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South End Project Area Committee : Records, 1956-1981
The records of the South End Project Area Committee were given to the University of Massachusetts/Boston Archives during 1987.
The South End Project Area Committee was chartered by the Boston City Council in 1968 to fulfill federal redevelopment mandates requiring citizen participation in urban renewal projects. The South End Planning Council, active in the mid- and late 1950s, and the South End Urban Renewal Committee, active in the early 1960s, are, perhaps, SEPAC's predecessors in that they were community groups that discussed and participated in the Boston Redevelopment Authority's plans for the South End. Unlike SEPC and SEURC, however, SEPAC consisted of 39 members elected every two years through elections conducted by the City's Election Department, and was recognized by the BRA, federal government and City as the official voice of the South End and Lower Roxbury. Primarily, but not solely, concerned with housing and community development, SEPAC was a planning and action organization that held veto power over demolition and the selection of developers for BRA-owned property.
The 1975 elections, according to its own history, replaced the city employees and real estate speculators with a group of community activists, and SEPAC began to represent the interests of lower income people and people of color. SEPAC might have had a more combative relationship with the City of Boston than the other PACs. In the mid 1970s, federal subsidies for urban renewal declined, the Community Development Block Grant system was established, and the BRA had to downsize redevelopment. The Mayor withdrew much of SEPAC's funding. The new committee members, with funds from other sources, set out to ensure that the BRA's remaining funds would be spent responsibly and that both private and public housing in the area would remain affordable. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, SEPAC was active in "Tent City," a campaign to build low and moderate income housing on Columbus Avenue, and in trying to stop federal funding for Copley Place. SEPAC published a tri-lingual newspaper.
Scope and Content
The SEPAC records include reports, minutes, publications, correspondence, financial records, parcel descriptions, and other material from its own work, and collected from some other organizations in the South End (such as the Emergency Tenants Council), and from the BRA. There are also records from the SEPC and the SEURC.
Although a preliminary box list is available, the SEPAC records have not yet been organized and described. Accordingly, researchers wishing to use the collection should add adequate time to their projected research hours.