St. Stephen's Church - The Beginning of a Movement

Resisting Colonialism at Villa Victoria Walking Tour

St. Stephen's Church - The Beginning of a Movement

Boston, Massachusetts 02115, United States

Created By: University of Massachusetts Boston


At this site, you are looking at St. Stephen’s Church, where in the basement in the late 1960s, a group of mostly Puerto Rican residents met to fight for their community when the city and state planned to demolish their neighborhood. This gave birth to Emergency Tenants’ Council (ETC) and later formed the sister social service organization, Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción (IBA).

Next, as you walk toward the site of the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, you will be walking through the housing that Inquilinos Boricuas en Acción foughe so hard to build. During the design process, "ETC flew one of its allies, an architect named John Sharratt, to Puerto Rico to study the architecture that would feel most like a community to them. The architecture of the resulting Villa Victoria achieved that goal, with its plaza and parks and casitas facing one another. The development also provided a facility for the elderly to keep aging relatives close. Several indoor community spaces included a youth and arts center, a community credit union, and the home of one of the first bilingual preschools in the country."

Read more from this Harvard University article:

As you walk to the next stop, notice the choices that were made in these buildings. What choices did the community make in the creation of these homes? If the community did not have a voice in the development of Villa Victoria and government officials had their way, what might it have looked like?

This point of interest is part of the tour: Resisting Colonialism at Villa Victoria Walking Tour


Leave a Comment



Download the App

Download the PocketSights Tour Guide mobile app to take this self-guided tour on your GPS-enabled mobile device.

iOS Tour Guide Android Tour Guide



Updates and Corrections

Please send change requests to