June 22, 2006– Vol. 41, No. 45

A lasting tribute in memory of the late Senator Bolling

Serghino René

Former Senator Royal L. Bolling Sr. died four years ago, but his legacy was immortalized last week when his name was emblazoned across the entrance to Mattapan’s Harvard Commons, a housing development on the old Boston State Hospital grounds.

The dedication was particularly poignant because the developer is John B. Cruz lll, a long-time family friend of the Bollings.

The Cruz and the Bolling families grew up three houses apart from one another on Schuyler Street in Roxbury, and they are considered to be Bollings’ extended family.

At the celebration were dignitaries and legislators who served with Senator Bolling, including former Governor Michael S. Dukakis, Senate President William M. Bulger, Speaker and Attorney General Robert H. Quinn, Reverend Michael Haynes, state Senator Dianne Wilkerson, state Representative Shirley Owens Hicks and a host of family and friends.

“It was a natural for us to name the main entrance to Harvard Commons for Senator Bolling,” Cruz said. “He made so many contributions that improved the quality of life for this community, for the city and the state.”

Senator Bolling was patriarch of the “Bolling political dynasty” which included sons Royal Jr., a former state representative, and Bruce C., former city council president. The trio made Massachusetts and national history as the first father and sons to serve in three different legislative bodies in the Commonwealth.

Bolling Sr. served 12 years in the House of Representatives and 8 years as State Senator. He authored over 200 legislative initiatives, including the Racial Imbalance law that led to the desegregation of the Boston public schools. He initiated legislation designating site selection for Roxbury Community College and secured its initial funding. He sponsored legislation creating the first funding for the METCO program.

Thousands of economically disadvantaged students have graduated from UMass Amherst’s CCEBS program that he developed and funded.

A highly decorated World War II hero, he earned the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, four Battle Stars and the Combat Infantry Badge for extraordinary leadership and valor under fire. He was married for 60 years to his late wife Thelma and was father to 12 children.



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