Liberty City

  • Pinnacle Park graffiti
  • Hampton House Sign
  • Mural of Martin Luther King Jr

Located in central Miami Dade County, Liberty City is a historic and cultural hub of Black Miami shaped throughout the 20th century by Jim Crow racial segregation, redlining, racist violence, displacement, and struggle. By midcentury, the New Deal Liberty Square Housing Project—one of the first public housing projects for African Americans in the US—had become the heart of the community and shifted the spatial and residential patterns of Black Miami residents. While Black Liberty City residents continuously carved out new spaces for housing and life-making, they felt the effects of government disinvestment and continued displacement efforts via urban redevelopment policy, including the construction of the I-95 Expressway. Liberty City has also been a site of resistance during protests around the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, the 1980 McDuffie riots, and the Miami Workers Center’s campaigns against intersecting forms of exploitation since its founding in 1999.

Liberty City provides an example of how the uneven impacts of climate change manifest in everyday life and how the legacies of environmental racism and disinvestment are embedded within Miami’s built environment—from lead poisoning in the housing stock to lack of tree coverage, food deserts, and extreme heat exposure. Furthermore, Liberty City is on the frontlines of struggles around climate gentrification and affordable housing. After decades of neglect and disinvestment, there has been renewed real estate speculation in Liberty City where the average price of a single-family home has more than tripled over the past decade. Grassroots neighborhood organizations such as the Roots Collective are working to push back on these forces by promoting black ownership, business, and self-sufficiency through local economic and educational initiatives.