Hampton House was where we found refuge from the glaringly white world outside its doors. What was this place, and why was it known as the “Jewel of Black Miami”?
During the peak of the Jim Crow era, our people often had to choose between rest and safety because hotels routinely denied us stays. Hampton House was a whole other world–a Black mecca-where we could unclench our jaws, drop our shoulders, and forget about white foolishness, even if just for a few nights.
And everyone was there!
After Muhammad Ali won the world heavyweight championship, he retreated to Malcolm X’s suite to celebrate with his people. And Martin Luther King Jr.s’ “I Have A Dream” speech? He practiced it at the House before his legendary oration at the March On Washington.
Hampton House was crucial to the well-being of our people.
Unlike many once-popular havens, Hampton House is still standing as a non–profit cultural center today. Places unabashedly filled with Black joy and the comforts of our community are still necessary as we continue to be targeted by bias, discrimination, and the effects of historical trauma.
Despite progress in our liberation struggle, Black-only spaces will always be crucial. We should continue cultivating these spaces. We deserve places where we can “just be” in all of our beautiful, Black glory!