Black Florida | Black Miami
In 1959, "white" Cubans started emigrating to Miami on a massive scale and pushed aside the then thriving Black American and Bahamian communities, who many still remember had then built Miami. Black jobs and neighborhoods were taken over by the federally financed refugees while Blacks were relegated to the ghettos of Overtown, Liberty City, and Opa-Locka, among others. There should be a good reparations case for this ethnic cleansing that started only 60 years ago.
Cubans coming to Miami continued to be mostly of Ibero-Spanish origin until Mariel in 1980 and the balseros who followed. Even then, many Black Cubans blended in with Black Americans or moved to New Jersey and New York, rejected by their white Cuban counterparts. This was recently referenced in the Academy Award winning film, Moonlight: “Lotta black folks in Cuba but you wouldn’t know it from being here [in Miami].” (How Oscar Favorite ‘Moonlight’ Subtly Illuminates the Erasure of Miami’s Black Cubans 1/6/2017 Remezcla).
From the start of the Cuban invasion, the two wealthiest and most important Cuban American families, the Bacardis and the Fanjuls, who own Domino Sugar, funded terrorist groups such as Alpha 66 that attacked Cuba repeatedly and killed over 3,000 civilians. They form the exiled plantocracy, complete with their stable of politicians: the Diaz Balarts, Ileana Ross Lehtinen, Marco Rubio and their cohorts.
Throughout this process, many Black Americans were killed every year by Florida police, whose officers were increasingly Cuban Americans or Latinos.
In 1990, the Miami City Commission rescinded a proclamation welcoming Nelson Mandela to the city during his tour of the U.S. after his release from prison in South Africa. The city's Cuban-American mayor and four other Cuban-American mayors from the area publicly criticized Mandela for not denouncing human rights violations in Cuba. Of course they ignored the fact that Mandela was out of jail because of the Cuban victory in Southern Africa. The response from Black Miami, then 21% of Miami's 359,000 inhabitants, was swift: they declared a national boycott that cost Miami anywhere from $40 million to $3 billion in lost revenue and forced a settlement 3 years later.
As more and more balseros or raft people poured in from Cuba throughout the 90's, US intel agencies took notice that many were Black and sent out memos to their Cuban American client organizations to start integrating Black Cubans in a classic imperial divide and conquer approach. CIA agent Jose Basulto took the lead and trained his people in nonviolent protests at the Martin Luther King Institute (Invoking MLK and Rosa Parks in Cuban Exile Politics 5/30/2009). Having devastated Black Miami, the exiled Cuban plantocracy appropriated US Civil Rights icons in their struggle to regain influence over the now largely Black homeland. The exiles are using race as their main wedge issue to try and destabilize Cuba, and we have been tracking this since at least 2001.
These facts are not in dispute. The real question is why this whole process, especially the ethnic cleansing of Miami, has been so ignored, both in Cuba and the US, and what can be done about that.
-- Andy Petit
The White Man's Burden (1899)
Take up the White Man's burden,
Send forth the best ye breed
Go bind your sons to exile,
to serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild—
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
En 1959, muchos cubanos "blancos" comenzaron a emigrar a Miami y dejaron de
lado a las entonces prósperas comunidades afroamericanas y bahamianas, que se
acuerdan bien como habian construido Miami. Los negros y sus barrios fueron
asumidos por los refugiados financiados por el gobierno federal, mientras que
los negros fueron relegados a los guetos de Overtown, Liberty City y Opa-Locka, entre otros.
Debe haber un buen caso de reparaciones por esta limpieza étnica que comenzó hace sólo 60 años.
Los cubanos que vinieron a Miami siguieron siendo en gran parte de origen ibero-español hasta la onda de Mariel en 1980 y los balseros que siguieron. Incluso entonces, muchos cubanos negros se mezclaron con negros americanos o se mudaron a Nueva Jersey y Nueva York, rechazados por sus homólogos cubanos blancos. Esto fue recientemente mencionado en la película ganadora del Premio de la Academia, Moonlight: "Mucha gente negra en Cuba, pero no lo sabrías por estar aquí [en Miami]." (How Oscar Favorite ‘Moonlight’ Subtly Illuminates the Erasure of Miami’s Black Cubans 1/6/2017 Remezcla).
Desde el comienzo de la invasión cubana, las dos familias cubanoamericanas más ricas e importantes, los Bacardis y los Fanjuls, propietarios de Domino Sugar, financiaron grupos terroristas como Alpha 66 que atacaron a Cuba y mataron a más de 3.000 civiles. Ellos forman la plantocracia en el exilio, con su conjunto de políticos: los Diaz Balarts, Ileana Ross Lehtinen, Marco Rubio y sus cohortes.
A lo largo de este proceso, muchos estadounidenses negros fueron asesinados cada año por la policía de la Florida, cuyos oficiales eran cada vez más cubano-americanos o latinos.
