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A Black Bostonian on racism and pride in his hometown

Boston has a rich Black legacy. Why don't more people know about it?

About this episode:

Boston maintains a reputation as one of the most racist cities in America, despite its long abolitionist history and image as a bastion of East Coast liberalism. And in many ways that reputation is well-earned. From the city’s staggering racial wealth gap, to its violent backlash against school desegregation in the 1970’s, to racial epithets hurled at Black athletes to this day, there’s plenty of evidence to back up the assertion that Beantown’s racist. But often left out of the conversation are the voices of Black Bostonians themselves.

Writer, historian and Boston native Dart Adams is on a mission to change that. Dart leads walking tours in the city, highlighting overlooked aspects of Black Boston’s past and present. He recently wrote an article arguing that Black Bostonians are caught in the middle of the debate over their city’s racism. At home they face erasure in Boston’s media landscape, as well as the injustices that Black folk everywhere navigate in dealing with systemic racism. But they also face friendly fire from Black folks outside the city when they try to bring a level of nuance to the conversation which outsiders lack.

This week on Into America, Dart Adams gives Trymaine Lee an insider’s view of Black Boston, from the city’s rich musical history to its role as home to two of the greatest Black leaders in civil rights history during their formative years. He also gives us a sense of what it’s like to love a city that doesn’t always love you back.

Thoughts? Feedback? Story ideas? Write to us at intoamerica@nbcuni.com.

Find the transcript here.

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