thumbnail of The Evening Compass; Interview with Father William Joy at Charlestown housing project
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Talk. About. WHY DID I THINK ABOUT THAT. All right we're having is due to have in the world that they really. Want to be. Ready. To go on to be a first grade. If. You don't have it. Now we want to start. With our final. Product with Bill. Build a 50 50.
Where have you got to be right here. This looks great. All right we've got to read. Ready. We're going to work on it. It. Can. Be building on the mystic bridge. How did that affect Charlestown and the project. Well I think is a pretty. Good. Job. You know. You know there are people out here now with some.
Of these are very you. Know. What. I. Don't. Know. What I would you feel like now they came over here every quarter. What's your name. Jimmy lived in the project for five years. Tell me is. Is there a bunch of violent kids in this project or is that a misconception. Who is it that's doing all the acting out at night and in my opinion it's not kids directly from the project. I mean I'm not saying there are none. There may be some but you've got to start early did you get these bad patches no matter where you go what city Iran. Well it is a project that there isn't a project you take in Wilmington they
don't have products up there but they still have the same element up there in certain parts of it that they have down here. So it is unfair to label that kid from the projects as troublemakers because most of my not do you think however that there is a small hard core group of kids that are problem kids and that tend towards violence. I would say that if anybody any place in the country. I don't care where it be. Here in Johnstown East Boston New York Chicago Washington D.C. You got him everywhere. Do you feel however that that the conditions of this project may in fact breed. Small harder core group of kids. You get everywhere. What conditions are you referring to conditions of the product. In what respect. Well the fact that it's not maintain the fact that there's obviously a level of poverty which is quite extreme. The fact is it's not just this project because all the projects in Boston they are adequately maintained they are inadequate patrol. They do not have any security of any denomination. I'll put it that way. And
any time any trouble does erect arise all they say is they go to the trouble makers again and it may not be the kids in the project had to stop in the trouble to start with. It may be some outside of that and incited negative impact which has happened a great many times. I have gone into court myself but kids who are playing with things they have not done because they live in the projects what's what how did you find it to live in the project for five years. I had no problem whatsoever. I got along with everybody and everybody got along with me. Kids are adults. We treat each other as decent human beings and we all get along fine. I didn't criticize them they didn't criticize me. What they did if I thought they were doing something wrong I told them so they thought I was doing something wrong they told me so. And that's the way it is. Why is it that it seems now every night there is a fair amount of violence. Call it what you like. My own personal opinion is that is least geographically at least and location is very closely related to the project is right there on the edge of the my personal opinion.
It's outside agitation using the projects to project what they want see and nothing more. OK. Thank. You. I have been following. This before even. Though. You are in a war. What's your name. Hello everyone. And we're going to start here. Can you step aside.
Thank you. How about the bridge to the building of the bridge in the 50s have a negative effect on the project. Well I think it did have a negative effect on the project and all of Charlestown I think visually you can see that kind of cuts people's visions and I think horizons in more ways than one off limits it physically it took away many homes away many homes in Charlestown that have never been replaced. People had to move out and haven't been able to come back. And it's one other step in a long process of steps in which the community has been. Cut apart by different renewal projects. Didn't in fact this housing project itself didn't that cut out a lot of homes and create some sort of division within the community. Well it did it at one time this particular section of Charlestown were with many many family dwellings that similar to what you see on on other streets in Charlestown and they were leveled when I was back in the late thirties
level to build a housing project. Of course when you do that I think you you kind of really either inflame people I give people a very negative. Aspect the fact that one loses one's home and hurts. And so I think that that negative thing that was there in the beginning. How many units are in the housing project. There are. I believe I can be corrected on this but I believe there are about eleven hundred forty of which maybe 75 percent are occupied at any one time. That's that's a fairly large housing road that is next to Clemmie point is the largest housing project in England at this point it has more people than let Columbia Point out what is really the largest housing project that we have in the area. And. So you don't you don't point it that way.
