Members of the City of Miami Retired Police Officers, Mayor Manny Diaz, Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, City Commissioners and City Administrators cut the ribbon at the opening of the newly renovated Black Police Precinct and Courthouse. Photo: Jorge R. Perez/City of Miami.
(Miami, Florida January 15, 2009) – Mayor Manny Diaz joined Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones of District 5, City of Miami Commissioners, City Manager Pete Hernandez, Chief John Timoney, members of the Retired Police Benevolent Association, City of Miami Police Officers and neighboring residents on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 12:30 p.m. to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum, located at 1009 NW 5th Avenue.
“We are excited to have a facility in the Overtown area that reminds us of the past and prepare us for the future,” said Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. “This museum was a dream that was built as a labor of love for the retired police officers.”
The museum is located in the only known structure in the nation that was designed, devoted to and operated as a separate station house and municipal court for Blacks. The precinct serves as an important icon in Miami’s Black history as a reminder of the pioneers who led the way for African Americans to serves in various roles of police enforcement through the years.
The grand opening was the pre-cursor to a special exhibit for Black History Month. The exhibit will detail the history of the building and of Miami as society transformed into acceptance and racial tolerance. During the month of February individuals and groups will be able to tour the facility and the exhibit. The Black Police Precinct and Court House Museum will be open from Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. For more information residents can call (305) 416-1300.
The Black Police Precinct and Courthouse was recently restored with funding assistance from the City of Miami, the members of the City of Miami Retired Police Officers Community Benevolent Association (COM-R-POCBA), and a generous grant from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources. The movement to preserve the precinct was initiated by members of COM-R-POCBA (among them many who served in the Black precinct) and the late former City Commissioner Arthur E. Teele, Jr. project completion and the museum opening were greatly assisted by members of COM-R-POCBA, the City of Miami and Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. The building is owned by the City of Miami and operated as a public museum by the members of COM-R-POCBA.
Special thanks to the involved departments whose commitment made the opening of the precinct possible: City of Miami Retired Police Benevolent Association, Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, City of Miami Police Department, City of Miami Office of Capital Improvements Program, City of Miami Parks and Recreation, City of Miami Office of Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, City of Miami Grants Department, City of Miami General Services Administration and City of Miami Office of Communications.