Under construction during most of the 1960s, Interstate-95 ripped right through the heart of Overtown. Thousands of homes were torn down. Instant slums were created as the concrete expressway ripped apart the neighborhood's cultural, economic and education connections.
The result is the Overtown that's visible today -- the Overtown that's still trying to recover.
"[I-95] caused great harm in the past," says Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. "We need to rectify that."
After a period of economic decline, Miami's Overtown is getting a booster shot.
On Thursday, the city's Southeast Overtown / Park West Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) approved a joint plan that would cede two city blocks to a team of developers in the hopes of rejuvenating a stretch of land in one of Miami's core neighborhoods.
My maternal grandparents, Sam D. and Ida Ellen Roberts Johnson, were born in Harbour Island, Bahamas. It is believed that their foreparents were among the millions of black slaves forced from West Africa and sold in the West Indies.
Over the past several years, FDOT initiated the process to replace the 1.5-mile structure that links State Road 836 east of Interstate 95 to the MacArthur Causeway. As the main artery between the Miami International Airport, the Port of Miami, and South Beach, millions of visitors traverse this scenic stretch annually on the way to a cruise or the beaches.