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ROXBURY


PRISON RELEASE PROGRAM

by Ruth Miriam Sullivan

 

- Breaking the cycle: Roxbury initiates program for former inmates

- A history of change

 

A history of change

During the post-World War II period, blacks migrated to Roxbury from the south seeking to fulfill their hopes of a suburban lifestyle. This increase in black residents led to a phenomenon wryly referred to as "white flight" - the movement of white residents out of an area in which minority population increases.

According to the 1950 and 1960 U.S. censuses, the white population in Roxbury dropped during that decade by just shy of 30 percent.

As urbanization set in during the 1960s and 1970s, Roxbury experienced the turmoil that beset cities across the nation. Tension grew among residents over social issues including civil rights and desegregation. Rioting occurred throughout the city when school busing was federally mandated in 1975.

Then-Mayor Kevin White noted, "The federal court will order busing into...heavily Irish and Italian communities, with powerful neighborhood identities and deep-seated xenophobia."

"The federal court will order busing into...heavily Irish and Italian communities, with powerful neighborhood identities and deep-seated xenophobia"
Kevin White, former Mayor of Boston

In the 1980s, against the backdrop of buildings left in disrepair by absentee landlords, unrest, violence and crime became associated with Roxbury. Burning buildings became a frequent sight. The fires were frequently set by owners willing to trade an insurance settlement for a loss in property value.

At this time a grass roots coalition began to form.

In 1988 the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative sued the city and achieved a landmark by gaining eminent domain over undeveloped vacant land in the Roxbury area.

Soon thereafter, the Boston Redevelopment Authority began a concentrated effort to address issues that had plagued Roxbury: economic development, transportation, housing, and community cultural awareness.

Today, Roxbury residents remain focused on their dynamic community.

RUTH MIRIAM SULLIVAN

GO...

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-Whittier Street HealthCenter

- Dudley Square Main Streets

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Neighborhoods covered: Back Bay - Beacon Hill - Brookline - Chinatown - Dorchester - East Boston - Jamaica Plain -Mission Hill -
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