The series was reported by Adrian Walker, Andrew Ryan, Todd Wallack, Nicole Dungca, Akilah Johnson, Liz Kowalczyk and editor Patricia Wen. Today’s story was written by Ryan, Walker, and Wallack.
Boston’s power brokers met in secret for months, drafting an ambitious bid to host the 2024 Olympics. They imagined the city on the world stage, showcasing a modernized transit system, a grand boulevard, and gleaming new neighborhoods that would define Boston for the next millennium.
Legal documents made it clear who was in charge: five prominent executives from the region’s dominant spheres of influence, representing business, higher education, sports, and construction. All five were white, and their initial Olympic plan envisioned new buildings and venues sprinkled across Greater Boston. But other than Franklin Park, the Games would not include another venue in the city’s predominantly black neighborhoods.
It was a stark example of how in Boston — from politics to boardrooms, law firms to the State House, and labor halls to hospitals — blacks still find themselves shut out of the insular world of Massachusetts’ powerbrokers.