Overtown

Feature
10:32 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

Overtown's Last Shoe Repair Man Closes Shop

Lovell Singletary is believed to be the last shoe repair man in Overtown. He closed his business Saturday.
Credit Walt Michot / Miami Herald

Bereatha Howard is having a crisis of the sole.

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?”

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#SELMAisMIAMI
5:37 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Miamians Marched For Current Civil Rights Issues To Commemorate 'Bloody Sunday'

Over 100 demonstrators marched down Biscayne Boulevard, chanting "Selma is Miami."
Credit Jessica Meszaros / WLRN

This past Saturday marked 50 years since “Bloody Sunday.” That was the day voting-rights activists were beaten and gassed by Alabama police as they marched from Selma to Montgomery. Miamians commemorated the anniversary by marching for civil rights issues they currently face. 

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Tourism
4:47 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Florida Tourism Campaign Features Overtown And Eatonville

The Lyric Theater in Miami's Overtown community is one of the only theaters left from the days when the neighborhood was known as "The Harlem of the South."
Credit Carl Juste / Miami Herald

Visit Florida, the state’s tourism agency, is promoting the rich history of  two of Florida’s historic black neighborhoods for Black History Month.

Miami’s Overtown neighborhood will be featured in a national commercial that highlights its past as “The Harlem of the South.”

Big name artists like Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Nat King Cole would perform on Miami Beach, but because of segregation they stayed in Overtown hotels. At night, visiting celebrities would go to the local nightclubs, performing and jamming with locals.

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Miami Worldcenter
11:33 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Church Meeting About Overtown Development Ends With Activist In Chokehold

Activist Renita Holmes started shouting during a community meeting in Overtown about the multimillion-dollar Miami Worldcenter deal. Other attendees tried to hold her back, a scuffle broke out and the meeting ended with Holmes filing a police report.
Credit Daniel Ducassi / WLRN

About 100 people gathered inside the fellowship hall at the historic St. John’s Baptist Church in Miami’s Overtown community to discuss the Miami Worldcenter, a multimillion-dollar development project.

The meeting opened with a prayer and some ground rules. First, stay on topic.

And second, “Be mindful where you are. Tempers can flare, passion can run high, [but] first of all, this is the Lord’s house,” said Bishop Dean Adams.

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Arts
2:22 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

National Endowment For The Arts Chair Found A Language In Music

NEA chair Jane Chu says she turned to music to express herself after the death of her father.
Credit freedigitalphotos.net

When Jane Chu was growing up in Arkansas, the daughter of Chinese immigrants, she remembers that her parents liked bok choy while she liked corn dogs. They spoke Mandarin and "book English," and that, she says, could only go so far when her father died when she was nine-years-old. But she played piano, and she says music is where she found a way to express emotions where words fell short.

Chu believes strongly in the ability of the arts to transform individuals, communities and the overall economy. 

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Art Basel
7:34 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Wynwood Pop-Up Exhibits Student-Shot Everyday Portraits

Elijah Wells, 17, a student at Miami Arts Charter, was selected by the Play To Win Foundation for their 1-day workshop.
Credit Gregory Castillo / WLRN

    

On a warm afternoon in Wynwood, just minutes away from their homes in Allapattah and Overtown, a group of students is making images. 

The group, 25 students selected by the Play to Win Foundation, is part of the program's Through My Lens: Art Is Life workshop. The mission is to empower students through art. 

Students paired with mentors spent all day on Nov. 8 crafting their photography skills. Armed with state-of-the-art Nokia phones, they snapped photos of each other in front of murals. 

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Arts
6:23 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Chris Brown Paints Mural For Overtown Children

Entertainer Chris Brown and local visual artist Ron Bass unveiled Monday a mural near the entrance of Overtown's House of Wings restaurant.
Credit Pattrik Simmons

Singer Chris Brown and local artist Ron Bass have collaborated on a mural painted in Overtown on the wall of a restaurant called House of Wings.

It was unveiled Monday -- thanks to the help of Headliner Market Group -- to a crowd of schoolchildren eager to meet Brown, said Nikki Williams, the restaurant owner's sister. City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon was also in attendance.

