Dr Ira P Davis Sr Steet Naming

MIAMI — June 11, 2024 — The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum is proud to announce a captivating new exhibition, Anything but a Slum: Miami-Overtown Before I-95/395, showcasing the vibrant history of Overtown during the era of legal segregation. Opening June 19, this exhibition will provide a rich tapestry of life in Overtown before the construction of major highways dramatically altered its community fabric.

Anything but a Slum features an extensive collection of photographs, archival video and audio, and historical artifacts that capture the essence of this tight-knit Black community. The exhibition highlights the everyday joys and significant cultural contributions of Overtown residents during a period often overshadowed by adversity. Visitors will encounter images and stories of famous figures such as Nat King Cole, Joe Louis, and Sam Cooke, who found solace and camaraderie within the neighborhood, protected by Miami’s dedicated Black police officers. Curated from local, state, and national archives, the exhibition underscores Overtown’s significance as a major hub for Black tourism and culture, rivaling other prominent Black neighborhoods like Harlem and Tulsa. It reflects on how Overtown, despite systemic challenges, blossomed into a cultural epicenter for Black Americans.

With the current contraction happening to the I-95, it can be very reminiscent and even downright troubling to those who lived in the neighborhood during the 1960s. For those who weren’t around during the initial development of the 1-95/395, but have a keen awareness of what happened to the members of Overtown under the auspice of Urban Renewal, there is little to remind you of the joys and vibrancy that existed within the predominantly “colored” community.”, said Museum Director Terrance Cribss-Lorrant. “I hope this exhibit provides a glimpse into the often forgotten joys and progress that existed even in the face of adversity and the Jim Crow laws that relegated much of the South. Black folks were progressive and excited about supporting a community they considered The Harlem of the South- Overtown.

This homegrown exhibition critically examines the justifications used in public policy and infrastructure development that have historically hindered Black Americans’ opportunities to acquire, maintain, and pass on wealth in urban centers. It aims to reshape the collective memory and perception of Black neighborhoods, emphasizing their historical significance and the systemic factors that led to their decline.

Anything but a Slum invites visitors to reflect on the legacy of these communities and the ongoing impact of past policies on their current state.

About the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum
The only museum of its kind in the nation, the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum, located in the historic Overtown community in Miami, FL, was once an active police station and courthouse serving South Florida’s Black community. Today, the museum’s mission is to collect, preserve, and display the history of Black Law Enforcement that served in the City of Miami Police Department during the pre-Civil Rights era. The museum houses artifacts, documents, and archival images that share the stories of the men and women who worked there. Currently, the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum is working on an oral history collection effort aimed at preserving stories of those who worked in the precinct and courthouse when it was active. 

The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 am until 3:30 pm. Guided museum tours are provided by retired City of Miami police officers. For more information, visit https://historicalblackprecinct.org/