April 23, 2001 (BOSTON) – A newspaper reports that reputed Boston mobster took a personal interest in the battle over school desegregation in the 1970s, including arson at a school near the home of a federal judge and the birthplace of President John F. Kennedy.
The Boston Globe quotes an anonymous source described as a longtime associate of James “Whitey” Bulger. The source told the newspaper that Bulger “was and is a racist.”
Bulger grew up in South Boston, an Irish-American neighborhood where many residents were enraged by court-ordered busing. Many felt betrayed by Judge W. Arthur Garrity, who presided over the desegregation case, and by U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, who supported busing.
The Globe reports that Bulger set a fire at an elementary school in Wellesley, the affluent suburb where Garrity lived, and threw a Molotov cocktail through a window of the house where President Kennedy was born in Brookline. The birthplace, now a historic site, was closed to visitors for three months.
Bulger, now on the FBI’s most wanted list and accused of at least 19 murders, vanished in 1995. One former FBI agent is under indictment, accused of protecting Bulger and his lieutenant, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi for years while they served as informants, and several other agents are under investigation.
Another newspaper, The Boston Herald, reported today that the sons of the three Bennett brothers, who were allegedly killed by Flemmi in 1967, want to testify at a Congressional hearing on the FBI’s relationship with Bulger. The Committee on Government Reform plans to focus on another killing in which four men were wrongly convicted and spent decades behind bars, a miscarriage of justice allegedly connived at by the FBI.