Need a perfect paper? Place your first order and save 5% with this code:   SAVE5NOW

History of the Bronx and How It Has Changed

The Bronx is a New York city administrative town that shares its borders with Bronx county, which is in the U.S and New York State. Colonization of the Bronx began in 1639 and was done by the Europeans. Originally the Bronx was a part of Westchester County, but they surrendered it to Newyork County as the west Bronx in the year 1874 and the East Bronx in the year 1895 before becoming Bronx county. The Bronx County was originally part of a territory by Lenape Lenapehoking inhabited by Siwangof Wappinger confederate. However, with time the European colonists converted the administrative towns into farmlands. The total area of the Bronx is around 43 miles which are estimated to be 111km squared.

According to Gonzalez, East Bronx is located east of the Bronx River. It is pretty flat and has four larger and not high peninsulas that stick out and into the East River waters once a salt marsh. East Bronx consists mainly of older tenement buildings, a public housing complex for low incomes, single-family homes, and multiple-family homes. East Bronx has the largest park in New York, the Pelham Bay Park on the Westchester-Bronx border. On the other hand, West Bronx consists of hills and is dominated by parallel ridges that run north from south. Its apartments are older, with public housing complex for low-income, single-family homes, and multifamily homes. They were located in more wealthy areas such as Fieldston and Riverdale. West Bronx has the third largest park in New York, known as Van Cortlandt Park, along Westchester- Bronx border. The Grand Concourse runs from north to south or west of Bronx.

The Bronx is a New York’s city borough located in the north, with the Harlem river separating it from Manhattan in the east. During the 20th century, the history of the Bronx was divided into four periods. The first was a boom period that occurred from the year 1900 to the year 1929, which led to a population growth factor of six, from 200000 in the year 1900 to 1.3 million in the year 1936, with most of them being black/ African Americans. Over the years, the white race population has reduced while the Black or African American race population has increased. The Hispanic or Latino race is currently the race with the highest population occupancy in the Bronx compared to the other races. Native Hawaiian and other pacific islander races have the lowest population. These statistics are according to Bronx county’s recent 2020 census report (“U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: Bronx County, New York”). This was followed by the great depression and post-World War II years, which had a slow growth that led to a decline. Finally, the mid to late century became hard times as the Bronx changed from 1950 to 1985 from mainly moderate-income to mainly lower-income areas with an increased rate of violent crime and poverty in some areas. However, the Bronx has had a development and economic rise starting late 1980 to date.

The Bronx was defined by two significant factors: gang violence and the cross Bronx expressway. The Cross Bronx expressway was constructed through underground communities in 1959. This construction knocked down houses and businesses. According to Gonzalez, this Expressway helped some people in that it created job opportunities for the residents. However, the Expressway was not helpful to some people because their property was destroyed, which caused poverty after the construction was completed. Due to the approaching poverty, some landowners would burn their houses so that insurance would compensate them. Gang violence started after groups of people united during hard times and started fighting for their own space.

One of the gang groups called black spade had Afrika Bambaataa, one of the most influential people in hip hop who later left the gang because it did not suit him. He later made his name as a D.J. He was the first to use repetition of breakbeats combined to form a tune; therefore, he is known as the grandfather of hip hop. Bambaataa helped stop street gang violence by using his motivation to pick up a new song and find people who would positively influence and advertise the music about the evolution of the Zulu nation so the audiences would receive the message well. They would be required to breakdance and entertain the clients for a specific time.

Bambaata followed the steps of Martin Luther King and was much like him, especially in his beliefs. Apart from Bambaata, there were other musicians and active contributors to the civil rights movements like Malcolm X. He was more aggressive and always wanted and was ready to make changes in the present. He highly contributed to the hip-hop movement. Hip hop was not ethnically exclusive, and its participants were composed of all races. The gang violence group fought the Dj in the clubs, making them get chased out. D.J.s started a new way where they began playing in the parks outside, and this led to the creation of the first dancehalls and sound systems. Swing rhythms were added to the dance halls, which brought up some Jamaican styles in the hip-hop evolution.

