Reginald O' Neal. Togetherness
, 2016. Painting. Oil on Canvas, 52 x 68 in. Permanent Collection at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Courtesy of Reginald O'Neal's Instagram
In studying, appreciating, and amplifying Black Miami stories, Overtown is essential. One of Miami's oldest neighborhoods, formerly called "Colored Town", and also known as "the Harlem of the South", Overtown is a focal point of Black Miami history and culture . "At the turn of the century, Historic Overtown became a Black diaspora community of people from the South, the Bahamas, Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean who arrived in Miami to work on oil tycoon Henry Flagler’s railroad. It was the place where stars like Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker not only performed, but also spent the night because of segregation laws" (MiamiandBeaches).
Overtown has been through a lot since the building of I-95 and the resulting displacement of Black families. Currently, the gentrifying expansion of Downtown Miami and neighboring Wynwood and other local hot spots, adds fuel to fire. Still, Black culture and community continue to thrive, as it always has, in various forms and of Black-owned art, commerce, restaurants, and many others. The Copper Door is an institution that represents several of these facets, as a hotel, restaurant, meeting place, and also, a supportive art space.
THE COPPER DOOR B&B
The Copper Door B&B, 439 NW 4th Avenue, Miami, FL 33128
Started by couple Jamila Ross and Akino West, in the heart of Historic Overtown, The Copper Door B&B provides a unique oasis for visitors and locals alike. Standing on traditions like the Mary Elizabeth Hotel and Georgette's Tea Room, this Black-owned bed and breakfast is a modern twist on Black entrepreneurship and hospitality in Miami, with a quintessential South Florida flair.