Miami, Florida’s Diverse Neighborhoods

I’m staying at a cozy Airbnb in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood and this feels like being in another country, a Spanish speaking country, except it’s in the U.S. and I love it.

Rodolpho, my friendly and energetic Lyft driver only spoke Spanish. I wasn’t psychologically prepared to bring out my broken Spanish for Miami, but after spending this afternoon hanging out in Little Havana with my Miami Culinary Tours guide and on my own, it’s a good way to get prepped for Cuba and my travels through Spain come April.

Food, art, cigars and history are the corner stone of what makes Little Havana so wonderfully vibrant. It’s the heart and soul of Miami’s Cuban culture on Calle Ocho (8th Street) from 2nd to 27th streets with 30 square blocks in total. It is where you can find the signature Cuban coffees, Cuban cigar shops, Latin American art and galleries along with a bevy of foods and drinks.

Originally, a thriving Jewish neighborhood in the 1930s . Cubans began fleeing Cuba towards the end of the 1950s, first because of Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship and later, that of Fidel Castro. By 1960s, the strong Cuban presence gave way to the area being called Little Havana, as the landing point for new immigrants and a stronghold for Cuban-owned businesses. Rather than return to Havana, where Castro remained in power, Cuban Americans began residing in neighborhoods across Miami. Today, Hispanics from other countries have substantially increased since the late 1990s but the increasing diversity has not changed the fact that most of the neighborhood businesses are still Cuban-owned.

So, for now, here’s a taste of Miami’s Little Havana.

