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Last week, alfresco of Miami Beach’s Faena Hotel, two mirror-image playgrounds—one abrupt and monochromatic, the added ample in color—stood back-to-back on the sand. Between them, a accurate accomplishments showed African-American accouchement at comedy on a boscage gym below a artery overpass.

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It was Miami Art Week, and art-fair attendees and passersby were arrive to ascend and beat on “America’s Playground.” The accession by conceptual artisan Derrick Adams paid admiration to the history of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood, about destroyed by artery architecture in the 1960s.

Just arctic of burghal Miami, Overtown (previously alleged Colored Town or the Central Negro District) was accustomed for atramentous architecture and railroad workers in the backward 1800s. By the 1950s, it was home to one-third of the citizenry of Miami. Atramentous and white association and tourists akin approved out this “Harlem of the South”—developed in allotment by Miami’s aboriginal atramentous millionaire, D. A. Dorsey—for its music, cuisine, and commerce. When Jim Crow laws forbade the brand of Louis Armstrong, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin from blind about white Miami Beach venues afterwards gigs, Overtown accustomed them. Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, and Jackie Robinson were additionally visitors.

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In 1955, admiral began to plan for an addendum of Interstate 95 through the centermost of Overtown. An alternating avenue forth the anachronistic railroad advance would accept displaced far below people, but the white business enactment adopted to cut through apartment areas and the atramentous business district. Ten years later, the gutting began: Claiming eminent domain, the burghal evicted families and offered little to no alteration assistance.

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The new artery acquired Overtown’s citizenry to atrium and destroyed its businesses. Its evisceration was not an anomaly: From New York Burghal to Los Angeles, Jacksonville to Nashville to Minneapolis–St. Paul, the architecture of America’s artery basement tore through atramentous communities and cut them off from added flush genitalia of the city.

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Adams’s allotment focuses on a hasty aftereffect of the artery project: In the backward 1960s, on bristles acreage below the new overpasses, burghal admiral and clandestine donors cobbled calm abundant allotment to install swings, boscage gyms, and sod in the blurred patches of dirt. At an aperture commemoration in 1969, M. Athalie Range, Miami’s aboriginal atramentous commissioner, forth with the ambassador and agents from the tourism bureau, delivered speeches over the din of casual cars to admire the admirable aperture of “one of America’s aboriginal underexpressway parks.”

For a time, Range’s esplanade was well-used. But Florida Power and Light never installed lighting, and the burghal did not accommodate any agents to advance it. As the association eroded, so did the park. Today, however, Overtown is ambidextrous with a altered problem, gentrification.

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Adams said he came beyond an archival photo of the bridge amphitheater acclimated on the awning of N. D. B. Connolly’s 2014 book, A World Added Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. “America’s Playground” (an old moniker for Miami) includes a adjustment of that photo.

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“For bodies of color, leisure is a abolitionist abode to be,” Adams told the admirers at a allocution at the Faena Festival on December 5. “It’s forbidden; article for others.” The amphitheater below the artery was an archetype of ecology injustice, apery the cheap cachet of atramentous families in America, but in Adams’s easily it is additionally a attribute of resistance. To appearance comedy plucked from a history of abuse and disenfranchisement, said Adams, is “a alienated act.”

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