En 1990, la Comisión de la Ciudad de Miami rescindió una proclama dando la bienvenida a Nelson Mandela a la ciudad durante su gira por los Estados Unidos después de su liberación de la prisión en Sudáfrica. El alcalde cubano-americano de Miami y otros cuatro alcaldes cubano-americanos de la zona criticaron públicamente a Mandela por no denunciar las violaciones de los derechos humanos en Cuba. Por supuesto, ignoraron el hecho de que Mandela estaba fuera de la cárcel debido a la victoria cubana en el sur de África. La respuesta de Black Miami, entonces el 21% de los 359.000 habitantes de Miami, fue rápida: declararon un boicot nacional que costó a Miami de $40 millones a $3 mil milliones en ingresos perdidos y obligó a un acuerdo 3 años después.
A medida que más y más balseros llegaban de Cuba a lo largo de los años 90, las agencias de inteligencia estadounidenses advirtieron que muchos eran negros y enviaron memorandos a sus organizaciones clientelares cubanas para comenzar a integrar a los cubanos negros en una clásica división imperial. El agente de la CIA, José Basulto, tomó la iniciativa y entrenó a su gente en protestas no violentas en el Instituto Martin Luther King (Invoking MLK and Rosa Parks in Cuban Exile Politics 5/30/2009). Después de haber devastado a Black Miami, la plantocracia cubana exiliada se apropió de los iconos de los Derechos Civiles de los Estados Unidos en su lucha por recuperar la influencia sobre su patria hoy en gran parte negra. Los exiliados están utilizando la raza como su principal problema para tratar de desestabilizar a Cuba, y hemos estado rastreando esto desde al menos 2001.
Estos hechos no están en disputa. La verdadera pregunta es por qué todo este proceso ha sido tan ignorado, tanto en Cuba como en los Estados Unidos, y qué se puede hacer al respecto.
-- Andy Petit
|Trailer 2 for The Black Miami, a documentary
by Dr. Marvin Dunn
‘People Power’ comes to Miami 3/15/2017 Miami Times: "O’Brien and her
friends — all Black females — were among thousands who jammed into the Watsco
Center at the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables for resistance
training, marking the beginning of a movement that the national American Civil
Liberties Union dubs “People Power.”"
The State of Black Broward: Starting the Conversation 3/9/2017 West Side Gazette: "Last week: “The dismal statistics presented at the recent “State of Black Broward” conference: only eight of the county’s 90 judges are Black; Black motorists are stopped 1.9 times more than whites for seat belt violations; median household income is $74,000 for whites and $43,000 for Blacks; the unemployment rate last year was 4.4 percent but nine percent for Blacks; and, of the more than 800 firefighters in Broward Sheriff’s Office Fire-Rescue, only 54 are Black. Combined with recent studies showing racial disparities in school suspensions and sentencing, there is but one conclusion: Broward has a race problem,” stated Clarence V. McKee, president, McKee Communications in an op-ed in the South Florida 100- Sun Sentinel Sunday March 5, 2017."
SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER GALLON SALUTES THE ARTS VIA RECOGNITION OF CURRENT MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS AND ALUMNI INVOLVED THE CRITICALLY-ACCLAIMED FILM ‘MOONLIGHT’ 1/25/2017 Blogging Black Miami: "Miami-Dade County School Board Member Dr. Steve Gallon III will present an agenda item and resolution at the Board’s upcoming monthly meeting recognizing several current and former students who were involved in the critically-acclaimed film, ‘Moonlight’ that chronicles the life of a young Black male from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in Miami’s renowned Liberty City neighborhood."
How Oscar Favorite ‘Moonlight’ Subtly Illuminates the Erasure of Miami’s Black Cubans 1/6/2017 Remezcla: “Lotta black folks in Cuba but you wouldn’t know it from being here [in Miami].” Juan is referring to the fact that black Cubans tend to be invisible in Miami, and in the United States in general, their voices and experiences drowned out by the very vocal and largely white, anti-communist exile community."
BMe Community Giving Away Over A Quarter Million Dollars to Black Men Doing Positive Works in the Community 1/3/2017 Blogging Black Miami: "BMe Community wants to reward unsung "Black Men's Genius" in Miami. From now until February 21, black men who share their remarkable stories of creating opportunities for others will have a chance to become BMe Leaders."
IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company to Expand Annual Festival with Prestigious 2016 Knight Arts Challenge Grant 12/17/2016 Blogging Black Miami: "IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Company, Miami’s premier Afro-Cuban cultural organization, has been awarded a prestigious 2016 Knight Arts Challenge grant in the amount of $20,000 to expand its one-of-a-kind annual Afro-Cuban dance festival. IFE-ILE is a two-time winner of the Knight Arts Challenge."
Making America Great Again? Miami homeowner refuses to remove racially-offensive Halloween display 10/31/2016 Blogging Black Miami: "A Halloween display of a mock hanging of two men in the gated Miami community of Three Lakes has caused quite a bit of controversy. A Trump-Pence campaign yard sign is also near the hanging dark-hued dummies dressed in urban-themed clothing. The yard sign is actually in the adjoining yard of a neighbor and exacerbates an already racially-sensitive situation. Donald Trump has encouraged violence against protestors at his presidential campaign rallies and his campaign is closely associated with white nationalists."
Dummies Lynched Next to a Trump Sign for Halloween in Kendall UPDATED 10/28/2016 Miami New Times: "Donald Trump and his campaign have repeatedly denied that their dog-whistle politics have enabled white supremacists, racists, or anti-Semites. Trump's supporters — especially the Republican politicians who support him — have found convenient ways to dance around the fact that some portion of Trump's base is, by all indications, motivated by racial hatred."
