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Racial Tensions Rise Over Boston Housing Plan : Desegregation: Residents express anger as minority families fill spots in the all-white projects. Emotions mirror those of busing riots in the 1970s.

April 28, 1990|KAREN TUMULTY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Boston Housing Authority hopes to revise the system, allowing residents some choice, but federal officials have not yet approved the changes.

Meanwhile, South Boston residents contend that a plan they had no part of threatens to tear apart the social fabric and strong family links in their community. Bulger noted in an interview that one 70-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife who had long roots in South Boston were told that the only housing available to them was in predominantly black Roxbury.

Although their life savings of $800 is rapidly dwindling, Bulger said, the couple plan to stay as long as they can in South Boston. "They want to remain here," he said. "It means everything to them."

Florence Young, who has lived in the Old Colony project for 36 years and raised her six children there, said she gets along well with the black family that has moved into her building. Nonetheless, she sees many parallels between the growing tensions and those that ignited riots 15 years ago.

"The whole idea of the whole game is like busing--poor against poor," she said.

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