I’m at the outdoor lounge and stage area of Ball & Chain, on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, enjoying a mojito, one of drinks available on my Miami Culinary Tour, along with Cuban coffee and sugar cane juice. The Ball and Chain bar and lounge opened in 1935 as the Ball & Chain Saloon and remained in business through the 1950s, then became a furniture store and eventually vacant until the early 2000s when it was renovated and reopened as the Ball & Chain once more. (March 14, 2019)
The outdoor Pineapple stage of the Ball & Chain restaurant and bar on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. (March 14, 2019)
Calle 8 wall mural along 8th Street at the Tower Theater in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
This is Roberto applying his 30 years worth of skills as a Cuban cigar maker at Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho (8th Street) in Miami’s Little Havana. Roberto is from Cuba and he can call roll anywhere from 100 to 200 cigars by hand in a day. (March 14, 2019)
The rooster sculptures, like this one, can be seen up and down Calle Ocho (8th Street) in Miami’s Little Havana. The story about the various rooster statues, according to our Miami Culinary Tours guide, Will, was the brainchild of Miami artist Tony Lopez who, in honor of his rooster Pepe, originally created a small paper mache version…that was stolen…then created a bigger heavier version that tourists wanted to take photos with…so other merchants wanted their own roosters. The colorful, one of a kind painted roosters grace Calle Ocho. (March 14, 2019)
The rooster sculptures, like this Patriotic one, can be seen up and down Calle Ocho (8th Street) in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Murals dot the exterior walls of many of the buildings in Little Havana. A self-ie with just a portion of a mural outside the Yisell Bakery on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
The exterior mural of the Yisell Bakery on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana community. (March 14, 2019)
The art covered Yisell Bakery on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana community. The bakery was one of the food stops on the Miami Culinary Tours where we sampled a pastry filled with guava. (March 14, 2019)
The Calle Ocho Walk of Fame pays tribute along the sidewalk to individuals of Cuban & Latin distinction in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
The star honoring Ceilia Cruze on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame which pays tribute along the sidewalk to individuals of Cuban & Latin distinction in Miami’s Little Havana. Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso, better known as Celia Cruz (1925 – 2003) was a Cuban singer and the most popular Latin artist of the 20th century, gaining 23 gold albums during her career. Born in Havana, Cuba, the second of four children, her father, Simón Cruz, was a railroad stoker and her mother, Catalina Alfonso was a homemaker who took care of an extended family. When the Sonora Matancera group Cruz sang with left Cuba to perform in Mexico in June 1960, after Fidel Castro assumed control in 1959, Cruz and her husband, Pedro Knight, were prohibited from returning to their homeland and became citizens of the United States. (March 14, 2019)
The entrance to the Havana Classic Cigars, along Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana and the entrance to an alleyway of colorful rooster murals. (March 14, 2019)
The alleyway of rooster art next to the Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Outdoor art piece at the entrance to an alleyway of rooster art next to the Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Rooster art from the alleyway next to the Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Rooster art from the alleyway next to the Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Rooster art from the alleyway next to the Havana Classic Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Cigar shop, ice cream shop and bar all adding to the diversity of businesses along Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Our Miami Culinary Tours guide, Will, passing out the sugar cane drinks at the Los Pinarenos Fruteria, an open air fruit and flower market, on Calle Ocho Miami’s Little Havana. Those little drinks pack a real sweet, sugary punch. (March 14, 2019)
Los Pinarenos Fruteria, an open air fruit and flower market, on Calle Ocho Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Los Pinarenos Fruteria, an open air fruit and flower market, on Calle Ocho Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Los Pinarenos Fruteria, an open air fruit and flower market, on Calle Ocho Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
These sunflowers looks just to bright and sunny to pass up in a basket at Los Pinarenos Fruteria, an open air fruit and flower market, on Calle Ocho Miami’s Little Havana. (March 14, 2019)
Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) mural by Daniel Fila on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana dated March 2011. (March 14, 2019)
On the Cuban Memorial Boulevard, in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, is this Bay of Pigs Monument and Eternal Torch of Brigade 2506 is to honor pilots who were killed while taking part in the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961. It was designed by Monolo Reboso and sculpted by Miami artist, Tony Lopez, who also had a hand in the rooster sculptures. (March 14, 2019)
The Cuban Memorial Boulevard in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a four-block boulevard off Calle Ocho with various monuments dedicated to Cuban freedom fighters. Featured is a bronze statue of Nestor “Tony” Izquierdo, a Cuban revolutionary hero and a bronze bust of General Antonio Maceo, an Afro-Cuban general who died fighting for the independence of Cuba. (March 15, 2019)
Dubbed Domino Park by the locals, Maximo Gomez Park on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a landmark gathering place for older Cubans to chat and play dominos. (March 14, 2019)
Dubbed Domino Park by the locals, Maximo Gomez Park on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a landmark gathering place for older Cubans to chat and play dominos. (March 14, 2019)
Also a part of Domino Park or Maximo Gomez Park, is this colorful brick area with domino pieces designed into the walkway areas on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. (March 14, 2019)
The Tower Theater on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood was offering Spanish subtitles to first run American movies as early as 1960 in recognition of the changing demographics. (March 14, 2019)
After the culinary walking tour, I made my way back to El Pub Restaurant to have…of all things…chicken noodle soup…Cuban style…and two carne empanadas. The soup reminded me of my Puerto Rican great grandmother’s soup…a soup my mother now makes for our family. Comfort food at its finest. (March 14, 2019)
My Airbnb apartment in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. (March 14, 2019)
My Airbnb apartment in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. (March 14, 2019)

I celebrated my birthday on Friday in grand style with pretty much a private, and rather incredible, day-long tour of Miami including more of Little Havana, Wynwood and South Beach. Miami is an eclectic blend of sites, tastes, sounds, foods and an energy that keeps you moving.

And, moving we did thanks to my Urban Adventures guide, Zarelys Diaz, who shared not only her knowledge of Miami but her home country of Cuba with me.

I touched on Miami’s Little Havana in my previous post and although there’s more to add, I will do so with my Cuba posts since there’s such a powerful connection between this neighborhood and that island nation.

But there’s enough of Wynwood and South Beach neighborhoods of Miami have their own completely separate beat. Wynwood is known for its many colorful murals and South Beach is known for it’s well-preserved art deco architecture, beaches, glamour, celebrity and grand Spring Break hangout.

Tomorrow I do one more tour, in the morning, in Miami. It’s a Black History tour before taking an afternoon plane ride to Havana, Cuba.

For now, here’s a glimpse into Miami’s very diverse neighborhoods of Wynwood and South Beach, Florida.

