The Home Of Miami’s First Black Millionaire Is Now Open For Tours
By Danielle Dorsey
The home of Miami’s first Black millionaire, Dana Albert Dorsey, has been reopened in the city’s Overtown district.
The first person in his family to be born out of slavery, Dorsey came to Miami as a carpenter while working on the Henry Flagler Florida East Coast Railroad. During that time he recognized the lack of housing among Black workers and began buying parcels of land in Overtown to address this need. In 1917, he and his wife sold land to the City of Miami to help establish a park for Black residents. Later he opened the Dorsey House, which became a favorite resting spot for Black entertainers like Lena Horne, Nat King Cole and Count Basie who were not permitted to stay at white hotels.
Dorsey went on to serve as chairman of the Colored Trustees Board of Dade County Public Schools and helped establish the Booker T. Washington Junior-Senior High School, Miami’s first segregated high school for Black students. He also played an instrumental role in founding Miami’s first Black-owned bank.
The Dorsey House was restored by the Black Archives, History and Research Foundation of South Florida in the 1990s and it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Black Archives will conduct tours of the home during visiting hours between 10am and 4pm, Tuesday through Friday.