Blacks in South Florida

Lean more about Black History in South Florida by reading articles from past issues of museum publications. A few of the links will take you to articles in the Florida Historical Quarterly, the journal of the Florida Historical Society.

Selections are organized by Black Crossroads exhibition theme:

  • Black Freedom in Florida, 1700-1865
  • Communities
  • Labor
  • Struggles
  • Traditions


For Black History Month, we have placed a selection of photographs online.

Browse photos


Black Freedom in Florida, 1700-1865

Colonel Thompson’s Tour of Tropical Florida

by George R. Bentley
Tequesta, no. X (1950)
Colonel George F. Thompson toured peninsular Florida in 1865, to identify land on which to settle recently freed African Americans. William H. Gleason accompanyed him, and soon thereafter moved to Dade County.

Richard Fitzpatrick’s South Florida, 1822-1840, Part II: Fitzpatrick’s Miami River Plantation

by Hugo L. Black, III
Tequesta, number XLI (1981)
Biography of Richard Fitzpatrick, beginning in 1829. Topics include a description of his plantation on the Miami River, which was built by enslaved Africans.

Sugar along the Manatee: Major Robert Gamble, Jr. and the Development of Gamble Plantation

by Michael G. Schene
Tequesta, number XLI (1981)
Gamble operated a sugarcane plantation, on the Manatee River near present-day Bradenton, 1844-1858. Includes a description of sugarcane growing, sugar manufacture, and the use of enslaved Africans.



Liberty Square, 1933-1987: The Origins and Evolution of a Public Housing Project

by Paul S. George and Thomas K. Peterson
Tequesta, number XLVIII (1988)
History of Liberty Square, built in the 1930s for Miami's low-income African-Americans, and of the changing demographics of people living there. Florida's first housing project, built by the federal Public Works Administration (PWA).

Reflections on Black History: Coconut Grove 1880-1903

by Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Update, vol. 3, no. 2 (December 1975)

South Dade's Black Pioneers

by Jean C. Taylor
Update, vol. 3, no. 5 (June 1976)



Dr. William B. Sawyer of Colored Town

by Dr. Roderick Waters
Tequesta, number LVII (1997)
Biography of physician William B. Sawyer, who lived in present-day Overtown. Topics include medical care of Blacks, the Mary Elizabeth Hotel, Virginia Key Beach and the Orange Blossom Classic.

“The Industrial Reporter”—Miami’s Early Black Newspaper

by Dorothy Fields
Update, vol. 3, no. 6 (August 1976)

Reflections on Local Black History: Stevedores

by Dorothy J. Fields
Update, vol. 2, no. 5 (June 1975)

Reflections on Black History: World War I

by Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Update, vol. 3, no. 1 (October 1975)
African Americans during World War

Reflections on Black History: Miami’s First Newspaper

by Dorothy Jenkins Fields.
Update, vol. 3, no. 3 (February 1976)

The Origin of the Miami Times

by Garth C. Reeves, Sr. as told to Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Update, vol. 5, no. 5 (June 1978)



African Americans in South Florida

a Home and a Haven for Reconstruction-era Leaders
by Larry E. Rivers and Canter Brown, Jr.
Tequesta, number LVI (1996)
African American men who held public office in South Florida, including Tampa and Key West, between 1865 and 1897.

Aftermath of the Brown Decision : The Politics of Interposition in Florida

by David R. Colburn and Richard K. Scher
Tequesta, Number XXXVII (1977)

Black Education in Miami, 1921-1940

by Doug Andrews, M.A.
Tequesta, number LIX (1999)
Examines the inequality of education in African American elementary and high schools. Using Mays Middle School (formerly known as Goulds Colored School) as a case study, Andrews focuses on curriculum offerings, ratio of students per teacher, quality of facilities and materials, and teachers' salaries.

Black Miamians in the Miami Metropolis

by Thomas F. Fleischmann
Tequesta, number LII (1992)
Reviews the largely racist portrayal of Blacks in The Miami Metropolis between 1896 and 1900.

The Carver Village Controversy

by Teresa Lenox
Tequesta, number L (1990)
When Carver Village, an apartment complex in the Edison section of Miami, began accepting Black tenants, integration of the area and racial protests began. In 1951, Carver Village was bombed several times.

Elizabeth Virrick and the “Concrete Monsters”: Housing Reform in Postwar Miami

by Raymond A. Mohl
Tequesta, number LXI (2001)
Describes Elizabeth Virrick's 1940s-1960s endeavors for housing reform in Miami's black neighborhoods, particularly those in Coconut Grove.

Racial Stirrings in Colored Town: The UNIA in Miami during the 1920s

by Kip Vought
Tequesta, number LX (2000)
History of the Universal Negro Improvement Association's Miami chapter and the resistence the chapter met in Overtown during the 1920s.

Reflections on Black History: Miami’s Incorporation

by Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Update, vol. 3, no. 6 (August 1976)

Shadows in the Sunshine: Race and Ethnicity in Miami

by Raymond A. Mohl
Tequesta, number XLIX (1989)
Summarizes the history of Blacks in the Miami region, and contrasts that history with the public image (until 1980) of the area as a paradise for Whites and Hispanics.



Black Entertainment 1908-1919

by Dorothy Fields.
Update, vol. 2, no. 2 (December 1974)

Clowning Around: The Miami Ethiopian Clowns and Cultural Conflict in Black Baseball

by Raymond A. Mohl
Tequesta, number LXII (20002)

Reflections on Local Black History

by Dorothy Fields.
Update, vol. 2, no. 3 (February 1975)
Article on the founding of the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation.

Reflections on Black History: Fun and Games Overtown

by Dr. S. H. Johnson as told to Dorothy Jenkins Fields
Update, vol. 4, no. 6 (August 1977)

Reflections on Black History: The Season

by Dorothy Fields
Update, vol. 5, no. 3 (February 1978)

Santeria: From Africa to Miami via Cuba; Five Hundred Years of Worship

by Diana Gonzalez and Sara Maria Sanchez
Tequesta, number XLVIII (1988)
Traces the evolution of Santería from the African diaspora in Cuba to its contemporary status among white, middle class suburbanites in the Miami region.


An Exile from Nassau

by Jeanne Bellamy
Update, vol. 10, no. 3 (August 1983)
Bahamian journalist Etienne Dupuch reminisces on his life and race relations in Nassau.