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First Black President Of Boston's City Council Dies06:36

This article is more than 8 years old.

A member of one of Boston prominent political families passed away today: Bruce Bolling, the first black president of the Boston City Council, died after battling prostate cancer. He was 67 years old.

Bolling was a big proponent of bringing racial diversity to Boston and a champion of the city's communities of color. Here he is in a 1987 interview with WGBH talking about his optimism that Boston would one day elect a black mayor:

Maybe at some point I can serve this city in a greater capacity. If not, me someone else. But I think it's going to happen, and I think it's going to happen in the not too distant future.

In 1993, Bolling did in fact run for mayor, but lost to current Mayor Thomas Menino, who called Bolling a "stand-out city councillor."

Current city council president, Stephen Murphy, reflected on Bolling's strengths:

He had the gift of helping others. He had the idea in his head and the mindset that we all don't start with a silver spoon in our mouth, that everybody needs some help in this life, and that that's what we're all about: to help one another. And he practiced it. And he did it for his community, for his neighborhood, for his city.


  • Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councillor At Large and close friend of the Bolling family


This segment aired on September 11, 2012.

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