Boston’s Nubian Square

Nubian Square (formerly Dudley Square) is the commercial center of the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston and is located at the intersection of Dudley Street and Washington Street. The heart of this newly renamed neighborhood is less than 1.5 miles from the center of the South End (Tremont and Clarendon).

The neighborhood is still very much in transition, and I like the urban vibe.  While new residences continue to be built, there is a community that calls this home that I hope will always be welcome there and not be pushed out as investment continues to bring more housing and commercial space.

Photo credit: Black Market Nubian Square

Nubian Square has been the center of African American culture in Boston since the end of WWII. Previously, it was better known as a Jewish neighborhood but it would become home to some of the 20th century’s most influential African Americans. In the early 1940s Malcolm Little (better known as Malcolm X) moved into his family home at 72 Dale Street as a teenager and lived there for 12 years. Martin Luther King Jr. met and fell in love with Coretta Scott King when they were both students in Boston in the early 1950s and lived a short walk from Dudley Square (the former name of Nubian Square).

In the decades that followed many more influential African Americans would call this neighborhood home, or when visiting Boston this is where they would go out. In the early part of the 21st Century as Boston’s wealth grew, greater investment in surrouding neighborhoods helped breathe new life into this culturally and racially diverse neighborhood. It is now a vibrant neighborhood that reminds me of the South End 20+ years ago. A wide variety of small businesses dominate the streetscape with very few exceptions.

As the photos above show, the area has beautiful architecture and public art like the Crisscross Signal Spire shown just above. This is an interactive work of light art designed by Höweler + Yoon Architecture. The spire visualizes social media content with its integrated LED lighting system in real-time, more information about the sculpture here.

As you might expect, the neighborhood is also home to some great (and affordable) restaurants. EaterBoston shared a list of some of their reader’s favorite destinations last August which I encourage you to read here. Dining options range from West African flavors of Bintimani Restaurant and Suya Joint to East African cuisine of Fasika (a favorite of BosGuy reader, Giuseppe Di Capiro) to soul food of Maxine’s.

The neighborhood also has several interesting cafes like Dudley Cafe and Haley House Bakery and Cafe which relocated from the South End as well as grocery shops like Tropical Foods, but my favorite is the nonprofit community grocer, the Daily Table.

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Is there a neighborhood you think I should visit? I love exploring neighborhoods, villages and towns and would like to hear what you love about where you live.

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