Activism and 20th Century Black Miami: A Symposium
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park holds a significant place in the history of South Florida’s black communities. During the 1940s and 1950s Virginia Key was the first officially designated “Colored Only” beach in Miami-Dade County. Though a segregated facility, Virginia Key gave African Americans access to the water and recreational opportunities long denied to them in a city famous for its beaches. Attendance declined after beaches throughout the rest of the county were desegregated during the 1960s, but Virginia Key remains important as a place where black Miamians enjoyed sun, sand, and a hard-won respite from Jim Crow.
Today this history is being preserved through a partnership between the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust and FIU. Over the last year and a half, students and faculty in the Department of History, along with staff in Green Library’s Digital Collections Center, have worked to digitize thousands of primary sources that document the history of Virginia Key. This event will showcase just some of those items, through a conversation among local black scholars including Marvin Dunn, Donette Francis, Valerie L. Patterson, and Nathaniel Samuel, along with a keynote address by Dr. Nathan Daniel Beau Connolly (Johns Hopkins University).
The keynote and panel discussion will be followed by a cocktail reception. This event is free and open to the public.
Read more about this event: https://africana.fiu.edu/events/2019/activism-and-20th-century-black-miami-symposium/
View the Virginia Key Beach digital archive: http://dpanther.fiu.edu/dpanther/collections/VKT