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Culture
4:05 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

New Tour Bus Takes Visitors Through Miami's Historic Overtown

Big Bus Miami has a new route that will take passengers through Downtown Miami, Design District, Overtown, Midtown, and Wynwood.
Credit Pattrik Simmons

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) and Big Bus Miami today announced a new tour route that will take passengers on a trip through the historic neighborhoods of Overtown, Midtown, Design District, Downtown Miami, and Wynwood.

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Arts
5:16 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

New Documentary Explores The Birth Of Miami's Motown

Helene Smith - Sings Sweet Soul! An original Deep City record.

During the mid-1960s, Florida A&M University classmates Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall had an idea to make records.

Clarke was an art education major and former A&M band drummer. With the business-savvy Pearsall, he founded Deep City Records, Florida's first black-owned record label. They ran it out of Pearsall’s Liberty City record store.

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Overtown
7:05 am
Tue August 26, 2014

How A Historic Theater Is Using Band Camp To Revitalize Overtown

Kids practice at the inaugural South Florida Marching Band Precision Camp in Overtown.
Credit Wilson Sayre

For the past few decades, Miami’s historically black Overtown neighborhood has struggled with crime and poverty. Sharing in that decline was the Lyric Theater, where figures like Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Count Basie and Celia Cruz once graced its stage.

The old theater, though, has a new vision and through kids programming, hopes to change the image of Overtown emblazoned in the not-too-distant memory of South Floridians.

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South Miami
9:13 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Ransom Everglades Offers Swim Lessons To Kids Without Pools

The partnership between Ransom Everglades School and South Miami hopes to teach life-saving swim skills.
Credit Wilson Sayre

  A few kids in South Miami, a city with no public pool, are getting the opportunity to take free swim lessons at Ransom Everglades School in Coconut Grove.

Tina Scott, a pediatrician in South Miami, arranged the partnership between the city and private school to address the lack of swimming skills she regularly saw in her patients.

“One of the things that I do when I see patients is to ask about water: Do you live near water? Do you have a pool in your backyard? A canal? To make sure that the kids actually know how to swim,” she says.

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Youth
12:48 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Programs Offers Inner City Youths Professional Field Training

Some youth in Miami's inner city are paid to learn code though FACE's summer program.
Credit Creative Commons / Flickr user Lindsey Bieda

FACE, a paid summer internship program for young adults, is wrapping up and showing off what its participants have been up to in the past six weeks.

The name of the program stands for film, arts, culture (and coding) and entrepreneurship. Participants choose an area of focus and pair up with industry professionals to develop and execute a project in that field.

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Preview
6:40 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Renew Your Drivers License At The Overtown Music And Arts Festival

Credit Miami.com

For the first time, the Overtown Music and Arts Festival won't only have live musical performances, art exhibits and free food; you can also get your drivers license renewed. 

Yvette Harris, a spokesperson for the event, says the service is being offered because going to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a license renewal is sometimes a challenge for some locals.

"It's a really good way for the community to tap into resources," she says. "It's something to offer to those who need it." 

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The End of the Road
12:37 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

Displacing Overtown Residents To Make Up For Rupture I-95 Caused

Benjamin Brown, 80, sits in the living room of his family home a week before movers arrived to pack his belongings and move him out. Brown’s last day in his home was April 28.
Credit Emily Michot / Miami Herald

At times, the two-story white house with bright blue shutters and columns that seem to reach for the sky was mistaken for a church in Miami's Overtown neighborhood.

But for 80-year-old Benjamin Brown, the property that had been in his family since 1917 always meant just one thing: home.

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Miami Culture
6:38 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Renovations To Lyric Theater, Symbol Of Overtown’s Cultural History, Unveiled

Credit CARL JUSTE / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The historic Lyric Theater, Miami’s oldest entertainment venue, symbolizes a time when Overtown was a bustling cultural hub: Jazz icon Duke Ellington thrilled audiences on its stage; poet Langston Hughes recited there; soul songstress Aretha Franklin charmed concert-goers with her gospel tunes.

Over the decades the theater, built in 1913 by black tycoon Geder Walker, was either treasured or neglected.

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