“So organizers started to do something about it. On Jan. 25, 1969 — just days after Governor Francis W. Sargent’s inauguration — the 2,000 people gathered on the State House stairs to protest the highway. The governor’s son, Francis W. “Bill” Sargent Jr., joined them. In December 1970, Sargent declared a moratorium on the highway project, according to a 1987 Globe article. By 1972, the plan for the Inner Belt system had been shut down entirely. The federal funding originally intended for it was instead directed to expansions of public transit through a new provision of the 1974 federal highway bill.”
The Boston Globe has published a great article on the amazing organizing campaign that successfully persuaded a Republican Governor Frank Sargent to put a halt to the continued destruction of Bostons neighborhoods, stand up to the powerful construction industry and kick start a transformational public transportation policy.
The article did not mention of role of a community organizer from the South End Mel King, who stepped up to play a key role in mobilizing residents of the affected neighborhoods. Please check out this 18 minute video of Mel describing how he used the Office of Economic Opportunity policy (remember that?)of requiring “maximum feasible participation” to make sure residents were able to control a development process.
Find the video here. It is so great. Really.