Written By Shanieya Harris
November 22, 2022 at 8:14 PM

Mural of Local ILA 1416 newly created in Overtown by artist Reginald O’Neal. Photo credit Deon G.

There have been many historical signifiers of wealth and progress in Overtown that have been forgotten, or erased, over time. Today, much interest is paid to revitalizing the rich history of Overtown; this month, the rich history of the International Longshoremen’s Association, aging back 80 years plus, is getting its due respect.

The Miami Museum of Contemporary Art of the African Diaspora (MoCAAD) is meeting the people right where they are, in the community, to help tell their stories.

“It’s not little-known history, its unknown history about the leadership of Longshoremen who were instrumental in the rise of black immigrants in Miami. Through art and technology, we intend to showcase how people have gained good jobs and made their way into the middle class in the past. Things were not always how we see them today.” said MoCAAD Cofounder Marilyn Holifield.

Miami MoCAAD is always coming up with fresh and creative ways to incorporate art, technology, and oral histories. Their programming inspires residents to think and reinvent through art, history, film, music, and cutting-edge artistic technologies.

On Sunday, November 27, 2022, from 4 pm to 7 pm, the Ward Rooming House in Historic Overtown will host Miami MoCAAD’s Immersive Art Experience, which will serve as the official start of Soul Basel.

At their creative conversation and celebration, Miami MoCAAD’s immersive art experience is set to Kick Off Soul Basel with an experience like no other. This will be a time to invite people into a space where pride, hope, and resilience reside.

Reginald O’Neal, an artist, will be on the panel together with Anthony “Mojo” Reed II, Donnamarie Baptiste, a curator, Torin Ragin, the president of Local 1416 of the International Longshoremen’s Association, and Corbin Graves from Miami MoCAAD. Charlton Copeland, Associate Dean of Intellectual Life at the University of Miami Law School and the grandson of a longshoreman from New Orleans will moderate the discussion. Marilyn Holifield, Partner at Holland & Knight, will make a closing statement.

The history and significant contributions ILA Local 1416 has made to the community since its formation in 1936 are told through interviews that may be viewed by visitors and locals by scanning QR codes. O’Neal’s mural will be on the exterior of the union hall building.

Reginal O’Neal remembers walking past the very same wall as a child. It brings him great joy to be able to leave art on the walls of his hometown and educate himself on its history.

“Yeah! It looks good, don’t it? You see him right there. He from Overtown!” Said a bystander as O’Neal works on the mural.

The International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1416 in Historic Overtown offers a space for the fusion of art, oral histories, and technology because of its rich history. Be the first to view the 2nd interactive mural and its entirety.

Curator and Culture Producer, Donnamarie Baptise explains, “The people are very proud to see the finalized mural. We are excited to share this story. Black people have not always been welcomed in art galleries and we are bringing it to the community. It’s theirs. They will see a reflection of themselves in the images.”

The community is grateful to see a touch of pride reign through their city. They feel it is long overdue.

What: Miami MoCAAD Miami Soul Basel Kick off Creative Conversation
Where: Historic Ward Rooming House, 249 NW 9th Street, Miami, FL
Mural Location: Longshoremen Assn. Building, 816 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL
When: Sunday, November 27 Time: 4-7 pm
Tickets: Free at is a nonprofit source of dance, visual arts, music and performing arts news. Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a story.


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