A Very Happy 49th Birthday Emerald Society!!
A little History -- The Emerald Society of the Boston Police Department was incorporated on June 21, 1973 finally tying together a group that had been loosely formed since early gatherings at J.J. Foley’s Cafe in the South End, the location below the hall where Boston Police Officer’s voted to strike in September of 1919. Wives and girlfriends of Irish and Irish American Officers encouraged them to officially form a Society in Boston since other east coast cities had and following in the footsteps of the 1954 establishment of the first Emerald Society in New York City. The incorporation of “The Emerald Society of the Boston Police Department, Inc.” was the beginning of a bitter battle with then Police Commissioner DiGrazia. The Commissioner refused to allow the Irish to form a club although it was pointed out that other ethnic and religious groups had already founded their organizations and that it was not against rules and regulations of the Department. After the founding of the club, the Commissioner relentlessly pursued the removal of the title “of the Boston Police Department” from the Society’s name, needless to say he lost. The Commissioner also refused to allow members to wear their Society’s pin, calling it a “girl scout “button. The Society capitalized on his anti-Irish bigotry and it seemed that overnight half of the Department joined the club. Although a long a force on the Department, the Society gave the Irish an organization of their own, something that brought them together.
The first headquarters was located at 642 Beech St. in Roslindale and the first meeting of the general membership was held at the V.F.W. Post #1018 on American Legion Highway. Post #1018 became the site of the monthly meetings which are still held on the first Tuesday of each month. In 1982 the society purchased the former site of the Suffolk Franklin Savings Bank located at #10 Birch St. in Roslindale. Lots of hard work on the part of many people resulted in the beautiful building we now call our own. The first meeting at the Hall was held in September of 1983. Sidewalk Sam, the famous local artist painted the murals seen on the walls. His artwork was payment from the inspiration he received during a Society sponsored trip to Ireland. A brand new mahogany bar, cocktail tables and three new bathrooms have been recently added. Monthly meetings include the business of the Society, introductions of new members, planned functions and upcoming events, even raffles and prizes for members. Merchandise is also available.
The Emerald Society hosts many events throughout the year including the Annual Emerald Golf Classic in October, Trivia and Pub Nights, sports watch parties, “Meet and Greets” with other Emerald Societies and organizations that visit during the year and we also planned trips that have taken us to Ireland, Savannah, New York City, and other destinations. The Emerald Society was the original sponsors of the Department’s Hockey Team and we still support their endeavors. The Emerald Society Honor Guard marches in many parades and events throughout the year, including an annual trip to present the colors during a Bruins game. From its beginning the Society has sponsored an annual scholarship program for members’ sons and daughters, giving away six $400. awards. The Emerald Society of the BPD is also one of the Founding Members of The National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies (www.NCLEES.org), an umbrella organization that serves more than seventy five Emerald
Societies in the United States. Emerald Societies have spawned up across the country and overseas. Each year in March, we hold our Annual Awards Banquet At this time we present our “Man/ Woman of the Year” and “Officer(s) of the Year” awards. It is also a time for the celebration of our accomplishments and a time of reflection of our losses. These are two things we refuse to forget. Although our list of accomplishments continues to grow, so does the price we pay in law enforcement. Of the more than 22,000+ names on the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Wall in Washington DC, statistics provided by the NLEOM themselves show a third of the names to be of Gaelic descent. In the Boston Police Department’s Headquarters a wall is also dedicated to the heroes who gave their life for the City, with many more who can trace their roots to Ireland.