The Short Hartford Ghetto Story
The third largest city in the state of Connecticut, and one of the more recognized New England cities, Hartford is a city with an urban community divided between blacks, African Americans and West Indians, of the North End and Latinos of the South End.
With a name like Homicide Hartford, the streets of the city has had its moments from the days of the Magnificent 20s gang of the North End during the 1960s to the days of the rise of the Los Solidos gang in the South End during the 1980s and 1990s.
One of the more respected cities in the New England area has overcome much within the urban neighborhoods of the Hartford ghetto. Whether driving down Albany Avenue of the North End or Franklin Avenue of South End, a true example will be given on the atmosphere of growing up in the streets of a city known as Homicide Hartford.
Originally most of the city was farmland, but following the WWI or the early 1900s the city slowly began to developed. To help with the tobacco fields, African Americans originally came during the early 1900s, followed by Puerto Ricans around the 1960s, for the same reason of working in the tobacco fields.
In the city’s beginning, the North End was primarily Jewish and the South End was mainly Italian and Irish. The black population of Harford truly began in the area officially known as Clay Arsenal, an area around Main Street, despite, allegedly, having a small community in the city’s South End.
By the 1950s and 1960s, the black population boomed as the North End became predominantly African American by the 1970s as the city’s racial makeup changed with white into surrounding cities like West Hartford.
What also led to the change was the arrival of people from the Caribbeans. West Indians, preferably Jamaicans would help grow one of the United States’ largest Jamaican community in Hartford’s North End, while Puerto Ricans would eventually expand their community into becoming the largest of the city’s South End, starting during the 1960s.
Before minorities became the majority of Hartford’s population, by the 1990s, many faced segregation with their arrival. All were forced into certain areas that were designated for a specific race, usually rundown and impoverished communities. An example is the former housing projects that were built solely for white families and originally discriminated against other races.
Constructed in the 1940s, housing complexes like Nelton Court, Charter Oak Terrace, Bellevue Square were very discriminative towards minorities until the 1960s as the arrival of Puerto Ricans led to housing projects to open their doors black and Latino families.
What’s remaining of the city’s public housing authority is Chappelle Gardens and Westbrook Village, which is slated to be demolished, and Bellevue Square as all of the remaining complexes have been demolished and replaced single family homes and less units, like Rice Heights and Dutch Point of the South End or the soon to be Bowles Park of the North End.
A city that was booming until the decline of the factories and local industries and the exit of many of the wealthy and middle class into the suburbs, which were constructed between the 1920s and 1950s, is trying to make a comeback.
With gentrification slowly creeping into the urban communities of Hartford, which can be seen with the newly built Dunkin’ Donuts Baseball Stadium in the North End, the black population is slowly growing out of the North End into places like Blue Hills or East Hartford.
In one of the wealthiest states and regions of the country, the urban neighborhoods of the North End and South End still lack certain needs for a community to probably thrive. As stated, driving down Albany Avenue or Franklin Avenue one can see the comparison between the ‘hood of the Hartford ghetto and the affluent and successful neighborhoods of West Hartford.
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*Note: All information is provided either through people of the community, outside sources, and/or research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.