In 'Moonlight,' Growing Up Black, Gay And Poor In 1980s Miami 10/18/2016 NPR: "And he was struck by the ways in which the men in the story interact, "the gentleness and the kindness of the character Juan. And knowing that he was based on something in reality," says Jenkins. "When I jogged my memory, I thought back on growing up in the village, there were these men who would every now and then just go out of their way to be like, naw, naw, naw, don't do that. Leave that guy alone, or this or that. The men give each other dap, you know?"
Miami-Set ‘Moonlight’ is a Heartwrenching Exploration of Gay Black Masculinity With Echoes of Cuba 9/30/2016 Remezcla: "As he teaches Little about life, we learn that Juan is of Cuban descent – an Afro-Cuban character at the heart of a film concerned with what it means to a black man.'
Miami shooting: Man shot by cops was lying down with hands up, lawyer says 7/21/2016 CNN: ""I'm like, 'Sir, why did you shoot me?'" Kinsey said he asked the officer. "He said to me, 'I don't know.'""
Cop Kills Civilian During Act of Road Rage — Officer Not Arrested, Gets Vacation Instead 6/20/2016 Free Though Project: "A 22-year-old man was shot dead in Palm Bay, Florida, by an off-duty Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy in a fit of uncontrolled road rage late Sunday morning, marking the latest in incidents involving police coming unhinged and targeting civilians. Deputy Yousef Hafza, a veteran cop with 11 years in law enforcement, shot Clarence Mahogany X. Howard in an apparent case of road rage, though details about what took place remain murky, unnamed investigators told local ABC affiliate, WFTV 9."
Clarence Mahogany X Howard, 22 6/19/2016 EBWiki: "The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating after an off-duty Brevard County Sheriff's Office deputy fatally shot a 22-year-old man in an apparent road rage incident in the area of Emerson Drive and St. John's Heritage Parkway in Palm Bay."
Casi 60 arrestos en el primer día del festival urbano de Miami Beach 5/29/2016 Cibercuba: "No obstante, la Policía de Miami Beach percibe que hasta el momento esta fiesta espontánea que se inició el viernes y atrae a miles de personas a las calles de Miami Beach, en su mayoría afroamericanos, transcurre con normalidad y sin mayores incidentes."
On Memorial Day Weekend in Miami Beach, Black Tourists Are Second-Class Citizens 5/24/2016 Miami New Times: "The goal seems to be to rob African-Americans blind, lock up as many of them as possible, and occasionally use some for police target practice. (Remember the 2011 killing of Raymond Herisse, in which 12 officers fired more than a hundred rounds, four others were wounded, and no one was charged?) If Memorial Day weekend were treated like a convention coming to town, Miami Beach would get hotels to block off rooms and give visitors discounted rates. The city, the county, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, and commercial airlines would kick in money to help support the event. Government officials would work with the event promoters to provide comped rooms to celebrity entertainers and comped ballrooms for panels and events. Meanwhile, in cities like New Orleans and Toronto, government officials are rolling out the red carpet for events that cater to a predominantly black clientele."
The McDuffie Riots 5/11/2016 Miami Times: "“If the jury was half Black and half white would there have been a riot?” Dunn asked the room at HistoryMiami museum last week. “It was the most difficult thing I have seen in 75 years. It was worse than the 1926 hurricane. The hurricane damaged property. This damaged souls.”"
Focus on the harsh realities of black Miami 4/13/2016 Miami Herald: "It is my hope that a coalition of willing parties is prepared to join us. If you want to be apprised of the details, I would invite you to review the expected video of the proceedings on my office’s web page and visit http://www.stateofblackmiami.org/ for updates."
State of Black Miami Forum delivers solutions for economic challenges 4/7/2016 Bizjournals: "At a time when South Florida’s economy is growing with new jobs and steadily higher incomes, a large segment of the black community has not shared in those benefits."
16-Year-Old Suicidal Teen with Toy Gun Killed by Florida Police 3/23/2016 Atlanta Black Star: "A Black teen was killed Sunday night in Florida after calling police to say he was going to commit suicide. It took one hour for police to show up, and they shot and killed Robert Dentmond in front of his apartment building. Nine Gainesville Police Department officers and Alachua County Sheriff’s deputies shot at the 16-year-old in the parking lot, where bullets flew through the building and affected residents there, according to Fusion."
Black Miami police officers protest Beyoncé boycott 2/20/2016 ABC: "Do whatever is necessary" to put a stop to Ortiz's "antics" and "long pattern of irresponsible behavior," as he continues to portray African-Americans "in a negative light with thinly veiled racist overtones," Moore said in the letter."
#BlackLivesMatter ignores us, some mothers say 2/2/2016 Miami Times: "Marvin Dunn, a retired Florida International University psychology professor, understands that sentiment. He said other Black men cause more killings of young Black men, even though the police involved shootings trigger the large-scale protests that capture public attention. “I agree with these mothers. Far more Black lives are taken by other Blacks than are taken by the police,” Dunn said. “The tragedies of police shootings of Blacks is indeed a critical issue, but Black on Black violence is a far more serious problem. “If we want Black lives to matter to the police, they must matter even more to us.”
