Afro Little Havana: Commemorating the Black History of the "Latino Ellis Island"

African Americans Who Built the Tamiami Trail (Calle Ocho)

Who built Calle Ocho--one of the two main thoroughfares through Little Havana? A dominant narrative about Calle Ocho gives exclusive credit to Cuban emigres as the "makers" of Calle Ocho. Yet the most famous street in Little Havana is Calle Ocho, and Calle Ocho is a portion of the Tamiami Trail. Who built the Tamiami Trail?

Prisoners built the Tamiami Trail, and most were African American.

Florida is among the states that instituted a horrific practice of convict leasing, or leasing prisoners to work for private companies. Many of these prisoners lived short lives, as conditions in the chain gangs were extremely harsh and inhumane. Many were jailed and imprisoned based on false or exaggerated charges.

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