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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
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TELL THE STORY
M. ATHALIE RANGE
August 28, 1997
(Ms. Stephanie Wanza): This is Stephanie Wanza and I'm at the
office of Mrs. Athalie Range. Today's date is August 28, 1997,
this is Side #1 of Tape 1.
The first set of questions I'll being asking are regarding
family life. Okay, where were your parents born?
(Mrs. M. Athalie Range): Both my parents were born in Key
(Ms. Wanza): Okay. Did they ever live in Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Oh yes. Yes, ah my entire family came from Key
West, Florida to Miami during the year of 1923 and, of course, we
-lived right in the heart of Overtown then.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, what years did you parents live in
(Mrs. Range): Well from 1923 to 1937 when we departed.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, what sort of jobs did they have?
(Mrs. Range): My father was a stevedore ah for one of the
large cement or barge companies on Miami Beach that was ah, that
was over at the foot, I believe, of Fifth Street and what could
possibly be called the MacArthur Causeway now. Umm hum. My mother
was a housewife for a part of the time and then after we began to
get a little larger, she took ah jobs, domestic jobs.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, where were your grandparents born?
(Mrs. Range): All of my grandparents are Nassauvian
(Ms. Wanza): Did your grandparents ever live in Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Yes, ah...my goodness, my parental grandparents
lived in Overtown before the family...before my father's family
came up. I don't remember what years they might have lived there
but when we came here in 1923, they were living on what was then
known as Northwest Fifteenth Street, near Fourth Avenue and ah my
maternal grandmother came with us from Key West when we came here.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, what sort of jobs did your grandparents
(Mrs. Range): Well, as I said, my father was a stevedore for
a cement company and then as time went on, he eventually taught
himself to cook and I'm pleased to say that he cooked in some of
the outstanding hotels on Miami Beach before gave up his chosen
work. Umm hum.
(Ms. Wanza): And your, your grandparents, what sort of jobs
did they have?
(Mrs. Range): Now, my grandparents, my paternal grandparents
were elderly and ah did not work.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay.
(Mrs. Range): My maternal grandmother because of her great
knowledge of the spanish language, she was a cook in ah some of the
wealthy spanish homes in what we could probably now call ah the
south east section of Miami down in the Brickells, I guess you
would call that but she was an outstandingly good spanish cook.
(Ms. Wanza): (Throat clearing Excuse me.) Could you
describe what it was like growing up in your parents' household?
(Mrs. Range): Well in the household we had a very close
family relationship as I guess most people like to relate to. I
can recall we had dinner together. We, we could not have dinner
until my father got home from work and we all as children had
dinner together. It was not, I mean as a family and that was not
unusual in those days. In those days, ah families more or less
always ate together and if you happened to be at somebody else's
house at dinner time, you just knew better than to accept if they
said, have some dinner, you knew it was time to go home and have
dinner with your own family and you didn't find children wondering
around from first one place and then the other. Ah we, we were all
Catholic, we went to church together on Sundays. I recall as a
small child...I can recall after we would come home from church on
Sundays, my father enjoyed the ah funny pap...you call the funny
paper in the Miami Herald and ah we would sit around on the floor
in the living room and my mother would read the funnies and dad
would be sitting in the big chair. I recall those things very
(Ms. Wanza): The next set of questions are regarding
employment from 1945 and 1970. Could describe the jobs you had
during that time?
(Mrs. Range): Let me see. In 1945, finished high school in
1935, ah 1945. Ah I might have been working for Christian Hospital
at that time. I might have been at Christian Hospital at that time
as my memory serves me now. Ah first as a clerk and then as a
bookkeeper, ah not with a, not with a degree in bookkeeping or
anything. I'm not, a college graduate but with a wealth of
experience going from one thing to another. I think that might
have begun around between '45 '48, I can't remember definitely,
but ah, I was...I did work for Christian Hospital for quite some
time and then the most outstanding thing that I can remember about
those years was that we opened a funeral home, my husband and I
opened the first funeral home that we had in the year of 1953,
February 1st, we had an opening and we opened over on Northwest
Fifteenth Avenue and Sixty-Seventh Street in a building that was
owned by the late Dennis Smith at that time. Throughout the years,
every since 1953, I have more or less been self-employed in, in the
business. I worked with my husband. For a while, short while after
we opened the business, I continued to work for Christian Hospital
but as the business grew and he needed help in the office then I
took over the office work and did work ah with him continuously
until his death in 1960. When he passed away in 1960, I remained
in the business with the assistance of a licensed funeral director
for, for a year. It was then that I, I knew that I was going to
remain in the funeral business and I knew that if I had planned to
remain the funeral business I would have to have my license. You
can not operate a funeral home in your own name for greater...for
a period greater than 5 years unless you have the license on your
own. So in 1961, I ah went to school. I took my youngest son and
we went to school, I mean I went to school in Boston Massachusetts.
I traveled home every weekend to see that the business was being
properly operated with a licensed funeral director and ah my oldest
son who had by that time finished college and we worked that way
until 1 completed my work in, in school and that was 1962. At that
time you needed only have 1 year of ah formal training to become a
licensed funeral director with the addition of your work as an
apprentice. It was a 3 year apprentice ah license, it had to
obtained and, of course, it was rather thoughtful of myself and my
husband, as soon as we went into business which was 1957 and he was
qualified by the Board to have an apprentice, I was his first
apprentice. So that by the time his death occurred, I had served my
apprenticeship consequently when I went to school in 1961 and
completed the formal training in 1962. I needed only to take the
state examination and it was fortunate, I took the state
examination in 1962 and passed that examination so at that point I
was a licensed embalmer. I had only one additional year to go as
a funeral director in training and I did take that training and in
19...late in 1962 I was licensed as a funeral director and, of
course, it would...then I was in full and complete charge of the
funeral home as I have been since that time.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm what kind of hours did you work?
(Mrs. Range): Twenty-four. (Laughter), well ah it was...it
was rather, it was extremely taxing because as soon as I received
my license then my son, who had completed his college work, ah we
both felt the need that we would, he would need a license also in
order to assist me so he went directly to embalming school as soon
as we finished. I often tell the story that ah we didn't do much
flying in those days but he was going to Boston on the Champion
that left here in the morning, that was train, and I passed him in
Wildwood coming back, that afternoon. I was coming south and he
was going north, that's how rapidly we had to make the change and
adjust to our way of life. So he went immediately to embalming
school and I believe he received his license in due time because at
that point he did not have his ah, he had not yet served his
apprenticeship so it took him a little longer, but we, we were both
licensed ah in due time.