Tipping a Hat to H.T. Smith, a Rebel with a Cause, at the Gay8 Festival 1/13/2016 Miami Herald: "H.T. Smith is no stranger to discrimination. His long career of service has had him chair the Coalition for a Free South Africa — leading the charge to convince local governments and universities not to do business with companies that did business with apartheid South Africa — head a tourism boycott against Miami after local officials snubbed Nelson Mandela during his historic visit; champion the amendment that explicitly gives women and people born outside the U.S. equal legal protection; and co-chair the Miami-Dade Say No to Discrimination referendum, fighting for equal rights for all people regardless of their sexual orientation."
A Breakdown of the 71 People Killed by Police in Florida in 2015 1/7/2016 Miami New Times: "There are some notable findings for Miami-Dade: The county had by far the most police-involved deaths, with 15 last year. The county with the next highest number was Jacksonville, with just six. The Miami-Dade Police Department led the state in deaths, with seven tied to department officers, while the City of Miami was third, with three."
Black in Time: Neighborhood historic sites on hallowed grounds 1/6/2016 Miami Herald: "If you wish to learn about local history, explore the community on a self-guided tour. Begin with the sites below."
Why Angela Davis Came to Miami 12/23/2015 Observer: "That a famous Communist and vocal supporter of the Cuban Revolution was coming to Miami, a city not only defined by neoliberal excess, but also ruled by anti-Castro Cuban exiles, was in itself a spectacle to behold."
The Ocoee Massacre 11/5/2015 Weekly Challenger: "The siege of Ocoee claimed numerous African-American victims. Langmaid, an African-American carpenter was beaten and castrated. One mother, named Maggie Genlack, died with her pregnant daughter while hiding in her home, their bodies found partially burned under their home. Roosevelt Barton, an African-American hiding in July Perry’s barn, was shot after the mob set fire to the barn and forced him to flee. Hattie Smith was visiting her pregnant sister-in-law in Ocoee when her sister-in-law’s home was set on fire. Smith fled, but her sister-in-law’s family was killed while they hid and waited for help that would never come."
South Florida Black-owned media companies team up to address advertisers 10/29/2015 West Side Gazette: "For the first time, all of the top Black-owned media companies in South Florida have joined forces to show a united front and to prove to advertisers that doing business with them is more than worth it. The group members, nine media organizations, named themselves the Black Owned Media Alliance (BOMA) and put on their first symposium as a way to educate media buyers and advertisers. It was the first in a series of planned educational outreach in an attempt to get the respect shown to even smaller media companies that are non-Black."
Historic Boycott Miami forced long-overdue changes, proved the power of the black community 7/16/2015 Miami Herald: "Improvements for the African-American community directly and indirectly attributable to the boycott were both numerous and notable: court-ordered single-member districts for better representation of minorities, the creation of the Visitor Industry Council to expand African-American participation in the county's tourism industry, scholarships for black students to attend Florida International University's hospitality program, an investigation of Haitian protesters' treatment by police during a rally in July 1990, and the establishment of a black-owned, convention-quality hotel in the Miami Beach area." [No critical discussion here. The hotel was sold for 127 MM, how did that benefit the community?]
Overtown Rising: Gentrification and the Fight to Thrive 7/8/2015 Dream Defenders: "Enter: Overtown. A neighborhood once home to some of the most well-to-do black folks and businesses in the country. Today it has vastly changed from the historic place it once was. Homelessness, drugs, dilapidated housing, poor schools, and increased crime have taken over with many to blame: the dirty politicians who only worry about themselves, the federal housing policies that target vulnerable communities of color, and the local residents who have been misinformed."
Fla. Prosecutors Drop More Than 36 Cases Linked to Racist Cops 4/11/2015 The Root: "The Broward County State Attorney’s Office has abandoned more than three dozen criminal cases connected to four former Fort Lauderdale police officers entangled in a racism scandal."
Post-racial Miami: Black federal judge mistaken for "the Help" by white political candidate 4/6/2015 Blogging Black Miami: "Surely Bay Harbor Islands Town Council candidate Ken Eskin wishes he’d never ever uttered the words “What family do you work for?” when he encountered Marcia Cooke in the condo parking lot, as she placed items in her car and he distributed campaign materials. Eskin, who is white, assumed Cooke, who is black, was the help. Cooke has lived in the area for twenty years and has been a federal judge for 11 years. "
Black Cubans: Restoring US Ties Is Cool, but America, Keep Your Hang-Ups About Race at Bay 1/21/2015 The Root: "Elia Espuet: Yes—I’m inclined to believe that as relations with Cuba and the United States go forward, the rich white Cubans will marginalize the black Cubans on the island. Unfortunately, I don’t see things becoming better for black Cubans."
