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Luck of the Irish


  • Originally published 02/25/2013

    Is a House a Home in the Segregated 1950s?

    Luck of the Irish Claire Tow Theater/Lincoln Center 150 West 65th Street New York, N.Y.In the middle of the nineteenth century, Boston was the capital of the anti-slavery movement. The capital of Massachusetts was the home of several well-known abolitionist newspapers; the state was led politically by anti-slavery champions such as Senator Charles Sumner and Governor John Andrew, and the 54th Massachusetts -- the first African American regiment in the Union Army -- was mustered near the city in 1863.In the middle of the twentieth century, though, Boston was a hotbed of racism. The Boston Red Sox was one of the last teams to be integrated (Pumpsie Green in 1959) and housing in the Boston area was still segregated. The New England city had actually made enormous backward strides over the prior century.This is the backdrop for Luck of the Irish, a powerful drama about how a white couple “fronted” for a black couple so they could buy a house in the fictional Boston suburb of Billington. It was a practice known as “ghost buying” and widely used all over the country at the time.