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Many of the time that if we were in South Boston, any other part of Boston of any place, if they saw somebody that had fallen down or somebody that was extremely poor, his first reaction is to go and help that person. And he does. He stops the car and he'll go right over to that person. He did this 20 years ago and he probably did it yesterday. A great variety of people have come here. If people need a shirt, he does it very quietly, said, I don't necessarily know until later. And I will find a couple of shirts, wear those shirts and he had given them to somebody who needed some clothing to go for a job interview. But it isn't anything that he says anything about.
On both sides of this mayor's race, it is the year of the social worker. It's a contest between the Boys Club Counselor and the Settlement House worker, two shy, neighborly, parochial figures who together have broken the grip of the glad-hanging warriors on Boston mayoral politics. If it gets in color for a moment and look at the convergence of their resumes, not the convergence of their liberal politics, and not the accidents like the fact that they're both longshoreman sons and both have six children, we're talking about the ways their adult personalities took shape. Both men were the first in their families to go to college and not Boston college or Harvard either one of them, both went out of town to college, Ray Flynn to the Jesuits Providence College on a basketball scholarship. Mel King went with church help to Claflin College and then segregated South Carolina. But both men then came home to youth work in their old neighborhoods. This in the expansive 1950s when it seemed that everyone else was moving to the suburbs.
As they came of age, both men found themselves taking up where their fathers had left off. As the father had it for the love of the union and many worked with, so Ray has it for the city of Boston and the people of Boston. It'd like to see who matter who you are, black, white, green, yellow, Spanish, minority or only. He wants a whole city to survive the same as his father wanted this union to survive. His father was a laborer on the sugar boats, it was called then. And very active in whatever union group that there was. After his father died, Melvin would read the log, the notes, because his father was the secretary of the union and he was also just very proud of his father. It was something about the way his father handled himself as a man and the pride that he had
in self. Mel was coming out of Bio-Marge of West Indian kind of background. Has a different kind of discipline than a lot of people who came from other sections of this country who were black and came here. The West Indians, by and large, had a sense and to this day have a sense of their value and work. He's a South Boston person and for some reason or other folks think that if you're from South Boston then you've got to be a bigot and the tragedy is that the great majority of the people in South Boston are closer to Ray Flynn and Eddie McCormick than they are to some of the other people that are about their shouting and leading the charge. The difficulty is that you have this Irish mentality that goes back to the English Irish situation. You either totally will see it totally against us so that when they don't agree, they don't come out and say I don't agree because that means that you're giving aid and comfort
to the enemy in effect. I don't know if South Enders are the kind of people that go around saying, you know, hey, you'd be on from the South End kind of thing. I think we do it among ourselves. I think there's a quiet pride, but it's reluctant to splash it all over the place. Ed Dommott was one of the street kids Mel King reached in the South End 25 years ago. As a youth worker, Mel King's dark and trade was all the sports he had played himself. Across the city in the 60s, the Boston neighborhood basketball league was getting started. All city, all colors and Ray Flynn was its sponsor in South Boston. Going in the South Boston or Charlottes Town or what have you, you knew that things were going well because there was never any problems in because you could see the program in South Boston was being run very successfully because of Ray's involvement because the people there wanted to make sure that the program was successful because they wanted to be part of it. You could go into Roxbury, South End, Melden directly involved in the program, but his kids played because he encouraged him to play because he thought it was a good program.
Mel got a bunch of people together, cleaned the field up, went door to door, got together enough money to buy uniforms, right? I think it was about eight teams in the little league back then, and I was very impressed. He put me to work as an umpire, I was his first umpire in the South End little league. Walter Buyers of the Roxbury District Courthouse is a one time well-to-weight boxing champion, another local hero who crossed sports with neighborhood politics. What's with all these social workers running for mayor? Ah-ha, that's, hey, that's, well I'll tell you, it's not social workers running for mayor. It's a community, uh, guys like Mal and like Ray that have lived in the community and know what the community, what the people, inner city people need. When you say social workers, well that's probably what it is. These guys know what the community is because they lived in it and they travel them every day, both of them Ray and Mal.
