by Allison Pekel, Intern

UPDATE: As of October 21, 2013, there is video related to this post on our website.

One of the exciting things about the Boston Local TV News Project is that it gives us a more in depth look at the history behind organizations that are still impacting our communities today - organizations like Action for Boston Community Development, Inc. We have reached a place in the Boston Local TV News Project where we are adding the information found on index cards detailing what can be found on each reel into a searchable database- this means that we haven’t actually seen the footage on the reel but are relying on the cards to feed us any clues as to what might be on them. Some cards are exceptionally detailed, while others are very vague. The cards for the ABCD fall under the vague arena and it took a bit of sleuthing to find out what the film on the ABCD might reveal. By comparing the dates on the cards to the dates of Boston Globe articles referencing the ABCD, I’ve determined some of the news stories on which we might have coverage; but first, a little bit of background on the ABCD.

ABCD was founded in Boston in 1962 to provide for the cities impoverished. The ABCD strives to provide those they serve, “with the tools to overcome poverty, live with dignity, and achieve their full potential.” (taken from ABCD’s Website) Their history shows that part of this service has included acting as a mouthpiece for those they serve in the local, state and national arenas, often influencing policy and enacting change. This change has not always come without controversy however, and the Boston Local TV News Project seems to have within it’s collection clips that showcase the fanfare surrounding the organizations victories as well as it’s more hotly debated decisions.

Some of the gems include footage covering ABCD’s September 1968 decision to pull endorsement from the Boston School Department’s request for $3.7 million in federal funds. This money was meant to fund the educational enrichment of children in low-income areas but the ABCD felt that the funds should be withheld on the grounds that the School did not provide the community participation that was stipulated in the grant and therefore didn’t serve the community as intended. Though ultimately the money was awarded anyway, the debate encouraged the development of stricter guidelines on grants in the future.

Another story of note is coverage of the $557,589 the ABCD received from the US Office of Economic Opportunity in July of 1970. This grant was the first of its kind in Massachusetts aimed exclusively towards family planning and would provide low-income women with much needed access to healthcare in twelve clinics throughout the city.

We’re so thrilled to eventually be able to present these stories to the public and hope that seeing these stories on film will bring Boston’s history to life in a way that written records might not be able to. Look for stories involving more of our findings to come!

To find out more about the ABCD check out their website at

Copies of the newspaper articles referencing the ABCD can be found in the Boston Globe’s Archives . They have full text articles that go back as far as 1872!

Happy Hunting!


  • "US grants ABCD $557,589 for family planning in Hub." Boston Globe 07/14/1970: 32. Print.
  • Van Dyne, Larry. "Boston Gets School Aid Over ABCD Objections." Boston Globe 09/07/1968: 1,5. Print.