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Hampton House - One Night in
Miami, Fl.
Dr. Enid C. Pinkney
Trend Magazine Online™

By Jay Whipple,

Re-Published from a previous edition with updates...

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic

This interview was indeed especially pleasing because it involves the rare saving of a now historic site with ties to the African-American community of Miami, Florida. In fact, I personally witnessed the final stages of its refurbishment earlier in 2015. I was not, at that time, familiar with the history of the Hampton House (formerly Booker Terrace Motel) which ironically is located only about 2 ½ miles from where I lived in my mid to late teens and just before leaving Miami for the Army in 1978. By that time, this early 1950′s building -- as I understand -- was well on its way to the chopping block in the next 20 years or so. I am, however, at a loss for any memory of this place although I had passed it by on many trips going and coming from my home.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic!Even more ironic is the fact that I am related to one of the persons responsible for the gentrification of this old building. I grew up knowing her as Aunt Enid and her late brother (my Uncle) Isreal is the first Black Pressman to work at the old Miami Herald building off Biscayne Boulevard in Downtown Miami. His oldest son (Kenneth) was employed there since the late 1970’s/early 1980’s and is responsible for the professional photographs appearing in this article. Dr. Enid Curtis Pinkney has been a champion for historic preservation since the better part of the 21st Century and has been instrumental in saving the now historic Lemon City Cemetery and the uncovered Native American burial ground now known as the Miami Circle in Downtown.

Here is what Dr. Enid C. Pinkney had to say about the now historic Hampton House.

♦Jay -- What was it like for you growing up in Overtown [formerly Colored Town] Miami in the 1930’s through 1960’s during segregation?

Dr. Pinkney -- I was born October 15, 1931 at 1827 N. W. 5th Court in Overtown during the days of segregation and the depression. . My parents owned the house I was born in. Those were good days. I was active in our church, the Church of God of Prophecy where I participated in various activities in the Church. I participated in Christmas, Easter and various other programs in the Church. I had to learn my “piece.” I was usually given a poem or speech to memorize that I had to say on the Program. My mother worked arduously with me to commit to memory whatever I had to say because she did not want me to make a mistake and forget something. She was a stickler for perfection. I knew that if I messed-up she would be embarrassed and I wanted to make both of my parents proud of me.

It was the same thing in school. I participated in various activities including oratorical contests and dramatic activities. I ran for president of the Student Council at Booker T. Washington High School and won. This gave me the opportunity to meet celebrities who came to the school and take pictures with them. I still have a picture that I took with Joe Louis. I enjoyed my upbringing in Overtown because it was a Village. Your teachers and neighbors cared about you and were proud of your accomplishments and offered to help you where and whenever they could. We were a self sufficient community. Most of our needs were met within our community.

We ran into segregation when we ventured outside of our community like going downtown when we had to sit in the back of the bus or go to a colored water fountains, or could not try on clothes in Burdines and other stores. They would tell you to take them home to try them on. Some people use to wear the clothes and bring them back and tell them that they did not fit. We had dress makers like Mrs. Winifred Thompson, and tailors, and shoemakers and repairmen who could take care of our clothing needs. We did not let segregation affect us psychologically because we knew who we were and whose we were. We were taught to be the best we could be and to get a good education and become successful in life. We were also taught to give back to our community and that is what I am trying to do.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic! ♦Jay -- Of all of your educational accomplishments, which are you most proud of?

Dr. Pinkney -- I am most proud of being a graduate of Talladega College which is a small private liberal arts college in Talladega, Alabama. I went to Talladega in 1949 and graduated in 1953. The faculty was integrated and they had very high standards of education. I am very proud of what they did for me.

I am also proud of my Masters Degree in Guidance and Counseling from Barry University in Miami and my Honorary Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from ST. Thomas University in Miami and another Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from my Alma Mata, Talladega College. What I am proud of is how these institutions have prepared me to be of service to the community and share my education with others. As results of this I have received many honors and awards including the Peter Brink Award which is a national historic preservation award of the National Trust of Historic Preservation.