There's been always a lot of excitement, a lot of pressure put on me athletically. And I think I've been able to develop that. The debate last night was a classic example of it. I walked into Fennell Hall, obviously a very important point in the campaign. I felt very good about it, I wasn't nervous, I wasn't upset. I said that I was just going to do the best job like possible, we could set a prayer. Ray Flynn doesn't say it himself, but he was in truth one of the spectacular high school athletes of all time in this city or any other. On the South Boston high school teams of 1957 and 58 he was first the running and passing quarterback on an undefeated football team. Same year he was the high scoring captain of an undefeated basketball team, come spring he was the pitcher and the clean up slugger on an undefeated baseball team. It was sports that first made Ray Flynn's name in South Boston. It was sports that defined what effort and success are all about.
Ray in my opinion was probably the best all-around athlete ever to come out of South Boston high school. He excelled in football as the team's quarterback, led us to a couple of undefeated seasons and in a couple of championships. He excelled certainly in basketball where he led us to the tech tourney. What kind of a basketball player? He was the Tom Heinsen type basketball player, a lot of hustle, good undefense and an excellent shooter. Ray had a shot where there wasn't too much of an arc on it, it was more of a, they called Tommy Heinsen the gunner because the shot seemed to win on the line drive and that's the type of player that Flynn was, that type of shot he had. I think you get used to winning and I think that's good and I think teams that win. I think coaches that have teams that win really produce something in their players that stay with them.
I think it's good for a team to win and in those days we had winning teams. When you look at Ray Flynn today, do you, would you say he was formed by his athletic success? I think Pat Lee, yes, I think Pat Lee, yes, he, he shows the same perseverance, persistence, feeling that he can do it, that he won't do it. On the day back in 1957, when South Boston High School smashed East Boston for the city football title, the most famous college football coach in the country, Ben Schwartzwalder of Syracuse was in the seats at White Stadium, marvelling at Ray Flynn's mastery. Years later, Ray Flynn asked Ben Schwartzwalder why he hadn't made a miscaluship offer. Schwartzwalder said it was Flynn's coaches and guidance counselors who said a South Boston kid would fall apart in big time competition so far from home. That image of the South Boston kid is still pretty prevalent and I've seen it ever since I've been here and trying to change that image, not just of the South Boston kid but of
all kids but of the South Boston kid. You don't every time themselves is a huge chore but it can be done. His case, I haven't had the conversation about where he decided that he was okay but I know that at this school for us that has been a constant battle, we still fight it. You're good enough to go to college, you're good enough to do something else and we're going to see that you do it, it's tough because they don't believe it, their parents don't believe it. Ray Flynn and jersey number 15 made believers of the sell out crowd at Madison Square Garden when he won the National Invitational Basketball title with Providence College in 1963. Miami's star was Rick Barry who went on to NBA greatness but Ray Flynn won the most valuable player award in this game. I love the competition. I love the situations where it really means that you have to be cool, you have to be calm and you can't let the excitement and the emotion take over the situation.
I was not a naturally gifted athlete, I had a work very hard, I practiced and struggled and spent an inordinate amount of time in gymnasiums, kicking footballs, throwing baseballs, running track. So as a result of that it developed in me a real sense of competition, sense of sportsmanship I like to think that I work hard, fear play and as a result of that I have carried those kind of traits into my professional life. Sports also taught Ray Flynn he could lose. I've had major setbacks in athletics and I've had major setbacks in government, certainly as a youngster. I just wanted to be a professional basketball player for the Boston Celtics and I came a fraction of an inch from being a professional basketball player for the Celtics was the last person cut. I just wasn't good enough.
Ray Flynn roamed in college with the black center on the basketball team John Thompson who's now the coach at Georgetown University but sports had taken him across color lines early in life. Well it was the first and only white youngster from the city of Boston playing on a all black basketball team the Bruins it was a great experience they were great athletes they were much older than I was and they were just tremendous people and it was a good experience for me every every weekend we used to get in back in back of Jack's station wagon similar to the one that I have here and there'd be 11 to 12 basketball players all black. I would be the exception and we would go up to New Hampshire and New York City down in the Harlem town of Jersey City Philadelphia all over the place. We're the mascot. I think you take a lot of ribbing in those days. No I was. No I was. I was just the best shooter playing basketball and roaming with somebody in college especially when you are of the majority group is a lot different than standing up before your neighbors and friends and saying listen these kids should come into our community and they should
be treated well or the judge's order has to be obeyed even if we don't like it we must try to look for ways to change it but the children shouldn't be the butt of our dislike of this order that's different. You can argue how well Ray Flynn's color blindness learned in sports served in the busing crisis you can also wonder how an athlete's training is going to serve him in the next government crisis. You have to give in sometimes to other instincts other than to work it out and I think that in some cases if Ray has a problem it will be then when he has his first crisis he might really deepen his heart believe that if he stays up all night long then we'll balance the city budget all that we will find a way to deal with the victims of a great fire and find them housing. It may not be necessarily a relationship between long hours and success in this crisis.
