The names Flagler,Tuttle, and Monroe are thrown about whenever somebody starts yammering about Miami's history. They were the titans of Miami industry and helped bring civilization to what was once little more than a swamp. But who are we kidding? Those bozos didn't lift a finger to clear the saw-grass. They didn't dig out the coral to help pave US1. And they certainly didn't lay down any railroad tracks (We're talking to you, Henry Flagler!)
The people who did all that are seldom to be found in our history books, much less praised. And many, if not most of them, were black. Their story has nary, for all practical purposes, been told. But Miami filmmaker David Weintraub is looking to change some of that. His documentary, The Golden Side of the Tracks, will air at 7:30 p.m. tonight on WPBT Channel 2. And it focuses on what was once called "The Harlem of the South"--Overtown.
Watch the trailer on the jump.
A far cry from much of what it is today, Overtown, originally named "Colored Town," was once a center of
commerce and nightlife for South Florida's black community. "The story
of Miami's founding always involves people like Henry Flagler and Julia
Tuttle, but never the people who built the city," Weintraub says. "Even
today the blacks who helped to found Miami are invisible. I created
this film in the hopes it would inspire a discussion about the major
contributions blacks had to Miami and the vibrant community they built
The documentary uses interviews with longtime Overtown residents and
historians and couples that with footage and pictures. According to the
film, Overtown suffered a death knell when I-95 was extended through
the heart of the community, forcing out 40,000 residents. Though the
area is much maligned today--visitors are subtly told to avoid the
community at all costs--Weintraub says there are still residents today
who keep that sense of history and culture. "What this film captures is
the resilience of a people to fight for a sense of dignity."
The Golden Side of the Tracks airs premiers tonight at 7:30 pm on WPBT
Channel 2. For more information about the film visit
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