(Ms. Wanza): (Throat clearing Excuse me.) Where did the
other members of your family work?
(Mrs. Range): Well, ah we have...they all ag some time or
other worked here in the funeral home. Ah they, they did not find
the same fever with funeral work as my oldest son. Ah my daughter
taught school for a while, she, she completed her work in college.
My, I had a son who unfortunately passed away...
(Intercom interruption): Hey mother?
(Mrs. Range): Excuse me.
(Mrs. Range): ...and ah he also taught school for a short
period of time and from time to time they have, throughout their
lives worked for the funeral home. Ah but not steadily like the
son I have now.
(Ms. Wanza): Beginning in the late '50s many immigrants moved
to Miami from the Caribbean including Cuba, Haiti and other
countries. Did those immigrants competed with Overtown residents
(Mrs. Range): Repeat that statement.
(Ms. Wanza): In the late '50?
(Mrs. Range): In the late '50s?
(Ms. Wanza): Yes, immigrants came over from other ah
Caribbean countries and other countries throughout the world, do
you...to move into Overtown, do you think those ah immigrants
competed with Overtown residents for jobs?
(Mrs. Range): I'm sure as they came in, they, they competed
with, with ah, with the Blacks for jobs, you see because even
though ah history would have us believe that, the spanish speaking
people came over and took our jobs, I've often heard that stated
but that's was not fully accurate because Black people never had
some of the jobs that were being offered to the spanish people and
people of lighter skin complexion, Whites, ah regardless to what
country they were from. I can very easily recall when there were
no ah Black clerks in stores like Burdine's, there, there were no
Black front, front desk people in any of the hotels on the Beach or
here in Miami or anywhere else. There were no Black people holding
those kind of positions, cleri...other clerical positions, they
just were not being held and when...and the Cubans came over, they
immediately began to fill theses jobs. You could go in a store and
not ah not be able to speak the language, yet they were, they were
holding those jobs and ah so the fact that it was said on any
number of occasions that the Cubans had come over and taken our
jobs. The Cubans got jobs that we never had and I think people
ought to remember that.
(Ms. Wanza): Do you recall people moving into umm Overtown
from out of town?
(Mrs. Range): Well I tell you I left the Overtown area in
1937 and that begun ah...that was quite a while before you see, you
are beginning to get into now, where 95 and the Urban Renewal
became a part of our problems. I think it was not until then that
you found people moving in, in different areas and I don't recall
people moving into Overtown in great numbers. I recall people
having to move out of Overtown in great numbers because by that
time, this was in the early '60s, I believe that they began the
Urban Renewal program and, of course, when Urban Renewal became a
way of life, it simply meant that we begun to have a "Black
Exodus." Families were forced to move out because the ah, the road
"and the areas were being taken for the Urban Renewal and for the 95
(Ms. Wanza): When you were living in Overtown, from '23 to
'37, do you recall families moving into Overtown from out of town?
(Mrs. Range): Ah, not anymore...from out of town?
(Ms. Wanza): No, I can't truthfully say that I do. Well yes,
I guess there was, I guess there was after the 1926 hurricane or
the 1925, which ever one that was and people were coming in, in
rather large numbers, you see we had ah somewhere through those
years, we had a market crash in 1929...yes there was a great influx
of people but these did not seem to be ah immigrants to me. These
seemed to be the people who were populating the Overtown area and
at that time were people who were coming from places like
Mississippi and Georgia and ether places in the south. I think we
had more of an influx of those people than we had of foreigners
coming in until the late '50s or early '60s.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, what sort of jobs did they have, the
people coming in?
(Mrs. Range): They had the menial jobs, nothing was being
offered Black people under any circumstance whether you came in
from out of town or you were here all the time unless you were
trained to be a teacher which, which was ah, I guess tops on the
list at that time unless you were prepared to go into the ah
schools or nursing or a few doctors at that time, not many, a few
doctors. Other jobs that were being offered to Blacks were, you
know jobs on the garbage truck, street sweepers but nothing about
(Ms. Wanza): Where did the people who came from out of town
live in Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): They lived in the tenements that we had
Overtown. We had places that we called...there was one place in ah
the...apparently were no, no laws rules and regulations regarding
the, the way houses were built at that time and so ah anybody could
come in and buy a piece of land and put up a row of ah houses, they
called them three-room houses, one bedroom, one kitchen and one
living room and ah no one was paying any attention to the laws that
governed zoning or anything like that so that there were many, many
ah little settlements of places ah that outsiders came in, White,
White developers came in and built these almost shacks and ah
rented to people and this is where they lived and it didn't matter
whether you had two in the family or twelve if you could all get in
there, you were welcomed so that's what was happening in those
years. That is why we had the areas that you ah probably refer to
today as ah those of you who were born way, way after that, what we
had an area in ah, in Overtown that we called "Good Bread Alley."
Ah I don't know where the name originated from but this was a large
settlement of nothing but three-room houses as far as you could see
and ah then there were others areas. One area over beyond
Northwest Third Avenue between Second and Third Avenue. That area
eventually began to be called "The Bucket of Blood" because there
had been several murders in that area but again they were the small
tiny little huts that they built for people to live in. The, the,
you, you may be old enough to recall there was a place over here on
Forty-First Street that was called Bonded Collection Agency for a
while. Well in the early days this was run ah not in that
particular section but in Overtown by ah this managed by a man
named Luther Brooks who ah, who was, who just ran Overtown as far
as rental properties were concerned and this was all over then they
eventually began as the people began to move out of Overtown ah,
spread out because Overtown was so crowded, then they began
building these big monstrosities all over Liberty City that you see
even some of them today go by no code whatsoever as long as you
could get the building on the piece of land, ah nobody cared, the
government didn't care about whether you had a parking space for
your car, a bicycle, whatever you had, there was no playground
areas provided for Black children. That is why this area, even
today appears to be so hodge podge with the different types of
buildings. I can recall when I first moved into this building that
were putting forth some people were owned a store across the
street, were putting forth a very strenuous effort to get a liquor
store across the street because Blacks had begun to move in so
rapidly and they knew that this would be an attraction and because
I had moved in this area to make my funeral home a permanent
fixture of the community, I took the time, my husband and I took
the time to search ah for whatever zoning we could find and we
found that it was against the law to have a liquor store within a
certain area of private homes but they were gung ho...that
commission was gung ho to give these men this license because they
"felt that Blacks did not know and I ah took on a campaign of going
from door to door advising the few Black people who were around
here that this was going to come into our area and as a result we
were able to stand that off. However the commission made every
effort to get it through because they had called commission
meetings at night when we were working and everything else.