I was weaned on Matsua, Lasagna, great please. I could say hello but by certain sentences and phrases in about six or seven different languages and obviously we learned all of the cuss words first. One of them was a place that housed an awful lot of well let's see you had some it was the United Nations. While we understood as being black people in America that there were some some differences as children there was a lot of cooperation with one another so that if I walked down the street and I did something by the time I got back home my mother knew about it. This is the spot where Melking grew up in an interracial stew of West Indian and southern blacks Greeks Armenians Jews Syrians Lebanese Irish Italians Chinese and others the working and the welfare poor of the late depression.
First urban renewal bulldozers wiped out this New York streets neighborhood, Seneca street, Rochester street, Florence street in the 1950s but Melking and others remember taking out of here was a rule of sharing and a sense of the world's diversity that was part of this grit in which Melking after college became a social worker on the other side of the elevated tracks. I come out of a family that says no matter what you have you share with people who are in need. That's just fundamental. The second had to do with feeling good about yourself and I'm a person who feels very, very good about who I am and I think if you feel good about yourself it's very easy to see the good in other people and the strength in other people so I'm working with people I believe in their strength and in their power and the fact that they feel good doing things for themselves.
Melking's first real job title out of school was director of Boy's work at a settlement house in the south end. Ed McClure was his partner in something new in social work. They were detached workers assigned to street corners with the so-called bopping gangs of the 1950s. It was a man that had a mission and the mission was to use himself as the resource to reach out to anyone who needed help. For example we'd be walking down the street and there would be a homeless and destitute person sitting on the side would probably set their own mate I don't know with a bottle in his hand. Looking down at the ground Mel would touch him and make him look up and his attitude and his whole presence reflected humility in which would then come down. You know his six feet four or five but he would come down to the smith and they would meet face to face and a contact would be made and from that contact
he would try to bring that man maybe to the settlement house or to some agency to give him a little push so he could move the next step. We're on the fourth floor basketball gym of the blackstone school in the south end. South end kids of 30, 40 years ago relive their playground days here once a week. Until last year Melking never missed a Thursday night. He is known on this basketball floor as a reasonably fierce middle-aged rebounder but many of the men here have known him better than that since childhood. I can recall a guy in a beat up old station wagon, soft-spoken, going around door to door trying to scrub up a few dollars to put together a little league team in the neighborhood and I became attracted to him because he was a human being and he didn't care. He went across all the cultural lines to help. Sports was the social worker's bait for these kids long ago. It's a connection that holds to this day.
Most of these guys are doing okay in life but a lot of the fellows from the south end weren't doing that well and didn't seem to have great potential. But Mel never lost his enthusiasm or optimism about people and he said you know I may not be able to pull everybody over. He said but I can get in there and I can try and I can keep digging and he said what I'm really after is the kid in the fence. Some kids maybe I can't reach them but there are a lot of kids that haven't made their decisions yet. He said it's very important to me that I deal with those kids and try to pull them over and I always thought maybe I was one of those kids. For me he was sort of like someone I could always go to when I had a problem or if I needed some advice or something. I had problems with alcohol. When I was younger I had problems with education. I wasn't easy for Mel I called me a lot of names out of just being aggravated and I felt he was picking on me and pushing on me.
I called a lot of names and everything and he was wise enough to know that I was just younger and hopefully if I didn't do anything really bad that maybe someday I'd grow up and I'd understand. It's about empowerment. It's about getting people involved in a problem solving process. It's about getting people to see themselves and the strength that they have and not let them off the hook for their responsibility to take action in their own behalf. It's getting them to see themselves as deserving, as being somebody and having rights. It works. To get Mel's face and I graduated college I went by to see him now and to look it was really worth everything and he was really happy for me and that wow this guy was nothing but a juvenile link with it and he was happy to see that I turned it around and I tried it better myself and I'm on my way to succeed.
