Experience Miami's Liberty City Neighborhood

African Heritage Cultural Arts Center

African Heritage Cultural Arts Center

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Each one of Miami’s neighborhoods is integral to the city’s vibrant identity and distinctive culture, making locals proud to be part of a community with such a deep, diverse history. Liberty City has been part of the fabric of Miami since the 1930s, evolving over the decades to become a hidden historic gem.

Liberty City’s Rich History

In the early 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed off on the construction of the Liberty Square housing project, the first of its kind in the region. Seeking to provide welcoming, safe homes as an alternative to other overly-crowded projects, Liberty Square officially opened its doors in 1937. From here, the neighborhood of Liberty City expanded and began flourishing, welcoming a thriving African-American community.

The housing project quickly expanded into a full-fledged neighborhood, complete with several community centers, hospitals, churches and other highlights. It became a central gathering place for many prominent figures of the 1940s and 1950s, including Muhammed Ali and M. Athalie Range. Liberty City soon welcomed even more iconic names to its resorts and hotels, with guest lists featuring the likes of Mickey Mantle, Althea Gibson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

During the second half of the 20th century, Liberty City experienced many challenges, but the community persisted. A number of nationally-known talents have emerged from Liberty City in recent years, including musicians and professional athletes, and the neighborhood has become a welcoming destination for locals and visitors interested in its art, culture, music and history.

Hampton House Lobby
Hampton House Lobby

Highlights of Liberty City

If you’re hoping to experience some of Liberty City’s fascinating history and culture for yourself, make sure these neighborhood highlights are on your list:

  • 62nd Street MLK Mural: Head to the intersection of Northwest 62nd Street and 7th Avenue and it’s impossible to miss the 62nd Street Martin Luther King, Jr. Mural. Painted by late muralist Oscar Thomas, the colorful artwork depicts Dr. Martin Luther King in an eye-catching, photo-realistic image. The mural is a moving representation of the impact Dr. King had on Liberty City and the world, and one of the most-recognized images of the community.
  • African Heritage Cultural Arts Center: Opened in the 1970s, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center is devoted to nurturing the artistic talents and ambitions of the Liberty City community. With various dance and art studios, an exhibition space and an auditorium, the center is a welcome hub for locals to create and experience art.
  • Historic Hampton House: At the historic Hampton House, which is in the Brownsville neighborhood 2.7 miles west of Liberty City, you can explore the area’s layered past within the same four walls that welcomed icons like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Jackie Robinson, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra. The recently restored building serves as a neighborhood hub for culture, education and history, hosting a wide range of events including art competitions, film screenings, live music performances, and more. With the Hampton House Hotel’s vivid teal and yellow exterior, sparkling swimming pool, and lush landscaping, it’s easy to imagine the hotel in its mid-century heyday.
  • Joseph Caleb Auditorium: For nearly four decades, the Joseph Caleb Auditorium has hosted a rich array of events, ranging from community forums to local performances. Here, you can find a seat in the audience and enjoy the artistic talents of various Liberty City organizations, as well as participate in free kid-friendly events and shows.
  • Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery: Pay your respects to many of the most respected luminaries in the region’s history at Lincoln Memorial Park Cemetery, the final resting place of many African-American icons including H.E.S. Reeves, D.A. Dorsey and Arthur and Polly Mays. In 2017, the Coral Gables Museum began working closely with the cemetery’s owner to ensure its restoration and ongoing maintenance, ensuring the preservation of the historic grounds.
The Miami Times
The Miami Times

Things to Do in Liberty City

Looking for more things to do and see in Liberty City? Here are just a few of the many great things to do in this Miami neighborhood:

  • Enjoy a good, old-fashioned meal at MLK Restaurant. Known as Liberty City’s beloved comfort food spot, MLK Restaurant is a family-run restaurant serving up Southern classics to anyone and everyone with an appreciation for delicious food. Patrons include everyone from families to Miami businesspeople, with the home-cooked menu attracting a diverse and hungry crowd.
  • Take a step back in time at Georgette’s Tea Room. For many of the famous visitors who spent time in Liberty City, there were a handful of beloved hangout spots they frequented. One of these was Georgette’s Tea Room, an English Tudor-style home that functioned as a restaurant and small hotel. Nat King Cole and Billie Holiday were among those who passed through its doors, and the welcoming space also served as a popular meeting place for African-American socialites.
  • Learn about journalistic history at the Miami Times Building. In 1923, Henry E.S. Reeves founded the first Black-owned and operated newspaper in Miami, the Miami Times. While the offices were originally located in Overtown, they were relocated to Liberty City and are still operating today.

Experience the History and Culture of Liberty City

Maybe you’re a Miami local interested in exploring your city, or perhaps you’re planning a visit to the area sometime soon – whatever the case, Liberty City is a neighborhood you won’t want to miss. From history and culture to art and local cuisine, this diverse community truly has so much to offer.

Read More:

Multicultural Heritage Neighborhood Tours
Best Places To Brunch In Liberty City & Overtown
Experience Historic Overtown
The Historic Hampton House Motel

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