Study: White Floridians Are Pretty Racist 12/10/2014 Miami New Times: "Florida scored a 0.436 (1 would represent totally racist, 0 would be totally not racist). Granted, that's slightly less racist than the stretch of deep south state from Louisiana to South Carolina just above us, but its nothing to be proud of. We're more racist than Texas! "
Anniversary recalls Congo rescue by Miami Cubans 11/15/2014 Miami Herald: "Fifty years ago, a group of Cuban exiles working for the CIA rescued American hostages amid fierce firefights in the Congo. Sunday, some of the surviving warriors and hostages will reunite in Miami."
Q&A with Eric Knowles, president of the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce 8/10/2014 Miami Herald: "A new building, a master plan for the county’s urban core, and making the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce relevant to young black professionals are among the goals of G. Eric Knowles, who now leads the Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce."
Black Miami – The History You Never Learned 3/9/2014 World or Bust: "I decided to write this post as many people in Miami (or elsewhere) have no idea how the Magic City came about, especially in regards to its black populations who were the real catalysts for settlement and growth."
The Decline of Cuban Power in Miami 2/27/2014 Miami New Times: "If you don't know that, you don't know where you're living." Miami is where it is today, he added, "because of the Cubans who came here." Those comments prompted this response from Commissioner Dennis Moss: "That's part of what's wrong with Miami-Dade County. We're not about fairness. We're about power and money." Moss also noted, "Black folks built this community. To simply say that, well, Latins came to this town and all of a sudden this town is what it is — I resent that. My ancestors were helping build this county while other people were other places."
MLK Day celebration features history author 1/24/2014 Suncoast News: "The headliner was Marvin Dunn of Miami, whose book “The Beast in Florida: a History of Anti-Black Violence” is going for more than $100 on eBay and Amazon. The book, published in the spring of 2013 by the University Press of Florida, only had one printing, so copies are hard to come by. Dunn stayed afterward to sign those brought to the event."
How Miami's Shrewd Black Leadership Turned The Mandela Snub To Local Advantage 12/5/2013 WLRN: ""South Florida, meanwhile, was getting some hard facts about its tourism industry. Basically, it was discovering that while black travelers and conventions were a mainstay of Miami tourism, the industry had few ownership, management or even employment opportunities for African-Americans. 'We needed something to get national support. We were looking for something to ignite a movement.' Twenty percent of the conventions that had come to Miami the year before Mandela arrived were black, recalls H. T. Smith, a lawyer with deep Miami roots. It was a market segment worth hundreds of millions of dollars and local blacks couldn't even get hired as waiters or bartenders, he said."
Afro Cuban Relations with Florida 11/16/2013 Havana Times: "Can anyone imagine Jazz, professional baseball, Latin American and Caribbean literature, without Afro American and Afro Cuban close collaboration?"
The Black Miami: Black Influence in South Florida from the 1800s to the '80s Riots 5/24/2012 Miami New Times: "Carlton Smith: I met another producer, Michael Williams, through work, and we had talked about doing side projects together -- particularly, we wanted to do a documentary. He had been reading this book, Black Miami in the 20th Century, and he said it would make a really great documentary. I read the book myself, at which point we decided to take it on as a documentary project. We called the author of the book, Dr. Dunn, who lives in Florida and is a retired professor from FIU. We said that if he was on board, we would definitely do it. He joined us as an interviewee and an associate producer, which was a win-win."
The Black Miami: Black Influence in South Florida from the 1800s to the '80s Riots 5/24/2012 Miami New Times: "That's why the new documentary The Black Miami has piqued our interest. Based on Dr. Marvin Dunn's book, Black Miami in the 20th Century, the film describes the history and significance of blacks in South Florida. Regardless of your background, you're sure to be captivated by the stories of The Black Miami, many of which you've likely never heard."
Parsing the Memorial Day shooting in South Beach 6/5/2011 Beached Miami: "They do not report where they found the gun — on the “floorboard behind driver’s seat,” according to David Smiley, the Herald reporter covering the story — until Saturday afternoon. The delay here is odd since a lot of people immediately speculated that the police had fired more than 100 rounds at an unarmed black man, and this speculation reportedly worried the Head Honcho. In one of his articles, Smiley said Miami Beach Police Chief Carlos Noriega was “concerned about the publicity surrounding the shooting” and that he “called the gun’s discovery ‘great news.’”
Miami's Spate of Cop Shootings of Black Men 3/25/2011 Color Lines: "The black men were all killed by Latino police officers, the New York Times reported."
Miami's Continuing Color Problem 12/14/2010 The Root: "There were too many police shootings of unarmed black men in Miami for my taste, and in the prior decade, one of the most notorious police shootings had led to violent riots. There was not a visible black middle-class community, although middle-class blacks were scattered about, but there were plenty of visibly poor and badly deteriorated black neighborhoods. African Americans were mostly politically marginalized and had even less economic power. Cuban Americans -- many of them fair-skinned "white" conservative Republicans, uninterested in power sharing -- were politically ascendant. (Afro-Cubans and other Afro-Latinos, for the most part, blended into the African-American community.) Non-Hispanic white residents were fleeing Dade County and heading to whiter suburbs in northern counties."
Miami Shootings Stoke Racial Tensions 8/30/2010 NPR Jacksonville FL: "Since July, the city of Miami has experienced four fatal police shootings of African-American men. While law enforcement has defended the shootings, community activists question what they say is the excessive use of lethal force. Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito says the four incidents, while unfortunate, do not represent an significant uptick in police shootings."
