The South Bronx has been the poorest congressional district in the U.S. for nearly forty years. While boroughs like Queens and Brooklyn have gentrified, the South Bronx is often still seen as a symbol of urban decay. But in fact, its residents—primarily people of color and including many immigrants—have made great progress in improving neighborhoods and creating a vibrant, diverse culture.
Community activist Carolyn McLaughlin takes us on a journey through the South Bronx, from its past to its present, through the eyes of its community members. Facing the burned-out neighborhoods of the 1970s and 1980s, the community fought to prevent firehouse and hospital closures and expose redlining. McLaughlin illustrates the spirit of the community and its decades-long commitment to develop nonprofit housing and social-service agencies, and to advocate for better education, health care, and a healthier environment. And for the South Bronx to remain a safe haven for poor families, McLaughlin asserts that maintaining affordable housing is the central—but most challenging—task.
South Bronx Battles is the comeback story of a community that was once in crisis but now serves as a beacon for other cities to forge ahead, rebuild, and keep their neighborhoods affordable.