The history behind the South Boston, Saint Patrick's Day Parade is General John Henry Knox brought 55 cannons captured at Fort Ticonderoga. In March, the troops positioned the cannons on Dorchester Heights. They had cut down trees to cannon size, hollowed them out and blackened them over fire to look like cannons. Surprise was just around the corner. On March 17, 1776, orders were given that if you wished to pass through the continental lines, the password was "St. Patrick". The British had seen all the cannons on the Heights and left Boston.
Evacuation Day was declared a holiday in the City of Boston in 1901. In celebration, the city hosted a parade based in South Boston. A monument to the historical event was completed in Dorchester Heights in 1902. Major George F. H. Murray served as Chief Marshall for the parade in 1901. The state of Massachusetts recognized Evacuation Day as a holiday in Suffolk County (but not the rest of the state) in 1938. The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is both a celebration of the Irish-American culture in Boston and the Evacuation Day victory. The City of Boston sponsored the event until 1947, when Mayor James Michael Curley gave authority to the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council.
Politicians and local celebrities have participated in these annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade for years. In 1958 Senator John F. Kennedy rode with Jacqueline Kennedy in the parade. The Kennedy family were well known as participating in this parade. Robert F. Kennedy marched in 1968, Ted and Joan Kennedy also marched in 1970. The N.A.A.C.P entered a float in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1964. In the mid-1960s the Harvard’s Irish Society joined the march. Irish nationalists unofficially marched in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the 1960s and 1970s. In 1972, Irish Republican Aid Committee members protested violence in Northern Ireland by carrying a coffin draped with the Irish tricolored flag. The Boston chapter of the Irish Northern Aid Commission marched with black armbands and a sign reading "England Get out of Ireland"
The year 1976 marked the 200th anniversary of Evacuation Day and the 75th anniversary of the parade. A reenactment of the 1776 evacuation was incorporated into the parade, with fireworks and period costumes. President George H.W. Bush declared March Irish-American Heritage Month in 1991. The application of the Irish American Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Group of Boston, or GLIB, to march in the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in 1992, the first of its kind in the history of the parade, was met with a rejection by the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council. In recent years, parade organizers have tried to make the event more kid-friendly, by incorporating "family zones" or sober places to watch the parade. The South Boston, St. Patrick’s Parade is listed as the second-largest parade in the country, being viewed by nearly 600,000 to 1 million people every year, in addition to having the entire parade seen on live television.
South Boston was traditionally an Irish working-class neighborhood ever since the Irish migrated to Boston due to the Great Famine that occurred in Ireland. Once a predominantly Irish Catholic community, in recent years South Boston has become increasingly desirable among young professionals and families who are attracted to the neighborhood's strong sense of community and quick access to downtown and public transportation. South Boston has a population of about 33,311. The median age is about 32.
The most recent caucus estimates South Boston's total population at 33,688. The Caucasian population is about 26,700 (79.2%). A total amount of 2,789 (8.3%) Hispanic people is counted. African American population is about 1,926 (5.7%). The Asian population makes up 4.8% (1,603). 466 people are of non-hispanic mixed race (1.4%) and 190 people (0.6%) are identified as Others (i.e. American Indians and groups not otherwise categorized).
South Boston has increasingly become an upscale residential area. Poverty levels within South Boston: 1,646 of households have received Food Stamp/SNAP in the past 12 months. 1,064 of individuals income in the past 12 months has been below poverty level, while 582 has been above poverty level. 12,940 households did not receive Food Stamps/SNAP within the past 12 months. From these individuals not receiving help 1,367 fall below poverty level in the past 12 months, while 11,753 individuals income in the past 12 months is above or at poverty level. When looking at it as poverty status by household, Family households: poverty estimate 1,134 (46.6%). Non-family households: poverty estimated 1,297 (53.4%). Male households: poverty estimated 447 (18.4%). Female households: poverty estimated 850 (35.0%) In addition when putting it as Poverty Status by Family Married-couple family: With related children under 18: 138 (12.2%) out of 1,266. Under 5 years ONLY: 47 out of 507.