Inner-City Garden Plants New Hope in Miami Neighborhood 3/9/2010 VOA: "As a university professor in Miami, Florida, Marvin Dunn launched an inner-city garden to give his students an outlet for volunteer activity. Now his vision has grown into a year-round urban farm that produces scores of vegetables and fruits. Marvin Dunn grew up in Overtown, a historical black neighborhood in Miami. He knows it once saw brighter days. "Overtown was a popular, healthy, wonderful place to live," said Marvin Dunn. "There was no unemployment here. And then over the years the community declined."
Only in Miami: Omara Portuondo Compared to the Ku Klux Klan 2/13/2010 Cuba Now: 'It seems that Mr. Prieres’ “school of thinking” does not admit that a Cuban figure as Omara Portuondo can freely sing in the United States. I guess that Mr. Prieres’ “environment” excludes the over 11 million Cubans living on the island. It seems to be an institution of poor education and thinking. According to Miami New Times magazine, the organization Vigilia Mambisa declared that Omara “is accomplice of the regime,” and anti-Cuban activist Emilio Izquierdo Jr. made this incredible comparison: “Brinign Omara Portuondo to Miami is like taking the Ku Klux Klan to Liberty City”. Perhaps Izquierdo does not know, or means nothing for him, but the Ku Klux Klan is a racist, terrorist organization founded in the US to kill, torture, or intimidate black, Jewish or other groups, including Catholics, peace activists, and unionists. Omara Portuondo is a Cuban woman of mixed race with unique voice and international prestige resulting from her huge talent. Comparing her to the Ku Klux Klan is like comparing Luis Posada Carriles to Bola de Nieve."
Apartheid protesters got it right 9/20/2009 Miami Herald: [Another fine example of the Miami Mafia debasing imagery from the Black struggle.]
Invoking MLK and Rosa Parks in Cuban Exile Politics 5/30/2009 AfroCubaWeb: "The Miami Mafia has supported Antúnez' struggle, as have Ibero Spanish politicians in countries such as Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Argentina, as well as the Pope, who asked for his release when he was incarcerated. Antúnez has been adopted by the Miami based Directorio Democrático Cubano (DDC), which is supported by USAID and NED - they provided 89% of its budget in 2002. The 3 leaders of the Directorio are Javier de Céspedes, Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, and his wife Janisset Rivero Gutiérrez, who according to the Cuban press are veterans of numerous terrorist and far right campaigns against Cuba. Gutiérrez was a leader of the terrorist/freedom fighter group Organización para la Liberación de Cuba and a supporter of the death squad related ARENA in El Salvador."
Black Vs. White - Miami Remains The Same 5/27/2009 Miami New Times: "As much as I hate it when politicians play the race card when they are facing possible criminal charges, I can't just dismiss it either in the case of Spence-Jones. After all, Sarnoff is the city's only Anglo commissioner and Arriola is one of the most prominent Anglo Cuban Americans in Miami. Together they initiated a criminal probe into the city's only black, and only female, commissioner."
Police arrests Miami students for peaceful protest 3/7/2008 Party for Socialism and Liberation: "Miami Edison High School is 90 percent Black—a high percentage of students are Haitian and Haitian-American—and 9 percent Latino. Sixty percent of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch, attesting to the student body’s primarily working class background."
Miami students protest police invasion of their school 3/5/2008 SF Bay View: "Monday morning 300 students boycotted attending Miami's Edison Senior High, the first school day after police brutally beat and arrested masses of students on Friday. The mostly Black and largely Haitian-American youth are organizing to demand the arrest of Assistant Principal Perez for assault on a student, the dropping of all charges against the students arrested Friday, no retaliation against students and the institution of restorative justice as a problem solving model, instead of arresting more young people in the future. This level of organizing is unprecedented and deserves community support."
Students Protest and Police Riot- Edison Sr. High School 2/29/2008 Take Back the Land: "The mostly black and largely Haitian-American Miami Edison students organized a protest this morning at the school courtyard. According to all accounts, the protest was peaceful, possibly including civil disobedience (Miami Herald: "The incident apparently began as a peaceful protest, according to a teacher inside the school, but got out of hand." CBS4: "The student said police were called to the school to respond to the protest, and when students objected a scuffle broke out, escalating quickly into an all out fight between students and officers."). Police were called in to break up the protest and when the students refused- exercising their right to protest- school and city of Miami police attacked them and the students defended themselves against attacks by police."
Miami Protesters Say: Jail Killer Cops!” 12/1/2007 Socialist Action: "Rage over the deaths of four unarmed Black men by Miami cops over a 19-day period has sparked angry protests against police brutality. The rash of deaths began on Oct. 25 when a young Haitian man, Gracia "BG" Beaugris, was shot three times while walking home with his father's laundry. While Miami officials promise an investigation, the state attorney's office has not convicted a single cop involved in the death of an African American in 20 years, despite many such cases. No indictments in the recent deaths have been filed."
