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South Boston's Ray Flynn Became Mayor of Boston on January 2, 1984




On January 2, 1984, Raymond L. Flynn was sworn in as the 46th Mayor of the City of Boston.  He succeeded Kevin H. White, who decided not to run for another term, having already served four consecutive terms. 

Flynn told reporters that when he sat down to write his inaugural speech, the first words that came to mind were, 'you count.' 

"I immediately wrote them down right away and underlined them," Flynn said. "Those are the words I want people to remember from my speech."

Flynn was officially sworn into the office at the Wang Center before 3,500 people, the largest inaugural gathering for a mayor in the city's history.  Among the guests at the inauguration was his mayoral opponent, Mel King, a former state representative who was the first Black to make it to the finals in the mayoral race.  Flynn greeted and thanked Mel from the podium. 

In his speech, Flynn said, "This is a time to break down the walls of bigotry and build a new foundation of racial harmony. Boston has for too long been a house divided against itself."

Reporter Ed Quill of The Boston Globe described Flynn as "the son of a longshoreman and a cleaning woman who once worked in the city's downtown business buildings...a former football star at South Boston High School and basketball star at Providence College."

Flynn and his family, including his wife Cathy and their five children, along with Flynn's mother Lillian, began the day by attending mass at the Don Bosco Chapel on Tremont Street. 

Learn more about Mayor Flynn's Administration by visiting the Boston City Archives

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