I think his life is dedicated to the concept of reaching out, helping people to improve the quality of life, to give them a second chance. The interesting thing about it, it makes me feel very choked up some to talk about it because it's a very meaningful kind of relationship and experience. Instead of Mel King's frustration with social work was a sense after 12 years living in this south end house that he was somebody else's missionary. The break came in the late 1960s between King and the downtown board of the United South End Settlements. King Pelley was being forced to choose between the bureaucracy and the community. The board felt King had been neglecting paperwork and administration. Mel is a person of passion and compassion, there's no question about it. But Joe Califano said, efficient administration is also an act of compassion because in order to serve people effectively, to carry out large programs and large public programs, you
have to be to see that they get done right because if they don't get done right, people who are hungry or people who need health care or people who need housing, don't get it. And that's really an issue just as important as being right about the long term goal. When you're in city management, you get a dollar, you spend a dollar, you get a dollar, you spend that dollar and you make a ten cents value in return. But in social work, if you raise a dollar, you get ten dollars or you get twenty dollars mileage out of that one dollar and Mel was the individual that made that dollar stretch. Out of social work politics, Mel King ended on a political career in the state legislature and in the city, a career that still shows the social worker's instinct and training. In social workers, I recall it when I went to school and et cetera, the idea was to help people to adjust, for example, to adjust to living in a slum or to adjust to maybe having a job where you can make ends meet.
That may be a temporary thing, but you also have to be about encouraging the person to change the slums. Mel's vision is that what this democratic framework should do is that it should create governing institutions that encourage people on a daily basis and a weekly basis and a monthly basis to use their own intelligence and their own energies and their own creativity in making the life for themselves and their families and those around them as positive as possible. Ray is a very complex person, a multi-faceted octagonal personality and I'm not so sure sometimes which Ray Flynn was voting and therefore I couldn't guess. When a candidate for office has been on both sides of the death penalty, Prop tuna half, Ed King and Apparel tax, when one of his main claims is personal growth, you have to
ask where is the center of this man and what direction is he moving in. The closest thing we get to answer is about Ray Flynn R that his center is close to the hearts of working and poor people and that the direction of his movement is not up or down or right or left but out of South Boston to a citywide base. It may well be you can't learn much at all about Ray Flynn as mayor from his voting record here, from his bingo bills, from his proposal to abolish compulsory education ten years ago or even from his drive against welfare abortion which may well have reflected conscience more than politics but surely one place to look for the mind and the character of Ray Flynn is in the busing furor of ten years ago. Many people as I felt at the busing order was just going to be kind of productive, was not going to help the situation, wasn't going to improve the level of education, free the black or white children and it didn't make any sense to them and they were upset
with about it, they felt frustrated and no one was listening to them and they felt insulated from the decision process of government, it's a question of being concerned about family values and the role of the family and children's education and whether or not the government was acting in the best interest of children, children's education people didn't think they were. I thought that a federal judge from Wellesley was not able, best able to make a determination as to what was in the best interest of children's public school education and I think that the concerns that were raised by white people were the same concerns raised by black people and they didn't feel that the order was going to help improve public education for any of the city's children. Jerome Winigard took over South Boston High School as headmaster in 1976, two years into the busing crisis.
I would call him at his office within a matter of 20 or 30 minutes he'd be here, he'd come in the school, sometimes he'd come directly to the office and ask what he could do but generally what he did was come in, go to the cafeteria, sit down with kids, go walk in the hall, just be there, just the presence. On any number of occasions after we'd had a serious problem at this school, I would get up the next day and come to work and when the kids came in to school that day it would be raised standing out here somewhere on the street, saying hi to the kids, going time to go to school, whatever, encourage them to come in and be a part of the school, no craziness. It could not have been in his best political interest to be in this school. I know that he was harassed in this neighborhood. I heard myself a car with a loudspeaker on it of a candidate running against him in the city council election come through South Boston saying Ray Flynn helps niggers. I heard it. Who was driving the car?
