To millions of tourists, Boston is the city of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, Paul Revere, world-class universities, and a distinctive accent. But a diverse panel of Northeastern University faculty assembled on Tuesday to present a side of the city that most visitors will never learn about from glowing travel website reviews—a history of slave-trading, violent opposition to desegregation in public schools, and an historical dearth of leadership roles for people who aren’t white.
Patricia Davis, a cultural studies scholar who teaches in the College of Media, Arts and Design, recounted Boston’s reputation as an unwelcoming city that was captured in an episode of “The Simpsons,” when Homer and Marge traveled to the New England city.
“They made a point to say that it was overt, not implicit racism. You may be thinking ‘Well, it’s a cartoon. It’s not really an indication of reality.’ But media productions are sometimes spot-on in capturing “the social, cultural and political pulse of the moments in time in which they are produced,” Davis said at the livestreamed event, part of Northeastern’s Racial Literacy series.