Nevertheless, we persevered and that was almost the beginning of
trying to have some semblance of proper zoning in this area.
(Intercom interruption): Mrs. Range?
(Mrs. Range): Yes dear?
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, (throat cleaning), we were wrapping up the
set of questions regarding employment.
(Mrs. Range): Yeah cause I had got off on a tangent, talking
about everything else, haven't I?
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, Umm, I'm going to ask you a set of
questions regarding owning a business. I know, even though, you
didn't own the business in Overtown, I'm going to ask you the set
of questions because I think the information is ah important.
Okay, the first question is what kind of business did you own?
(Mrs. Range): Well, I came into this business in Liberty
City, this was a funeral home business that we ah, that we sat out
our first venture on.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay and where was his business located?
(Mrs. Range): It was located in a storefront on Northwest
Fifteenth Avenue and ah Sixty-Seventh Street.
(Ms. Wanza): And who were your employees?
(Mrs. Range): Well, my husband and I ah started the business
"and then we had an ambulance driver whose name was Plutina Parker,
he was one of the employees of the Far Funeral Home, Overtown and
ah for a while we, we were the only three and as funerals or the
needs came up,. we, we ah hired people for special occasions.
(Ms. Wanza): How did you find your employees?
(Mrs. Range): Well, we found ourselves. I looked at him and
he looked at me (laughter), we were there. Plutino was a person
who we knew from former funeral home so there was no problem.
(Ms. Wanza): Who were your customers?
(Mrs. Range): Oh, they are very silent and lovely people, who
never speak back. The customers were the dead people (laughter).
(Ms. Wanza): I know, but the...you know the families from,
from you know surrounding, you know surrounding, were they from
surrounding communities, was, was it one major community or...
(Mrs. Range): Yes, yes, we depended ah solely on the Liberty
(Ms. Wanza): Liberty City area, okay.
(Mrs. Range): Yes, the Liberty City area, that was our, those
were our first customers, then, of course, we branched out.
(Ms. Wanza): And did you ever move the business from that
location to another location?
(Mrs. Range): Yes, yes, the business which as I said was
first on Fifteenth Avenue and Sixty-Seventh Street, ah we projected
for ourselves that we would stay there for 5 years and then look
for a permanent place as the city evolved, you know, as Liberty
-City grew, you see because in those years, now that was when ah,
"the 1-95 was, was ah, well no, that was 1953. Nevertheless,
Liberty City had begun to grow about that time. There was a
gentleman whose name was Mr. Kelly who was selling lots out here in
a small area of Liberty City and people were beginning to purchase
those lots and we felt that in time, Liberty City would expand so
that we projected ourselves that we would live and have our
business at the address that I gave you for 5 years and then we
would begin to look other places but by the time we were in
business 3 years ah the face of Liberty City and the surrounding
areas, this where we are now is called Floral Park, there was
already a thrust for, for the White people to move out because they
being more knowledgeable than we were about what was on the drawing
board for downtown and for its development began to know what was
going to happen. It was on the drawing board many, many years
before Urban Renewal came about that the downtown section of
Overtown, where Overtown is located was going to be taken up by
governmental entities and they needed to get the Blacks out, see.
So these people knew that they began to look elsewhere for, for ah
places to live. They also took note that the developers were
coming in and building huge apartment buildings out here in Liberty
City even though there was not, from indications, a demand for them
at that time but they were beginning to build these buildings and
so we felt that sooner or late, the area were we was unless we
could find...where we were I .should say, unless we could find a
suitable place over there that we would need to find somewhere
where we could build and expand. About that time, people began to
"look over in this area of Seventeenth Avenue and the very building
in which we occupy now was a White nursery school, Whites had begun
to move out of the area because here and there a Black family was
beginning to move in and they sought us out because our business
had begun to grow, thy sought us out and offered us this place at
an attractive price and we,purchased. We were the very first Black
Family or business to move into this particular area and that was
(Ms. Wanza): And umm you moved into this building, this
address which is 5727 Northwest Seventeenth Avenue.
(Mrs. Range): ...27 Northwest Seventeenth Avenue, yes.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay and umm how successful was relocation?
(Mrs. Range): Well, the relocation, we, we certainly never
regretted it ah relocating. However, there were some uneasy
moments over here. There were some threats from people who ah did
not want us in the area. I recall the house right behind the
funeral home which I now own, was owned by a White minister and his
wife and ah they were prompted to say that ah the odor from the
funeral home was disturbing them and funeral homes do not have an
odor, you know, that, that's just a fantasy but ah they were
prompted to say that and other Whites who lived around, in the
neighborhood were quite unfriendly except for a little old lady and
her son who lived on the opposite side. Her son was not ah quite
normal and she was rather dependent and she found friendship in us
ah but we had quite...you could call it a rough time if we had
-allowed it to get us down. They ah...several people called and
"skasid some unkind things but we didn't let that bother us and it was
around the same time that integration was becoming a big, big
circumstance. I don't know how...how soon it was but when my
youngest child was ready to go to school, they were integrating the
Archei Miller School and we received some rather nasty threats
about that but we didn't really stop because we went right on.
(Ms. Wanza): The next set of questions is regarding
neighborhood life between 1945 and 1970. Now I know that you moved
out in '37 so could you, could we umm go ahead and replace those
years from '20, '23 to '37.
(Mrs. Range): Oh sure.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay.
(Mrs. Range): Well, of course, in those years, ah there was
a very definite way of life in Overtown. Overtown ah was pointed
out as being on the north side of Fifth Street, north to about
Twenty-First Terrace from the railroad which is on First Avenue
that would have been the eastern boundary over to the railroad on
Sixth Place, that would have been the western boundary, now that is
the original Overtown. You take it from one who knows. That was
the original Overtown and people lived there in a relatively
friendly manner. It was very difficult for Blacks in that they
were not invited to trespass into the other community which was
downtown and it...as, as far as I can remember, it was difficult
but you recall, I was more or less a child at time, nevertheless I
do recall ah some incidents where ah Black people could not go
across the Beach to work unless they had an identification card and
ah, that...those were the days when if you worked you did not
approach the front door, you went around to the back of there. It'
was some...during that particular time that Booker T. Washington
High School was being built and because it was going to be a three-
story high school for Black children when the school was maybe more
than half completed, it was actually bombed and even though they
tried to play that down, there are a few of us who are living
witnesses to know that this actually happened, the school was
actually bombed and it prevented the opening from date to several
months ah at that time. Ah those are the kind of circumstances
that ah, that existed here in Miami during those years. Ah we, we
knew of police brutality but no one dared speak of it because it
was just a no-no.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe your place of residence?