I won't tell you who was driving the car because he's still on the city council. On the city council? Right now. I know that he suffered from that, I know that he had problems at his home, I know his windows were broken out. I know that his car was vandalized. I wasn't aware of his car being bombed in South Boston until after it happened and I'm not sure if it was bombed, but I don't know why you got that term bombed burned for sure. I have no idea. Having cars burnt in South Boston is not unusual. Can he be the mayor of the whole city and still be popular in South Boston? What's popular? John McCormick voted for Len Lee's back in 1940 and it was helping England and if you think the Irish are against the English they should have been back in the 1930s and early 1940s.
There was a bitterness there. He did was in the national interest and people understood it. You can't do that which you think a particular segment of your constituency is going to approve a dispute. You have to do his best for the whole city when you're the mayor and Ray is going to do that. The fact remains, Ray Flynn never confronted his constituency on the busing issue. Some of his adversaries then feel that lapse disqualifies him now. I am happy that Ray Flynn says that he has grown and he has changed. After all this is what we all strive to do. But unfortunately doing a crisis, especially one that involves little children and parents and so forth, you need someone who will face that crisis that moment. If it takes people two or three years to grow up or to face that change, I don't censor them for it. And I understand that their growth may take longer than some other people's because of
a various reasons, but is that what we need in a leadership role? Ray Flynn took a step down in a sense from the state legislature to the Boston City Council. But he was also moving from the south Boston district to the whole city as his constituency. It was here that he made some famous changes in his positions. Changes that may have revealed a waffler, a chameleon David Finnegan said, changes that may also have begun to reveal some fundamental values. Many's the time that he has brought somebody home here and has slept right on this couch that he had found some place. Few times on Broadway and he has taken them home here and I've got next to blanket in the pillow and let them sleep tonight. I think Ray has switched frequently. I think that sometimes he does so rather easily. But there are some basic philosophical beliefs which he will not yield on and that I feel
pretty safe about. Distinguished, for example, between things he flips on and things he doesn't. I think, for example, his commitment to the poor, that general phrase is something he wrote off a long, even though he might go two or three different ways on a vote on a minor appropriation item in the city budget. I prefer it that way than the other way. Dominic Bazzattola, the city's hotel workers to the brink of a major strike a year ago. Mel King and Ray Flynn both supported the workers. Ray Flynn supported them. It seemed almost around the clock. We must have had around 300 or 350 people in the lobby of the colonnade and in the ballroom while we were negotiating upstairs. And I remember coming down at two o'clock in the morning and I talked to the members and let them know what was going on. We wanted the committee to talk to the members and I saw Ray Flynn there and Ray Flynn was going around the ballroom talking to groups of our members and he was encouraging him to hang in there, stick with the union, stick up for themselves, believe in seniority, promotions
from within that those things had to happen that this was the time for change. When I came down at four o'clock in the morning he was still there and he was still doing that. And he stayed that whole night and what he did was encourage people to stand up for their rights. Among liberals especially, there's always an intellectual argument, is he a liberal? Does he have an ideology about Ray Flynn? The argument never stops. I wouldn't say that Ray is a man of the left. I'd say that there are people on the left that he listens to as there are people on the right that he listens to. But I'd say his instincts are progressive. Ray's not a liberal. He's definitely more conservative than I am. I think rightfully so he's in the center and he's not what he's not ultra or neither side. Are you a liberal? Are you a progressive? Well, I always refer to myself as a Ray Flynn Democrat. You know, at every K&P, Mel and I have gone for a walk and we do it in the primary and
it's still a beautiful thing. If you walk down the street with Mel, people stop their cars, get out and walk across the street. They leave me in the middle of the street where people are hollering and yell at you. Because you know, he's such a large person that he's easily recognized and then there's such a gentle human being that people are just like him and they come at him from everybody. You can't get him away. There's nothing like those days of taking a walk through the south of Mel. When I asked Mel, say, what kind of things Mel would you think about what would you like to do? He said, just come walk with me and I walked with him. For White Boston, the awareness of Mel King going back more than 20 years now has never been entirely comfortable. Over and over, he's been seen as the black protest leader in images that often overwhelmed his message. He had first been a candidate for the Boston School Committee in 1961 in Strait Dress. He lost badly.
