Melanin Miami: The Black Vote In Establishing Miami

Updated: May 18, 2020

Long before Julia Tuttle, Henry Flagler and George Merrick, Blacks we’re already settled in what is now Miami.

Once Flagler decided to bring the railways further South, he needed more workers. This need brought more Blacks to the area for work. There were already several Bahamians in the area, but now more Blacks were migrating from Alabama, Georgia and even Key West.

(Photo: History Miami)

When it came to incorporating Miami in 1896, these settlers became an important factor in establishing the city. Of the 368 men who voted to incorporate Miami, 162 of them were Black. In fact, the first name on the city’s charter was Silas Austin, a Black man.

(Photo: The Black Archives)

After helping establish the city, the incorporators lost their civil rights and were eventually restricted even further through Jim Crow laws.

To find out more information about Black History in Miami, book our Melanin Miami Experience. This driving tour takes you through historically Black neighborhoods in the 305 to expose you to the Black history, influence and culture that helps shape Miami into one of the best cities in the US. Visit to go beyond the beach and book your tour today.

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