Neighborhood Voices: Stories of the Families of the Dudley Street Neighborhood of Boston

Logo for Dudley Street Neighborhood InitiativeNeighborhood Voices is an oral history project of Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) that engages young and middle-aged adults in capturing their African-American, Latino, Cape Verdean and White elder’s multi-lingual stories of the Dudley Street neighborhood of Roxbury and North Dorchester in the decades following World War II.

All of the interviewers and interviewees have deep roots in the Dudley Street neighborhood, strong hopes and concerns for the future and deeply value family and community.

Graphic shows the interviewees from the first round of 16 interviews in the Neighborhood Voices Project.

Graphic showing interviewees from the first round of 16 interviews in the Neighborhood Voices Project.

The project is sponsored by the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, and supported by a Mass Humanities project grant.

First Round of Neighborhood Voices interviews

The stories in the first round of 16 interviews cover multiple themes including the journey to the neighborhood, immigration, migration, discrimination in housing and education, holding on to culture and traditions, pride, hope, neighborhood conditions and change over time, school desegregation, race relations, importance of family, sense of community and addressing social justice.

Browse the first round of 16 interviews, conducted between 2016 and 2018.

DNI Community Land Trust Oral History Project

Part of the larger Neighborhood Voices oral history project, the DNI Community Land Trust oral history project focused on capturing the stories and experiences of first-time homeowners in the Dudley Neighbors, Inc. (DNI) in Boston. DNI is a 30-acre area in Roxbury and North Dorchester established as a community land trust in 1988. Neighborhood residents, organized as Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in the mid-80s, fought for the community land trust and permanent affordable housing as one of the neighborhood revitalization strategies to address the impact of hundreds of vacant abandoned lots, disinvestment, redlining, arson for profit and illegal dumping. Today, DNI is home to 98 homes, 41 cooperatives, 50 rental housing, open spaces, a farm, parks, playground, and commercial spaces.

Photograph of large letters outside that reads "our tierra livri"

Sign and art installation along Dudley Street in Boston that reads “OUR TIERRA LIVRI” which translates to “Our Free Land” using three languages: English, Portuguese, and Spanish.

The nine homeowners interviewed are African American, Latino, Cape Verdean and Asian and moved into their homes between 1994 and 2010. Five are born in USA and the other four are born in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Cape Verde, and China. Most are women, most of their families have grown up in the house, some are housing multiple generations, and they have 11 – 26 years of experience on the community land trust. The oral histories illuminate the impact of affordable homeownership in homeowner’s stories of stability, security, comfort, community, sense of belonging, putting down roots, investing in self and family, equity, legacy and creating wealth.

Browse the 9 interviews from the DNI Community Land Trust oral history project, conducted in 2020 and 2021.

Click here to browse the all of the interviews in the Neighborhood Voices collection.

Return to the Oral History Collections overview page.

Logo for Mass Humanities

The Neighborhood Voices project is funded in part by Mass Humanities.