In Memoriam: Remembering Bruce Bolling

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Sep 11, 2012 No Comments ›› The Commisioner



From Councillor Yancey:
Today, we lost a great statesman and leader and we will miss Bruce Bolling. Our deepest sympathy and thoughts go out to his wife Joyce his son Bruce, his brother Royal and the entire Bolling family.We wish him a peaceful journey. I treasure the time that we spent together on the city council which spanned over a decade and I was very proud to vote for him in 1986. Bruce leaves us with a great legacy including his part in establishing the Boston Fair Housing Commission. He was a trailblazer and improved the quality of life for all Bostonians.


   Bruce Bolling came from what was seen as one of the most successful families in Boston. Hailing from Roxbury, won his seat in the city council in 1981.  In 1986, Boller went on to become the first African-Amercian City Council President.



Press Release:


Boston City Hall (September 13, 2012) – Boston City Councillor Charles C. Yancey this week reminisced Bruce Bolling’s political career, calling the first African American to serve as president of the Boston City Council pragmatic, effective, and a brilliant coalition builder.

Bolling, who was 67, died this week of prostate cancer.

Yancey commended Bolling’s formation of several pieces of legislation, including his creation of the Minority & Women Business Enterprise (now the Small and Local Business Enterprise Office) and the Boston fair housing ordinance, which responds to complaints of housing discrimination.

Bolling initiated the Linkage Program in 1982, which exacted fees from large-scale commercial real estate development for training programs and to create affordable housing through the Boston Neighborhood Trust Fund.

Yancey recalled Bolling’s support of the anti-apartheid movement in the early 1980s and his support of the gay and lesbian community. “He was the first to embrace the concept of same-sex marriage. It was revolutionary back then,” Yancey said.

Bolling supported Councillor Yancey’s loan orders to build the Gallivan Community Center and the Mattapan Police Station.

Bolling served as an at-large City Councillor from 1981 to 1983, as District 7 City Councillor from 1984 to 1991, as an at-large City Councillor in 1992, and he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor in 1993.

Bolling also served as president of the Boston City Council in both 1986 and in 1987.

Bolling’s father, Royal Bolling Sr., served as a state senator and a state representative in Boston, and his brother, Royal Bolling, Jr., served as a state representative.

Bolling leaves behind his wife, Joyce Ferriabough Bolling, and his son, Bruce Bolling, Jr.

Councillor Yancey remembered traveling with Bolling to the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, where they both advocated for Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign. “Bolling’s entire life was spent in public service, fighting to level the playing field,” Yancey said.

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