"My Beloved Bronx" by Abigail Montes
Between 1970 and 1980, predominantly black and Puerto Rican neighborhoods in the South Bronx experienced a deliberate withdrawal of city services with the goal, “to make them unlivable and thus drive the poor out of the city," according to Bronx photographer Mel Rosenthal. Fifty firehouses closed between 1972 and 1976, and an estimated 30,000 buildings were abandoned or burned by landlords for their insurance value. The South Bronx became recognized around the world as a symbol of communities in steep decline. The introduction of Mel Rosenthal’s “In the South Bronx of America”, was an emotionally charged catalyst to my understanding why so many of the streets I walked as a child, were empty lots of glass and rubble. I was twenty years old and until then, did not know how against all odds, the activism of others created a better quality of life for my family. I sought to learn more about what happened to the Bronx by photographing the once burnt-out but now thriving community on Simpson Street, where I grew up. By creating these images, I hope to preserve what remains of these accomplishments, the beauty of my people and open a dialogue across generations to share what I have learned. Today, gentrification threatens to displace whole communities of color in the South Bronx once again. The "My Beloved Bronx Project" is a black and white photographic labor of love, dedicated to the grit and courage of those who turned fields of rubble and broken glass, into a refuge for future generations of marginalized people. It is a statement that we are here and we will continue fighting to preserve what we have.
I grew up in the Bronx an I agree about the deliberate dismantling of diifetent areas including thevSouth Bronx for financial gain
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