When the south Bronx became a national symbol of urban blight, many African-Americans and Caribbean-Americans saw opportunity in other neighborhoods in the borough. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report as part of NY1's coverage of Black History Month.
The infamous fires caused many to flee the city's northernmost borough in the 1970s.
"Between 1970 and 1980, its population shrank almost by half," said Dr. Mark Naison, professor of African-American studies and history at Fordham University.
But not everyone left, and the Bronx became much more Latino and black. Many middle- and working-class blacks looked north, finding refuge in neighborhoods like Baychester, Edenwald, Wakefield and Williamsbridge, collectively known as the northeast Bronx.
"It was mostly one- and two- and three-family homes," Naison said. "It would not be subsceptible to arson and disinvestment."
It was thought of as an area where one could achieve the American dream.
The trend accelerated in the 1990s. But even before the fires, middle-class blacks who could afford it had begun moving to the northeast Bronx.
In 1969, Elizabeth Gill and her husband bought a home in Baychester. The neighborhood then was mostly Italian.
"We were the second black family on the block," Gill said.
Now, it's a center of Caribbean culture, especially along White Plains Road in Williamsbridge and Wakefield.
"By the '80s and '90s, White Plains Road becomes this remarkable Caribbean business district, " Naison said.
"Caribbean folk buying places. A lot of Jamaican stores started," Gill said.
One of those was Moodies Record Store. Its Caribbean influence is hard to miss.
The owners are Jamaican immigrants who found the neighborhood a taste of home.
"A Caribbean cricket club where old-time cricketers would on Sundays play cricket," said Earl Moodie, general manager of Moodies Records.
More recently, White Plains Road has seen more African businesses as that population grows steadily here.
And they're moving north as well, with many settling nearby in Co-Op City.
"When you get on the buses nowadays and you hear people speaking the same language and stuff, so you know there's more people coming into Co-Op every year," said Victoria Addawoo, VP of the Ghanaian Association of Co-Op City.
An ever-changing mix in the northeast Bronx.