Richmond Heights, Florida
|Richmond Heights, Florida|
|Nickname(s): Exit 16|
Location in Miami-Dade County and the state of Florida
U.S. Census Bureau map showing CDP boundaries
|• Total||1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)|
|• Land||1.7 sq mi (4.3 km2)|
|• Water||0 sq mi (0 km2)|
|Elevation||10 ft (3 m)|
|• Density||4,987.6/sq mi (1,971.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||33156, 33158, 33176|
|GNIS feature ID||0289685|
Richmond Heights is located at (25.633415, -80.372362).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,479 people, 2,653 households, and 2,101 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 5,124.3 people per square mile (1,984.1/km²). There were 2,771 housing units at an average density of 1,674.7/sq mi (648.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 12.45% White (of which 3.4% were Non-Hispanic White,) 82.83% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.00% from other races, and 1.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.47% of the population.
In the Census of 2010, the figures have changed. There were 8,541 people, 2697 households, and 2127 family households residing in the CDP. The racial makeup of the CDP was 22.8% White, 72.1% Black or African American; 2.3% belong to other races and 2.8 identified has belonging to more than one race.
As of 2000, there were 2,653 households out of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 30.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 20.8% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.16 and the average family size was 3.55.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 83.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $38,191, and the median income for a family was $44,095. Males had a median income of $31,286 versus $27,882 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $15,824. About 14.0% of families and 15.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.0% of those under age 18 and 14.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of 2000, Richmond Heights had the sixtieth highest percentage of African-American and black residents in the US, with 82.80% of the populace. It had the fifth highest percentage of Bahamian residents in the US, at 1.30% of the population, and the ninety-seventh highest percentage of Cuban residents in the US, at 2.54% of its population (tied with Malone, FL.) It also had the fortieth most Nicaraguans in the US, at 1.04% of all residents (tied with South Miami and Lake Butler, FL.)
At the beginning of World War II, the United States Navy purchased 2,500 acres (1,000 ha) of land in southwestern Dade (now called Miami-Dade) County, Florida for the purpose of constructing an airship base. The land was owned by the Richmond Timber Company, a major supplier of Dade County Pine (a denser, harder, sub-species of Pinus Palustris, or Long Leaf Pine). The base was named Naval Air Station Richmond, after the lumber company and was home to the 25 ships of ZP-21(Patrol, Airship Squadron 21 and Airship Wing 2). NAS RICHMOND was the second largest airship base in the United States, NAS LAKEHURST being the largest. NAS RICHMOND was destroyed by a hurricane and fire in September 1945.
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After the end of World War II, Captain Frank C. Martin, a white Pan American pilot, purchased farm land adjacent to the base in rural southwest Dade County. With this purchase he created Richmond Heights, as a new community for returning African American Veterans. Martin who served with black soldiers in World War II, had gained great admiration and respect for their fighting spirit and ability to overcome many obstacles created by both war and racial prejudice.
Prior to the Civil Rights Movement, decent affordable housing for African Americans professionals in South Florida was difficult to find. Martin soon formed Richmond Development Inc., and sought the help of a local advisory committee of African Americans to build his community. The committee included, Canon Theodore Gibson, Rector of Christ Episcopal Church in Coconut Grove, who was to become the leader of Miami's Civil Rights Movement, David A. Douglas, manager of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company and others such as Rev. Graham, Attorney G.E. Graves and Mr. William Perry.
As for Martin he made his home available to residents for weekend social activities, where the subject often turned to his dream of building a community theater and expanding the community across 152nd street where lakes would be dug. Martin donated land for parks, two churches (Bethel Baptist & Martin Memorial A.M.E) and the elementary school, which today bears his name.
Interestingly, of the original 3,000 acres (12 km2) he purchased in 1949, the Federal Government used eight hundred (800) acres to build the headquarters of Naval Air Station Richmond, a blimp base hastily constructed in the early months of World War II Richmond, and was eventually home to 25 K-series blimps, three hangars, and 3,000 men. The hangars were 16 stories tall, built of Douglas fir brought in by train. The blimps protected ship convoys in the Florida Straits, and [Richmond] was the headquarters for the fight against Nazi U-boats operating in the Caribbean.
By May 1951, Martin's Richmond Heights reached 457 homes. Unfortunately, he did not live to see his dream community when, on a trip near Lake Placid in Central Florida, Martin was killed in a collision with a truck.
Shocked at the loss of the 42-year-old community leader, construction stalled until 1952, when Hialeah builder, E.J. Pollock, a good friend and believer in Martin's plan, purchased the remaining acreage and began building.
Annually, people travel back to Miami-Dade County to celebrate the Historic Weekend hosted by the Historic Society. The 4th Annual Historic Weekend was celebrated on September 29 - October 1, 2016. This year visitors came from New Jersey, Georgia, Mississippi, and Virginia to celebrate the rich heritage of Historic Richmond Heights. The weekend began with a formal dinner at the Marriott Dadeland with a Junkanoo Band, Live Band, and white hot casino.
On Saturday, the documentary The Richmond Heights 49ers, directed by Jessica Garrett Modkins was premiered. The documentary explains why Captain Frank C. Martin, a white man, built a community for Black World War II veterans in 1949. It chronicles the early settlers’ lives through Jim Crow, school segregation, and armed forces segregation. The documentary features Captain Frank C. Martin, son of developer; Dr. Marvin Dun, author & retired professor; Graylyn Swiley Woods, historian; and early settlers like Samuel & Queen Armstrong.
The Richmond Heights 49ers was funded in part by a grant from the Florida Humanities Council, National Endowment of the Arts, Miami-Dade County Cultural Arts Department, and the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau.
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