The second I saw this striking female empowerment mural of multi-ethnic female faces, layered in red, white and blue, by street art muralist, graffiti artist and illustrator Tristan Eaton, I just had to have a photo of myself with it and that’s not easy to do with wanting to pose in front of it. This mural along with many others is part of the Wynwood Walls colorful outdoor street art exhibit by artists from around the world. Wynwood Walls, part of the Wynwood neighborhood, was conceived in 2009 by the late Tony Goldman who sought to transform the blighted Wynwood warehouse district as an exceptional canvas for street art. (March 15, 2019)
A close-up, not so much of me…although it is my birthday…but of muralist Tristan Eaton’s powerful and empowering women’s mural at the Wynwood Walls in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
The entrance to Wynwood Walls in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood featuring huge, colorful street murals by artists from around the world.(March 15, 2019)
Tony Goldman, who saw the blighted Wynwood warehouse district as an exceptional canvas for street art, is featured on this mural at the entrance of the Wynwood Walls in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. He’s the man in the cowboy hat. Wynwood Walls, according to its website, became a major art statement with Goldman’s commitment to graffiti and street art, a genre that he believed was under appreciated and not respected historically. He wanted to give the movement more attention and more respect. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood.           (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. This is by Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra, “5 children, 5 continents.” (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. This is by Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra, “5 children, 5 continents.” (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. A close-up of one of the “5 children, 5 continents,” mural by Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. A close-up of one of the “5 children, 5 continents,” mural by Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. A close-up of one of the “5 children, 5 continents,” mural by Brazilian muralist Eduardo Kobra. (March 15, 2019)
Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art gallery, featuring the artwork of incredibly talented graffiti artists in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. This cat sculpture, by Bordallo II, is made with trash…waste plastics, car parts, construction materials, and other found objects. (March 15, 2019)
The art of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is certainly not relegated to Wynwood Walls. The taller building in the distance is a parking garage and the zebra striped building houses a variety of offices and art galleries. (March 15, 2019)
The art of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is certainly not relegated to the Wynwood Walls alone. Murals like this can be seen throughout Wynwood. (March 15, 2019)
The art of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is certainly not relegated to the Wynwood Walls alone. Murals like this can be seen throughout Wynwood. (March 15, 2019)
The art of Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is certainly not relegated to the Wynwood Walls alone. Murals like this can be seen throughout Wynwood. (March 15, 2019)
Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is also home to Walt Grace Vintage, which sells vintage cars, guitars plus has a cafe where coffee and pastries are served. (March 15, 2019)
Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood is also home to Walt Grace Vintage, which sells vintage cars, guitars plus has a cafe where coffee and pastries are served. (March 15, 2019)
This is Cielito, artisan ice pop store, in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood where you can customize your ice pop with a variety of toppings. (March 15, 2019)
Artisan ice pops at Cielito in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
This is my coconut ice pop at Cielito’s in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood with my choice of topping…a lathering of chocolate. (March 15, 2019)
I have to admit, I’m not much of a beach goer and the thing that intrigues me most about Miami’s South Beach, isn’t the beach, but it’s Art Deco architecture. This Art Deco landmark once named the Tiffany Hotel was built in 1939 but is now named The Hotel of South Beach between Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. (March 15, 2019)
Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach. (March 15, 2019)
Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach. (March 15, 2019)
A walk along Miami’s South Beach, in this case Ocean Drive, presents one with Art Deco architecture on one side and the beach on the other…while in between are scantily cloth young people parading the pedestrian street during Spring Break. (March 15, 2019)
Strolling along the iconic Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
Larios on the Beach is the Cuban food restaurant owned by Gloria & Emilio Estefan on Ocean Drive in Miami’s South Beach. (March 15, 2019)
Me, at the bar at Larios on the Beach, in Miami’s South Beach neighborhood, getting ready to enjoy a mojito, papas rellenos (fried potato ball with found beef in the center) and tostones rellenos (pounded plantains into a small shell, friend and filled with shredded beef.) (March 15, 2019)
My photo of a photo hanging on the wall of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s restaurant Larios on the Beach on Ocean Drive in Miami. The photo shows Cuban singer Celia Cruz (1925-2003) and Gloria Estefan enjoying a drink and a laugh together. (March 15, 2019)
A view of the late fashion designer Gianni Versace’s South Beach home in Miami ,Casa Casuarina, as seen from the rooftop pool and bar of The Hotel South Beach, formerly the Tiffany Hotel. (March 15, 2019)
The front or Ocean Drive view of Italian designer Gianni Versace’s home, Casa Casuarina, in Miami’s South Beach. The villa was built in 1930 and became Versace’s home from 1992 until his death in 1997, when he was shot and killed, at the age of 50, on the steps of his home. Since 2015, it has operated as a luxury hotel known as The Villa, Casa Casuarina. (March 15, 2019)
I spent my day, my birthday day, with this knowledgeable and lovely young woman as my Little Havana, Wynwood and South Beach guide…Zarelys Diaz from Urban Adventures. What I also learned is that Urban Adventures is an Intrepid Travel company and that Zarelys was a guide for their Cuba tours and now she’s a city guide in Miami. My Cuba tour, starting on Saturday, is with Intrepid Travel. This photo was taken at the Guantanamera House of Cigars on Calle Ocho in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood. (March 15, 2019)
The Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. This eclectic place is where I met my Urban Adventures guide for the day, Zarelys Diaz. (March 14, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)
Inside the Cubaocho Museum and Performing Art Center in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood is a place where art and the performing arts come together. (March 15, 2019)

