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Overtown is back. Here’s three things to get excited about.

Written by Fabiola Fleuranvil on June 8, 2017 for

In case you don’t know the back story, here’s a quick summary:

Overtown was the hot spot and a mecca for Black millionaires like D.A. Dorsey and the who’s who in Black entertainment. It’s where celebrities like Ella Fitzgerald, Josephine Baker, and even Jackie Robinson dined, lodged, and entertained when Black people were prohibited from staying at Miami Beach hotels that they were being paid to perform in. Overtown had become a safe zone for these entertainers, and because of that, it thrived with Black intellectuals, successful Black businesses and a culture that became known as the Harlem of the South.

That is until the 1950’s and 1960’s when the construction of I-95 and the 826 crisscrossed through Overtown, in the middle of a thriving economy that evolved in spite of racial barriers. The highways ripped right through the heart of the community and paved the way for the deprivation of Overtown and adjacent Black neighborhoods like Liberty City.

In spite of the history of inequity, the dust has finally settled and the rose that grew from concrete is now one of the most sought-after communities for developers, big box retailers, a major transportation hub, and millennials. With Wynwood’s arts community and the Downtown business center within steps, Jackson Health/UM Hospital to its west, and the beach just a hop and skip away, it’s all finally coming back full circle for Overtown thanks to smart master planning by the Southeast Overtown Park West CRA.

What Overtown was, what it became, and how it’s being transformed is reason enough to explore the neighborhood. Here are three things to know about Overtown’s legacy and the new direction it’s taking.

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