Jim Raynor, whose family has been here for 45 years, sent me this wonderful 1977 pamphlet from the Roxbury Action Program. Jim’s mother Patricia was one of the founders of the RAP. It’s a great glimpse into our more recent history and also contains some of the more familiar stories written from a different perspective from most of the other pieces I’ve linked to so far. It’s also good to get more info about the RAP itself. The organization is well-known from its former headquarters in the Kittredge House but I didn’t know anything about the specifics of the work the program did.
Download the 5.4 MB PDF scan of the pamphlet from this link.
Among the new info I picked up here was the fact that so many of the early residents of our neighborhood, with names like Ruggles, Weld, Gore, and Seaver that live on in our streets, were slave owners. Our neighborhood’s relationship with slavery is more well-known through the later work of William Lloyd Garrison than through slave-owners, but I suppose in the 1740s there was nowhere in the colonies where slavery was not felt in some form.
It was also good to see pictures of the old housing stock and the activists who started its resurgence. I know our neighborhood - like so many other urban areas across the country - had fallen on hard times by the late 1960s, but this is one of the first specific descriptions of what the neighborhood looked like in those days.
Perhaps my favorite part of this document as an armchair historian is the proposed Highland Park Historical Pathway from Eliot Square to the High Fort, discussed briefly on page 23 of the pamphlet. Although there aren’t many details, the concept of a series of self-guided walking tours explaining the history of our neighborhood sells itself. I’d love to see this idea picked up and brought to fruition.
As an aside, copyright regulations prevent much material from this vintage from making it onto the internet. Anything after 1923 is pretty much off-limits thanks to the continual lobbying efforts of our corporate overlords at Disney and in other big media industries. So it’s very hard for me to find this kind of material online. If you have something you are willing to share and, like this, I can be reasonably assured that I won’t get sued for posting the copyrighted material, please send it along. I’d love to have more info on this site about the more recent history of our neighborhood.