The Miami Ghetto:
A Rare Look Into the Real Miami Hoods
When people think about the streets within the heart of the Miami ghetto the areas of either Overtown, Little Haiti, or Liberty City are the main communities that first come to mind. While those sections are the only true Miami hoods that are within the city limits of Miami, along with a small section of Coconut Grove, there are other neighborhoods scattered throughout Dade County. Many of these Miami neighborhoods have been around for generations, while other Miami neighborhoods did not gain a black population until the beginning of the 1960s.
One of the oldest neighborhoods in the city and originally called Colored Town is the Overtown Miami community, which was once considered as the “Harlem of the South.”
The 2nd Avenue section of the neighborhood was the once heart of Miami’s black community during the time when Overtown was the only place black families could call home, outside of West Grove, a small community in Coconut Grove that was founded by Bahamians.
Eventually, the historic community of Overtown became the center of all black society in South Florida with entertainment for African-Americans and numerous black-owned businesses.
Unfortunately, the decline of the Overtown Miami neighborhood began during the 1960s as Interstate 95 was placed directly in the heart of the neighborhood, which displaced thousands of residents and destroyed numerous businesses.
Currently, Overtown is experiencing gentrification and is constantly changing as the close distance to Miami’s downtown is allowing for the construction of high-rise luxury condos and upscale businesses while pushing many of the residents out.
The streets of Overtown within the Miami ghetto once consisted of various sections like Swamp City, Culmer Place, Rainbow Village, and Town Park as Overtown is a low-income neighborhood with mainly apartment buildings and housing complexes.
While there once was a small black community around Hadley Park, not until the building of the Liberty Square housing projects during the 1930s did the Liberty City neighborhood begin to become part of Miami’s African American community.
Eventually, Liberty City and its black population slowly expanded to nearby Brownsville (Brown Sub), while 15th Avenue became one of Miami’s most popular spots for the city’s urban population.
Unfortunately, the Liberty City Miami neighborhood was also known for one of Florida’s worst race riots, which occurred during the summer of 1980 after a local African-American was killed by Miami police.
After years of tension with black Miamians of Liberty City, along with lack resources and community mistreatment, led to days of rioting that injured dozens and caused much damaged to the community.
The street culture of the Miami ghetto has a claim with many knowing the Liberty City area for the days of the many Miami legends like Convertible Bert or the days of the Cloud 9 and the John Does during the 1990s.
Liberty City, or “The City” for short, is one of Miami’s largest neighborhoods with Miami hoods like Lincoln Field, the Pork N Beans, the 40s, PSU, 6-1, 15th Avenue, and 18th Avenue, just to name a few.
What began as a small community in Northwest Miami by the name of Lemon City slowly changed during the 1970s as Haitian refugees fled the corruption of their native country to live in Miami.
Mostly all were placed in Lemon City, which already had a black presence, helping the existing black neighborhood to eventually become known as Little Haiti for the influx of Haitian arrivals into the area.
Over the years, the Haitian population further grew and expanded into Miami neighborhoods like North Miami and North Miami Beach, as those two communities would be an extension of Little Haiti due to a well known large Haitian population.
One of Dade County’s most legendary neighborhoods in the streets of the Miami ghetto is home to the community that was once known by the media as the Triangle around Ali Baba Avenue and for apartment complexes that were once locally known the Pinks and the Blues.
With the media constantly showing the violence of Opa-Locka during the 1980s and 1990s the city decided to place steel barriers in a certain area, this area would eventually become known as the Triangle, and also would later become known as 21 Jump Street.
Opa-Locka, which is a unique city with many historic and Arabic style buildings, was originally developed for white families as there were policies that kept black families from moving into the community.
By the 1960s, many African Americans began to move from the older neighborhoods of Overtown and Liberty City into newer communities that were once forbidden for black residents. This made Opa-Locka one of the few neighborhoods that black families would relocate into during the 1960s and 1970s.
Once called Little San Juan, Wynwood became Miami’s culture center for the city’s Puerto Rican population that arrived during the 1950s.
Not until the 1960s and the 1970s did the community of Wynwood become more diverse as the neighborhood became racially mixed with African-Americans and Latinos.
Today, the community is becoming more of a gentrified neighborhood, especially with the neighborhoods near location to Biscayne Blvd., as investors are trying to make the area more of an upscale shopping and tourist district.
Miami Gardens (Miami Carol City)
Miami hoods like Behind the P, Bunche Park, Carol City, and the Norland area, which consists of Norwood and Cloverleaf, are the main sections that are within the city limits of Miami Gardens.
Before Miami Gardens, many neighborhoods had their own reputation like Carol City and the Matchbox Projects or Opa-Locka’s Behind the P neighborhood, together with a few other sections.
With Miami Gardens having a black population totaling 75% of over 100,000 residents living in this Northwest Miami-Dade County neighborhood, Miami Gardens is one of the country’s largest predominantly black cities in the United States.
Miami Gardens was officially created during the early 2000s as an attempt to make the community an all-black middle-class neighborhood, but residents have only seen few changes since the merger of Carol City and Miami Gardens.
The black section of Coconut Grove is sometimes referred as West Grove or Black Grove, a large neighborhood that is located along Grand Avenue.
Black Grove is one of Florida’s oldest communities after being created during the late 1800s by Bahamians that worked locally in service positions catering to Miami’s rich elite.
This once thriving area started to decline as the city replaced many of the homes with apartment complexes, a way that some claim was supposedly to improve the community but instead actually harmed the area.
Today, Coconut Grove is one of Miami’s most luxurious neighborhoods and gentrification has been slowly moving into the West Grove section, beginning with the demolishing of local apartment buildings.
South Miami-Dade County
The streets of the South Miami ghetto, or “Down South,” is the least talked about as many people look over the neighborhoods of Richmond Heights, Goulds, Perrine, Naranja, Florida City or the South Miami apartments.
Some of Miami’s oldest black communities are located in South Dade County as many originally came as farmers, farming Florida’s most known crops generations ago.
As years went on the communities of “Down South” built their own reputations separate from other parts of Miami-Dade with the likes of Chocolate City, Rainbow City, and numerous other Miami hoods expanding from Florida City to Richmond Heights.
Miami Hoods Map
*Colors on the map do not indicate anything specific.
Miami Hoods Related Topics:
*Note: All information is provided through people of the community, outside sources, and research. Some information might not be current and/or 100% accurate.