Overtown is a historically African-American neighborhood located just north of downtown Miami and is considered part of Miami's Central District. It is also Miami’s poorest neighborhood. The majority of its residents (75%) are African-Americans, though the White and Hispanic population has been increasing. The town was formed because of Jim Crow laws restricting where African-Americans could live.
In its heyday, Overtown had several theatres, nightclubs, schools and other facilities that African-Americans could use without infringing on territory intended only for white people. Famous African-Americans such as Josephine Baker, Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. DuBois stayed in Overtown.
When Jim Crow laws were overturned, many African-Americans moved out of Overtown, and the neighborhood began to decline. Demolished buildings in the 1970s and incidents that disturbed the neighborhood in the 1980s made Overtown fall further into disrepair. Today developers are trying to create new housing and businesses in the area to get middle-class residents to come to the area; this is called the Overtown Renaissance.
Overtown is accessible by Metrorail at the Overtown station from Downtown Miami, as well as the School Board station on the Metromover.
- 1 Lyric Theater, 819 Northwest 2nd Avenue. Built by Geder Walker, this theater was opened in 1913 and was a major African-American entertainment destination until the 1960s. Performers from Count Basie to BB King to Aretha Franklin have performed there. Do not enter, this place is gated off and is does not function as a theater any longer.
- D.A. Dorsey House, 250 Northwest 9th Street. Home of the first African-American millionaire in Miami. It is a private home, so don't expect to get a tour of the place.
- 2 Old Black Police Precinct, 1009 Northwest 5th Avenue. Used from 1950 to 1962, when the Precinct was finally integrated with the main police station.
There are many convenience stores throughout the area as well as some cheap clothing stores and food. However, they may be fake so watch out what you buy out there such as the purses and shoes.
- Jackson Soul Food Restaurant, 950 NW 3rd Avenue.
Despite the Renaissance attempt to revive the community, there are still murders and sex crimes in Overtown. Crime occurs like in any other place, but drug activity is common all day & night, and as the Miami Vice saying goes: "Where there's drugs, there's violence."