Little Haiti

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"Lemon City" redirects here. For the historically oldest library in Miami-Dade, see Lemon City Branch Library.
Little Haiti
La Petite Haïti
Neighborhood of Miami
City owned building in Little Haiti
City owned building in Little Haiti
Nickname(s): Lemon City (historic name)
Little Haiti neighborhood within the City of Miami
Little Haiti neighborhood within the City of Miami
Coordinates: 25°49′28″N 80°11′27″W / 25.824385°N 80.190711°W / 25.824385; -80.190711
Country United States
State Florida
County Miami-Dade County
City Miami
 • City of Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon
 • Miami-Dade Commissioner Audrey Edmonson
 • House of Representatives Daphne Campbell (D) and Cynthia A. Stafford (D)
 • State Senate Larcenia Bullard (D), and Oscar Braynon (D)
 • U.S. House Frederica Wilson (D)
Elevation 7 ft (2.1 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 29,760
 • Density 9,946/sq mi (3,840/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-05)
ZIP code 33127, 33137, 33138, 33150
Area code(s) 305, 786

Little Haiti (French: La Petite Haïti),[1] is a neighborhood in Miami, Florida (historically known as Lemon City),[2][3] and is recognized as a cultural center for Haitian immigrants.

Noted Haitian community leader Viter Juste's fight with the Miami-Dade School District led him to coin the term "Little Haiti" for the largely Haitian-American neighborhood of Miami, historically known as Lemon City. According to Jean-Claude Exulien, a retired professor of history and friend of Juste's since 1977, Juste authored an article in the Miami Herald in which he first referred to the neighborhood as "Little Port-au-Prince." However, editors at the Miami Herald found the name, "Little Port-au-Prince," too long, so the newspaper shortened the term in the headline to "Little Haiti."[4]


Lemon City, early farming days[edit]

Starting in the 1850s, a small farming community, the name Lemon City originally emerged and developed in this area, but it was a city only in name. Lemon City preceded the city of Miami by 40–50 years. The area had many lemon groves from where the town took its name. Though not as abundant as in the past (due to urbanization and eradication from citrus canker outbreaks), lemon trees still grow in several residents' backyards. The town even had its own railway depot on the Florida East Coast Railway, Lemon City Park, Lemon City Library. Lemon City Park and the Lemon City Library still exist. The growing city of Miami to the south, however, was looking for more property to add to their town. In 1925, Lemon City was annexed by Miami, along with the town of Little River to the north,[5] and the town of Buena Vista to the south. Many residents and visitors continue to use the Lemon City name.

Through the years, the community has changed from agricultural to residential, from middle class to lower class and middle class again. Part of this change was driven by immigrants from Haiti. In the 1980s and 1990s, Little Haiti was one of the poorest areas in Miami and was known for its crime and drug trade. Some of this still exists today, however the area is experiencing a cultural renaissance with new investors and new residents from many countries gentrifying the area.[6][7] The 2010 Federal Census showed 12,800 residents, mostly Haitians, vacated the area since 2000. In 2009, human remains from Lemon City Cemetery were discovered at a housing construction site on NW 71st Street; the Miami Historical Preservation Board "in principle" issued a non-binding unanimous vote that the cemetery site remain undeveloped as a memorial site.[8] Lemon City and Little River stakeholders had notified the City of Miami and the low income housing developers who coveted the site that the cemetery exists. They were ignored until builders shovels dug up graves. Lemon City pioneers were pleased to rediscover where some of their ancestors, mostly Bahamian and African-American, were buried and worked diligently to preserve the site. The Lemon City Cemetery Corp was established and it holds regular meetings that are open to the public. The Lemon City name thrives.

The new investors and the new groups showing an interest in Lemon City are substantial. Adaptive reuse is helping to rejuvenate Lemon City. Investors buy property and they relocate businesses to Lemon City. People are attracted to Lemon City's proximity to Biscayne Blvd and to the upscale Design District.

Little Haiti today, urban neighborhood[edit]

Wall mural on the corner of Northeast 2nd Avenue and 79th Street, since removed.

The 2010 Federal Census showed 12,800 residents vacated since the 2000 Federal Census. Allegedly, many are Haitians who left the City of Miami.

