African American Studies
Dorothy moved to the Patterson Houses in 1950 from Brooklyn. At the time, she was married with two children. They saw moving to Patterson as a stepping-stone to greater things. Rose also moved there in 1950 from Queens with one child. Both of these families were part of the first group to live in the new projects. People were very friendly. The husbands would go to work and the mothers would go to a play yard and socialize. The building was also very safe.
Dorothy and Rose’s children went to Catholic school. Dorothy’s at St. Rita’s and Rose’s at St. Jerome’s. Both families saw Catholic school as an option that would give their children more opportunities.
The building started to change when many of the white families were forced to leave because their income was getting too high to qualify for public housing. This is when the Spanish and more African-American families began moving in. With this, the two families claim more negative influences moved into the projects. As parents, they had to work their children harder to assure that they would keep with education instead of giving in to temptations. They felt that the new families did not have control over their children. In the fifties, parents and other adults felt it was their responsibility to control children, even if the children weren’t theirs. This ideology began to wear away in the 60’s. Rose moved out of Patterson houses in the late 60’s to housing projects for higher income people, Mott Haven Houses. Dorothy moved to the Mott Haven Houses as well. Both women would occasionally go back and visit some of their friends in the Patterson houses.
Dorothy’s daughter went to Jane Adams for nursing, her eldest son attended All Hallows, and her other son went to Cardinal Hayes. Rose’s children went to St. Helena’s. Malik, one of Rose’s grandchildren, was involved with track when he was in high school. Dorothy’s children were also involved with Track.
Dorothy would go to Club 845 for music and dancing. Most of the music she was listening to was jazz. Also for entertainment, both Rose and Dorothy would go to the movies.
Their descriptions of the South Bronx in the 60’s appears to be contradictory to many other stories of that area during that time. Malik believes that people are thinking of the South Bronx in the 70’s with the fires. Also, television was a treat, not a babysitter. Malik believes that the disintegration of family values is what caused the dramatic changes in the Bronx in the late 60’s and 70’s.
Malik talks about the beginnings of hip-hop. He remembers artists, no one specifically, setting up their speakers in parks and jamming there.
Ketcham, Malik and Rose. April 15, 2005. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. BAAHP Digital Archive at Fordham.
Click below to download supplemental content.Ketcham, Rose--Malik and Dorothy Peco.mp3 (80582 kB)