I spent Saturday morning being introduced to Miami’s African and Caribbean culture found in the neighborhoods of Overtown, Little Haiti and the Coconut Grove Village West and of course Little Havana. It takes a village of people to truly build a community but oftentimes the histories and contributions of one group are omitted. But Miami is a melting pot, a fusion of races, cultures and religions that needed each other to grow and then wanted nothing more than to do with them and chose to flee or encroach. And, many chose to stay thus creating these pockets of cultural communities. 

It was another day where I enjoyed the company of a knowledgeable guide, Ivory, with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours and Stephanie who drove us to the various sites. I only wish I had more time to spend wondering through these diverse cultural communities, by the later afternoon, I was on a plane for Havana, Cuba. So, for now, welcome to a little taste of Overtown, Coconut Grove Village and Little Haiti.

Here I am doing my thing, photographing a historical marker on Charles Avenue in Coconut Grove, the first black community in South Florida, established in the late 1880s by Bahamians. I’m accompanies by a very knowledgeable guide, Ivory, with the Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami. Originally called Colored Town during the Jim Crow era of the late 19th through the mid-20th century, the area was once the preeminent and is the historic center for commerce in the black community in. The area experienced serious economic decline from the late 1950s. Issues ranging from urban renewal to the construction of interstate highways like I-95 (then, the North-South Expressway), the Dolphin Expressway and the Midtown Interchange in the 1960s, fragmented the-once thriving community with the resident population decimated by nearly 80 percent from roughly 50,000 to just over 10,000. (March 16, 2019: Photo credit goes to Stephanie with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami.)
Macedonia Baptist Church on Charles Avenue is the oldest black congregation in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. The church was established in 1895. Originally Charles Avenue was called Evangelist Street but it is a historic street in Coconut Grove and one of the oldest streets in South Florida. It was built in the 1880s by Bahamian settlers who worked for the first hotels in the area. Charles Avenue is lined with shotgun houses, churches, a cemetery and the Coconut Grove Playhouse. (March 16, 2019)
Across street from the Macedonia Baptist Church, off of Charles Avenue, in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood is the Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery formerly known as Coconut Grove Bahamian Cemetery, is a historic cemetery where many Bahamian settlers were buried. It was first used as a graveyard in the 1850s but the land wasn’t purchased until 1913 by a group of prominent black families. The above ground vaults, where many early black Bahamian families were buried, were common in the Caribbean where the water table was too high to bury the deceased underground.          (March 16, 2019)
The Charlotte Jane Memorial Park Cemetery in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood contains the remains of African-Bahamian settlers since the early 1900s. (March 16, 2019)
The home of Mariah Brown, one of the first African-Bahamian settlers to own land and build her home in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood, was born in 1851 in the Upper Bogue, Eleuthera, Bahamas and immigrated to the U.S. in 1880. Brown, a laundress for the Peacock Inn, purchased this plot of land for $50 and constructed her home in 1890 out of sturdy termite-resistant Dade County Pine. (March 16, 2019)
Mariah Brown’s house in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. (March 16, 2019)
The Ebenezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup House on Charles Street in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood is being refurbished by his family as a bed and breakfast. Stirrup, who was born in the Bahamas in 1873 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1888, first worked as a carpenter’s apprentice in Key West before moving his family to Coconut Grove also working as work as a chauffeur and a farm worker at industrialist James Deering’s magnificent winter estate, Villa Vizcaya. Believing homeownership led to people being better citizens, Stirrup built this home for himself in 1897 and would eventually build more than 100 shotgun homes for Africans to rent and later purchase as their first homes. Shotguns were two-room, long, straight, narrow house with doors on either end mimicking those found in the Bahamas, other parts of the Caribbean, and West Africa but made of sturdy termite-resistant Date County Pine. Over the years, Stirrup acquired vast amounts of land in Coconut Grove by working in exchange for land rather than pay and would eventually become Coconut Grove’s first black millionaire. (March 16, 2019)
