Liberty City Historic Survey
Miami, FL

Project Type: Historic preservation,
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Liberty City Historic Survey

Project Type: Historic Resources Survey
Project Status: Completed
Dates: August 2022 – June 2024
Team: Plusurbia Design
Client: Dade Heritage Trust

The purpose of this project is to document an architecturally significant neighborhood that has never been comprehensively surveyed.

Liberty City holds a prominent place in Miami’s heritage, reflecting the history and evolution of the African American community in the city. Established in 1922, Liberty City became a beacon of hope for Black families seeking freedom from the oppressive restrictions of Miami’s racially segregated neighborhoods. The area was envisioned as a safe haven, promising liberty and better living conditions compared to the overcrowded and underserved Colored Town (now Overtown). This community rapidly grew, driven by Black families’ aspirations for home ownership and business opportunities, marking the golden years of Liberty City from 1936 to 1968. During this period, Liberty City thrived with vibrant Black-owned businesses, active churches, and schools, becoming a symbol of Black prosperity and resilience .

The development of Liberty Square, a public housing project built between 1936 and 1938 under President Roosevelt’s New Deal, significantly boosted the community’s growth. Liberty Square offered modern amenities and better living conditions than those in Overtown, attracting many Black families. This housing project not only provided necessary housing but also became a community hub, fostering a sense of pride and stability. Prominent Black millionaires built homes in the vicinity, further establishing the neighborhood’s status. The impact of Liberty Square on Liberty City was profound, creating a model community that stood in stark contrast to the segregation and discrimination prevalent in other parts of Miami .

However, the late 1960s brought significant challenges with the construction of the I-95 and I-395 interchanges, displacing thousands of Black residents from Overtown to Liberty City. This influx strained the resources and altered the community dynamics. Despite these challenges, Liberty City remained a focal point for Black culture and activism, playing a critical role in the civil rights movement.

Over the years, the neighborhood has faced economic hardships and social unrest, yet it continues to be a testament to the enduring spirit and cultural heritage of Miami’s African American community. The recent redevelopment efforts and historical recognition initiatives aim to preserve and celebrate Liberty City’s rich history, ensuring its legacy continues to inspire future generations .

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