Massachusetts Historical Society


Preservation in Practice: A New History of the Washington Park Urban Renewal Program


Author: Madeline Webster, Boston University
Comment: Michael Glass, Boston College

This is a hybrid event. The in-person reception will begin at 4:30 pm.

This paper discusses how Black families converted upper Roxbury’s single-family housing stock into multi-family homes in the postwar era—a process of "filtering down" normally associated with deterioration—and argues that this additional income from rent allowed owner-occupants to build equity and maintain their houses despite exclusion from traditional funding sources. This adaptive reuse process introduces a complicating backstory to the Washington Park Urban Renewal Program of the early 1960s, which is usually framed around the condemnatory narrative of how the Black middle class worked with the BRA to oust lower income residents from their neighborhood.

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Hybrid Event

The in-person reception starts at 4:30 PM and the seminar will begin at 5:00 PM.

Masks are optional for this event.

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