Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Boston Politics - The Real Thing

I don't claim to be any more than a passive observer of today's Boston politics, and I'm certainly not a historian of Boston's political past. That being said, I think that it is reasonable to say that the political culture that Boston was known for since the Civil war is now dead. The populations that battled over the issues of the day and the spoils of patronage have moved to greener neighborhoods, and that particular Boston political world that existed for several generations has ceased to exist. It could be argued that the change is a good thing, but the change is real nonetheless. I think it could be said with reasonable certainty that if nothing else, Boston politics in "the old days" was far more entertaining.

For those who don't know, the Jamaica Theatre was at Hyde Square.

Boston Daily Globe December 12, 1921

Murphy Booed From Hall In Curley Ward

Crowd in Jamaica Theatre Refuses Him a Hearing

Yells of Most of Audience Drown Out Strains of Orchestra

John R. Murphy made an unsuccessful attempt to speak in the Jamaica Theatre in Curley's home ward yesterday. He was booed from the stage by about 1000 persons out of a possible 1500 who attended the rally.

Representative James Mulvey of Roxbury attempted to deliver the opening address, but he was loudly booed. Representative Stephen R. Mealey, whose candidacy for Representative was endorsed by Curley, presided. He was the objective for many insulting remarks.

When the candidate Murphy entered the theatre he was greeted by a few handclaps from persons in the front rows and many boos from the others in the audience. Mr Murphy made several attempts to speak. Many times he repeated "Just a word," and that was as far as he got, when cries of "Goo Goo," "What did you do to P.A. Collins?" "Loyal Coalition Candidate," and other yells rang through the building. The orchestra played, but the yells drowned the strains of the music.

Almost the entire audience arose at once and cried "Goo Goo" for fully three minutes.

The police were called upon to remove the disturbers, but they were unable to do anything as the disturbance was almost general. Officers Fisher, Dodge and Graham were assigned to the theatre, but when the trouble began to look serious, officers Griffin, Monahan, Seevak and Walsh were sent to the scene.

Seven police officers comprised a small force to cope with the large audience, but they handled the crowd in a nice manner and succeeded in stopping a lot of the booing. The officers were praised by their superiors for their coolheadedness and diplomacy.

Candidate Murphy finally got about twenty words across and gave up. He left the hall by the stage door and his supporters gathered around him at his automobile to prevent the crowd from getting to him.

Several put out their hands, but when Murphy offered his they drew them back and called him names. One young fellow finally did shake Murphy's hand and the door of the car closed and the machine drove away, with the crowd yelling after it.

A banner for Murphy was hanging on a house across from the theatre and several young men tore it down. Several Curley banners were hung near the theatre, and cars passing the theatre, coming from Curley rallies and bearing his signs, were loudly cheered.

After Murphy left, two of his speakers succeeded in making a few remarks about Curley to the small audience that remained in the hall.

Three loud cheers were given for Curley and the police then dispersed the crowd from in front of the building.

The treatment of Mr Murphy, according to residents, was the worst of the kind ever accorded in that section of Jamaica Plain.

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