Long Hot Summer, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

When this group of black mothers locked themselves in a government office, Boston erupted in riots – Timeline It was the beginning of the Long Hot Summer of 1967

The women of Roxbury were tired of being disrespected. Tired of being called names. And tired of being watched by the cops.

On Friday, June 2, 1967, in this black Boston neighborhood, Mothers for Adequate Welfare, a small but formidable citizens group gathered inside of their local social services office — which had “Overseers of the Public Welfare” engraved above its door. They had a list of direct but sensible demands. The action was one of 250 coordinated welfare protests nationwide. In an office where mothers were often mistreated, the women’s demands fell on hostile ears.

Welfare offices had a reputation for showing black residents the worst of what Boston had to offer. Residents felt that caseworkers doled out benefits capriciously, and unfounded, malicious gossip could lead to the termination of benefits. Families felt uneasy in welfare offices, where police stood watch, often armed, and residents had access to staff only one day a week. A growing group of neighborhood mothers was incensed. They staged sit-ins and marches on both local offices and the state house. Though the relative harmony had given way to some promises from the city, these mothers felt progress had not come fast enough.

Tensions on the rise outside the Grove Hall welfare office on June 2, 1967. | Charles B. Carey/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Long Hot Summer, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNBoston police officers make arrests in Roxbury on June 2. | Bob Dean + Tom Landers

Long Hot Summer, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMN

Long Hot Summer, African American History, Black History, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNMothers participating in the welfare office sit-in talk to picketers outside. | William Ryerson/The Boston Globe via Getty Images


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as a bi-racial organization to advance justice for African Americans by W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington and Moorfield Storey.

Its mission in the 21st century is “to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate racial hatred and racial discrimination.” Their national initiatives included political lobbying, publicity efforts, and litigation strategies developed by their legal team. The group enlarged its mission in the late 20th century by considering issues such as police misconduct, the status of black foreign refugees, and questions of economic development. Its name, retained in accordance with tradition, uses the once common term colored people, referring to people of some African ancestry.

The NAACP bestows annual awards to people of color in two categories: Image Awards are for achievement in the arts and entertainment, and Spingarn Medals are for outstanding achievement of any kind. Its headquarters is in Baltimore, Maryland. (Wikipedia).