chapter  3
32 Pages

Boston's Southwest Corridor: People Power Makes History

ByNeal R. Peirce, Robert Guskind

The precincts of the ordinary Bostonian spread north, south, and west. Any visitor to the Southwest Corridor in the early 1990s had to admire its vitality. Roxbury is one of Boston's oldest neighborhoods, settled in 1630 on solid land by the British. Today it is the heart of black and Hispanic Boston and also Boston's poorest neighborhood. Community groups such as the Southwest Corridor Community Farm and Boston Urban Gardeners (BUG), a nonprofit established to help poor Bostonians build community gardens, were instrumental in securing land for more than ninety garden plots in the park. The legislation that enabled Boston to make the switch could also be used by any other state or city that had a change of heart. Hilly and with a tangle of narrow, twisting streets, Jamaica Plain has long been an Irish stronghold in Boston, though its northern reaches experienced a large influx of blacks and Hispanics during the 1960s and 1970s.