(Mrs. Range): At that time?
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum.
(Mrs. Range): The...we lived first on Fifteenth Street, it
was, there were four of us who were children and my mother and
father, there were two bedrooms, ah all of the children occupied
one bedroom and my mother and father occupied the other, that
particular little house had a living room in it and a kitchen. You
didn't have a Florida rooms or anything like that and there was a
bathroom to that house. Now, the reason that this house was built
as well as it was, was because it once belonged to the owners even
though they were Black, they had built another home and moved into
-it. So they did have a bathroom. They had a bathtub and toilet
"and the basin but this was built on the back of the house, you went
out of the kitchen door and then into the bathroom, all on the same
premises but I would hasten to say that great in number of places
were not as well equipped. Ah most of my friends lived in the
three-room houses that I've described to you which was known Good
Bread Alley and even though we did not live in Good Bread Alley
there were many of these houses were built in other places. These
houses were what you call one, just one straight through ah
partitioned off in three rooms and on the back was a toilet and
stool. It did not have, they did not have basins in them. They
were all ah city water, they were not septic tanks or anything.
They were all flush toilets but ah that is the condition that
existed at that time.
(Ms. Wanza): Who lived in your household? I know you just
explained your mother and your father and four sisters and
(Ms. Wanza): Four sisters, okay.
(Mrs. Range): Yes, we had two boys and two girls.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe the street where you lived?
(Mrs. Range): Well yes, on ah Fifteenth Street, surprisingly
enough this is what I say abou* not having zoning laws. Ah there
were 2 and 3 families who were quite well off. The lady who lived
in...right in front of us was a lady who a music teacher. She had
a large upstairs house, very nicely furnished and ah the lady right
next to her, her husband was...worked on the railroad and he had a
-good job I guess and they built a CBS home right there and down the
street there was a man who was engaged in selling what they called
Cuba, that was the numbers and so he made a good living (laughter).
He had a nice home and then my uncle, ah who at that time had ah,
had a rather,, spacious home and ah my uncle was a rum runner
(laugher). He had ah, he had several boats he owned. His, one of,
one of my uncles was a boat builder, he could build the boats and
the other uncle had several boats and he brought ah, he brought
liquor from Cuba or Nassau, wherever it was coming from into Miami
so that, he, he did well and that was all in one block.
(Ms. Wanza): Where did your neighbors work?
(Mrs. Range): Now the neighbors who worked ah in that area,
they were mostly domestic workers, see. Ah everybody, more or less
was somebody's maid and ah one of the, one of the occupations that
were popular at that time was couples living on premises. The
lady, the woman of the house was a maid and the man, was the butler
and they, they would work on premises. I, I can't recall what
happened if they had children. Maybe the children were with their
parents or something but they, they would have this butler and maid
situation and on Thursdays they'd get a half day off and most of
the people it seemed were rather, rather congenial. The drive home
in the boss man's big and they would come over and visit their
families and everything, have a nice time on Thursdays and then
they would go back and work the remainder of the week. It was a
(Ms. Wanza): What happened to those neighbors?
(Mrs. Range): Well, those who haven't made it as far as me
have gone to glory (laughter). They ah, they moved in other areas,
ah people of which I speak were my mother and father's age and ah
if both of those were living today, they would be over 100 hundreds
old so I could say with fear of contradiction that they are all
(Ms. Wanza): And the kids who were, who were your age, they
moved out, to different areas?
(Mrs. Range): Ah well some of them moved out. I could
probably count on, on the fingers of one of my hands those who I,
those I, those who I could remember now and who are still alive.
I have a friend who, who was, who became a nurse and the doctor and
eventually the widow of one of our doctors here and that was Mrs.
Idella Hogan. She still lives on Eighty-Seventh Street in the
neighhood where my son lives and even though she invalid, she ah...
(Intercom interruption: ah, excuse me)
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, we were on the question, what happened to
your neighbors and you said, most of them moved out.
(Mrs. Range): Yes I was speaking of the neighbors who were
still my age. Ah I have, I have now, now ah...
(Knock at door)
(Mrs. Range): Yes darling? Beginning where?
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, umm we were talking about the neighbors...
(Mrs. Range): About the people, yes...
(Ms. Wanza): ...and they left
(Mrs. Range): Yes, now ah Idella Hasty was one of my
neighbors, she lived on, on Fifteenth Street and as I told you she
grew up to become a registered nurse, she married a doctor, he
eventually died and she still lives on Eighty-Seventh Street and
there are several others that do not come to mind at the moment but
ah there is another young woman, who, who became a teacher and she
still lives. Her name is Constance Sandors, she...I, I knew her ah
as being very young. I can't think of too many more.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, umm could describe the main business areas
you went to in Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Yes, the main business areas were more or less
well...now you didn't have any ah large grocery stores like Winn
Dixie or anything like that. You had a Piggly Wiggly but these,
these places and the Tip Top grocery, these places were down on the
bordering edge. They were down on Northwest Fifth Street beyond
the Colored, as you call it "Colored Section" when people went
there, they, they usually did their weekly shopping there at the
Tip Top grocery and ah somewhere in the same neighborhood was
probably the Piggly Wiggly store, the other stores ah the large
stores, were down on Flagler Street, Mc Crory's, Kress and those
stores but as far as the neighborhood was concerned, we did have
the neighborhood stores. I shall always remember the store that
was on Fourteenth Street near Twelfth Avenue. Ah this gentleman
was of spanish origin but he was a Black Hispanic and ah my father
knew him from Key West so when we came up to Key West we were in
the same neighborhood and we always went there to shop and every
Saturday night we would go, his name was Yabby. I don't know how
to spell that but we would go to Mr. Yabby's shop and buy a full
supply of groceries and I shall always remember each time we went,
he gave, for us, for the children, he gave us a large bag of what
we called Silver Bells, you know what the little Hershey chocolates
are? He's give us a whole basket, a whole bag of Silver Bells
every Saturday night. I remember that quite well. As far as...I
don't remember dry good stores and the likes unless they were
Jewish, there was a place on Third Avenue, ah right in an upstairs
building where the McKenneys who was an old family, where they
lived and owned a building, there, there was this ah Jewish store
there and they sold everything, dresses, clothes, shoes, you know,
whatever you could buy. There were ice cream parlors. There was
the one whose name was Mr. Mitchell on the corner of Fifteenth
Street and Third Avenue and then across the street from that which
was probably one of the larger Black grocery stores was a Mr. Lee
but that was about the...on Second Avenue there were a number...but
we were not allowed to go on Second Avenue, we went very, very
seldom because my father was rather strict and I am
the days of which I speak we were rather small but as we grew into
teenager and we were allowed to go to the movies once a week. That
was when the Lyric Theater was there and eventually the Ritz came
around and they had a few stores there and naturally you get into
ah the Leonard's store where at Classic Time everybody went to buy
a suit so they could be dressed up for the Classic.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, (throat cleaning) can you describe where
your family bought groceries?