The sound of music and the accompanied singing also changed. U-Roy improved and advanced toasting whereby the D.J. beats sound less like talking, but the rhythm is more wording. Mishap by the two truck recording machine of king Tubby brought up dub music that was followed mainly by a rude boy. Grandmaster Flash used his double throw switch and the single pole of his mixing board to create new techniques, including phases with the music and back spring. Rhyming turned to rap in the 1970s, as displayed by Mr. Biggs. The many events and developments happening in the Bronx influenced hip-hop demand, but they were pushed away by the presence of gangs. The gangs restricted areas where music could be played, which enabled the music to take more than one direction.

We can compare racial differences in the movie to the gang resistance in the Bronx. The gangs are against the D.J.s in the Bronx and even beat and chase them out of the clubs. In the movie, the neighborhood consists of mainly black people and black-owned shops except for the Italian-owned pizzeria and a grocery store owned by Koreans. A fight starts when Sal, the Italian pizzeria owner, destroys Raheem’s boombox, and Raheem starts fighting Sal. Their fighting draws everyone’s attention and those at the pizzeria. Finally, one of Sal’s sons calls the cops, who later arrive and, together with Sal, choke Raheem to death with a baton. When one of their black neighbors gets killed by the police and the pizzeria owner, the neighborhood immediately responds by searching for revenge.

Led by Mookie (1:38:30), they break into the pizzeria and destroy all the furniture and everything else therein. They then burn it down and proceed to the Korean grocery store in an urge to do the same. However, the Korean man Sonny acts with resilience and tries to convince the angry crowd by telling them he is just like them. Sonny does this to prevent them from burning his grocery store down as they did with the pizzeria across the street. While they are still talking, the firefighters and the police arrive to put down the fire in the pizzeria. The whole neighborhood is filled with rage, and they try to stop them by demonstrating and standing in front of the pizzeria but only end up getting beat up by the cops.

The Bronx was predominantly black people’s residence, just like in the movie “Do the right thing.” Black people tend to have a sense of unity when one of them is hurt or killed while innocent. When a problem arises to one of them or a group, they unite to ensure that the issue is done away with altogether. In the Bronx, when construction of the underground Expressway destroyed their neighbors’ houses, they formed violent gangs to fight for the only space they had called home. Likewise, the whole neighborhood in the movie protests and burn down Sal’s pizzeria because he did kill Raheem, a black man, because of a boombox. They even proceeded to try and do the same to Sonny’s grocery store but did not manage to.

Among the major challenges facing the Bronx during its development is racial discrimination. The movie still experiences the same issue as displayed by Pino, one of Sal’s sons, Smiley, and most of the residents in the neighborhood. Pino complains about the interracial friendship between his brother Vito and Mookie, a black young man that works in the pizzeria. Smiley calls Mookie a black man after he pays for a picture that he gave. The residents in the neighborhood wanted to burn down Sonny and Kim’s grocery store because they are Asians and not black or African Americans like them. The radio host starts his show in the morning by saying that the color of that day was black (Spike Lee(5:25 to 5: 35) and that they were supposed to be black to absorb the rays. Mother sister tells Mookie the same on his way to the pizzeria for work Spike Lee(11:05).

According to the movie, every person has their own view and differences in opinions concerning ethnicity, interests, and gender. These differences don’t matter in the end because we are all human. Just like the Bronx history, where they hated D.J.s, their hate prevented the diversification and development of music for years. Hatred in the film led to the destruction of the pizaree. There is always a way of amending and solving differences in the community other than violence. Violence never brings a solution but leads to destruction and war. Peace always brings long-lasting solutions. The movie displays how racism can even contribute to police brutality toward the black community, like when the police killed Raheem.