♦Jay -- Did you experience any racism while attending Talladega College in Alabama?

Dr. Pinkney -- I went to Talladega College during the days of segregation and the Ku Klux Klan use to parade around the college on Battle Street in September at the beginning of the school year. I never went to a movie the entire four years I was there because black people had to sit in the balcony and I was not use to that in Miami. The theatres in Miami were segregated completely, either all black or all white and we could sit anywhere we Wanted to. One Christmas when I was coming back to Miami we had to catch the train in Birmingham. The train was late but they would not let us wait in the train station. We had to wait outside in the cold and watch the white people in the train station enjoy the warmth of the heat. By the time I got on the train, I had no feelings in my Feet.

It felt like my blood had stopped circulating. They seated us in the first car. We reported to our white teachers how we had been segregated on the train and they told us to let them buy our tickets the next time we were going Home. They always put black people in the first car. The next time we went home we had tickets for car 5. The conductor looked at the ticket and discussed it with someone else as if to wonder how we got tickets for car 5. Not knowing whether we were a test case from the NAACP they let us sit in car 5 but we had to sit on the last seat in car 5 which did not recline.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic! ♦Jay -- What church did you attend as a child?

Dr. Pinkney -- The Church of God of Prophecy. My father was a minister and my mother was a missionary.

♦Jay -- Your father immigrated to Miami from the Bahamas in 1910; what part/island?

Dr. Pinkney -- My father came from Cat Island, Bahamas

♦Jay -- Your father was a diver in the Bahamas; do you swim?

Dr. Pinkney -- Very little. We did not have the opportunity to learn how to swim in Miami because of segregation. Black people were not allowed to go to the beach in Miami until 1945 when there was a wade-in at Haulover Beach and the City official decided to permit black people to go to Virginia Key Beach. I worked on the Virginia Key Beach Task Force to re-open Virginia Key Beach and am now serving as Vice-chair of the Virginia Key Beach Trust. I learned to swim at Talladega College as a part of physical education class.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic!
♦Jay -- Who/what was your early inspiration to/in write/writing?

Dr. Pinkney -- I think having to read and memorize poetry and Prose inspired me to realize that I could speak and interpret the word. I like to read and express myself orally and that led to my beginning to express myself in writing. People started praising my writing and I discovered that I could also express myself in writing.

♦Jay -- Do you regret not being able to attend school on Miami Beach -- because of segregation?

Dr. Pinkney -- No. My parents lived on Miami Beach because they were caretakers for the people they worked for. They lived in the servant’s quarters which were a very nice place. My brother, Israel Curtis was born on Miami Beach in the servant’s quarters where my parents worked at 4609 Pinetree Drive. I think that was the address. The Dade County Bureau of Vital statistics refused to put Miami Beach on his birth certificate because he was black. He died and his birth certificate was never corrected.

♦Jay -- You faced covert segregation while living in Chicago as opposed to overt discrimination here in the south. Is there a difference now that you are older and wiser?

Dr. Pinkney -- I see the same thing happening in a different form. People in the North often feel that they are not subject to segregation because it is not overt and they misinterpret the hidden sides of discrimination because it is not Overt. When I was moving back to Miami, many of my friends asked me how could I move back to Miami after living in Chicago. I did not see much difference. I saw racial prejudice minus the white and colored signs. I would rather deal with segregation outright than be under the delusion that it does not exist and miss the innuendos of segregation that are often subtly expressed.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic! ♦Jay -- A Jewish couple owned the original Hampton House. What are their names and are their relatives still in the Miami area?

Dr. Pinkney -- They were Mr. and Mrs. Harry Markowitz. Their sons, grandsons and daughter-in-laws were at the Grand Opening this past May [2015].