(Mrs. Range): Yeah I just described it.
(Ms. Wanza): All those different, the different...
(Mrs. Range): No, no I told you Mr. Yabby.
(Ms. Wanza): Oh, Mr. Yabby, that's right. Okay, so you
didn't go to Tip Top or the other Piggly Wiggly.
(Mrs. Range): No we seldom went down there. My father always
brought the groceries from his friend.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe where your family went to the
barber shop and beauty shop?
(Mrs. Range): Ah, well, we didn't go (laughter) to the beauty
shop. We didn't ah That's my mother's
picture over there so she didn't go to beauty shop...you see that
roll of hair?
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum, umm hum.
(Mrs. Range): That's my mother's picture, so you could see
that she had...and ah...
(Female whisper): Oh, she had nice hair, she had nice hair.
(Mrs. Range): and this was my, my brother and sister and
myself so umm, that little one there is me, the one who they
pinched and made me cry (laughter), yes. So I guess that answers
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, so you did your own hair, excuse me your
mom did your family hair.
(Mrs. Range): Yeah, we just combed it, brushed it here like
I do (laughter).
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe where your family went to the
(Mrs. Range): As, as youngsters Mitchell Drugstore was
on Fifteenth Street and Third Avenue and later on there was a
drugstore on.. Fourth Avenue and Fourteenth Terrace but the
prescription drugstore and I remember this as I was a little older,
was the Economy Drugstore that was owned and operated by Dr. Elmer
A. Ward who was a, ah, what do you call it?
(Female voice): Pharmacist.
(Mrs. Range): Pardon me who was a pharmacist.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe where your family went to the
(Mrs. Range): The cleaners, I... wow, I don't even remember
going to the cleaners, sure can't.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay.
(Intercom interruption): Mrs. Range?
(Ms. Wanza): Umm, we were talking about the cleaners and you
said you can't recall if you went to the cleaners.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe the churches your family
(Mrs. Range): Yes, we are all Catholic. Let me write this
(Ms. Wanza): This is end of Tape #1, Side #1. We will
continue the questions regarding family life between 1923 and 1932
on Side #2 of Tape #1. This is Stephanie Wanza interviewing Mrs.
(Mrs. Range): Alright now. Now, what the church?
(Ms. Wanza): (Throat clearing), Yeah.
(Mrs. Range): We are all Catholics and ah...
(Ms. Wanza): And what church did you attend.
(Mrs. Range): We attended...when I first came to Miami in
(Ms. Wanza): Testing, 1,2,3. This Stephanie Wanza. I am
continuing the interview with Mrs. Athalie. We are at her office.
Today's date is August 28, 1997 and we were on the set of question
regarding neighborhood life between 1923 and 1937 and we were
discussing the churches umm that your family attended.
(Mrs. Range): Alright, the...when we came to Miami in 1923,
there was no established ah Black Catholic church. My aunt whose
husband worked for the JAYJFW which was the downtown church ah
became a Catholic in the interim over the years and, of course,
when we came to Miami, she began taking us to church with her on
Sunday mornings and this was a walk from say Fifteenth Street and
Fourth Avenue to Northeast Second Street and Northeast First Street
I think, Second or First Street, Second Avenue where the JAYJEW was
then and still stands today. At that time segregation was
such...was so well established in the City of Miami that Blacks and
Whites were not allowed to mingle consequently they condescended
and gave the Blacks who were Catholic one seat in the rear of the
church. You, you sat in the back seat and as time went on a few
more people began coming from other sitters who were Catholic,
they, we got up to two seats. It was during this time that ah we
received our first communion and of course, that in the Catholic
church is a celebration and the White children received their first
communion in the main body of the church. JAYJEW has a basement"-
and because of the laws, they did not allow us to receive communion
with the Whites but they arranged an altar and ah what was
necessary in the basement and the mass for the Black communicants
were held in the basement. Now that was my very first introduction
to attending to church here in Miami. As time went on, we got a
mission on Northwest Eleventh Street and Third Avenue and after a
few years we were able to build a small church on the corner of
Sixteenth Terrace and ah Fourth Avenue and even though it is not
the original church, the church that stands there today still
replicates that, that was built there for us ah many, many years
(Ms. Wanza): And what was the name of the church?
(Mrs. Range): St. Francis Xavier. That church is still
there, ah we are pleased to say that there is school there also ah
which houses more than 100 Black children right now and they are
getting Catholic training.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe the places your family went
for entertainment such as theater's, bars, restaurants and sporting
events and I know you said you went to the Lyric?
(Mrs. Range): Umm hum.
(Ms. Wanza): And what other places did you go to?
(Mrs. Range): Yes we went to the Lyric Theater, the Lyric
Theater was the home of the Mickey Mouse Show, I understand many,
many years ago ah they...when Mickey Mouse was first born, I guess,
to the theater, they, they had clubs all over the country and they
called it Mickey Mouse Clubs and every Saturday they would have ah
show, a live, show for all of the youngsters who wanted to
participate...what do you call that kind of...
(Female voice): A talent show?
