Stories of my Grandfather

In between completing campaigning on Obama For American’s campaign and beginning campaigning on Linda Dorcena Forry’s campaign, I had decided to do research on my family history. I had known several members of my family to be conservative and unsupportive of my homosexual ‘lifestyle,’ but I still wanted to know what lay deep in my family roots. I’m sure I knew some of the story, but I wanted to know all of the story.

My findings regarding my grandfather, Albert Bates, were some of the hardest things I have had to learn to accept. He believed in the exact opposite as I did on several issues.


Reverend Albert Bates counter picketing an event hosted by Richard Chavez, brother of United Farm leader Cesar Chavez with a sign reading “Be American, Buy Grapes! Read Your Bible More in 1974” at Government Center (Boston Globe, March 24th 1974; “2000 join grape boycott rally”)

Was he involved with this from February 1965?


Apparently, he loved to counter picket worker’s rights rallies as shown here in 1974.


In 1970, he ran for Lieutenant Governor with the Massachusetts Prohibitionist Party. Historically, he was the last person to do so for the Party. He ran for this position from the very house I grew up at in Cambridge: 401 Putnam Avenue. (Boston Globe, Oct 20th 1970; “Other candidates for Governor, Lt. Governor”)

This is a clipping from the Boston Globe showing where he stands on the issues during his run for Lieutenant Governor in 1970. The “present office holder and his staff” is referring to then-Governor, Francis Sargent, who was running for re-election at the time. His democratic challengers were Boston Mayor Kevin White and State Representative of 8 years, Michael Dukakis.


He was described as a “fundamentalist minister” from Cambridge, and believed that “the Democrats and Republicans are just doing the same song and dance.” (Boston Globe, August 23rd 1970; “Mass. Prohibition Party still alive”)

The word “progressive” was also being thrown around quite liberally in 1970 as well. Even my grandfather used the term to describe the Massachusetts Prohibitionist Party “program.”


When campaigning, said that he “don’t know what the other people in the party are doing,” but that he was “meeting the people.” He was also not campaigning against liquor. (Boston Globe, August 23rd 1970; “State Prohibition Party still fielding candidates for office”)

According to this, that Democrat and Republican appeared on the ballot as teams, while the minor parties (Prohibitionist and Socialist Labor), appeared separate:

503680007_11As an ordained Reverend, he believed that “with God and my Bible at my side, nothing is impossible.”


Election statistics, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1969-1970)

This is all in the history books. It’s already established that Governor Sargent won re-election in 1970, and wouldn’t be defeated by Michael Dukakis until 1974, who would serve as the state’s longest serving governor for three terms.


My grandfather’s first documented testimony at the Massachusetts State House, against the 1967 ‘Beano Bill’ (Boston Globe, March 14th 1967; “Perennial Beano Fight Goes Another Round at Hearing”)

This is the first documentation I have of him testifying on legislation, and for this session, it was a success for my grandfather. During 1944, after a licensing scandal, Beano (or known as Bingo today) was banned in Massachusetts.  By 1969, the Massachusetts House would vote to pass Beano, but the Senate would kill the bill before it was vetoed by Governor John A. Volpe. By 1971, after my grandfather had lost to Sargent-Dwight, Governor Sargent would sign a “Beano Bill” into law on July 1st, 1971.

The state had legalized raffles in 1969, but Gov. Francis Sargent kept pushing back against the Legislature’s plans to legalize bingo, then referred to by the older name of beano. Sargent vetoed an earlier version before finally signing the “Beano Bill” on July 1, 1971.

“I believe this year’s bill, in its present form, provides at least the minimum safeguards necessary to have a proper operation of beano games,” Sargent said in a press release.

He would testify again against teaching evolution in the schools.

Beano Bill Filed By Rep_ Brett2

(Boston Globe, November 17, 1965)

Bill to Legalize Beano Back Again2

Boston Globe, November 14, 1967

He was also present at a hearing at the Massachusetts State House to challenge President Richard Nixon on his undeclared war on Vietnam at the Gardner Auditorium. This was bill was filed by Representative H. James Shea Jr. (D-Newton) who described this issue as “transcends the peace movement.”


Boston Globe, February 12, 1970


My grandfather describing that the Army has “been denied victory in Vietnam because of a lack of adequate arms and leaders.” (Boston Globe, February 12, 1970)

It’s important to note that Lawrence Velvel is quoted as being at this hearing.

Lawrence Velvel, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Kansas, told the committee members that they have a chance to help settle “the most profound, the most far reaching constitutional issues of our time.”

Although I don’t approve of my grandfather’s politics, it is nice to know that I am not the only member of my family to get heavily involved with such an important topic.


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