The Overtown Music Project (OMP) celebrates the music, history and spirit of Overtown in its heyday. Once recognized as the epicenter of music in Miami, a place where Thurgood Marshall vacationed and Langston Hughes wrote poetry, Overtown is now considered by most of Miami as a dangerous and blighted area with more vacant lots than buildings. Few people seem to remember its heyday as “the Harlem of the South” when dozens of nightclubs dotted the streets and hosted marquee acts like Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie.
In the time before desegration and before the highways burst into Overtown dealing the deathblow to the economy, African Americans thrived in Overtown. However, despite its proximity to Miami and hotspots like South Beach, Overtown is a shadow of its former self. All of the clubs, hotels and commercial centers that lined Overtown’s bustling streets have been demolished.
The Overtown Music Project brings back some of the area’s historic luster with a series of multisensory concerts in historic Overtown landmarks as well as in venues all over the City. OMP has partnered with UM’s Frost School of Music and Los Angeles’s The Harmony Project to conduct a after school program at Frederick Douglass Elementary school where graduate students from UM teach 1st -4th graders music.
The Overtown Music Project shines a light on the different genres of music that once made Overtown’s integrated nightclubs the rhythmic epicenter of musical Miami. Our multisensory events draw a diverse audience who pay homage to Overtown.