(Mrs. Range): Yes. They would have talent show as such and
many children won prizes there at the Mickey Mouse, ah that was
what they called the live theater then. That theater is incidently
being refurbished now. We also went to the Lyric Theater in later
years. My parents were not, were not people who went out for
entertainment. They were of the old school and so they did not go
to bars or anything. Whenever there were church affairs, the
church would give certain teas and ah maybe little dances and
things that we all attended together but that was pretty much the
extent. It was not until I became of age and married that we
began, my husband and I and our friends began going to ah the one
hotel here that was there for entertainment. I believe that was
the Sir John where the stars, Black Stars who came down to perform
and who could not live on the Beach lived at the Sir John and they
performed over there and then, of course, after the shows were over
on the Beach, then they came over and performed for us for free so
it was pretty good. I remember having seen Dinah Washington, she
is charming lady, ah she's my favorite soloist, I love to hear
Dinah sing and many of the other, many of the other people who came
and incidently here a picture of Lena Horne I went to school for a
few years here in Miami ah as a child with Lena Home, her parents
lived here very briefly and she attended the Carrie Bell Anderson's
little private school and I attended at the same time.
(Ms. Wanza): When someone in your family got sick where did
they go to the doctor's office?
(Mrs. Range): Early on the doctors would come to the house.
There was Dr. Benjamin, I remember quite well who would ah, who
would make house visits. Baby's were born at home ah if you had to
go to the hospital, we were very fortunate, I suppose you could say
we were a rather healthy family. I don't remember any dashing
circumstances where we had to be rushed to a hospital but I do
recall one night, my, my mother was accidently either stung by a
scorpion or bitten by a small snake. I don't know which it was but
ah her body became very rigid and my father and my brother-in-law
I think it was ah put her in a car and rushed her out to Jackson.
I think that was Jackson Memorial Hospital where she was taken.
When I became of age and began...was married and having my
children, ah my youngest child was born at Christian Hospital which
was a small Black Hospital located on First Place and Twelfth
Street and ah that was where most Black people went at that time.
If there were emergencies I guess they were taken to Jackson.
(Ms. Wanza): How long did you continue to patronize those
businesses in Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): In Overtown, well by the time we moved out in
1937, ah most of the businesses of which I speak, well were no
-longer there but ah the Economy Drugstore was still there and, and
"wte still went over the Economy Drugstore because at that time when
we moved out there were not a lot of established businesses in
Liberty City. You see people moved out from Overtown in 1937 by
"Choice. They-were not, they were not pushed out and the reason ah
many people moved out of Overtown because the housing there was
poor and the government just started building the housing that you
see here now, the Liberty Square Housing Project was the first one
and people from all over were really putting in applications to try
to get into these ah well built houses with the nice bathrooms and
doors and the other amenities so that we moved by choice and, of
course, by then I guess people were more or less taking buses going
downtown to shop and ah going back to town to see their friends and
things of that nature.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum. Oh, I forget to ask umm when I was
asking the set of questions regarding, umm employment, how did you
get to work when you were working as a clerk, how did you get to
(Mrs. Range): Well the distance was not great for one thing.
I lived on Fourteenth Terrace. The Afro-American Insurance Company
was on Ninth Street. Ah when I went to work there I could very
easily work. Ah over on ah, over to the Christian Hospital the
distance was even closer so people who, who had to go to work. I
think, I think perhaps, perhaps the jitneys were in by then. I
can't really clearly remember that but ah I did not have a
transportation problem so I'm aware.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, (throat clearing) when did you begin to go
"to' entertainment outside of Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): I guess that came along in all probability ah
about the '60s. Ah I know I went over to ah...they called it, I
think they called it the Playboy Hotel at that time on Collins
Avenue. I remember quite well Harry Belafonte came and opened that
club and I, I saw him for the first time ah because, wow! Yes,
because my husband died in 60 and we were, for quite a while we
went to the entertainment as long as it was there on, on Second
Avenue. The places that I probably didn't mention because I was
only thinking of the theater but the places such as the Harlem
Square and ah the Dela Robia. Yes and I went to those even after
we were married, that's right and ah I could remember Cab Calloway
and, and his sister, his sister Blanche who died just a few years
ago. She had an orchestra of her own and she played at the Dela
Robia on several occasions and the Harlem Square was a place where,
where dances were held and I imagine it was around that time that
the King of Clubs entertained...any entertainment they gave were in
one of those two places.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay. During the period from 1945 to 1970 or
rather I should change that from 1923 to 1937, what were the main
things that made Overtown a community?
(Mrs. Range): Well I think it's a things that we've probably
discussed, the neighborhood stores, ah I don't remember, I really
don't remember any parks other than the park over that ah, that
D.A. Dorsey had given property to the City of Miami and they called
that the "Dust Bowl" when we were going to school over at Booker T.
Washington High School, called it the Dust Bowl because they never,
they never graded it or anything and that was the park where our
balls went to play football and baseball, things of that nature.
Ah what was the remainder of that question, I I've...
(Ms. Wanza): Ah, ah what were the main things that made
Overtown a community?
(Mrs. Range): Yes, well the schools, the churches. Ah
Overtown was...there were several clubs that ladies had, the sewing
clubs and some of the other clubs that I, whose names I can't
remember now but they did a lot of having teas. Teas were the,
were the social events that they went to and ah these ladies would
have nice teas. I'm trying to think of the names of some of the
clubs but I really can't think of them now but the King of Clubs
comes to mind because it was an outstanding group of young
gentlemen of more or less businessmen or professionals who formed
the King of Clubs and at that time during a certain period of each
year they would bring speakers in and they had what you call
"Sunday Afternoon Forums" which was very, very appealing to the
people and they went to the different churches and each time they
went they had just about sale out crowds. This was a part of the
cultural aspect of life in Overtown. These are the kind of things
that brought the community together.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, (throat cleaning). When and how did that
sense of community change?
(Mrs. Range): I guess the sense of community began to change
"with the incoming of ah, of ah Urban Renewal when, when families
were being bought out and more or less pushed out, the Black Exodus
began. When you moved in one direction, you next door neighbor
moved in another direction, you got together again. When the 1-95,
when 95 came through and the place was...the places which were so
closely connected such as people who lived in Good Bread Alley,
they stood by their own, you know, and when that was wiped out ah
it was just like a chinese wall was built around certain areas of
Miami so that people were just divided, you know, they just came in
were swept out like birds flying in trees to find somewhere else to
(Ms. Wanza): Okay. How has Overtown changed since 1970?
