The Hampton House

Why yes. That is Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X.

Anyone who knows me probably knows I’m from Miami. I talk endlessly about Miami’s diverse cultures and weather without anyone asking to hear. What can I say, though? I love my hometown. It has fashioned itself into being one of the premier destinations in the world, and it continuously attracts celebrities to take a visit and/or perform. However, as a place in the American South, segregation was the law of the land here, and that included the great talent that came in.  Enter: the Hampton House.

The Hampton House is a motel and lounge that sits on the edge between Brownsville and Liberty City, neighborhoods settled by Miami’s more well-off Black people. During the 50s and 60s, dozens of Black artists, athletes, and leaders stayed there. Famous guests range from Nat King Cole and Sammy Davis Jr. to Malcolm X and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. When Muhammad Ali became heavyweight champion of the world over in Miami Beach, the Greatest of all time had a bowl of ice cream at his room at the Historic Hampton House.

The Hampton House’s reputation for gathering some of the most influential Black people of the era made it an important social space within Black Miami. Famous artists would sometimes perform at the jazz club inside. Jackie Robinson used the house for a golf tournament he held in the area. The local chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality held weekly meetings there. Dr. King is said to have given an early version of his famous “I Have A Dream” speech within those walls. The Hampton House is a space that earned its title as the “Social Center of the South”.

Sadly, integration forced the building to close, as customers were now able to stay in beachfront hotels. However, renovation efforts in the last few years have restored it to its former glory and memorialized the amazing history that took place in those blue and yellow walls.

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About the Author

Andrew Walker Watson is a sophmore International Studies Major. He loves Brazilian rap music, discovering useless facts, and, naturally, writing. If he could ever stop staring out into space, he would like to start a global movement to change the world and guest host Saturday Night Live.
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