Joe Kennedy III Picks His Best Bostonians of All Time

The congressman weighs in with his favorite civil rights heroes.

We’re asking prominent locals who they think are the Best Bostonians of all time. Below, U.S. Representative Joe Kennedy III shares his picks. “Our nation’s march towards equality has often taken its first steps in the streets of Boston,” he tells us. “Whether ending segregation or fighting for marriage equality, my list focuses on a few oftentimes unheralded civil rights heroes who have called our city home.”

Joseph P. Kennedy III

Joseph P. Kennedy III / Courtesy photo

Mary Bonauto

“Not only a tireless fighter for equality, Mary Bonauto is quite literally the architect of marriage equality. She brought the fight for LGBT rights from the streets of Boston and Massachusetts all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Barney Frank

“Congressman Frank’s life is a strong rebuke for those who doubt if our government matters. When marching by his side at the 2013 Boston Pride Parade I watched as person after person walked up to him to thank him for the work he has done for them, our Commonwealth and our country.”

W.E.B. Du Bois

“One of our proudest sons, W.E.B. Du Bois fiercely believed in our nation’s ability to make good on the promise of equality. Raised in the years following the Civil War, Du Bois stood at the forefront of our march towards justice and equality through some of its darkest days.”

Ruth Batson

“Ruth Batson cherished the value of education, fighting against segregation in Boston’s schools. As the first woman to be elected president of the New England Regional Conference of the NAACP, she was also a civil rights leader in our region.”

Massachusetts 54th Regiment

“Few in our nation’s history have displayed more courage and bravery than the men of the Massachusetts 54th Regiment. So dedicated to a free and equal country, the Regiment risked life and limb in an historic assault on Fort Wagner even while facing unjust pay discrimination.”


Whom would you choose? Help us pick the Best Bostonians of all time.