The Arthur McDuffie Riots of 1980 8/12/2007 Miami Beach 411: "The Miami race riots (also known as the Arthur McDuffie Riots) of May 1980 were the first major race riots after the end of the civil rights movement. The Miami Black community, long abused and neglected by civic leaders who, among other things, placed I-95 straight through the cultural center of their neighborhoods, was getting angrier by the day. Recently arrived Latin and Haitian immigrants were taking jobs and social benefits that had traditionally belonged to Blacks. Cuban refugees wielding money and power were beginning to take control of the city, and as such were awarding minority contracts and jobs to Cubans instead of African-Americans. This, combined with the continuous poverty and degradation of their neighborhoods, had Miami’s Black community ready to snap."
Exiled Cuban Pilots Remember the Congo War 7/29/2007 NBC: "More than one hundred pilots did tours with the secret air force. Most were recruited in Miami, and despite being bitter about the defeat at the Bay of Pigs, the CIA was able to find plenty of exile pilots willing to take another shot at Fidel Castro. This time they won."
Miami’s Royal Palm Sells For $127.5m 2/1/2005 Black Enterprise: "The Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort, a black-owned luxury Miami hotel, is changing hands now that developer R. Donahue Peebles has agreed to sell it to The Falor Co. for $127.5 million. Peebles stands to make a hefty profit, as he reportedly spent $84 million to acquire the 417-room, oceanfront resort, which opened in 2002. His company, Peebles Atlantic Development Corp. (No. 42 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/ SERVICE 100 list with $82 million in sales), was named the BLACK ENTERPRISE Company of the Year in 2004. Peebles’ acquisition of the Royal Palm was a high-profile venture because its sale to an African American developer was a concession by Miami Beach to end a three-year tourism boycott." [Sold to a white developer.]
Questions over felon `purge list' threaten Florida governor 7/4/2004 Knight Ridder: "As thousands of Floridians learn that a state list could wrongly bar them from voting, Democrats have found a rallying point for the November elections and proof, they say, of long-held suspicions that Gov. Jeb Bush's elections machinery is rigged against them. More than 2,100 people, many of them black Democrats, remain on the list of potentially ineligible ex-con voters despite winning clemency - and the right to vote - after their crimes, The Miami Herald reported Friday. Democrats and activists call it a "purge list" - a phrase that deeply irks the governor."
Miami Mayor to Apologize for 'Mandela Moment' 7/12/2003 Fox News: "Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas (search) said Monday he would make an official apology to former South African president Nelson Mandela (search) next week. "If Mandela were in Miami today, I think he would receive an official welcome." Penelas said. Thirteen years ago, that was not the case. In June 1990, Miami's politically powerful Cuban exile community protested a visit by Mandela, newly released from a South African prison, for his praise of Fidel Castro (search), arch-enemy of Cuban exiles but friend of the anti-apartheid movement. Despite pleas by local African-American leaders, the cities of Miami and Miami Beach, along with Miami-Dade Country, refused to recognize Mandela when he visited the area for a labor conference. The Miami City Commission rescinded a proclamation honoring Mandela. Tourists angry at the Mandela snub launched a boycott that cost the city $25 million in lost revenue. Business leaders helped end the boycott in 1993, but tensions continued in the 1990s between blacks and Cubans after several incidents where Miami police roughed up Haitians."
Trial to begin for 11 Miami officers 1/6/2003 Boston Globe: "Based on information from two retired officers who pleaded guilty to conspiracy in September 2001, 11 other officers were indicted on federal corruption charges alleging coverups in four police shootings in which three men were killed… ''The history of Miami has been characterized by ugly police-community relations,'' said Howard Simon, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. ''There is a loss of confidence, if not outright hostility, by the minority community because of the great number of shootings of typically unarmed black young men.'' …The four Miami shootings involved the killings of three black men. A fourth man was wounded, and another man involved in the shooting was not harmed."
Miami Beach: Black-owned hotel ends boycott, begins hope 5/18/2002 Houston Chronicle: "The former Washington resident, who built his business developing commercial office space, swooped into Miami Beach in 1996, bought a dilapidated hotel and won a municipal bid to build another in an adjacent oceanfront lot. The venture was at the center of a settlement between activists, city officials and lodging executives ending a three-year black tourism boycott of South Florida. It cast Peebles as the nation's first African-American to develop and own a major convention-resort hotel… The hotel will be able to draw a good chunk of the black tourism market, worth $36 billion last year, according to industry watchers. It is sold out for Memorial Day weekend, booked the Black Film Festival in June and an NAACP conference next year, marketing director Velton Showell said."
Afro-Cuban Delegation Meets With Congressional Black Caucus 8/1/2001 CNS News: "A delegation of Afro-Cubans, four from the Miami area and two from the Washington, D.C. area, spent Tuesday on Capitol Hill meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, hoping to convince them that Fidel Castro is bad for Cuba and should improve his human rights record there. Omar Lopez Montenegro of the Cuban Civic National Union was among the delegation. He was told by the Castro government to leave Cuba several years ago and has lived in the United States ever since."
Black, Cuban Racial Chasm Splits Miami 3/23/1997 LA Times: "We are very much on edge here, and it's getting worse because of the constant elimination of African Americans from jobs and political offices," warned Nathaniel J. Wilcox, executive director of a civil rights group called People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, or PULSE. "They are becoming the oppressor."
