D.A. Dorsey was Miami’s first black millionaire. The son of former Georgia slaves, he moved to Miami in 1897 with only the clothes on his back. By day, he worked as a carpenter for Henry Flagler’s railroad company and eventually saved enough money to buy a tiny parcel of land in “Colored Town.” He quickly built a “shotgun shack,” a narrow house with a single row of rooms, and used the rental money it generated to buy another parcel of land and repeat the process.
Soon he became a real-estate tycoon, a major land owner in the city, and a noted philanthropist. One of his homes, the Dorsey House, still stands today in Overtown, at 250 NW Ninth St., and it is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
This Saturday, less than a block away, on NW Third Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets, the Overtown Rhythm & Arts Festival will celebrate the history and culture that make Overtown great. Did you know Sam Cooke recorded his 1963 album Live at the Harlem Square at the Harlem Square club in Overtown? Nicole Henry and Earnest Walker Jr. will keep Cooke’s legacy of music in Miami alive, alongside vendors, food, and art in this free yearly festival from 11 a.m. 5 p.m. Visit overtownfestival.com or call 305-903-5463. Jacob Katel
Sat., June 22, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2013