Jim Kelly, Boston City Councilor
[caption id="attachment2629" align="alignright" width="300"] Jim Kelly interviewed at the South Boston Information Center in 1977. Watch the <a href="http://bostonlocaltv.org/catalog/VI50UWYXAOFZ5GSA">full story.[/caption]
Jim Kelly served in the Boston City Council from 1984 until his death in 2007, representing District 2, which covers South Boston, the South End and Chinatown. He served as City Council president for six years, from 1994-2000. Before being elected to City Council, he was the President of the South Boston Information Center and a member of the South Boston Marshals, a paramilitary organization active during the anti-busing movement.
In this 1977 interview from the Ten O’Clock News Collection, Gary Griffith asks Kelly questions about a demonstration at Carson Beach, in his position as President of the South Boston Information Center. The unedited field tape captures Kelly’s fervor, which stirred his constituents enough to elect him to the City Council six years later. The tape also includes all of the b-roll they shot of the South Boston Information Center, which was presumably edited into the final news story.
Kelly also appears in many Boston news stories from the later 80s and early 90s, especially from 1988, when he was fighting against forced public housing desegregation. Several of these stories feature the same South Boston community meeting, where Kelly argues with Mayor Ray Flynn about the desegregation plan. Kelly is applauded by the South Boston audience, while Flynn is booed and heckled.
[caption id="attachment_2626" align="alignleft" width="300"] Sign put up in South Boston in 2007 commemorating Jim Kelly. Photo from Seth Tisue.[/caption]
Despite the controversial positions Kelly took throughout the years, he was undeniably a Boston icon. Most Boston City Council President serve for one year, sometimes two. Kelly served for six years.