This area was originally a settlement for white Families in the 1920s, but soon the nearby Liberty Square expanded and built many subdivisions during WWII, making it a keystone for thriving black professionals. However, the city suffered greatly from 1970-2000, only now receiving much-needed restoration.
Like many cities in the area, Brownsville holds a lot of history. Back in 1964, Cassius Clay, a somewhat unknown boxer, made history in the Miami Beach Convention Hall. In a world heavyweight championship fight against Sonny Liston, Clay (now known as Muhammad Ali) took home the title of champion in the city he temporarily called home while he trained.
Even after such a victorious win, Ali was not allowed to stay in Miami Beach because of segregation laws. Ali stayed at the Hampton House Motel in Brownsville and celebrated with his friend, Malcolm X. Ali also had a home in Brownsville and a favorite corner store that he frequented in the area. Both still stand today.
Although many of the high-end hotels and nightclubs had black musicians and acts come to perform, it was Hampton House that welcomed them when the night was over. Jackie Robinson, Sammy Davis, Jr, Nat King Cole and many others stayed at this historic site, but it was known as a keystone in the community; a place for the locals to hang out and "kick back".
Once the segregation laws were lifted, many members of the Brownsville/Liberty City community relocated to other Miami neighborhoods. The Hampton House eventually closed in 1976. In 2002, it was purchased by the county and named a historical site. As soon as renovations are complete, the local gem will become a museum and community center, restoring some of the rooms, like the one favorited by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
You can find out more about this historic Miami neighborhood with our Key2MIA Cultural Experience Tour. This private tour takes you through historical Black cities and landmarks in Miami, taking you in a journey you’ll never forget. Start building your custom tour by visiting Key2MIA.com