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John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, Born on May 29, 1917 in Brookline, Massachusetts

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Boston Irish Raise Relief Funds for Ireland during the Irish War of Independence, April 25, 1921

  One hundred years ago today, a series of monster rallies were held around Boston in support of The American Committee for Relief in Ireland. The national effort aspired to raise over $10 million in relief for the people of Ireland, who were suffering from food shortages, medical supplies and other necessities during the Irish War of Independence against British colonial rule on the island of Ireland. In a letter to the Relief committee in March 1921, President Warren G. Harding wrote, “The people of America never will be deaf to the call for release on behalf of suffering Humanity, and the knowledge of distress in Ireland makes quick and deep appeal to the more fortunate of our own land, where so many of our children Trace relationships to the Emerald Isle." A similar effort by Americans was taken on behalf of Belgium during World War I under U.S. President Herbert Hoover Ireland's Relief Committee was overseen by Texan businessman and Hoover ally J. F. Lucey, who told the P

USS Jamestown Sails from Charlestown Navy Yard on Humanitarian Mission to Help Ireland, March 28, 1847

  Painting of USS Jamestown, courtesy of the artist Edward D. Walker  On March 28, 1847, the USS Jamestown set sail from Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston Harbor on a humanitarian mission to Ireland, carrying 800 tons of supplies for the victims of the Irish Famine. The mission was led by Captain  Robert Bennet Forbes , a wealthy sea merchant living in Milton, MA. With Forbes on the journey were 38 crew members who had signed on to help. In February, Forbes had petitioned the US Congress for the loan of a naval ship to bring supplies, and permission to use the USS Jamestown had been granted. As the boat left the harbor on the morning of March 28, crowds lined the wharf and the shores, cheering as the ship headed out to open seas. The fifteen day voyage faced foul weather and rain, sleet, wind and fog. The ship landed in Queenstown (now Cobh), County Cork on April 12, 1847. Back in Boston, the newspapers enthusiastically reported on the trip, failing to note the cruel irony that became ap

Mary Boyle O'Reilly of Charlestown was a Social Reformer, Intrepid Traveler and Journalist Who Covered World War I

Mary Boye O'Reilly (1873-1939) was a lifelong social activist and reformer whose passion was protecting children and young women.  Born and raised in  Charlestown , Mary was the daughter of Irish leader  John Boyle O’Reilly .   Like her father, Mary was committed to improving society and righting wrongs.  She was also a gifted writer and an intrepid traveler.  In 1901 O’Reilly and others established the Guild of St. Elizabeth, a Catholic settlement home for Children in  Boston ’s South End.  From 1907-1911 she was Massachusetts Prison Commissioner, and also a trustee of  Boston ’s  Children’s Institutions.  In 1910, disguised as a mill worker, she exposed the notorious ‘baby farms’ in  New Hampshire . In 1913 she became a foreign correspondent for the Newspaper Enterprise Association, reporting from  Mexico  and  Russia , and heading up the London Office.  When World War I erupted, she entered  Belgium  disguised as a peasant to cover the action.  The Germans briefly imprisoned her

Irish Bond Drive to Support the Irish Republic Kicked off in Boston, Massachusetts on February 24, 1920

  101 years ago this week, Irish organizations in Boston and across Massachusetts enthusiastically geared up for an Irish Bond drive that would raise money to create an Irish Republic. Organized by the Friends of Irish Freedom, the drive aspired to raise one million dollars in Massachusetts, of which the Boston goal was half a million dollars, out of a total goal of $10 million across the United States. The bonds went on sale on Tuesday, February 24, 1920 not only in Massachusetts and the United States but across the world.    The denominations of the bonds ranged from $10 to $10,000, and the success of the drive depended upon the number of $10 bonds sold, according to state chairman Thomas Walsh.  Still, Walsh said  he was counting on "some rich Bostonians of Irish sympathy" to purchase the $10,000 bonds, reported The Boston Globe . Among the local groups involved in the drive were the County Galway Men's Association and the Gaelic School. In Charlestown, six year old A

On February 18, 1900, Irish leader Maud Gonne spoke at Boston's Tremont Temple, opposing the Boer War

Irish rebel Maud Gonne arrived in Boston on Sunday, February 17, 1900 and was greeted at South Station by a delegation of 50 men and women from Irish societies, who escorted her to the Vendome Hotel on Commonwealth Avenue.  She was on the last leg of a New England speaking tour in which she lambasted the English for starting the Boer War in Africa. The speaking tour took her to Lowell, Fall River, Brockton and other Irish-American enclaves.   On Monday, February 18, Gonne spoke at Tremont Temple near Boston Common, drawing 2,000 cheering supporters. There she uttered a phrase that bespoke the mindset of many Irish people. "From an Irish point of view," she said, "it matters not whether it be right or wrong, the nation that is the enemy of England is a friend and ally of Ireland."   That proposition was later rephrased by Irish rebel James Connolly as "England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity."   The Boston organizers read a fiery proclama

140 Years Ago, Boston Leaders Met at Faneuil Hall to Support Ireland's Land League Movement

On February 11, 1881, public officials, distinguished citizens and Irish-American leaders gathered at Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston to show support for the Irish National Land League movement and to criticize the British government for trying to thwart the Land League movement in Ireland by arresting its leaders. Among those present were Irish-American leaders  John Boyle O'Reilly  and Patrick A. Collins , Boston Mayor Frederick O. Prince,  General Benjamin Butler  and abolitionist  Wendell Phillips . Mayor Prince expressed outrage at “the tyranny of the British government in arresting and imprisoning, without sufficient reason, that good man and true patriot, Michael Davitt.”   Patrick Collins  said, “This is not simply an Irish movement, but a movement in the interests of justice, truth, human rights and the civilization of the 19 th  century. What is happening in Ireland today is to happen in England and Scotland tomorrow, and this the British government knows and dreads.” Gen