The Urban’s New Marketplace Is Changing the Narrative of Overtown

The Urban’s new marketplace aims to highlight Overtown’s arts, entertainment, and culture.

Visitors can explore Overtown’s rich cultural history by visiting sites such as the Lyric Theatre. But to see the neighborhood’s prosperous future, they can head to the Urban. A 58,000-square-foot open-air venue in the heart of Overtown, it’s ground zero for a new chapter of commerce and culture in the community. Last week, Urban Philanthropies launched Overtown Marketplace in the Urban, a weekly two-day curated event featuring local artisans, one-of-a-kind items, culinary treats, and entertainment. The Urban, Keon Williams of Urban Philanthropies says, is a platform that “begins to change the narrative” of Overtown. 

The neighborhood was once known as the “Little Broadway of the South,” hosting black entertainers, intellectuals, and sports players such as Cab Calloway, Billie Holiday, Zora Neale Hurston, and Jackie Robinson. Black-owned businesses and social organizations grew in that fertile environment. But by the turn of the millennium, after highway construction and other developments had fractured the neighborhood, the median income in Overtown fell to $13,211.99, well below the national average. In those bleak times, the community came together to preserve its past.  Credit: Liz Tracy, Miami New Times