The. Problem. Is you. Know. When I talk. About the employment picture of the product you know anything about that. Can give you an exact figure. Again it's just a general impression I think that that employment in the project is at a very critical stage. I think there's a lot of unemployment. I think that the jobs that there again it's the dawn of the economy that the jobs that go first are the jobs that poor people have. There are a lot of people that live in the project that work over here at the at the Navy Yard that did work over the Navy Yard and lost their jobs there were some. However I think it's sometimes a misconception to say there were a great many I think there be more people working at factories and places in the other end of town such as the sugar factories on the trap's Chocolate Factory.
About the Navy Yard when that shut down where there are a lot of people in the project who lost their jobs I think there were there were some I think could be a misconception to say that there are a great number. I think to be more people whose job to be jeopardized if they. Closed down the sugar factories or the traps chocolate or other industries in and around Charleston. There are a lot of people in the project that work at those at those factories. I think there are some I think the number would if. We looked at it would perhaps be greater than in the Navy Yard. OK. That's what you want to do now. Can we get from the corner can we get a shot of the sugar factory. No. They all what you can see the tops of. Yeah yeah. I don't know how I. Got it.
Danny. Do you think there are a lot of rough kids a lot of violent kids in this project or is it just a few. No I think it's only a select few dozen maybe at the most. Mostly Johnson. And if you could just play sports you know that's just like that if you want to get a bad name the projects getting a bad rap by the media or just by what's going on. Yeah I don't think it's been exactly what's happening either. I can't tell exactly what's happening with the A of trouble. But you know you think that the show is going out. This is five inches years and no way out of the 500 kids up there. So what happens if it's just a few that are making the trouble. They do seem to be at least 50 or 60 sometimes as many as 100 kids sometimes even more maybe not 500 have been brought in like the big. Tent just done it. Then you see tankage you got to help your friends. I mean. Really starting now you're just trying to help you find. Your habit. How about the parents do you think that they're adding to the trouble in any way are they helping the situation or what.
The parents the grownups They're hurting because they were like their help to try to push the kids into starting things and stuff but at times they could work it out themselves peacefully. How do you mean the parents are pushing kids. Can you tell me a little bit more about that. Oh like the marches and all that stuff. It. Hurts like it hurts hurts the kids. Is it that it doesn't get the kids riled up or gets it right. And then they start thinking Oh the parents think it's wrong it must be wrong. To try to stop it. You know the tragedy out. Be a lot peaceful. OK. How about they say there's a lot of people say and even the principal of the high school Frank Powers says that there are a lot of bank robbers in Charlestown. How do you feel about that. Again this is like a few like this maybe a half dozen other kids. Like them and what it really is. He was saying what kid does that whole child does bad things come out the time for a lot of questions just this weekend
blah blah blah blah. Like that a lot of good going on trial it's. Good city. OK. Thank. You. All. Do you think that the project has been hit particularly hard by busing as opposed to the rest of Charlestown. Yes I do. I think that the project the percentage of perhaps of students who are going to school I didn't get by on the project has had to be either greater brunt of children who've had to leave Charlestown to go to school. Why is that. I think that my own experience is that the other services of Charles Town that the
kids have either gone to parochial schools or have gone to private schools and a greater number in a greater ratio. Than you have down here on the project. You you have a parish outside of the project the project actually isn't actually your parish as I understand. Do you find that a much greater number in your project much greater number of kids are going to parochial schools. Yes I do. I mean in your parish. I do. I think that there are a great number of youngsters from my particular parish. That are going to parochial schools. And I think a lot of it is economics let's face it it's the people down here cannot afford to send their kids to school is easy to people from my parish. As simple as that. OK. That's. Not.
Good. Now. You've. Mentioned that you felt that virtually every institution in the city and maybe even the federal government have failed this project in some way and you also felt you also mentioned that you felt that the church had failed this project as well. How has the church fell apart.
