Unity Wall Dedication: Bridging the Community

In and Around
Michelle Readon speaks at the dedication with Elder Josephine Anderson in attendance
Organizing Committee “United Survivors”: Dale Andrews, Gail Alexander, Dr. Anna Price, Michelle Readon, Annick Sternberg & Gray Read.
Gail Alexander, Kristi Sellers and Michelle Readon at an earlier community paint day.

The Unity Wall

A wall erected in the 1950s to segregate White and Black residents has taken on a different role. Renamed the “Unity Wall,” this vestige of the City’s separate but equal years will depict the history of South Miami’s traditionally Black neighborhood while celebrating a united city. The Unity Wall was officially dedicated on February 17 at the corner of SW 64th Street and SW 62nd Avenue with a program that included oral histories, reflections about South Miami’s divided past, and a little spontaneous singing to an audience of about 50 people. 

The Unity Wall project is sponsored by United Survivors, a group of South Miami women who through friendship found a way to bridge the City’s racial divides, both seen and unseen. United Survivors includes Michelle Readon, Gray Read, Anna Price, Dale Andree, Annick Sternberg and Gail Alexander Lead artist, Gail Alexander designed the layout for the murals that are currently being painted on the wall. Students, residents, and other interested parties have been volunteering to add large brightly colored tropical leaves along 64th Street, with more to come. Plans envision adding a mural of the 1960s-era business community that once dominated Church Street (SW 59th Place).

Nationally recognized Black artist Gene Tinnie joins organizer Gail Alexander.
Gail Alexander with Kiara Moss, t6, SMSrHS student and Track & Field medal winner

Speakers included Rev. Dr. Anna Price, the city’s first Black mayor, Michelle Philips Readon, Mildred Mitchell, Elder Josephine Anderson, Deborah Powell, President of South Miami Black Cultural Affairs, Gray Read, Associate Professor, FIU School of Architecture, and Gail Alexander. Other artists involved in the wall project include Docta Toontz, Walter Harris, Tony Butler, Bobby Gibson, Anthony Jackson, and Drew Khani. 

For additional reading please see: “How South Miami transformed a dividing wall from Jim Crow era into a unifying force” by Bea L. Hines.

In and Around
Rev. Dr. Anna Price with SMPD Chief Reo Hatfield
Mom and daughter enjoy a February morning painting the wall
Cathy Wanza with grandsons Malaki and Kyndall pictured in front of peaoock painted by Walter Harris

About Author

Leave A Reply