(Mrs. Range): Well it has changed now because their is no
sense of community and ah we still have a few churches there but
the greater portion of their populous comes from, comes from
Liberty City, Carol City, wherever those persons who just would not
give up their church you know, sometime people just feel, well I've
got to stay here and go down with but this why I suppose their
memberships have diminished and everything so I think the churches
have been impacted.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay. Umm the next set of questions will be
regarding 1-95. When and how did you first hear about the building
(Mrs. Range): Now 1-95 is a subject on which I am not totally
knowledge but if that's the area that goes from Miami Beach to the
airport or one of these things, it was several years ago when I
"invited to ah two or three meetings...
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum, now this is 1-95, it's the regular I-
95, north, south. The one that goes on Third.
(Mrs. Range): What? You mean 1-95 that stretches all out
(Ms. Wanza): Yeah, un hun.
(Mrs. Range): It's not 1-95, that's 95.
(Ms. Wanza): Yeah 95.
(Mrs. Range): Un hun. Ah, I can't remember. It was sometime
shortly after Urban Renewal it seems that they were almost
ah...seems like they came almost in the lateral one with the other.
I can't quite remember but this was when the great exodus came of
Black family, this is when an account was given that there was some
eighty-five hundred Black families pushed out of the, of the
downtown area to make space for 95 to come through.
(Ms. Wanza): So around what year was that?
(Mrs. Range): That must have been in the late '60s because I
was on the Commission then and before, before I got on the
Commission, I went to the Commission as an appointee in 1965 and
that plan had already passed and was about to be put into action.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay. Where were you living at that time?
Where were would that be?
(Mrs. Range): Ah we were out here in Liberty City where we
are now I guess.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, I see.
(Ms. Wanza): What kind of a reaction was there to the news
-that an expressway would come through Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Well, people were very, tremendously upset but
you see, unfortunately, most of the people who lived in Overtown
were not homeowners so it was very difficult for them to do
anything other than ah express their feelings as far as land
ownership was concerned. Just as I said sometime earlier in the
interview because we had not had representation in government on
the Commission on knowing everything that was going on, many
developers came in, purchased a lot of that Overtown property so
that they were not affected other than to sell it back to the
government you see because most of the people who were forced out
of Overtown were people who were renting. It was a good number of
them who were homeowners. Some of them were able to stay like the
Sawyers, they were able to stay. They were able to cut Bethel
Church and some of the larger entities out of ah being disrupted by
95 but a lot of people who were in that, in that ah thoroughfare
were caught up and they sold, some of them who I suppose were
thoughtful enough to get good attorneys might have gotten a good
return for their monies. Others were probably just given pennies
and pushed out.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum, I see. Did you with your neighbors?
(Mrs. Range): Well having been part of the Commission, when
the building first began, naturally there were, there were many
meetings that we ah talked with people about. I recall having ah
been a part of meeting where Dr. John Dyer who was the
transportation ah for Dade County in those days, I recall having ah
-attended several meetings where he was saying to the people that
"they were able, those persons who had to sell, they were going to
be able to come back and purchase and re-buy parts of the land but
this was not true and, of course Dr. Dyer was quite aware that it
was not true -when he was saying it because what happened, as soon
as the lots were cleared, you see, they re-platted the whole of
Overtown and that's why you don't see or somebody who use to own a
house going over there buying something and putting up a nice
little and a garden anymore because that stuff was all re-platted
and that means that the sewers, not the sewers but the streets, the
sidewalks everything was just all turned all into one, you know,
and ah where, where the expressway goes over and that under
expressway land, at one times those were all little private homes
along there but see they platted and put the expressway over it and
you can't buy that land anymore.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, let me see. I know you just mentioned
that you attended meetings where it was discussed. Did anyone ever
umm discuss the issue with public officials, anyone else on the
commission which was ah, ah...
(Mrs. Range): Sure, Dana Dorsey Chatman was loud, very loud
voice on that because her father owned a great portion of that land
over there and ah she was quite vocal about it. I don's know how
they settled with her but she was very vocal in that there was a
developer from downtown if I could call his name, every, every ah
local official would know him.. Tom Post. He made, he came out and
I understand bought quite a bit of the property simply because he
-was in the "know," he knew what was going to happen over there.
Hurry now baby, I got to go.
(Ms. Wanza): (laughter) Okay, alright. What was the most
important impact of the expressway on you?
(Mrs. Range): As in individual the expressway did not impact
me because I was already out.
(Ms. Wanza): What was the Overtown community able to get from
public officials in return for 1-95 going through Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): I, I haven't seen anything that they've gotten.
They got many, many promises from the office of ah planning and
I've been many meetings with Herb Bailey and others who said
certain things were going to be developed Overtown but all I've
seen developed Overtown was they put a "Y" on Northwest Fifth
Street, ah they are building a medical building for the homeless on
the corner of apparently Sixth Street and ah Third Avenue. Some of
the big developers came in and put of townhouses so to speak over
on Third Avenue, Third Court, near Twentieth Street. Those are the
things but I do not, I would not call them amenities, ah to, to the
(Ms. Wanza): How did 1-95 affect the community?
(Mrs. Range): Well as I said earlier, the community was
affected because they lost the sense of community. People moved
into different sections, some of them haven't seen each other since
the moves began. So it was, it was just a community completely
(Ms. Wanza): The next set of questions are regarding public
"housing. I'm just going to ask you a few questions and then we are
g6ing to move onto the set of questions regarding the Metrorail.
(Mrs. Range): Umm hum.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, umm when and how did you first hear about
the umm building of public housing?
(Mrs. Range): That must have been in 1937. I think public
housing must have begun to have been built in 1935 or 1936 and
probably came up to the, to ah, to the finishing point around 1937.
Un hun and it was stated that public housing would be built because
there was such a dire need for housing over populated cities.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, what kind of reaction was there to the
news that public housing would come through Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Well public housing did not necessarily come to
Overtown. Public housing was built in Liberty City.
(Ms. Wanza): In Liberty City. I know public housing was
built later in Overtown.
(Mrs. Range): Oh, later in Overtown. I, I cannot give you ah
a, an answer on that because I am removed from the area, however,
by the time they decided to put public housing in Overtown,
homeowners or people who really could have had a voice in it were
gone so I think it did not meet with very much opposition.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, umm what do you think was the umm impact
of public housing coming into the community? How did public
housing affect Overtown in your opinion?
