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Scholarship Fund Targets Mission Hill Neighborhood

By Catherine FosterStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / February 6, 1990



BOSTON

THE Carol Stuart murder brought racial tensions to the surface in a way Boston hasn't seen since the busing controversy in the 1970s. The one bright note was sounded recently when Carol Stuart's parents announced the establishment of a foundation in their daughter's name to grant scholarships for high school students from the Mission Hill area. So far $132,600 has been donated.

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``The DiMaiti family believes that Carol would not have wanted her death to be remembered as the cause of such divisiveness,'' said Marvin Geller, the family's lawyer at a press conference announcement. ``She would ... want to be remembered as ... a woman who left behind a legacy of healing and compassion.'' Blacks in the Mission Hill neighborhood, where the crime took place, protested the intense manhunt that occurred after Mrs. Stuart's husband, Charles, told police it was a black man who had shot him and his wife. The news media played on white's fears of random crime by blacks.

But in a stunning twist, Stuart committed suicide after his brother told police of his involvement. A grand jury is investigating the case. Many in the black community have called for an apology from Mayor Raymond Flynn's office for the police department's handling of the case and their rough treatment of young black men. Black legislators have filed legislation to investigate the events surrounding the crime.

The scholarship fund ``makes a positive statement that everyone doesn't share the attitudes of [Police Commissioner] Roache and Flynn,'' says Ernest Coston, who owns a landscaping company and lives in Mission Hill. ``It might be very useful for kids to know they can get a crack at college.''

In addition to providing scholarships, the foundation will undertake activities to improve race relations in the city.