He kept running and losing through the 1960s in his own improvised wardrobe that kept changing. He was a spearhead of economic boycotts and school stayouts. To the white establishment, he was a figure of dark defiance. The man who had dumped garbage on the Chamber of Commerce dinner table. The man who, in 1968, got arrested at Tent City. Mel King never pretended to be easy or conventional. It's hard to imagine any other mayoral candidate writing what Mel King wrote in his book Change of Change about, for example, the Boston Business Community known as the Vault. He wrote, it has taken us a long time to realize that the business of racism, power control and ethnicity are so deeply entrenched in these ali-hists that it is impossible to enter into a partnership with them. He concluded the change of change will lead us quite naturally to revolution. I think he's seen the message to the Brahmins. Saying that we must somehow have a say in how you will relate to us, that I cannot take
your edits from on high, that we must talk to each other, and that we must have an ability to sheet how you relate to us. If that can't happen, then we can't relate to each other. He attached racial connotations to just about everything. If there was a bill on the floor in dog catchers, he would imply that there are some racist overtones to the bill. I don't think he ever gave a speech where racial question did not enter into the debate. Think one of the problems with Mel is self-righteousness. Now self-righteous people are frequently right, that's what makes it so confusing. But self-righteous people, by definition, tend not to listen to those who want to go more cautiously or who would bother them with details, and that worries me a lot. My point is that Mel's impatience of such dimension with regular process is destructive. It gets to the point where it's destructive.
I've seen him angry, but I don't get the sense of he's angry. I just get the sense that I'm through with that subject. I've said all I can say on it, and I don't really feel the need now of prolonging this anymore. Have you ever had a big silent voice sitting in front of you and you can't penetrate it and you can't have a fight? That's what it's like. I usually express my outrage and anger at the conditions that people live under by taking action, by developing programs and by working with people. So silence, fuck. It allows me to change direction, or focus, or approach, or say, hey, I blew that one. What do we go from here?
Mel saw me as a negotiator and said, that's not where you ought to be. You got to keep your mind on before you want to ultimately end up and keep going there. You don't negotiate that out. As a state legislator, Mel King was eclectic, a lonely champion, for example, of Massachusetts agriculture. He was creative, the inventor, with help from his MIT think tank of the community development finance corporation. He was also persistent in battles that never get won, like tent city in the south end. The wonderful thing about Mel, the persistence I would not minimize, you have things in this city especially, and any city take a long time to come to fruition. And you have to be there 10 years later, 15 years later. Mel was there, and he is still persistent. I think so, persistence, especially in this town of long standing people who are around a long time, that's a great characteristic, because it's not going to happen overnight.
I must say some of the city stuff that Mel did when he was in the legislature, I voted with him, there was a small number of conservative Republicans who would vote with a very radical Democrats oddly enough on things like decentralizing the city's government, were big advocates of decentralization of local control of home rule, and that extends to the city neighborhoods as well. I would be a big advocate of returning municipal services if I were in Boston to control of the neighborhoods. And Mel takes the same view, and I must say I agree with him. His view of what should happen once it gets there might be a little different than mine. On those good government reform bills in the legislature, Mel came off and voted with white conservatives. He's also famous for saying he likes to deal Castro better than he likes Ronald Reagan. So you wonder, what's the system of thinking here, the isn't, the ideology? Mel is a man, I think, of the center, because his constant attempt is to get a balance, to get a balance between individuals realizing their capabilities and their strengths and their powers and institutions that are necessary to have the society run on an hourly harmonious
basis that are being run by those people. I've tried to look at models or see how we could relate to each other in what I call contemporary of modern realism. It's not with where you are. I'm in Boston, I'm a black person in Boston, I'm a black person who has been affected by the realities of racism that have impacted on my life. So I have to address that, that's being very, very real. Mel believes that if you believe in something, you can create reality. And see, no other black man or man of color, or woman of color, I think, would have had the courage to say, I can be mayor and really believe it.