In the end, Sal forgives Mookie, his employee who started the destruction of the pizzaree. Sal explains to Mookie how he built and installed everything in the now burnt-down pizzaree himself. Sal was neither racist nor materialistic. He did not choose violence but chose peace and forgiveness. Despite the fact Mookie led the black community to destroy the pizzaree, Sal forgave him. This is also portrayed in the Bronx, where Afrika Bambaataa, despite leaving the gang “black spade,” later on goes back to helping them and motivating them to change and showing them how music is important by even bringing breakdancers. When we choose to solve our issues peacefully, we get a long-lasting solution. Violence is never an option, but love and peace are. We can always lead by example to our fellow community members, as Afrika Bambaataa did by rejecting gang membership and Sal, who forgave Mookie.

They had a higher amount of black people in the movie, which brought about a predominantly black neighborhood in Bed-Stuy. The black community represented here is not the usual violent and dangerous as it may be famously known. It brings an ordinary black-dominated neighborhood with black people that love each other. Having higher black people brought racial tension when the Italian pizzaree owner and the white cops killed a black man. They knew that this brutal incident was done because Raheem was black. They came together to fight against this and ended up burning Sal’s Pizzaree. If the black people were in a lower amount in the neighborhood, they would not have vandalized and burned down the Pizzaree. Being in higher amounts gave black people a sense of black people power over the Italians and Koreans in the movie.

Police brutality towards black people, as seen in the movie, also happens in the present-day Bronx. The police in the film came in to support Sal win the fight but not to help serve justice to Raheem or Sal and find out who was guilty so that they could solve the matter fairly. The same scenarios happen to people of color but predominantly African Americans. We are all entitled to find a solution to police brutality and injustice despite our race. What the black community did was not right, the same as what the Bronx did by forming violent gangs. Getting what they wanted was supposed to be given peacefully but not by hurting others.

According to recent statistics of the census conducted in 2020, black people’s population has been growing while whites dropped. Hispanic or Latin race has increased even more. Comparing the statistics from the 1950s when the development of Bronx took place, and currently, with the recent 2020 census, black and African American races have increased in numbers. The increase in the black/African American race might threaten other races if their population grows at a percentage higher than the other races in Bronx County. A higher population increase will mean more predominancy of the increasing population. There will be areas where the higher population will entirely settle. If there is racial tension between the black race and a lower race, there may be violence between the races. A majorly one-race residential area may result in racial tensions and maybe violent activities.

We cannot deny that racial tension is not present in America. Even though all races can live and interact together in many social aspects such as school, religious activities, and sports, we ought not to say that there is no racism amongst us. We can never be equal in terms of color, which is something that every race should agree with accordingly. Therefore, we can be equal in how we treat others and how we receive social services, among many day-to-day activities. Racial tension brings nothing but the destruction of what we have worked so hard to create and brings unending poverty. This is because we will reciprocate our hate with violence, destroy the only resources we have at our disposal and be left with nothing. An example is the case of Sal’s Pizzaree, which was destroyed and burned down (“Critical Viewing: Do The Right Thing | State College Chronicle”).

Mookie would lack a job in the next couple of weeks or months, maybe which means that he could not get paid. With the responsibilities that awaited him, Mookie would have to pay for bills with no job. This means that he would have to live a cheaper life to maintain his lifestyle. With the savings, he would now have to scrape off his account. The same scenario happens with his employer Sal. Anyone who was depending on them or the business to get money would now have to starve. With more than one of these occurrences in a week, the entire neighborhood would be poor. Racial tension and violence is our enemy. We should not be enemies to our fellow human beings because they are of a different race.

If we all lived as one without minding the skin color of those around us, we would develop our cities and towns to form better places now and even in the future. How a race was or is depicted should never be our worry. According to (“Critical Viewing: Do The Right Thing | State College Chronicle”), if Sal had thought about what Mookie’s race had done to him the previous night, he would have fired Mookie. On the other hand, Mookie would not have gone anywhere near Sal, who killed his friend Raheem. Forgiveness was key despite the higher amount of black people in the neighborhood. The Bronx has developed from having a low population to a high population with many black people.

