I want to thank Marvin Dunn for allowing me to include some of the excellent content from his book, "Black Miami in the Twentieth Century", published by the University Press of Florida, on these pages. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to know more about the experiences and contributions of Blacks throughout the unfolding timeline of Miami's existence.
From the infamous pirate Black Caesar's arrival on Biscayne Bay (probably in the late 1600s), to the coming of the Stirrups and Dorseys centuries later, Blacks have had an influence on South Florida history and development. With the settlement of the Bahama Islands in the late eighteenth century, Blacks were but a day's sailing from the crystal-blue waters of Biscayne Bay. Farm workers from the Bahamas were moving up the Florida Keys in considerable numbers by the mid 1900s as the economy of the Bahamas collapsed.
During this time before the birth of Miami, Blacks and Seminole Indians in Florida formed an alliance that lasted nearly a century. In 1804 the first Black slaves were brought to Key Biscayne. Later others would be brought to plantations built on the site of present-day downtown Miami. In post-Civil War Dade County Black settlements sprang up in Lemon City, a few miles north of what would become Miami and in Coconut Grove to the south.
What I want to show you on these pages is a brief look back, within the time that photographs were possible, of some of the relevant people and places that made Miami what it is.