But Mel believes that you would create reality out of what you believe, and if you really believe something, and you think you can do something well, then you can do it as long as you put all of your energy in and see if there's anything you've shown people of color in this city. And I think everybody in this city is, don't sell yourself short on your dreams. Go for it. We have fundamentally two things. One is love and the other is change. And so I kind of recognize that, and that love is the way we relate, the how we interact, the feelings that we have for people, and change is the process that we go through so that it, in fact, makes it easier to be in those kind of loving relationships. One is six foot three and black, with no hair except on his chin, and the other one is
six foot one and white, and wearing long sleeve shirts. That's the only difference. I think that both of us represent the districts in the legislature. And we both were, I think, very accountable to our districts, and we try to provide as much leadership and much support, helping people, particularly people who didn't have a lot of money, people who are elderly, people didn't have power. And different kind of districts in many respects, in a South End, of course, now is a different kind of community than when it was 10 to 11, 12 years ago, but South Boston is basically the same. It's a working class neighborhood. It's kind of like a me-to approach that he has adopted, I think it has been successful to the extent that it has been a way to get people to say just what you're saying, that
we are the same. It is one thing to say, I agree, is another thing to have the level of awareness that gets you to move the system in that direction. There is a strategic angle in this argument about resemblances between Ray Flynn and Mel King. Ray Flynn emphasizes the likeness because it gets him over some unhappy racial history. It also points up economic and class issues that he thinks are important. Mel King underlines his differences with Ray Flynn, including the racial difference. Mel King's promise to ease the city's racial tensions works well for him, according to the posters. But race is also an opening to Mel King's thinking about oppression, a theme that embraces race and class issues and goes beyond them. You know, I've seen a lot of politicians who talk about dealing with working people,
but this gets the death of working people. But Ray Flynn's a different type of person at all. He gets in the middle and he's at home. And I don't know if it comes because his father was a long showman, or because he's worked out at his life maybe because he has a large family, but the fact is that he gets in and he's comfortable and people see that. And it's good. When it came to good government issues, Mel was on the right side of many of those issues, there were some issues interestingly enough for the municipal unions where he voted against the municipal unions who now have lied themselves with Ray Flynn. As a person who's an advocate of local government and of home rule, I tended to take the view that the legislature ought not to strengthen the unions to the detriment of municipal officials because they already have enough trouble running their cities and towns without the legislature interfering on the side of the unions. And Mel took the same view and it's odd for a big city legislator to do that. So he may be under fewer constraints in terms of running the city, vis-a-vis the unions, then it's an odd thing for a Republican to say, but then Ray Flynn might be.
My mother was a cleaning woman. My father was a dock worker, a laborer, and worked very hard for the family. He had to do a lot of extra work in order to make ends meet. And those family values were passed on to the children and basically that's what we try to accomplish, try to find, provide that family stability and try to provide for us and we're not interested in power and not interested in a lot of money. I think that a fundamental difference on these issues is the awareness, the approach, and the fact that I see them in terms of the issue of oppression. My dealing with people who were gay and lesbian, dealing with the issues of sexism and racism comes out of dealing with the issue of oppression.
That is deep in me and the politics that I relate to, and it's whether it's oppression on my block, in my house, in the city, state, national, or international level. I think it's hard for Mel to accept the fact that Ray is genuine. That Ray is not the Ray Flynn that Mel wants him to be or thinks he should be. I think Mel wants Ray to be the Ray of 10 years ago, and that's not the Ray Flynn. That Ray Flynn has gone. That Mel King has gone. Mel has reproached Ray time and again for having changed on issues, for having changed his mind on things. Ray is not a changelinger. He's not shifting all over the lot. There are principles that he has followed from the very beginning. One of the things that both candidates, both Mel and Ray in this campaign, have done
have been to point out that there are some things, even those that are enshrined in law in our society that are not right. We've got always to be re-examining our public policies to see whether they're achieving our goals, even if they happen to come pursuant to a court order or come pursuant to legislation. The city may face another crisis. How will that person react to the constituency, the constituency that they're hot is with? This is the difference. Mel King does not react with his hot as he reacts where he thinks it is right to be. In a world of continuous change, a large part of the question about Mel King and Ray Flynn is how they're prepared to bend and stretch and adapt in some kind of harmony with the city's evolution. This city needs someone who can help heal its wounds, very badly, and that a guy from South Boston who's been on the other side, and in my opinion has removed himself from
that side, consciously, through a lot of soul searching, a lot of years, is the best person to heal those wounds. I'm not sure Ray has really come to a point where he says, every person in this city is my brother and sister, and I don't care who they are or how they present themselves that I have the responsibility to try to understand that person in the fashion and government process that brings us all together. I still see Ray when you look at it, it's a record saying, okay, some deserve the protection of government in that kind of left-wing way, and others don't deserve it. I see Mel saying it's a rainbow.