(Mrs. Range): You know I wish I could answer that question
but I can't because I don't...I really don't know how it affected
"it other than the fact that I, I don't know whether public housing
or anything were received over there where the people are actually
occupying but it ah, the, the bit of, of ah contact that I have had
with the public housing in Overtown, it still seems to be that for
on the underemployed or the unemployed, you know the conditions
still seem to be rather depressing.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, the next set of questions will be
regarding Metrorail. When and how did you first hear about the
building of Metrorail?
(Mrs. Range): Well the building of Metrorail came along...oh
my goodness, how old is Michael Ray?
(Ms. Wanza): In the late '70s?
(Mrs. Range): Yes.
(Mrs. Range): Hello?
(Intercom interruption): Mrs. Range?
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, so we were discussing the building of
Metrorail in the late '70s, they began to build it up early '80s.
(Mrs. Range): Oh yes, that was when ah, that was when we
began the affirmative action pretty much and ah, there was much
discussion about Blacks getting a share of the, of the construction
of Metrorail many companies came in.
(Ms. Wanza): What kind of reaction was there to the news that
Metrorail would come through Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Well as I said when ah, when that news came
through Overtown was already devastated see, because that's twenty
years later after, after Urban Renewal and ah 95, and those persons
"who were in the, in the pathway of Metrorail were for the greater
part not in Overtown. They were in the Liberty City area.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, we were discussing the reaction of umm
Overtown residents when they heard the news that Metrorail would be
coming through Overtown. I know you just said that Metrorail
actually affect the people living outside of Overtown.
(Mrs. Range): It seems that most of them that were on that
corridor, ah coming by Booker T. Washington High School, those
people and the people who came right around that bend from Twelfth
Avenue down Forty-First Street. Now the people who were, who were
downtown ah such as the Sawyers, there properties were not
involved, see the people who were down there, let me see some of
the others. That, that is why the configuration was moved so many
time because the people were objecting about the downtown leg of it
and I guess they found it most convenient to come through Forty-
First Street because those homes were very small over there and so
most of people ah were willing to sale and get out.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, so umm did you ever attend a meeting where
it was discussed or sign or petition or discuss the issue with
(Mrs. Range): Yes. There >,ere several or number of meetings
were held. That was where ah, I think we might have run into Dr.
Dyer again with some discussion about it.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum, okay.
(Mrs. Range): But the biggest thing with Metrorail was that
"they were selling us on the idea that so many Blacks would get
sitions, you know.
(Ms. Wanza): And that didn't happen?
(Mrs. Range): Naw. no.
(Ms. Wanza): What was the community able to get from public
officials in return for Metrorail?
(Mrs. Range): I don't know if they got anything other than
the convenience of riding the rail of those who needed.
(Ms. Wanza): How did Metrorail affect the community?
(Mrs. Range): Well it ah, here again many people had to move
but that is the greatest affect it had on the community.
(Ms. Wanza): The next and last set of questions are regarding
the future of the Overtown area. What are the most important
misconceptions about Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): Well I think the most misconceptions about it
is that ah people are still being sold a bill of goods that
Overtown is going to be built up again, that people are coming
alive over there and I just, I just don't see it. This kind of
lingo has been going on for a number of years and, and nothing has
really come of it.
(Ms. Wanza): What do you think public officials need to know
most about Overtown?
(Mrs. Range): I don't know, I think they know all that, all
that has to be known about it. They know that ah Overtown is
there, they know that ah people still need housing, they, they
still need jobs such as they have always needed. The ah whatever
"facilities are built, they have continued to build them just on the
edge of Overtown facing downtown such as the big post office that
they built on Fifth Street, such as the Overtown, the huge
facility, the City of Miami facility that they built there for the
police department is just on the south side so it's all looking
downtown and the Arena was built on the other side of the track and
they slyly try to call that Overtown sometime. So it seems that
they expect that they will just go on and on until slowly but
surely the entire area of Overtown will simply become an addition
to the downtown area and I don't think that they should continue to
tell people that it's going to become a nice little village for
them to live in again because I simply don't see this happening.
(Ms. Wanza): What should be done to improve umm the Overtown
area now such as transportation projects, attractions, job creation
or beautification programs?
(Mrs. Range): Well certainly, they done little or nothing to
beautify Overtown but now tell me this? What is there to beautify.
They haven't built anything in Overtown to beautify so it would be
foolish to say build a lot of trees and just, and just ah build the
land so people can pass through and say this use to be Overtown.
I think that the plans of the fathers or the principals that be,
those in the know, I think they are handling Overtown just as they
want to handle it. They are going to go right along and let it
become completely devastated and then they will continue to build
government buildings and thing. that all, reached all downtown.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum. What should be the relationship
between Overtown and Downtown Miami?
(Mrs. Range): Who is in Overtown to have a relationship with
Downtown Miami? I, you know, I have been very negative on this
because I haven't seen anything that the governmental entities are
doing to create anything that would conducive to a relationship
with downtown and Overtown. No big stores are being built in
Overtown. There is no community to support the stores when they
build them so who's going to come downtown, south, west, north,
east, who's going to come into, you know Overtown to support these
entities? Nobody. They don't have a population over there to
support anything they might build.
(Ms. Wanza): Umm hum. When you have visitors from out of
town, where do you take them to show them culture and history of
Dade County's African-American community?
(Mrs. Range): Well I talk to them about a lot of things and
I have no problem with taking them down Second Avenue and showing
them Lyric Theater or where the hospital use to be or things of
that nature, if you are going to show them the African-American
culture because that's all we have.
(Ms. Wanza): Could you describe in your own words what kind
of community you would like for Overtown to be in the future?
(Mrs. Range): You know this is just wishful thinking. If
Overtown could again become a neighborhood community that would be
just like a dream come true but let's face the nightmare for what
it is...it simply is not going to be. So, you know, surely I'd,
I'd love to see Overtown with ah, with ah a good area such as the
Lyric Theater, you know, this is how things use to be and ah Second
Avenue come alive again but these things are not in the making and
they are not in the foreseeable future as far as I can.
(Ms. Wanza): Okay, well is there anything else you want to
(Mrs. Range): Not a thing anything, honey. I got to get out
of here (laughter). I've got a million things to do.
(Ms. Wanza): Ah that continues our interview and this is now
the end of the interview. This is Stephanie Wanza. I've
interviewed Mrs. Athalie Range, in her office. This is Side #2 of
Tape #1. Today's date is August 28, 1997.