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Welcome to Overtown


The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc. has been a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization since its founding by Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields in 1977. The Black Archives serves as the repository for the black experience in South Florida from 1896 to the present.  The mission of The Black Archives has been committed to identifying, collecting, preserving, educating, informing and making accessible items of enduring value in relation to the people of African descent in South Florida.  Part of the success of The Black Archives has been the identification and preservation of historic sites throughout Miami Dade County.


In 2014, the organization moved into its permanent home at the new Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Arts Complex in Overtown.  The complex provides a space for year-round programming, exhibitions, and a working environment for the headquarters of The Black Archives.  The complex is located in Miami's Overtown community, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States.  Overtown was once an economic and cultural Mecca for people of African descent in the early 1900's but since urban renewal; the area has seen a drastic decline in the median family income, youth programming and sustainable housing. 


In an effort to bring revitalization to the area and create sustainable employment for the indigenous residents and others, The Black Archives set out to move to the heart of the area by participating in Miami Dade County's General Obligation Bond program by receiving a ten-million dollar investment from the county to expand the Historic Lyric Theater and construct the auxiliary space necessary to house The Black Archives.  


Through the relocation of the organization, The Black Archives assumes a major role in the rejuvenation of the historic Overtown community by empowering the residents through job training and job placement in career paths in the arts, cultural forums and events at the new complex. Our organization seeks to establish alternative programming for the youth of the area by educating them and exposing them to previously unreachable cultural experiences; generate revenue and job employment through community preservation efforts and historic tours throughout the Folklife Village/and Miami-Dade County and; promote the facility nationally in effort to introduce a multicultural tourist traffic flow to the area that will encourage entrepreneurs to invest in the community by locating their businesses in the Folklife Village/District.

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