Indeed, change is coming to Overtown. In addition to financing the $800,000 renovation of Jackson Soul Food, the Overtown Community Redevelopment Agency doled out $300,000 to remodel Just Right Barber Shop at 1133 NW Third Ave. Ten other Overtown businesses have received a combined $179,000 from the CRA, which is also spending $125,000 to put in new sewer lines and landscaping, as well as resurface the street and sidewalk along Third Avenue. Time will tell if prosperity follows.
But today, it was all about celebrating Obama. Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, who organized the viewing party, wept as Aretha Franklin sang "America." Before Obama was introduced as president, Spence-Jones and Rev. Raymond Carvil Sr. led the patrons in a prayer. When Wolf Blitzer's voice announced Obama "is now president of the United States," the crowd roared with applause and cheers.
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Among the attendees was the silver-haired Lee Bethune. The 76-year-old South Carolina native moved to Miami 52 years ago. He worked in a segregated area of the now-defunct June Dairy until 1968. That year, he started his own business, B&B's Laundromat, which is still open. "This is a moment that I want to happen again and again," Bethune said. "I love it. It's beautiful."