Founded in 1630 as one of the first six towns of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, early Roxbury was home to small farming settlements and encompassed Jamaica Plain, Mission Hill, Roslindale and West Roxbury.

As farmland gave way to spreading streetcar suburbs in the late 1800s, Roxbury annexed itself to Boston. Housing, commercial corridors, and an elevated rail terminal followed, with a neighborhood called Dudley Square at the heart of it all. This development helped attract the long-established black community away from Beacon Hill and other parts of Boston that had become overcrowded. In the early twentieth century, waves of European immigrants came to Roxbury, and in the 1940s and 1950s African-Americans began to migrate from the American south, securing Roxbury’s place as a center of Black culture.

Following a challenging period of disinvestment and urban renewal in the 1960s and 1970s, Boston’s “other downtown,” is today enjoying a cultural renaissance, tied in part to unique public projects and private redevelopment that are redefining the neighborhood.

To learn more, see the Roxbury Historical Society: