The Spotlight Team takes on our hardest question

Starting Sunday, Dec. 10, the Globe’s Spotlight Team confronts one of Boston’s most vexing issues — racism — in a seven-part series that examines the city’s pervasive and persistent national image as a place unwelcoming to black people. Spotlight attempts to answer an important question: Is this reputation still deserved?

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Spotlight reporters analyzed data, launched surveys, and conducted hundreds of interviews. Reporters focused solely on the black community, the group that has the longest and most difficult history of racism in the city. That decision, by no means, is meant to minimize the discrimination faced by other minorities here.

The team examined the core of Boston’s identity: our renowned colleges and world-class medical institutions, the growth that keeps expanding our skyline, business and politics, and our championship sports teams. They even turned their gaze inward, and looked at how the Globe can do more to ensure more diversity in the news reporting process.

They also did something decidedly old-school: They visited a number of iconic Boston locations and simply counted the number of black people they saw.

In the end, what ​the Spotlight Team discovered wasn’t all pretty.


We invite you to be among the first to see this investigation by subscribing to a daily email newsletter that will deliver each report to your inbox. Sign up here to receive the first installment on Sunday, Dec. 10.

Series schedule

Sunday, Dec. 10: Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. The Spotlight Team takes on our hardest question: Does Boston deserve its racist reputation?
Monday, Dec. 11: A brand-new Boston, even whiter than the old
Tuesday, Dec. 12: Color line persists, in sickness as in health
Wednesday, Dec. 13: Lost on campus, in a sea of white
Thursday, Dec. 14: The bigot in the stands, and other stories
Friday, Dec. 15: For blacks in Boston, a power outage
Saturday, Dec. 16: A better Boston? The choice is ours