The Bronx has changed since the time it was established/ founded. Its diverse race population brought social tension, bringing enmity to a rapidly growing town in the 1970s and 1980s. All the development was wiped away by hatred, and a borough with high-income dwellers was now filled with low-income dwellers. World war II also contributed a lot to making the Bronx a poor neighborhood. After world war II, the Bronx dwellers responded with violent crimes that led to a decrease in individual incomes.

Several reasons are attributed to poverty in the Bronx. One was that immigrants who came into the country and were low-income earners opted to settle in the Brons because it was the cheapest of all the other states. Another reason is that dwellers of other states that could not afford housing because of the high housing costs would move to the Bronx because it had cheap accommodation. According to their finances, people who resided in the Bronx and had higher incomes moved out of the Bronx to look for better housing. Because of this, all the more affluent residents of the Bronx moved out to other states leaving the state to the poorer population. Another reason is that during the construction of the Expressway in the Bronx, some houses were demolished, which left homeowners homeless and landlords with no source of income. After the Expressway was built, violent crimes and gangs were another major cause of poverty in the Bronx.

The Bronx is used to discuss and show the history of black and African American people because they were the majority when the Bronx was developing. As depicted in the movie “Do the right thing,” African Americans were often oppressed by the police and mostly young males. The movie reprensents not only America but also other countries where young men experience police brutality, and some even die at the hands of the police. Although the film was thought to bring race riots and hate, it showed the experience of black people and what they all go through in the whole world. The film makes us more aware of what happens in the real world and mainly in the Bronx, which is the city in question. Although old, the film is still fresh because the actions in the movie are still happening to black people, and nothing has changed so far. The film brings awareness to how we should not discriminate against people because they are not from our race.

Race tension is still present in our society and among community members. Each race is against another, just as it happened in the Bronx and in the film. Seeing the film makes one see racial tension from a different viewpoint and also get to learn how people lived and how avoidable issues such as racial tension affected their daily lives that were supposed to be happy. The movie is in a different form than most of the others, which gives it a distinct feature that enables us to learn an important character who will help us in our day-to-day lives. The movie had a message, which is similar to the situation of the history of the Bronx and also today’s lives.

According to the review above, the movie “Do the right thing” depicts the picture of how racism affected the administrative town of Bronx and how violence and no agreement made it hard for the Bronx to develop into a wealthy county. The review compares actions in the film and real-life activities and events in the Bronx. The film is like a more realistic copy-paste of the history of the Bronx and events that took place during that time. The movie is important because it can help prevent antiracism in the future generation by teaching them the effects of racial tension when they are still young. This can therefore contribute to an open-minded and anti-racist generation. It is important to learn that violence is never a solution when solving problems related to races. We all should forgive and handle conflicts with peace. Solving problems with peace avoids crimes associated with violence that can contribute to the poverty of a town.

Works Cited

“Critical Viewing: Do The Right Thing | State College Chronicle.” Sites.Psu.Edu, 2022,

Gonzalez, Evelyn Diaz. The Bronx. Columbia University Press, 2006.

“U.S. Census Bureau Quickfacts: Bronx County, New York.” Census Bureau Quickfacts, 2022,

Spike Lee, Bill Lee, and Bill Lee. DO THE RIGHT THING. USA, 1989.

Gonzalez, Evelyn. “The Bronx.” The Bronx. Columbia University Press, 2004.


Don't have time to write this essay on your own?
Use our essay writing service and save your time. We guarantee high quality, on-time delivery and 100% confidentiality. All our papers are written from scratch according to your instructions and are plagiarism free.
Place an order

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Copy to clipboard
Need a plagiarism free essay written by an educator?
Order it today

Popular Essay Topics