Overtown and unfortunately seeing and hearing some bad

Topics: ArtTheater

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Last updated: September 25, 2019

Overtown wasn’t always the Overtown people read or hear about for example: Guns, violence, killings, Etc. In fact, historic Overtown is a beautiful neighborhood of Miami FL, close to Downtown Miami.

Once called Colored Town during the late 19th through the mid-20th century, historic Overtown was a place like no other. Open to everyone accepted by few torn down by many. Shrinking daily and trying to hold on to what’s left of historic Overtown local residents often go by the word “Towners.” You often hear sayings such as “Towners 4 Life” just in acknowledgement of this once beautiful place. Home to the Famous Lyric Theater completed in early 1900s among other things worth mentioning. Everything wasn’t always a ray of sunshine for Overtown and the people who lived there. Up until The Civil Rights Act of 1964, authorities prohibited black residents from Overtown to leave without “passes to certain areas more upscale. Throughout the years the slightly different historic Overtown has changed almost to the point of non-recognition.

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Buildings have been torn down stores have been closed many of folks have been moved out of their homes in Overtown forcefully because of now “New” Overtown was arriving sooner than later. These days having been living in Overtown many of years I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some good and unfortunately seeing and hearing some bad that I’d like to forget. Not much left in historic Overtown other than stories from what it use to be like. New owners and some old with the help of some top people in charge if I may seem to think that Overtown needs to be completely destroyed and rebuild in such a way deemed valuable to one’s pockets from a financial stand point. All these people seem see is land, space, and opportunities to make money. The motto these days seem to be kick everyone out tear everything down build condos, baseball fields, basketball arenas, highways, and so forth.

Everything is about money regardless of the history of Overtown and the impact its having or have had on the people involved. The Overtown people hear about today isn’t exactly the Overtown from yesterday. When people hear about Miami FL, they immediately think about south beach but Miami FL, is much more than that and Historic Overtown was a big part of that.  Finding common ground with blacks and whites alike, Overtown was a center for nightly entertainment in Miami, Slightly edging Miami Beach, at its height during the 1940s and 1950s before the decline.

Historic Overtown served as home away from home for black entertainers who barred from staying at the same prominent venues where they performed in the more upscale areas such as south beach, where Overtown hotels like the Mary Elizabeth Hotel accompanied to their needs. In closing only knowing the now and what’s happening with Overtown, in a couple years led by destruction, alterations, revisions, and a complete overhaul in a pattern like way the historic Overtown of the past which changed by the Overtown of the present would be abundantly different from the Overtown of the future. Only time will tell.

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