THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Let’s go to Brownsville.
Kenneth Kilpatrick is glad he came back to Brownsville.
Kenneth’s grandfather owned Spic N Span, a mom and pop grocery store in the neighborhood, for a number of years. It was Kenneth’s family ties that brought him back in 2014. Today, he serves as president of the Brownsville Civic Neighborhood Association — and is taking a look back.
“We are working with Dade Heritage Trust to take a holistic look at Brownsville just see how many properties and people contributed to history of black Miami,” Kenneth said.
Brownsville was originally home to many white families in the 1920’s. From the late 1940s to the early ‘60s, black families moved to the community. By the mid-1960s, the neighborhood became a flourishing area for black professionals.
Today, Brownsville is seeing more newcomers and focusing on smart growth. In one of its many parks, residents recently came together to plant a community garden. Its goal? To help increase access to fresh produce for neighbors.
ONE KEY PLACE TO VISIT: Historic Hampton House, a segregation-era motel and lounge, served as the place for some of the most influential entertainers, athletes, and civil rights leaders to visit and perform.
“These are places were some of the most renowned artists in the country would come to live while they performed on the beach,” Kenneth said. “African-Americans wouldn’t be able to go and see the big shows on the beach so they would come over and do a separate show for African-Americans at Hampton’s House and Georgette’s Tea Room.”
Sam Cooke, Nat King Cole, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many more icons visited Hampton House from the 1950’s to the early 70’s.
After a major restoration project, the building is now a community center for educational and cultural activities.
Watch our recent interview with Dr. Enid Curtis Pinkney, founder and CEO of the Historic Hampton House Community Trust
HOW TO CHECK OUT BROWNSVILLE: Dade Heritage Trust will feature the Brownsville neighborhood as part of their bike tour series. Along with those two-wheel vibes, you be can experience the history of Brownsville and hear from residents on their plans for its future. The cost is $5 for DHT members and $10 for non-members. Reserve your spot today.
The knowledge-packed bike tours happen the second Sunday of every month and start at DHT’s headquarters. This month’s ride will also include a Metrorail ride from the Brickell to Brownsville, cost included in your ticket. Be sure to bring your own bike and helmet.