The Troubles We’ve Seen
SCOTTISH SOCCER RIVALS the Rangers and the Celtic Football Club – and their respective Protestant and Catholic fans – were set to do battle at Fenway on 7/21, until the Rangers pulled out after a Globe column erroneously blamed the tension between the groups for a fatal 1971 stadium disaster. (Portugal’s Sporting will take the pitch instead.) Perhaps it’s for the best, considering some of Boston’s worst public displays of destruction have come as a result of sectarian conflict. Here, a couple of early lowlights:
June 11, 1837: BROAD STREET RIOT Several hundred members of an Irish funeral procession cross paths with a group of Yankee firefighters – the kind who refused to respond when Protestants torched a Catholic convent a few years prior – resulting in an all-out brawl among nearly 1,000 combatants. It takes the mayor and 800 soldiers to restore calm.
July 4, 1895: "LITTLE RED SCHOOLHOUSE" RIOT Irish Protestants who are part of a nativist group opposed to the establishment of Catholic schools march through Catholic-heavy East Boston with a float featuring a little red schoolhouse, a symbol of their cause. It’s pulled by four white horses and a man dressed as Uncle Sam. Eastie Catholics respond with their fists.