Ten O'Clock News
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WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
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Ten O'Clock News was a nightly news show, featuring reports, news stories, and interviews on current events in Boston and the world.
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Six part series on Mel King and Ray Flynn as Boston mayoral candidates.Length: 46.56 reporter: LydonChristopher Lydon presents a six-part series on mayoral candidates Mel King and Ray Flynn. In the first report, Lydon talks about the similarities between the two candidates. Lydon notes that both men are social workers from working class backgrounds and that both men have worked with teenagers. This report includes interviews with Kathy Flynn (wife of Ray Flynn) and Joyce King (wife of Mel King), who talk about the generous natures of both men. Lydon interviews Robert Flaherty (South Boston resident), Paul Parks (architect), Edward McCormack (attorney), and Ed Domit (social worker) about the backgrounds of both candidates. Lydon interviews Kenneth Hudson (Boston Neighborhood Basketball League), Robert Shagoury (computer manufacturer), and Walter Byers (Chairman, Massachusetts Boxing Commission) about the community work of both men. The second report explores Flynn's exceptional athletic career at South Boston High School and Providence College. Lydon interviews James Kelly (South Boston High School, class of 1958), Gertrude Morrissey (teacher, South Boston High School), and Jerome Wynegar (Headmaster, South Boston High School) about Flynn's athletic achievements. Lydon interviews Flynn about his experiences as an athlete; Flynn talks about being the only white player to play on an African American basketball team. The report includes interviews with Ruth Batson (civil rights activist) and Lawrence DiCara (former member of the Boston City Council) about Flynn's leadership abilities. The report includes footage of Flynn playing for Providence College at the National Invitational Basketball Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 19, 1963. The third report examines Mel King's background and early days as a social worker in a Settlement House in the South End. The report includes footage from interviews with John O'Bryant (Boston School Committee), Paul Parks (architect), and Joyce King (wife of Mel King), who talk about the diverse neighborhood where King grew up. Lydon interviews Ed McClure (US Justice Department) and Herbert Gleason (former Chairman, United South End Settlements) about King's early years as a social worker. Lydon also interviews Robert Shagoury (computer manufacturer), Edward Domit (social worker), Thomas Shea (retailer), and Chuck Turner (teacher), all of whom comment on King's social work. In the fourth report, Lydon discusses Flynn's evolving political views. Lydon notes that Flynn has changed positions on many issues since the 1970s, and that Flynn was a leading opponent to busing for school integration. The report includes footage of Flynn talking about his role in the busing crisis. Lydon also interviews Jerome Wynegar and James Kelly about Flynn and the busing crisis. The report also includes footage of Lawrence DiCara, Edward McCormack, Kathy Flynn, Ruth Batson, Domenic Bozzotto (labor leader), and Peter Dreier (professor, Tufts University) discussing Flynn's political beliefs. The report features photographs of Flynn's anti-busing activities in the 1970s. The fifth report explores King's political beliefs and his activism on behalf of people of color. Lydon notes that the white community tends to see King as a protest leader. Lydon reviews King's involvement in political issues in the 1960s and 1970s. Lydon interviews Paul Parks, Herbert Gleason, Ruth Batson, Andrew Natsios (State Representative), Tunney Lee (professor, MIT), and Chuck Turner about King's beliefs and his record as a legislator. The report also includes footage from an interview with King. King talks about his quiet nature and his political philosophy. The report features photographs of King's political activities in the 1960s and 1970s. In the sixth report, Lydon interviews King and Flynn about their similarities and differences. Lydon notes that Flynn emphasizes the similarities between him and King, while King accuses Flynn of practicing "me, too" politics. King and Flynn each speak about their approaches to politics. The report includes footage from an interview with Kenneth Hudson, who talks about the similarities between King and Flynn. Lydon interviews Domenic Bozzotto and Andrew Natsios about each candidates' relations with organized labor. Lydon interviews Herbert Gleason and Jerome Wynegar about why they support Flynn; he interviews Ruth Batson and Chuck Turner about why they support King. Produced by Christy George
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Chicago: “Ten O'Clock News,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 19, 2024,
MLA: “Ten O'Clock News.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 19, 2024. <>.
APA: Ten O'Clock News. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from