By staff writer

June 2019

2 min. read

Historically, the Overtown cultural and entertainment district was recognized as the Harlem of The South due to its vibrant cultural and entertainment scene. When it comes to black history, Overtown is one of the most important areas in Miami. Today, local leaders are working to bring back that unique culture and entertainment environment to the area.

The development of the Overtown Cultural and Entertainment District is one of the main areas of focus of the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency’s (SEOPW CRA) updated redevelopment plan.

“A key component of our redevelopment plan is to revitalize Overtown’s cultural and entertainment district, which is dear to my heart. As you know, Overtown was once considered the Harlem of The South and had a very vibrant nightlife,” Cornelius Shiver, executive director of the SEOPW CRA told Invest:.

The proposed district will consist of culturally-oriented venues, including museums, art galleries, hotels, night clubs, and supper clubs within close proximity.

“We want to bring cultural events and entertainment back, which in turn will create other economic and social synergies,” Shiver said.

The CRA has already begun development of the Overtown Cultural and Entertainment District by attracting new restaurant and entertainment ventures. This includes a new restaurant from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelson, who owns Red Rooster in Harlem, to be built where once stood the Clyde Killens Pool Hall.

The Harlem Square Supper Club project is another example of the CRA’s efforts to restore Overtown’s thriving entertainment scene. The supper club/lounge will be an adaptive reuse of the former  home of the legendary Clyde Killens, a famous photographer and music promoter from Overtown.

Overtown also has several cultural destinations, including the Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex, the Historic Black Police Precinct Courthouse And Museum, the historic Josephine And Dunn Hotel, Overtown Performing Arts Center and Ward Rooming House Gallery.

One of the area’s most important cultural activities is the Overtown Music & Arts Festival, which is held annually to promote and celebrate the history and culture of the neighborhood. It also brings an economic boost to local small businesses located in the area.

“We want to make the Overtown cultural-entertainment district a tourist destination that not only will celebrate the cultural history of Overtown, but will highlight the black heritage of Miami-Dade County,” Shiver said.

For more information on our interviewees, visit their websites:

Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency: http://www.miamicra.com/seopwcra/pages/default.html

For more information about cultural destinations in Overtown, visit:  

Overtown Music & Arts Festival: https://www.overtownmusicartsfestival.com/

Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex: https://www.bahlt.org/

Historic Black Police Precinct Courthouse And Museum: https://historicalblackprecinct.org/

Dunns Josephine Hotel: http://dunns-josephinehotel.com/

Overtown Performing Arts Center: http://overtownpac.co/