With buildings dating to the early 1800s, the Fowler Clark Epstein Farm (FCE Farm) itself is testimony to the agrarian history of Mattapan. The more recent history of Mattapan as an urban neighborhood is no less intriguing. In the 1960s, the neighborhood surrounding the farm transformed dramatically, as Jewish residents moved out, and African-American families moved in to Mattapan. Such transitions happened in many US cities during this time; in fact, in the fall of 1971, when Michigan senator Philip Hart convened three days of subcommittee hearings in Boston to investigate the causes and consequences of neighborhood transition in Mattapan, a subcommittee staff member told the New York Times that “We believe that the set of events in Boston illustrates what is going on all over America” (in Gamm 1999:13). The specifics of neighborhood change in Mattapan have been the subject of remarkable legislative and scholarly attention (Levine and Harmon 1992; Gamm 1999). However, problematically, very little scholarly attention has been paid to Mattapan in the years since it became a center of the African-American, Haitian, and Caribbean immigrant communities of Boston. As one community partner commented, there is “almost nothing written” about the history of people of color in the neighborhood. Related, we have been told that more recent popular narratives about the neighborhood tend to focus much more on its challenges than its many strengths.
Dorchester Illustration 2235 Putnam Nail Cyanotype
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