Overtown is a neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States, just northwest of Downtown Miami. Originally called Colored Town during the Jim Crow era of the late 19th through the mid-20th century, the area was once the preeminent and is the historic center for commerce in the black community in Miami and South Florida.
Overtown is one of the poorest neighborhoods in Miami, Florida, one of the poorest cities in the United States. Known as the African-American enclave “Colored Town” when Miami was founded in 1896, the area had begun to be referred to as “Overtown” by the middle of the twentieth century and at that time was the thriving heart of Miami’s black culture. Though during the mid-1900’s the neighborhood was known as “the Harlem of the South,” by the last decades of the twentieth century Overtown had become a center of urban decay, poverty, and crime. The Miami Herald reports that, according to the 2000 census, 55% of Overtown’s approximately 8,000 residents lived in poverty, unmarried women headed 62% of households, and 90% of the homes were renter-occupied. The unemployment rate was 19.8% in 2002.