Raymond A. Mohl


Miami is generally thought of as a new immigrant city— a city that only recently became the haven of Caribbean and Latin American exiles and refugees. Until the first big wave of Cubans began to arrive in 1959, Miami seemed the quintessential tourist town and retirement haven. From the 1920s through the 1950s, sun and surf, gambling and horse racing, and endless promotional extravaganzas helped to shape Miami’s public image. The fact is, however, that Miami has always had a magnetic attraction for peoples of the Caribbean. Indeed, the magnitude and diversity of current immigration to Miami tends to mask the fact that the city had a substantial foreign–born ingredient from its early days in the 1890s. Black immigrants from the Bahamas, in particular, gave immigration to Miami its special character in the early years of the twentieth century.