The historical heritage marker for the E.W.F. Stirrup House in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood. (March 16, 2019)
That’s me and my knowledgeable Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours guide, Ivory, at Lummus Park in Miami talking about the Longhouse, built in the 1840s by enslaved Africans belonging to a South Carolina planter, Col. William F. English and the Wagner House (Not seen in this photo to the right). Photo credit goes to Stephanie with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami. (March 16, 2019)
The Longhouse Plantation at Lummus Park Historic District in Miami, according to Hidden History Miami, “was built in the 1840s by some of the one hundred enslaved Africans belonging to a South Carolina planter, Col. William F. English and it is the oldest preserved building in the County. In 1842 English obtained title of the 640 acre estate from his uncle William Fitzpatrick who had already been running a substantial slave plantation during the 1830’s. Col. William F. English’s Plantation houses stood, on the north bank of the Miami River very close to today’s Hyatt Regency and the Brickell bridge and they were the homestead buildings of a large plantation cultivating a 100 acres of sugar.” It wasn’t until 1925 that the Longhouse Plantation was apart stone-by-stone, and shipped less-than-a-mile up the river and to be reassembled at its current location in Miami’s downtown’s Lummus Park. (March 16, 2019)
The Wagner house at Lummus Park Historic District in Miami is according to Hidden History Miami, the oldest known house standing dating back to the mid 1850s. And, the Wagner family spans the pioneer era of Miami from the mid-1850s on through to the founding of Miami in 1896. “The Wagners were an interracial marriage. William was a first generation German immigrant and his wife Eveline was a dark skinned Creole thought to be from Haiti. The reason they had moved to Miami was, most likely, so they could live together openly,” according to Hidden History Miami. This house was moved to Lummus Park from its original location on Wagner Creek near today’s Culmer Metrorail Station. (March 16, 2019)
A mural in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. Overtown was established in 1896. Neighboring Wynwood and Design District have quickly become popular arts and culture havens with streets lined with galleries and commercial art storefronts so Overtown is just doing its part to let people know the difference between the two neighborhoods with their “Overtown Starts Here,” sign. (March 16, 2019)
Mural in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood. (March 16, 2019)
The Dana Albert Dorsey House in Overtown at 250 NW 9th Street was built in 1913 by one of Miami’s most prominent black businessmen and philanthropists. Dorsey (1872-1940) was the son of former slaves and the first child in his family not be born into slavery. He received only a 4th-grade formal education, teaching himself after that. (March 16, 2019)
Inside one of the rooms of the Dana Albert Dorsey house museum in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood is this statue of former President Barack Obama along with various Obama quotes. (March 16, 2019)
Also inside the President Obama statue room of the Dana Albert Dorsey house museum in Miami’s Overtown neighborhood is this over-sized copy of the president’s birth certificate. (March 16, 2019)
Inside the museum home of the Dana Albert Dorsey House in Miami’s Overtown. Dorsey, was one of the first black millionaires in the American South, he was the owner of the Negro Savings Bank, the first black-owned hotel in Miami his Dorsey Hotel and also once owned Fisher Island. Dorsey was a firm believer in education and he donated a large quantity of land for black schools. (March 16, 2019)
