I’ve always found the history of radical groups to be fascinating. It’s intriguing to think about what attracts people to come to use violence to express their interests. How does such violence shape a country, city, or neighborhood? The anarchist movement didn’t end up overthrowing the government. But the federal government took notice and feared anarchists, communists, and their comrades. This led to the first Red Scare of 1919-20. For some individuals, it was an integral part of their community and how they made connections in their new country, the United States.
If nothing else, when I talk to guests about these events on the tour of the North End, I point out how much the neighborhood has changed. Think about it: nowadays most people come to visit and see Old North Church or Paul Revere's House and get a nice Italian dinner. Perhaps they grab cannoli and head to a local park. But one hundred years ago the North End was home to riots, bombings, and people who wanted to overthrow the government! I prefer the way things are today, but to see how rich the history of the North End is makes me appreciate the neighborhood even more.