Explore the culture of Little Havana and Little Haiti in Miami on ‘Traveling Black’

Episode two of "Traveling Black" takes viewers to southern Florida where Haitians and Cubans infused neighborhoods with their food, art, music and architecture to create community.

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Little Haiti and Little Havana in Miami, known for their proximity to their respective home countries of Haiti and Cuba, are two uniquely vibrant neighborhoods in the U.S. that each has a deep-rooted cultural heritage. In episode two of “Traveling Black,” host Noel Cymone Walker shows the best places to visit and explore in both Caribbean enclaves the next time you’re in Florida.

Centered around Calle Ocho (Southwest Eighth Street), Little Havana became a hub in the 1950s and ’60s for Cuban and Latin American immigrants who sought refuge from political unrest, economic distress, war and terror in their home countries. Cuban immigrants, determined to shape their destiny in the U.S., established community development centers, boards, churches, schools, refugee centers, apartments and shelters for their community members and incoming immigrants.

Little Haiti, previously known as Lemon City in Miami, is centered around 54th Street and 79th Street, Northwest Sixth Avenue, and Northeast Second Avenue. Following in the footsteps of Little Havana, Little Haiti emerged as a haven for Haitian immigrants in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They settled in the area, leading to the development of schools, churches, refugee centers, botanicas, bookstores and the Little Haiti Cultural Complex and Caribbean marketplace, which host numerous Haitian celebratory and educational events.

In this episode, Noel explores the must-visit places in each neighborhood including Cafe Versailles, home to one of the world’s best coffees; Domino Park; Ball and Chain restaurant; and the top art and food spots with Miami Culinary Tours in Little Havana.

Noel takes you on an enchanting journey through Little Haiti, where you can immerse yourself in Haitian culture at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex. Next up is a class on making Cuban cocktails at SLS South Beach and delectable Latin cuisine at the famous Gitano Miami. To wrap up the day in style, Noel recommends staying at the Esmé hotel in Miami Beach to relish the rich Latin flavors. 

Check out the episode on theGrio’s streaming app and theGrio’s YouTube channel. 

The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau provided complimentary travel accommodations and flights for this video production.

Noel Cymone Walker theGrio.com

Noel Cymone Walker is an NYC-based writer specializing in beauty, fashion, music, travel, and cultural anthropology. She has written and produced visuals for several notable publications such as The Recording Academy/The Grammys, The Fader, Billboard, OkayPlayer, Marie Claire, Glamour, Allure, Essence, Ebony, and more.

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