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

Black Bahamian Builders

You may already be familiar with black Bahamian contributions to Miami’s Coconut Grove neighborhood, and the many houses that they constructed there. Yet Bahamians also built houses in what is now Little Havana. These houses included “shotgun” homes, constructed of Dade County pine and featuring a long hallway giving access to all the rooms. These houses earned the name “shotgun” because folks said you could shoot from the front door to the back door without hurting anyone (if they were in their rooms!). These homes also featured front porches and asymmetrical entrances.

In fact, a small community of black Bahamians lived in Little Havana by at least the 1930s, called “South Miami.”

Practices of racial segregation forced them to move elsewhere, but the legacy of their buildings remain, as documented by historian Dr. Paul George in his book, “Little Havana,” where you can read more about these early residents of what is now Little Havana.

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