Me doing my note taking thing while Ivory, my Overtown, Coconut Grove Village and Little Haiti guide with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami fills me on more historical Overtown neighborhood information. I wish I could have spent more time touring these neighborhoods. The current Overtown Performing Arts Center on the corner behind us was once formerly known as the Ebenezer Methodist Church, built in 1947, and was one of the oldest congregations in Overtown. (Photo credit goes to Stephanie with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami. March 16, 2019)
The Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood is where Haitian exiles have come to call home. The area is characterized by its French–Creole designations, with its street life, restaurants, art galleries, dance, music, theatre performances, family owned enterprises, and other cultural activities.
And, as a historical side note: The Haitian Revolution which began in 1791 was an anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection by self-liberated slaves against French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue, now the sovereign nation of Haiti. It involved blacks, mulattoes, French, Spanish, and British participants—with the ex-slave Toussaint L’Ouverture emerging as Haiti’s most charismatic hero. It was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state which was both free from slavery, and ruled by non-whites and former captives. The revolution ended in 1804 with the former colony’s independence and is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of racism in the Atlantic World. The Haitian revolution caused a sugar shortage but more importantly, sparked a revolt of other countries including that of the Cuban Revolution. (March 16, 2019)
Me blending in with the colorful market mural at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami’s Little Haiti community. (March 16, 2019)
Me standing by the Memorial to those killed during the Haiti Earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010. The plants were brought in one at a time by various individuals and the plaque, written by Edwidge Danticat reads: “I once heard an elder say that we will all have three deaths: the one when our breath leaves our bodies to rejoin the air, the one where we are put back in the earth and the one that will erase us completely, when no one remembers us at all. Our eyes were witnesses. And now our hearts are your memorial. We will always remember you.” (Photo credit goes to Stephanie with Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours in Miami. March 16, 2019)
The Caribbean Market in Miami’s Little Haiti community is located next door to the Little Haiti Cultural Center. The Caribbean Marketplace was designed by Charles Harrison Pawley in the style of the typical Haitian gingerbread architecture. The colorful pastel buildings with funky cutout shapes are a great place to stop and peruse local Haitian goods. (March 16, 2019)
Inside the Caribbean Market in Miam’s Little Haiti community. (March 16, 2019)
A variety of items, including original art work is sold inside the Caribbean Marketplace in Miami’s Little Haiti community. (March 16, 2016)
My lunch, at the Haitian Cultural Arts Center in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood, just before darting off to Miami’s airport for my flight to Cuba is fried pork, fried plantain and rice and peas. (March 16, 2019)

Miami was my first stop on my travel birthday present to myself. From Miami, I spent 9-days in Cuba (check out my blog posts on Havana and the remainder of Cuba) and after that trip I came back to Miami and spent a day with my childhood friend Jeanette Johnson Grey. We had a fun time at Miami’s Bayside taking in a cruise on the Island Queen and enjoying music, dancing and mojitos at the MojitoBar at Bayside. We even got in an early dinner at Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. Restaurant after the 1994 Forrest Gump movie.

My childhood friend Jeanette Johnson Gray and I taking a selfie at Miami’s Bayside Marketplace just before boarding our Island Queen Cruise along Miami’s skyline while enjoying the homes of the rich and famous. (March 24, 2019)
The busy Bayside Marketplace in Miami. (March 24, 2019)
Views of the Miami shore from our Island Queen boat tour. (March 24, 2019)
Miami’s Fisher Island is considered to have the highest per capita income of any place in the United States. The island contains mansions, a hotel, several apartment buildings, an observatory, and a private marina. Boris Becker, Oprah Winfrey, and Mel Brooks are among the celebrities with homes on the island. (March 24, 2019)
Sunsetting over Miami from our Island Queen cruise ship. (March 24, 2019)