For blacks in Boston, a power outage

The images—representing Massachusetts’ top political and business leadership—consist of the congressional delegation; all statewide elected officials; the top leaders in the state Senate and House; Boston mayor and City Council president; chief executive officers of the state’s largest publicly traded companies; principal owners for the major sports franchises; and members of the exclusive executive group, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. —Emily Zendt / The Boston Globe

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.

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