UMass Boston seeks stories about Columbia Point

Columbia Point is in the headlines a lot these days. From the new Kennedy Institute for the US Senate to a proposal to use its land for an Olympic Village, the peninsula is a popular spot.

It wasn’t always the case. Once known as the Calf Pasture — the point was literally a dumping ground. That all started to change in the 1940s, when one of the nation’s largest public housing developments was built along its waterfront. It changed even more dramatically when Bob Quinn, a state representative from Dorchester who also served as House Speaker and state attorney general, helped to make it the home of UMass Boston in the early 1970s.

It is fitting, then, that UMass Boston will host a “participatory exhibition” next month that aims to document the history of Columbia Point by mining its people — past and present — for their stories. A one-day event that is set for Sat., May 9 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the oral history project is called ”Making a History of Columbia Point.
It is being organized by graduate students in UMass Boston’s public history seminar. They will “interpret parts of the local history through time, objects, photos, and physical sites.”

Community members are invited to come to the Harbor Point Clubhouse at 1 North Point Drive for the event. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Jane Becker at 617-287-6885 or Carolyn Goldstein at 617-287-5929.

No death penalty, life in prison for Marathon killer, Richards ask
Last week in this space, the Reporter editorialized that we are ambivalent about whether the convicted terrorist who killed and maimed our friends and neighbors at the Boston Marathon two years ago should be sentenced to death. He and his accomplice are already dead to us, we wrote.

But our neighbors Bill and Denise Richard — who lost their son Martin to the bomb blast, saw their daughter lose a leg, and suffered terribly themselves — have since spoken out very clearly on the subject. In an article published on the front page of the Boston Globe last Friday, Bill and Denise urged the US attorney to “bring the case to a close.”

“We are in favor of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal,” they wrote.

The Richards worry that the years of appeals that would likely follow a death sentence would perpetuate their anguish and prevent all of us from turning the page. We respect their view on this matter and hope that the Department of Justice will seek to broker that agreement with the killer’s legal team to hasten an end to the penalty phase of the trial.

Bill and Denise have it right when they conclude: “We believe that now is the time to turn the page, end the anguish, and look toward a better future — for us, for Boston, and for the country.”

– BF