Miami Police Officer Is Acquitted In Racially Charged Slaying Case 5/29/1993 NYT: "In a decision met with anger and dismay among blacks in Miami, a Hispanic police officer who was convicted there in 1989 on two counts of manslaughter in the shooting deaths of two young black men was acquitted today in a second trial on the same charges. William Lozano, the 33-year-old, Colombian-born police officer who has been the focal point of the most racially charged case in Florida in the last decade, threw his arms up in joy and embraced his lawyers when the verdict was announced late this afternoon. But relatives of the men he killed broke into tears and left the courtroom of Judge W. Thomas Spencer, saying they were at a loss to explain the decision of the six-member jury."
Miami Journal; Boycott Over Visit Of Mandela Lives On 7/13/1991 NYT: "The City Commission rescinded a proclamation welcoming Mr. Mandela, and Mayor Xavier Suarez and four other mayors from the region openly criticized Mr. Mandela for not denouncing human rights violations in Cuba. Miami's blacks, who make up about 21 percent of the city's 359,000 residents, took that as a snub of royal proportions, an insult added to decades of economic, social and political injury. In response, on July 17, 1990, a small group of the city's black leaders began an economic boycott against the tourism industry, arguably the region's most important business. Now almost a year old, the boycott continues, and organizers recently declared their intention to turn up the heat a bit by sending out videotaped messages highly critical of Miami to organizations around the country likely to hold conventions or refer people to the area. The videos will urge them to keep their convention and vacation business away. Giant cruise ships still glide silently through Biscayne Bay and rental cars still seem to take up more than two-thirds of every parking lot, but the boycott has taken its toll. A spokesman for the boycott group, H. T. Smith, a lawyer, estimated that the campaign has cost the area $27 million in convention business. Officials from the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau estimate that of more than $200 million in convention business annually, about 19 conventions or meetings worth about $8 million have been canceled." [The real number was likely far higher.]
Police Killings in Florida
The 1923 Rosewood Massacre
South Florida Black Journalists Association
Visit Florida Where to Learn About Florida's Black History
History of Florida/Modern Florida, 1900-1945, WikiBooks
Dr Marvin Dunn, historian, organizer
Black History In Early Miami
History of Overtown
Look Back at Miami’s Vibrant African American and Caribbean Heritage, Miami and Beaches
Black Archives, Miami
The Bahamian Influence on the South Florida Shotgun House, Kisla Foundation
"If the family represents the soul of the community, then the house is the soul's vessel. In West African culture, religious rituals made clear the belief that the traditional clay artifact – the home – contained the soul of the ancestors. In many ways, the simple nature of the shotgun houses – long, straight and narrow – found in Miami and other southern cities, affirms the lives of intimacy that the Bahamian builders' West African ancestors led. The structure of the shotgun house is illustrative of cultures where concepts of personal space suggest a closeness among family members that was uncommon in Western societies."
Miami, 1959 - 1980, USC
Miami History, Soul of America
"The federal government designated Miami to be the point of embarkation and assistance for Cuban immigrants. To use a chess metaphor it was a “Queen” in the Cold War Cuba Policy directed at Russia. Towards America’s Cold War objective, the U.S. government awarded 50 times the amount of business loans and grants to immigrant Cuban businesspersons than to black Miamians in the 1960s. The federal government also persuaded Miami, Dade County and Florida officials to award public service jobs and more home loans to Cuban immigrants. As a result, U.S. government leaders could parade successful Cuban immigrants to Latin America as an example that Democratic-Capitalism works better than Communist-Dictatorship.
Anglo-Americans could own businesses and live anywhere in South Florida. Like the rest of America, many chose new suburban communities with larger homes, new malls and jobs nearby. New freeways to suburban communities were built. The first purpose of the Interstate Highway System was to easily transport military equipment and forces nationwide, so extending I-95 Freeway to Miami was a top priority. Given the unprecedented geo-political-racial-transportation climate, swift policy decisions with bad unintended consequences were inevitable.
Since Black Miami was a Pawn on the chessboard of Cold War Cuba Policy, federal and state governments permitted construction of a major freeway interchange in the heart of economically stable Overtown. The freeway interchange had a dagger-like effect on the black community. With only historic churches remaining as anchors, Overtown became a worn-out husk of its former self. Middleclass residents moved from Overtown to Broward County, points north or out of state. City officials offered the poorest Overtown residents opportunity for public housing in Liberty City. As a unincorporated district without a tax base or political power, despair in the concentrated poverty of Liberty City was palpable.
The federal, state and city government did not develop a comprehensive plan to preserve & enhance black businesses and middleclass homes in and adjacent to Overtown concurrent with Cuban Immigrant assistance. When urbanologists and historians look back on 1959-1990 Miami, they can easily document how Cold War Cuba Policy destabilized Miami’s black community."
A Timeline: Black History in the Miami Valley 1798 to 2001, Dayton Daily News
Orlando Minority Media Outlets
Central Florida Black Journailst Association
Cuba and Florida
The US, the Exiled Plantocracy, and Race
Cuba's Plantocracy: Cuban American business and terrorism
Questions about Black Cubans in Miami, City-data.com
Ife-Ile Afro-Cuban Dance Company, Miami
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