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  • Originally published 08/13/2013

    Bulger guilty in gangland crimes

    BOSTON — James (Whitey) Bulger, the mobster who terrorized South Boston in the 1970s and ‘80s, holding the city in his thrall even after he disappeared, was convicted Monday of a sweeping array of gangland crimes, including 11 murders. He faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison.The verdict delivers long-delayed justice to Mr. Bulger, 83, who disappeared in the mid-1990s after a corrupt agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation told him he was about to be indicted. He left behind a city that wondered if he would ever be caught — and even if the F.B.I., which had been complicit in many of his crimes and had relied on him as an informer, was really looking for him.“This was the worst case of corruption in the history of the F.B.I.,” said Michael D. Kendall, a former federal prosecutor who investigated Mr. Bulger’s associates. “It was a multigenerational, systematic alliance with organized crime, where the F.B.I. was actively participating in the murders of government witnesses, or at least allowing them to occur.”...

  • Originally published 07/11/2013

    Body of Boston Strangler to be exhumed

    Albert H. DeSalvo’s body will be exhumed to allow for new forensic testing that may conclusively prove DeSalvo murdered Mary Sullivan in her Boston apartment in 1964, the last killing attributed to the Boston Strangler who terrorized Greater Boston for two years in the early 1960s.Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said that a DNA match has been made between DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler, and the murder of 19-year-old Sullivan, who was raped and murdered and “her body desecrated” in her Charles Street home on Jan. 4, 1964....

  • Originally published 06/13/2013

    Whitey Bulger trial opens in Boston

    BOSTON — James “Whitey” Bul­ger is an old man now.He wears reading glasses. His hair is pure white, but not much remains. And when he stood up in a federal courtroom Wednesday morning to finally face the music, to stand trial for a lifetime of gangster crimes, he rose slowly, no longer the menacing Irish mob boss who allegedly scratched out 19 lives while the FBI looked the other way.Wearing a long-sleeved green shirt, jeans and sneakers, Bulger sat passively as a prosecutor described his younger, more sinister years as leader of the Winter Hill Gang, including the time he allegedly marched a safecracker named Arthur “Bucky” Barrett to a set of cellar stairs after torturing him in a chair in pursuit of $40,000 from a bank robbery....

  • Originally published 05/02/2013

    Lincoln Mullen: A First Look at the Digital Public Library of America

    Lincoln Mullen is a PhD candidate at Brandeis University and a historian of religion in early America and the nineteenth century.Last Thursday at noon the Digital Public Library of America launched its website. The opening festivities, which had been booked solid with a long wait list for weeks, were canceled, since the venue at the main branch of the Boston Public Library was adjacent to the site of the bombing in Boston earlier that week. But the DPLA, which is a website and not a location, went ahead with the launch of the public service anyway....

  • Originally published 03/18/2013

    F.B.I. Says It Has Clues in ’90 Boston Art Heist

    The F.B.I. said Monday that it believes it knows the identity of the thieves who stole 13 paintings 23 years ago from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, one of the most infamous art heists in history.Officials from the F.B.I. said they believed that the paintings were moved through Connecticut and the Philadelphia area perhaps a decade ago by a criminal organization. They declined to reveal any more about the identity of the thieves, saying the investigation is continuing.The F.B.I. is establishing a Web site, www.FBI.gov/gardner, as part of a publicity campaign to alert the public. That campaign includes billboards to be placed in Connecticut and Philadelphia, with reproductions of the paintings in hopes of prompting anyone with information to step forward....

  • Originally published 02/28/2013

    Universities, theaters in 4 cities to join in creating new theatrical productions on Civil War

    WASHINGTON — Four major universities are joining theater companies in Boston, Baltimore, Washington and Atlanta in a project to commission new plays, music and dance compositions about the Civil War and its lasting legacy.The National Civil War Project announced Thursday in Washington will involve programming over the next two years to mark the 150th anniversary of the war between North and South. Beyond commissioning new works, organizers plan for university faculty to integrate the arts into their academic programs on campus....

  • 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.

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