The Great Molasses Flood Revisited: Labor and the Molasses Flood

THU, FEB 28, 2019

One hundred years ago, a North End community was devastated by the rupture of a molasses tank which caused damage to the community and claimed twenty-one lives.

Debate over the fallout of the flood remain in the folklore of Boston to this day. Questions on the matter pertaining to the role of big business in taking responsibility for the flood damage and how reactions were handled by all involved still resonate to this day.

Stephen Puleo and others look to debate and possibly answer these questions and relate the issues to the modern day.

Image: Old South Meeting House

+ BIO: Steve Puleo

Stephen Puleo is an author, historian, and communications professional. His books include The Boston Italians: A Story of Pride, Perseverance and Paesani, from the Years of the Great Immigration to the Present Day, Due to Enemy Action: The True World War II Story of the USS Eagle 56, and Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919.

In 2008, Steve was the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award, presented by the Appian Club, an Italian American organization dedicated to preserving and promoting Italian culture in Massachusetts. In 2007, he was a recipient of the prestigious i migliori award, presented by the Pirandello Lyceum to Italian-Americans who have excelled in their fields of endeavor and made important contributions to society.

+ BIO: Dr. Karilyn Crockett

Dr. Karilyn Crockett focuses her research on large-scale land use changes in twentieth century American cities and examines the social and geographic implications of structural poverty. Karilyn’s new book "People before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners, and a New Movement for City Making" (UMASS Press 2018) investigates a 1960s era grassroots movement to halt urban extension of the U.S. interstate highway system and the geographic and political changes in Boston that resulted. Karilyn was the co-founder of Multicultural Youth Tour of What's Now (MYTOWN), an award winning, Boston-based, educational non-profit organization. MYTOWN hired public high school students to research their local and family histories to produce youth-led walking tours for sale to public audiences. During its nearly 15 years of operation, MYTOWN created jobs for more than 300 low and moderate-income teenagers, who in turn led public walking tours for more than 14,000 visitors and residents. In a White House ceremony, the National Endowment for the Humanities cited MYTOWN as “One of ten best Youth Humanities Programs in America.”

Karilyn holds a PhD from the American Studies program at Yale University, a Master of Science in Geography from the London School of Economics, and a Master of Arts and Religion from Yale Divinity School. She currently serves as the Director of Economic Policy & Research and Director of Small Business Development for the City of Boston and is a research affiliate in the Department of Urban Studies & Planning at MIT. Karilyn’s career mission is to work at the nexus of education, economic development and urban revitalization.

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