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Bilzin Sumberg Hosts Lecture by Timothy Barber on the History of Miami's Black Community

Press Release
February 18, 2021
Miami, FL - On February 16, 2021, Bilzin Sumberg's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee hosted a virtual lecture by Timothy Barber, the Executive Director of The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida, on the history of Miami's Black community and its contribution to the fabric of the City of Miami.

The program opened with remarks from Marshall Pasternack, Partner in Bilzin Sumberg's Corporate Group, chronicling Barber's career path as it led him to become Executive Director of The Black Archives. Pasternack also summarized the history and efforts of Bilzin Sumberg's Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee and elaborated on the purpose and tasks of its sub-committees.

Barber's presentation focused on the Black community's early history in Miami. He demonstrated that the Black community in Miami-Dade County was pivotal in the establishment of the City of Miami in 1896, noting that one third of the adult males who voted for incorporation were black. He showed that the Black community established a thriving commercial, entertainment, and tourism economy in what is now the Overtown neighborhood of Miami despite attempts at economic marginalization during the Jim Crow era. By shining a light on the oft-forgotten history of the Black community, Barber highlighted the important role of the community in Miami's development and raised awareness of such contribution among the attendees, who saw the local Black community's history as part of their own.

Barber ended his lecture on a positive note, making it clear that successful efforts were underway to preserve the heritage of Miami's Black community and redevelop Overtown into its former cultural dynamism. The Historic Lyric Theater in the heart of the neighborhood draws robust attendance for its cultural and musical performances, while The Black Archives has diligently continued to document and preserve the history of Miami's Black community. Interest and participation in such heritage initiatives is rising rapidly.

Adrian Felix, Partner in Bilzin Sumberg's Litigation Group, closed the event by thanking Barber for his highly educational presentation and for sharing his deep understanding of the local Black community that served to enhance attendees' awareness of the importance of that community to the City of Miami.

About The Black Archives

The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc. was founded in 1977 by Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields as a non-profit organization to collect and preserve the rapidly vanishing material that reflects the African American experience in Miami-Dade County. Over the years, the collection has grown, and The Black Archives is now a national resource for this history of the 19th and 20th centuries, providing a rich repository of materials that is used by scholars, students, teachers, the media and the community alike.

About Bilzin Sumberg

Bilzin Sumberg works with clients whose business and legal opportunities and challenges span the United States and cross borders to Europe, Latin America, Canada, the Middle East, and Asia. The firm's growth has paralleled that of its Miami home base, a region known for its rich cultural, social, and professional diversity. Bilzin Sumberg lawyers concentrate on services at the heart of both regional and international commerce, including real estate, land development and government relations, environmental, corporate law, joint ventures, domestic and international tax and estate planning, business litigation, finance, and public/private partnerships. For more information, please visit bilzin.com.
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