Maria Pontes was born in Fogo, Cape Verde in 1957. She arrived in Roxbury in 1975 with some of her extended family one day after the independence of Cape Verde. She started her education in Cape Verde, came to the tight-knit community in Roxbury and immediately went to work and studied English. She bought a house in the neighborhood in 1985 with her family and her anger about the fires, abandon cars, robberies, violence and racism motivated her to join the neighborhood efforts to make change, finish her education and to seek quality education for her children. A project of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and supported by a Mass Humanities project grant, Neighborhood Voices is an oral history project documenting the stories of families living in the Dudley Street neighborhood.