Bloody Bean: Hoods of Boston, MA

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Boston Hoods

Map and Short Story of the Boston Ghetto

The days of being known as the Bloody Bean are of the past as the streets of the Boston ghetto are currently some of the most gentrified cities in the country as many of the Boston hoods are slowly changing.

Before many of the residents that once resided in the urban communities of the Boston ghetto were being relocated outside of Boston in the nearby towns of Taunton or Brockton most lived in the South End, Roxbury, parts of Dorchester, and Mattapan neighborhoods.

Communities filled with public housing complexes and apartment buildings along the numerous of blocks based in the Boston hoods helped the city to truly developed its own identity, an identity that represents “the Three”.

Streets of the Boston Hoods

Debatable about what “the Three” truly stands for, the city of Boston’s culture within its streets includes people referring themselves as Dogs or wearing Adidas on their feet, which can also symbolize “the Three”.

boston hoods boston ghetto boston gangs

As times have changed, the internet and the media has given the newer generations of the Boston ghetto a different view outside of Boston’s traditional culture as the old culture is not as prominent amongst today’s youth with them copying other cities.

The name of the Bloody Bean comes from numerous reasons, but before gentrification the streets of the Boston hoods did once have often confrontations between different neighborhoods that were , like Academy against Heath Street.

boston gangs

While gangs like the Bloods or the Gangster Disciples never had an impact on the city there have been times that conflicts between the neighborhoods can seem related to Boston gangs activity.  But to be clear the city does not have gangs and the days of the Bloody Bean are a generation or two in the past.

Brief Boston Black History

After World War II, during the late 1940s and 1950s, many white families left Boston’s inner city neighborhoods for communities that were mainly outside of the city limits or right on the border.

This allowed African Americans and Latinos, along with a few other ethnicities, to move into three of Boston’s main communities of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, as well specific areas within East Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Chelsea for the city’s Latino community or the South End district for the city’s African American population.

Mural in Roxbury, the once heart and center of Boston’s black population.

The South End was originally known as a low income and working-class area with a diverse population of Jewish, European, African American and West Indians, but starting in the late 1940s and 1950s the city built a number of housing projects in the South End, which would change the community’s racial makeup.

While the South End is one of the first locations that blacks lived at in Boston, home to Lenox, Castle Square, Cathedral and the old Tent City housing projects, the Roxbury community is more historically known for Boston’s black history.

When the new wave of southern African Americans moved into Boston during the mid-1900s the first place most arrived was Roxbury.  The community would later expand down Blue Hill Ave into Mattapan, but not before expanding east into certain sections of Dorchester.

Boston’s Process of Gentrification

Starting in the 1980s, the city began its new era of community rebuilding, known as gentrification, starting with the demolishing of the old Columbia Point housing projects, near Harbor Point.

Currently, the main areas of the Boston ghetto that are experiencing gentrification are in the communities that are in the vicinity of the colleges, tourist attractions, and business districts, like Mission Hill, the South End, and parts of Roxbury.

boston hoods boston ghetto

As these once prominent African-American areas are changing, many are being forced to live in cities and small towns miles away from the actual city of Boston, like Brockton, Taunton, or even as far as Fall River.

The end seems near for the days of Boston’s culture of “the Three” or when African-Americans and Latino’s could call places within the Boston ghetto, like the South End, Roxbury or sections of Dorchester, home.

Boston Hoods Map Key: Blue = South End | Red = Roxbury | Green = Dorchester | Gold = Mattapan | Black = Various Communities

Boston Hoods Related Topics:

1 Hood Story of Rhode Island

2 Harlem, and the Streets That Once Were

3 The Old Atlanta: How the City Changed…

*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.

Boston History Source’s:

Bluestone, Barry, and Mary Huff Stevenson. The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2000. Print.

Sammarco, Anthony Mitchell. Boston’s South End. Dover, NH: Arcadia, 1998. Print.

Sarna, Jonathan D., and Ellen Smith. The Jews of Boston: Essays on the Occasion of the Centenary (1895-1995) of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston. Boston: Philanthropies, 1995. Print.