Mattapan

Mattapan

With a population of over 36,000 residents, the neighborhood of Mattapan was once a section of Dorchester. When Dorchester was annexed in 1870, Mattapan became its own neighborhood and developed thanks to railroads and streetcars. Modern day Mattapan is primarily residential, with a mixture of single-, two- and three-family houses, apartment buildings and public housing. Mattapan is Native American for "a good place to be" and the today's residents obviously agree.

What was once a primarily Jewish area, Mattapan underwent a transformation in the late 1960s. White flight drove out the Jewish community thanks, in part, to Boston Banks Urban Renewal Group who may have frightened the community into selling their homes for lower than market value prices. The homes were then bought by the bank and sold to African American families at higher than market value prices. The banking consortium denies these claims, blaming the shift on differences among the Catholic and Jewish residents.

Today, the area is seeing an influx of Haitian immigrants as well as those from other Caribbean countries. This influx has made Mattapan the largest community of Haitians in the state of Massachusetts with over 77% of the residents being African-American or Caribbean. Once considered a less prosperous neighborhood, Mattapan is sure to see improving economic times with the Mattapan Economic Development Initiative, established by Mayor Menino.