Black History in Miami: Observing & Embracing It Year-Round

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February is Black History Month.

Growing up, this meant learning about various Black leaders, innovators, educators, lawmakers, writers, performers, artists, and athletes.  And because I was raised by a teacher, it also meant an almost annual viewing of Eyes on the Prize.  I love that there is a national emphasis on the historical and societal contributions of Black Americans every year.  It is absolutely necessary.  But I also feel like the celebration and appreciation of Black history and culture needs to extend beyond the confines of the shortest month of the year.  Our society needs to fully embrace it as an integral part of our collective American story year-round.

In looking for various Black history events taking place this year, it’s encouraging and exciting to see just how many family-friendly opportunities there are to engage and experience Black culture here in Miami!  The Miami-Dade Public Library System hosts quite a few programs and events for adults and children of all ages.

Additionally, there are many recurring and ongoing cultural events, festivals, and exhibits that take place throughout the year!  Put them on your calendar and make plans to participate with your family.  You’ll make wonderful memories and teach your children to embrace and steward the rich history and diversity of Miami’s Black community.  

Permanent Exhibits

Black History in Miami: Observing & Embracing It Year-Round Lynda Lantz Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Photo by Janine Robinson on Unsplash

HistoryMiami is home to an excellent exhibit about the history of Miami’s Black community.  Check it out on the 2nd floor of the North Building.

The Black Archives was founded in 1977 with the express purpose of preserving material reflecting the African-American experience in Miami-Dade County.  You can check out their online database and book collection here.

The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum houses memorabilia of the City of Miami’s first Black police officers.  The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-4pm and admission is $10/person. 

The Lyric Theater, built in 1913, was a venue for a myriad of performers including Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Josephine Baker, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday.  Now fully restored, the historic theater hosts many events and local community programs.

The Historic Hampton House played a prominent role in our city’s history.  Also a de facto headquarters during the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stayed there during his many visits to Miami.  This local treasure has been recently restored and now serves as a venue for a variety of Black cultural events.  

Weekly & Monthly Events

Caribbean Market Days are a great way to experience and enjoy Afro-Caribbean fashion, music, art, and cuisine every Saturday, from 10am-6pm.

Little Haiti Bus Tours also take place every Saturday, from 10am-1pm.  These 2-hour tours depart from the Little Haiti Cultural Complex and are guided by knowledgeable guides who provide an in-depth experience of the textures, flavors, and sounds of Little Haiti.  Tickets are $15-25/person, and private tours are available upon request.  

Sounds of Little Haiti is a free outdoor concert that takes place on the 3rd Friday of every month!  It’s a great way to experience authentic Haitian culture right here in our community.  

Free Gospel Sundays at the Adrienne Arsht is a wonderful concert series celebrating gospel music and highlighting Miami’s rich gospel scene.  

Folklife Friday Open Air Market takes place on the 1st Friday of every month, from 11am-3pm, and features food, live music, arts and crafts, and more!

Special Events & Annual Festivals

Black History in Miami: Observing & Embracing It Year-Round Lynda Lantz Contributor Miami Moms Blog
Waiting for the music to start at the 2011 Overtown Music and Arts Festival

Black Heritage Fest is an annual event that will be taking place on February 29, 2020, at Miami Carol City Park in Miami Gardens.  From 12-4pm, guests can enjoy African fashions, live music, dance, and food trucks.  There will also be face painting, rock climbing, and bounce houses for children.  It’s a great way to support local artists and vendors, and it’s free!

Sing Miami! Lift Every Voice on March 7, 2020 honors African-American history through the singing of spirituals, gospel songs, and jazz selections.  This sing-along event hosted by the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts is free and open to the public.  

Jazz in the Gardens will be taking place on March 14-15, 2020 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.  Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Overtown Music & Arts Festival takes place every summer, and features live music from major artists, food, art from local vendors, and opportunities to learn about various community-based programs.  Dates for 2020 are TBA.  

Learn More

When my husband and I were dating, he gifted me with a copy of Black Miami in the Twentieth Century by Dr. Marvin Dunn.  This book is a treasure and comes highly recommended to anyone wanting to understand the nuanced history of Black Miami.

 

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