As the area becomes more attractive due to outside investors renovating properties many long-term residents have moved to the northern neighborhoods such as El Portal, Miami Shores, City of North Miami, Biscayne Park, and the City of North Miami Beach. Factors contributing to the district's gentrification are the close proximity of the Miami Design District and the development of the new nearby Buena Vista and Edgewater communities, where construction of multimillion-dollar high rises, night clubs, restaurants, entertainment, and cultural centers are well under way, effecting increases in property value. As real estate prices continue to soar, Haitians and other residents of the low-income crime filled area left. Existing residences need extensive renovations. The Miami Herald and other observers state the misnamed Little Haiti has moved to 123rd Street in N. Miami and to other locales.

Haitian-named locations et al[edit]

Major cultural facilities exist in Lemon City and Little Haiti and include, but are not limited to:

  • Little Haiti Cultural Center
  • Toussaint L'Ouverture Elementary School
  • Serranoventions
  • Apeture Photo Studios
  • The Darkroom
  • Caribbean Marketplace


Portrait of father Gérard Jean-Juste on a gable wall of Little Haiti.

As of 2000, Little Haiti had a population of 3,365[9] and 1,983[10] residents, with 9,368 households, and 6,181 families residing in the neighborhood. The median household income was $18,887.49. The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 64.92% Black or African American, 4.78% White (non-Hispanic), 14.74% was Hispanic or Latino of any race and 15.56% Other races[9] The 2010 census showed signs of Haitians leaving the neighborhood and being replaced by incoming Hispanics. The 2010 Census showed that over 12,800 residents had vacated the area. Haitians moved to N. Miami and Broward County.

The zip codes for the Lemon City include 33127, 33137, 33138, and 33150. The area covers 3.456 square miles (8.95 km2). As of 2000, there were 14,708 males and 15,357 females. The median age for males were 31.0 years old, while the median age for females were 33.8 years old. The average household size had 3.0 people, while the average family size had 3.7 members. The percentage of married-couple families (among all households) was 27.6%, while the percentage of married-couple families with children (among all households) was 13.8%, and the percentage of single-mother households (among all households) was 20.7%. 2.1% of the population were in nursing homes. The percentage of never-married males 15 years old and over was 21.7%, while the percentage of never-married females 15 years old and over was 22.0%.[10]

As of 2000, the percentage of residents who either do not speak English or who do not speak it well made up 17.6% of the population. The percentage of residents born in Florida was 41.1%, the percentage of people born in another U.S. state was 11.6%, and the percentage of native residents but born outside the U.S. was 3.1%, while the percentage of foreign born residents was 44.1%.[10]


Miami-Dade County Public Schools operates area public schools. Because so many residents and families have left the area school enrollment is off 50% from its highs in the 1980s. Schools within Lemon City include:

Public schools[edit]

Elementary schools[edit]

  • Shadowlawn Elementary School
  • Toussaint L'Ouverture Elementary School
  • Edison Park Elementary School
  • Morningside Elementary School
  • Jesse J. McCreary Elementary School
  • Cushman School

Middle schools[edit]

  • Saint Mary's Cathedral School
  • I-tech Prep Academy

High schools[edit]

Historic Miami Edison Middle School in Little Haiti.


Miami-Dade Public Library operates all area public libraries:

Museums and cultural[edit]

  • Caribbean Cultural Center
  • The Haitian Cultural Arts Alliance


  • Lemon City Park
  • M. Athalie Range Park
  • Legion Park
  • Little Haiti Park
  • Soar Memorial Park
  • Lachmont Gardens Park
  • Eaton Park
  • Morningside Park

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Martone, Laura. "Moon Florida Keys". Retrieved 27 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Lemon City / Little Haiti · HistoryMiami". HistoryMiami. Retrieved 2015-09-04. 
  3. ^ "Lemon City". Flashback Miami. Retrieved 2015-09-04. 
  4. ^ "Viter Juste, Haitian community pioneer and leader, dies at 87". Retrieved 2015-09-04. 
  5. ^ Livingston, Grant (2000). "The Annexation of the City of Coconut Grove, Article, Tequesta Magazine" (PDF). FIU Digital Collections. Historical Association of Southern Florida. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ Haitian Bicentennial Site: Little Haiti:
  7. ^ Haitian Bicentennial Site: Miami's Haitian Community
  8. ^ "Bones Lead To Mystery Miami Graveyard From 1900s". CBS4 Miami. 2009-07-16. 
  9. ^ a b "Demographics of Little Haiti Miami, FL.". Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  10. ^ a b c "Demographics of Little Haiti, Miami, FL.". city-data. Retrieved 2009-09-07. 

Coordinates: 25°49′28″N 80°11′27″W / 25.824385°N 80.190711°W / 25.824385; -80.190711