The left half of her treasured pair of black Calvin Kleins has ripped apart at the seams. And so she she is doing what so many in Overtown have done for so many years: walking down Third Avenue, her shoes in a white plastic bag, to find Lovell Singletary.
“These are my favorite shoes,” she says, handing the bag to a man sitting outside next to a plastic children’s table, wearing a tattered green cap sideways like a beret. “Do you think you can fix it?”
Much has been written about the close bonds forged between Jews and African-Americans in Miami in the 1950s at the start of the civil rights movement. But a more complex, conflicted side of that relationship has fired the imagination of local novelist Joan Lipinsky Cochran.
On Thursday night in Overtown, artist Doba Afolabi was showing his work at the Art Africa show.
Afolabi is from Nigeria. He used to live in Miami, but left for Brooklyn a while ago.
Up close, his paintings look like abstracts in brightly-colored oil paint. But stand a few feet back, and a cellist in a top hat emerges. Or two saxophone players against a fiery background. One painting is called “Ride the Storm.” That’s the piece he did after his house burned down. Painting, he says, is what keeps him happy and centered.
Amidst all the new and cutting-edge art on display at Art Basel and surrounding fairs, an exhibition of late painter Purvis Young’s work is a well-deserved resurrection.
“A Man Amongst the People: A Purvis Homecoming” is the first art show in the newly renovated Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown. The exhibition represents a homecoming for work made by the former Overtown resident.
For decades, the ACE Theater on Grand Avenue has stood as a historic monument for blacks in Coconut Grove. During a time of segregation in the 1950s and '60s, the theater provided blacks with a place to gather, watch popular movies and cartoons and offered employment opportunities.
The unnamed hurricane that devastated South Florida in 1926 left hundreds dead and caused an economic crisis. The powerful storm remained in the minds of survivors and their descendants for years. In 1940, it was commemorated in song by a group of black men from Kenansville, Fla.
You can listen to the rarerecording below, because the Library of Congress last week released it and several other old-Florida folk hymns as part of its "Songs of America" series. The 80,000 tracks pan a century of American culture, with several pieces from Florida.