Built in the early 1900s, the D. A. Dorsey House is located at 250 NW 9th Street in Historic Overtown and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home is owned and managed by the Black Archives and was originally restored in the 1980s.
Dana Albert Dorsey, a black pioneer, came to Miami around 1892 with the railroad from Quitman, Georgia. It is said that with $25.00 he purchased his first parcel of land which he developed into a business empire. Through wise investments, Dorsey amassed the largest real estate holdings of any black man in the United States, becoming Miami’s first black millionaire. His numerous enterprises in Miami included the Dorsey Hotel, a popular gathering place in the 1920’s and a neighborhood dry goods store. Dorsey had real estate holdings in Dade and Broward counties, Cuba and the Bahamas.
Dorsey used his wealth and influence as a businessman and property owner to make significant contributions to the community. He donated the property at Northwest 71st Street and 17th Avenue to Dade County Public Schools, on which Dorsey High School was later built. He also donated land to the community’s first park and library.
Through the years, the home has been battered by the elements, damaging the structure, inside and out. The City of Miami Southeast Overtown/ Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, has generously awarded the Black Archives a $150,000 grant to initiate the restorative process.
In addition to the funds from the CRA, the Black Archives is seeking further funding for a full restoration, and to transform the historic space into a living monument to black entrepreneurship for public access. Included in our goal, is the purchase of a life-sized animatronic version of D.A. Dorsey, which will bring the stories of his contributions to life in an engaging and interactive format for people of all ages.
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