Overtown

Miami Herald

Miamians from different communities came together to discuss soccer Thursday night. Even though some of those attending the town hall meeting were wearing Miami soccer gear they were not all talking about the first game to be played in the coming year.

They were there to hear the latest pitch from Beckham Group representative Timothy Leiweke.

Audrey Armitage

Paintings, masks and mixed media fills two floors of the Lyric Theatre as Overtown celebrates Miami Art Week with the annual Art Africa Miami Arts Fair.

The exhibition, organized by The Urban Collective, features work from local and international artists.

Courtesy of Miami Worldcenter

A new development project designed to build retail and hotel space in downtown Miami is poised to break ground in the coming months.

The developers of Miami Worldcenter have promised the project will bring jobs to the nearby community of Overtown.

But some critics say a high development of the area will drive those residents away.

Nadege Green / WLRN

The Dream Defenders, a local social justice group, says it will protest against Miami Worldcenter until certain demands are met that benefit the struggling Overtown community.

Overtown borders the $2 billion Worldcenter development and critics say the project will shut out residents of that neighborhood.

Until their demands are met, the Dream Defenders protesters say they will create civil unrest and demonstrate at County Hall.

Nadege Green / WLRN

The Miami Worldcenter project hosted a job fair at the Historic St. Agnes Episcopal Church in Overtown that drew hundreds of people from across Miami-Dade Tuesday — including many Overtown residents.

The project is expected to create 18,000 direct jobs.

And while some have been critical about the Worldcenter’s impact in Overtown, Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon said Tuesday’s turnout is evidence that people in the community see the project as something positive.

Overtown's Last Shoe Repair Man Closes Shop

May 7, 2015
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?”

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. 

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.

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.

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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