May 17 - 1986: Summer labor panic

2008: Sen. Ted Kennedy rushed to hospital. 1954: School segregation ends
Ted Kennedy aboard the MYA in Maine in 2006. Walter Brooks photo.

1986: Cape had a severe summer worker shortage

The more things change the more they stay the same

During this same spring period in 1986, Cape Cod's tourism sector was kvetching as loudly as it is today about the dire need for low-cost summer workers.

Most employers were then paying $5 or $6 an hour.

Like today there was little interest in matching the areas of severe unemployment an hour west of the Cape with those needs here.

The emphasis was on low-cost and people willing to live like sardines for a few months.

If we were to change the dates and the prices in this New York Times story from 1986 to now, we could run the story below today as a current news item:

CAPE COD HUNTING FOR SUMMER HELP

To Cape Cod each year, April brings cold, wind-driven rains, flocks of northbound Canada geese and the start of the spring hunt for workers to fill thousands of summer jobs.

This summer, Cape Cod employers expect to need 22,000 to 23,000 people to work here from late May until well after Labor Day. At least 10,000 other summer jobs are expected to be available on Nantucket Island and Martha's Vineyard...

Most employers now offer at least $5 or $6 an hour, even for fast-food workers... Read the rest of the NY Times story here.

2008: Ted Kennedy stricken

He died from brain cancer a year and a half later

On this day in 2008, Senator Edward Kennedy was flown to a Boston hospital after suffering a seizure at his Hyannisport home.

He was later diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.

The Senator died a year and a half later.

1954: Supreme Court ends segregation in schools

Boston did the same a century earlier

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the doctrine of separate but equal. "Segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race . . . deprives the children of a minority group of equal educational opportunities," the justices ruled in Brown v. Board of Education. In 1848 Boston's black community had turned to the courts to integrate the city's public schools. In ruling against them, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asserted that separate was equal.

The cause was won only when the fight moved from the courts to the state legislature, which voted to outlaw segregated public schools in 1855. A century later, attorneys in Brown v. Board used some of the same arguments lawyers had made in the Boston case.


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