years later was a first-ballot nominee for President. Millions watched his television debates with the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Winning by a narrow margin in the popular vote, Kennedy became the first Roman CatholicPresident.

His Inaugural Address offered the memorable injunction: “Ask not what yourcountry can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” As President, he set out to redeem his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economicprograms launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II; before his death, he laid plans for a massive assault on persisting pocketsof privation and poverty.

Learn more here: and here:

Consider the following:John K. Kennedy with Jackie, his parents Joe and Rose Kennedy and his siblings and their spouses in the Kennedy family home in Hyannis, Massachusetts – the day after his election in November, 1960.

Along Gorham Street

photo by Tony Sampas

See Past Posts »

Old Glory

See Past Posts »