IN THE FALL of 1957, a Lowell city councilor placed an advertisement in the local newspaper backing a referendum that would create at-large elections, with every councilor subject to a citywide vote. The system, he wrote, would promote “majority rule” and limit “minority rule” by ethnic groups like the French, Greeks, Irish, and Lithuanians.
Voters approved the measure by a wide margin and, ever since, Lowell city government has been dominated by “majority rule.” Today, that means an all-white city council and school committee, even though nonwhites — mostly Latinos and Asian-Americans — make up 49 percent of the Mill City’s population.
Read more in the Boston Globe.
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