top of page

History & Mission

Incorporated on November 17, 1977, The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors, supported by a Board of Trustees and funded solely by membership, donations and grants. It is a manuscript and photographic repository in a community setting. The Black Archives was founded by public school librarian, Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields, as a remedy to the lack of local black history materials available for the public to access. The Black Archives is utilized by students, teachers, researchers, scholars, members of the media and public-at-large. 


The mission of The Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc. is to collect, preserve and disseminate the history and culture of black South Florida from 1896 to the present.

Objectives of the Black Archives Mission:

Objective 1 – Archival Collection: The Archives is a manuscript and photographic repository in a community setting that includes blueprints, oil paintings and artifacts.  The goal of the archives is to collect, preserve and make accessible sourced materials of enduring value to students, teachers, researchers, scholars, the media and the public-at-large. The materials in the repository are collected for educational purposes in support of the archives.


Objective 2 – The Historic Lyric Theater: The Lyric Theater is designated as a local and national historic landmark built in 1913. It is located in Miami’s historically black Overtown community and it is the anchor and driving force to the revival and redevelopment of this once-vibrant community.  The Black Archives promotes and provides access to the historic venue and gives the community exposure and opportunities to present and view music, theater, dance, film, the spoken word, fine arts, exhibitions and traveling exhibits with an emphasis on the artists and experiences of the African Diaspora.


Objective 3 – The Overtown Historic Folklife Village: To provide training and jobs through the creation of a regional tourist designation in Miami’s historically documented “entertainment district.” To showcase the legacy of Miami’s Overtown community using the backdrop of the era of the Harlem Renaissance and the character of black architecture in Miami.

Objective 4 – The Black Heritage Trail: To connect a trail of sites of historical, cultural and architectural significance throughout Miami-Dade County. From the Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown to Lemon City and Little Haiti; from Liberty City to Opa Locka and Miami Gardens; from Seminola (Hialeah) to Brownsville and Virginia Key Beach; connecting the Hampton House to the Railroad Shop (Alapattah); from the MacFarlane District (the black section of Coral Gables) to Coconut Grove; from Richmond Heights to Goulds and Florida City; encompassing all sites in between.

Objective 5 –Black Archives Youth Advocacy Program (B.A.Y.A.P.): To encourage children of all ages to develop their full creative potential through the visual and performing arts. To offer a cultural alternative for the children of Overtown and Miami-Dade County in the fields of theater performance, back and front stage work, museum work, historical research and community involvement through their presentation of the arts.

bottom of page