THE BLACK ARCHIVES
History & Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.
5400 N.W. 22nd Avenue, Box 300 Building C. Suite 101, Miami, Florida 33142-3009
TEL 305.636.2390 FAX 305.636.2391
March 4, 2010
The Honorable Commissioner
Richard P. Dunn, II
3500 Pan American Drive
Miami, FL 33133
Dear Commissioner Dunn,
A disturbing tendency has come to the attention of The Black Archives, Overtown
community stakeholders and many other concerned citizens. There is a repeated offense
being perpetuated against a once vibrant community which has done so much for the
establishment of the city. We have been made aware of several impending demolitions of
buildings that are historic and significant to telling the story about the history of Overtown.
Considering the fact that Overtown is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Miami and that the
people of the neighborhood were instrumental in the incorporation of the City of Miami as
one of the oldest municipalities in Miami Dade County, the neighborhood has been and is
being treated unjustly in terms of its cultural integrity. Northwest Second Avenue from Fifth
Street to Eleventh Street, at one time represented what was known as “Little Broadway” for
Miami’s black residents, tourist, and national icons at its’ peak in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.
For blacks in Miami, Overtown was their Downtown due to written laws and social practices
that limited persons of color from equal citizenship during turbulent times in United States
History. Since the construction of the North South Expressway (I-95) and the passing of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964, the area has seen a significant decline in the middle class and
upper class population. Overtown has also been the victim of an unbalanced economic
support system for many years.
In the 1980’s, scholars like Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields led the charge to preserve what was
once a vibrant corridor in the black community and pre