Posted January 12th 2011 at 9:37 am by
in 3. Portraits of Place, Boston Handgun Advocacy

Mattapan = Murderpan

These posters were created to encourage Boston residents to fight back for their neighborhood. Three particular neighborhoods in Boston, that have been plagued with handgun violence.

Contact the artist, Cedric Douglas, with further questions at, or leave a comment here.

This post is part of Portraits of Place.

8 responses to “Mattapan = Murderpan”

  1. Sabrina says:

    I’m not sure about these posters. To me they reinforce the negative aspects of the neighborhoods, fighting ugliness with more ugliness. Also, from a logistical standpoint it’s difficult to read the number to call or text if you do want to report a crime. The solution to the problem is essentially impossible to read so people don’t know the action that they can take to stop murders from happening.

    There was a project in a Detroit neighborhood where people painted angels on abandoned buildings as a sign of the neighborhood’s solidarity to fight crime, and it helped. To me, if I lived in a neighborhood with an extremely high crime rate I would not feel that this imagery was going to do anything to help the problem.

  2. Alexa Mills says:

    I saw it more as a wake-up call, to see a phrase you’ve heard repeated over and over on paper like this. It made me think twice about what it means to have grown up saying ‘Slummaville’, years before I even ever saw Somerville.

  3. Cedric Douglas says:

    ~>In regards to Sabrina’s post. The intent for these posters is to convey, that the term Murderpan, Glocksbury, Warchester. have been verbally abused as well as the neighborhoods. People often abused these terms. The intent is one should be proud of were you live and fight back for the name and communities against violence.

    Also the posters were designed with the intent to be viewed in person, not on a computer screen. some of the details (Call to action via text message) are much bigger in person. Sabrina, I do appreciate your feedback.


  4. Sabrina says:

    Hi Cedric, thank you for being open to this discussion and for taking my comments from the constructive place that they’re intended to come from.

    I totally get the intent. But it seems like an intellectual’s argument, and respectfully, like an outsider’s perspective. I wonder if a 12 year old would get it. If I were a 12 year old walking through my neighborhood and saw this, I would think that someone with money had officially re-named my city. Had tagged me as living in a murdering city.

    Again, having spent a lot of time in Detroit, a city that is literally crumbling in nearly every way possible, you can drive up into the most beat up neighborhood imaginable and enter an elementary school, where there are young smiling faces and teachers working their butts off to make the place cheerful, to make it a warm safe place for these children. To me, the posters don’t honor the people who live in high crime neighborhoods and are already taking action in their daily lives to stop it. They honor the violence, and sort of accuse the rest of the community of not doing enough. When I worked with Detroit schools, my first feeling was to go hang some posters in the politicians’ offices around the city, state, and DC asking “Have you REALLY done your job today?” Because from the looks of those kids’ neighborhoods, they hadn’t!

    From my limited perspective, the posters feed into the popular negative image of the city. But of course, no place is that one-dimensional. The news will cover the story of an honor-roll student getting shot, but he or she is not the only honor student, that’s why they call it an honor-ROLL! To me these posters could be easily misinterpreted, especially by young people, to say that the violence is defining the community.

  5. Alexa says:

    @ Sabrina – You’re writing about your reaction based on your own experience, but it could be valuable to also think on why an artist creates a particular image, what his experience might have been and how it could be different from yours, or even unknown to you.

  6. Sabrina says:

    Alexa, you’re right. Cedric, I apologize if I’ve offended you. You truly seem like a great person and artist.

  7. casscamp says:

    This is an interesting debate. Being from these neighborhoods, the posters did stir up a lot of emotions. I grew up hearing the terms ‘murderpan’ and ‘warchester’ but I had never seen it in print before. Seeing these words did cause me to take a moment to think and reflect. Its easy to become immune to the violence and to start to accept things for the way they are. The words are strong and don’t sugarcoat what’s going on. I do see how the sign could be misinterpreted if the entire poster is not read. I wonder how other residents from this neighborhood would view it.

  8. Cedric Douglas says:

    In regards to Sabrina’s recent post on January 14th. Please do not apologies I am definitely open to discussion and I appreciate your feedback and I only view them as constructive. As a designer I am accustom to receiving feedback, it is a major part of the creative process. The posters were designed more for residents that were older, with the intent for them to be proud of their neighborhoods, and to fight back, for them. When designing these posters I was mindful that the posters could be misunderstood and taken the wrong way and even glorified.

    These posters were created to challenge people in these neighborhoods. A person should be proud of their neighborhood, not ashamed or embarrassed. Lets say there were 4 brutal murders in Chestnut Hill, and all of a sudden people started referring to Chestnut Hill as “Shoot N Kill”, I can guarantee that Chestnut Hill resident’s would do everything in their power to prevent there neighborhoods to be viewed as a bad area. They would fight back for there the integrity of their neighborhoods. I am offering the same challenge to Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury residents.

    Before I finished designing this poster campaign, I received feedback from, youth that lived in these particular neighborhoods as well as Adults. The majority of the youth and Adults saw them as scary and impact full.

    Second as a designer when you design you have to think of the placement and location as part of the design. These posters where designed with the intent that they would be placed on billboards and inserted in direct mail, encouraging residents to fight back for there communities.

    However with any design it is always open to be taken in anyway way the viewer wants. I created these posters to make a difference in my community, most people enjoy talking about the problems in these communities, and I am offering a solution. This poster campaign, along with others projects that I have created are designed with the intent to make a difference in these communities. With the chance of them being taken the wrong way, or anyway the viewer intends to view them.

    These posters are designed with the intent to challenged residents to fight back for not only for the names of their neighborhoods but also for their neighborhoods themselves. Let’s hope if this campaign was implemented residents would not want there neighborhoods to be called Murderpan, Warchester, and Glocksbury but Mattapan, Dorchester, and Roxbury. These neighborhoods are amazing areas of Boston that are filled with, hardworking people, unique architecture and an eclectic culture.