I think that the church has failed. And by church I mean myself and. Everyone that we have not had enough credibility and visibility on our streets and in our neighborhoods and this peculiar project in this project with the people. And they're really getting to know the people to understand them and to really kind of be able to feel with them and to feel with what they're going through and to try to assist them with what they're dealing with. I don't think we really accurately aware of the problems that these people are really trying to deal with whether it's on the busing issue or any issue. I don't think we really understand the pressure they are under the tensions inside them. And I think that we don't know that because we just haven't been close enough to our people over a number of years. Give me some idea of how this might be remedied. Does it mean an increased presence in the project. I think it means an increased presence in the project. I think it means a real a much stronger commitment. Part of the archdiocese to
the city and to its neighborhoods and to priests who are working in areas where there are housing projects I think that on for instance several years ago in Detroit there were several priest who lived in the housing project but right in with the people. And I think that sort of ministry although it's not a ministry for everybody. And it's not a ministry that's the be all and end all it's not the greatest dancer but it's a step and I think that priests have to start getting out and getting into the projects up to the moment they're the ones who have the women who are in ministry in the church and in the archdiocese the nuns they have had a very high visibility in the product of the city. And I think that their visibility should be should be brought into this housing project because they know the potential they have. Are there no priest living in the project now. There are no priests living in the projects now in any one of the housing projects in the city that are Priest of the archdiocese. OK. So.
If you had an increased increased increased presence by increase in the project how would that make a difference. I think part it would make a great deal of difference because I think we have a lot of talented priests young priest and old priest and I don't think their talents are being used to the fullest extent. I think they're being stymied much by the structure. In by the lifestyle that we live. And I think that the the the presence that that we have had on the streets in the last three or four days here in Charlestown has been perhaps a boost to me personally and I think to the other priests who have been out there not that we have been leading the people and that we have been the the the the the ones that are solving all the problems but that we've been able to be with our people and support them and help them in making their decisions and if it's little things like everything else of being with them or the confrontation with the police and trying to negotiate trying to help them and they are very open to that and appreciative of that. And I think that that we have develop a spirit of be able to work very closely with people here. Those of us who have have taken the risk to go out on the
This record is featured in “Protecting Places: Historic Preservation and Public Broadcasting.”
The Evening Compass
Interview with Father William Joy at Charlestown housing project
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-9fx73x97).
Paul deGive interviews Jim Cooney (Charlestown resident) about the Bunker Hill Housing Project near Bunker Hill Street in Charlestown. Cooney says that young people in the project are often blamed for problems caused by outsiders. DeGive talks to Father William Joy (St. Mary's Parish) about urban renewal in Charlestown, the construction of the Mystic-Tobin Bridge and conditions in the Bunker Hill Housing Project. Joy says that Charlestown has been torn apart by urban renewal; that many residents of the housing project are unemployed. DeGive interviews Danny Sullivan (project resident), a teenager who says that the bad reputation of the youth in the project is exaggerated and unfair. Sullivan says that anti-busing parents are fueling the emotions of the youth. Joy says that a great number of students from the projects are being bused out of Charlestown; that students from the wealthier parts of the neighborhood are enrolled in parochial schools. Joy faults the Catholic Church for being out of touch with the needs and problems of project residents.
Local Communities
Politics and Government
Boston (Mass.) History; Urban youth; public housing; Urban Renewal; Busing for school integration; race relations; Catholic Church. Archdiocese of Boston (Mass.); Charlestown (neighborhood); St. Mary?s Parish (Boston, Mass.)
Rights Note:It is the responsibility of a production to investigate and re-clear all rights before re-use in any project.,Rights Type:All,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
Rights Note:Media not to be released to Open Vault.,Rights Type:Web,Rights Credit:,Rights Holder:
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Publisher: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: fe36340f0bf4e26ac248dc4e9f565290e4cf4be7 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
Format: video/quicktime
Color: Color
Duration: 00:21:49;08
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “The Evening Compass; Interview with Father William Joy at Charlestown housing project,” 1975-09-09, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2019,
MLA: “The Evening Compass; Interview with Father William Joy at Charlestown housing project.” 1975-09-09. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2019. <>.
APA: The Evening Compass; Interview with Father William Joy at Charlestown housing project. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from