Black Miami in the Twentieth Century

Marvin Dunn

Foreword by Gary Mormino and Raymond Arsenault, Series editors

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“Dunn illuminates the peculiarities of Miami’s civil rights activism”—Journal of African American History
"A necessity for every African American who has ever lived in Dade County, or South Florida for that matter."--Garth Reeves, publisher emeritus, Miami Times

"A very ambitious project, and therein lies its great contribution: no one before has written a comprehensive history of Greater Miami's unique black community."--Paul S. George, Miami Dade Community College

The first book devoted to the history of African Americans in south Florida and their pivotal role in the growth and development of Miami, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century traces their triumphs, drudgery, horrors, and courage during the first 100 years of the city's history. Firsthand accounts and over 130 photographs, many of them never published before, bring to life the proud heritage of Miami's black community.

Beginning with the legendary presence of black pirates on Biscayne Bay, Marvin Dunn sketches the streams of migration by which blacks came to account for nearly half the city’s voters at the turn of the century. From the birth of a new neighborhood known as "Colored Town," Dunn traces the blossoming of black businesses, churches, civic groups, and fraternal societies that made up the black community. He recounts the heyday of "Little Broadway" along Second Avenue, with photos and individual recollections that capture the richness and vitality of black Miami's golden age between the wars.

A substantial portion of the book is devoted to the Miami civil rights movement, and Dunn traces the evolution of Colored Town to Overtown and the subsequent growth of Liberty City. He profiles voting rights, housing and school desegregation, and civil disturbances like the McDuffie and Lozano incidents, and analyzes the issues and leadership that molded an increasingly diverse community through decades of strife and violence. In concluding chapters, he assesses the current position of the community--its socioeconomic status, education issues, residential patterns, and business development--and considers the effect of recent waves of immigration from Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dunn combines exhaustive research in regional media and archives with personal interviews of pioneer citizens and longtime residents in a work that documents as never before the life of one of the most important black communities in the United States.

Marvin Dunn, professor emeritus of psychology at Florida International University, is coauthor of The Miami Riot of 1980: Crossing the Bounds.
Sample Chapter(s):
Table of Contents

Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award - 1998
Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Award - 1998

Ought to be required reading for anybody with a stake in Miami-Dade County's future. . . . His scope is so broad and his research so thorough that the book speaks to the entire community. . . . Mr. Dunn's approach is to let the facts speak for themselves. He is scrupulous about presenting all sides of an issue - and generous with praise. . . . Most significantly, Mr. Dunn makes it clear that the future of blacks in Miami will in large part determine the future of the city itself.
--Miami Today

Marvin Dunn's book Black Miami in the Twentieth Century is must reading for anyone interested in the rich history of African Americans in South Florida. . . . In easy prose, Dunn chronicles the first 100 years of Miami's history, detailing the horrors, drudgery, courage and triumphs of the city's huge black population.
--St. Petersburg Times

From the black pirates of Biscayne Bay to the election of U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, the history of African Americans in South Florida - like that of blacks everywhere - has been punctuated by triumph, horror, drudgery, and courage. Now in his new book, Black Miami in the Twentieth Century . . . Marvin Dunn gives us the first comprehensive look at what the path has been like for the individuals, businesses, churches, civic groups and fraternal societies that cast their lot with this young community and how, even in the worst of times, they have held on.
--Miami Herald

Dunn has produced a model of local history by using all the unique events, personages, and economic trends to illustrate developments taking place in the large national context.

Black Miami in the Twentieth Century by Marvin Dunn is one of the most important historical books ever written about Miami. . . . Readers black and white must own this masterpiece, particularly those who are considered leaders.
--In Focus

An important contribution to the historical literature on Miami-Dade County.
--Florida Historical Quarterly

The first comprehensive account of the twentieth-century experience of African Americans in Miami and metropolitan Dade County. . . . An informative profile of the black experience.
--Journal of Southern History

A lucid, balanced history of Miami's diverse, black population.
--American Studies

Dunn illuminates the peculiarities of Miami’s civil rights activism.
--Journal of African American History

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