Overtown is a historically African-American neighborhood located just north of downtown Miami and is considered part of Miami's Central District. It is also Miami’s poorest neighborhood. The majority of its residents (90%) are African-Americans. The town was formed because of Jim Crow laws prohibiting where African-Americans could live.
In its heyday Overtown had several theatres, nightclubs, schools and other facilities that African-Americans could use without infringing on territory intended only for white people. Famous African-Americans such as Josephine Baker, Zora Neale Hurston and W.E.B. DuBois stayed in Overtown before desegregation in the American South.
When Jim Crow laws were overturned, several African-Americans moved out of Overtown and moved to other locales in Miami; this began Overtown's slow decline. Demolished buildings in the 1970s and incidents that disturbed the neighborhood in the 1980s made Overtown fall futher into disrepair. Today Developers are trying to create new housing and businesses in the area to get middle-class residents to come to the area; this is called the Overtown Renaissance.
Overtown used to have the country's second highest murder rate behind Washington (D.C.) before gentrification. Despite the Renaissance, however, there are still reports of homicide and sexual crimes in Overtown. Use common sense whenever you're in Overtown and try not to be in this town at night.