♦Jay -- A plethora of now Black/African-American history-makers have used the Hampton House as their local abode -- due to segregation -- to include Dr. King (Civil Rights Leader), Malcolm X (Nation of Islam), Muhammad Ali (Heavyweight Boxing Champion), Joe Louis (Heavyweight Boxing Champion), and Althea Gibson (Tennis Star). Which icon gets the most attention from visitors’?

Dr. Pinkney -- They like to know about Dr. Martin Luther King and Muhammad Ali. We are going to replicate their rooms as a part of the museum.

♦Jay -- In 2001 Ms. Kathy Hersh re-introduced the now historic Hampton House Motel/Villas to your African-American Committee of the Dade Heritage Trust via video. In hindsight, did you believe then that you would live to see it revitalized?

Dr. Pinkney -- No. I did not understand back then what I was getting into and where the desire for historic designation of the building would lead.

♦Jay -- What was your primary motivation in spearheading the effort to renovate the historic Hampton House in Miami, Fl.?

Dr. Pinkney -- This was the only motel left in Miami from the days of segregation. If it had been demolished as planned, we would have nothing of its kind to show what it was like to future generations. I like for people of today to connect to the history of the past.

♦Jay -- At any time, since 2001, did you think that this project was not feasible?

Dr. Pinkney -- No I have faith in God and I always asked him for guidance and direction in whatever I do. I felt that it could happen but it was very difficult to make it a reality.

♦Jay -- Did you personally attend any events at the Hampton House back in the day?

Dr. Pinkney -- Yes. That is why it meant so much to me.

♦Jay -- If yes, what is your most memorable event and why?

Dr. Pinkney -- I remember eating there and enjoying social events such as dances and meetings.

♦Jay -- It was decided not to re-open the now historic Hampton House [opened in 1953] as a motel/villa. Why?

Dr. Pinkney -- Because of the expense of doing so. There was and still is not enough money to complete it. We are still trying to raise 2 million dollars to complete it. The Current standards for plumbing and electricity was beyond what we thought we could raise to bring it back and we settled for what we have rather than have nothing at all. We could not replace the swimming pool either. We have a reflective pool.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic! ♦Jay -- You turned the project over to Miami-Dade County because of lack of funding. What concessions did you have to make to get the county involved?

Dr. Pinkney -- We are governed by a lease from Miami-Dade County . They are the owner of the building. We are pleased with the arrangement because we had no money and they have put nine million dollars in the project. We are grateful to Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson, District 3 of the Miami Dade County Commission who gave leadership to the progress and funding of the Hampton House. We are also grateful to Commissioner Barbara Carey Shuler for getting us started.

♦Jay -- Why did it take so long (2001 – 2015) for this project to come to fruition?

Dr. Pinkney -- The County was very slow and we had to wait for them for everything.

♦Jay -- Describe your emotions during the dedication ceremony on Friday May 8, 2015?

Dr. Pinkney -- I was very happy that we have come this far even though the building is not completed. We have come a long way.

♦Jay -- The now historic property is a community hub with a museum. Future plans include space for a restaurant, motel rooms being converted into office space for community groups, and recording studios and rehearsal space for musicians. What are you most excited about?

Dr. Pinkney -- I am most excited that a dream has become a reality and we will have a place in the black community that can be of service to the community.

♦Jay -- How do you plan to market this venue to tour operators?

Dr. Pinkney -- We need a marketing company and are looking for one to market what we have to the world.

♦Jay -- What final thoughts would you like to add to this interview?

Dr. Pinkney -- I am proud of you and that you have given me this opportunity to share my thoughts, and experience with a wider audience. Thank you for the exposure.

Dr. Enid C. Pinkney Hampton House Miami 2024 Pic! ♦Jay -- What is the best way to contribute to this historic venue?

Dr. Pinkney -- We are in need of funds to complete the building and to operate it. Tax deductible donations can be sent to Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc. , 2525 N. W. 62nd Street #4132B, Miami, Florida 33147.

Regina King One Night in Miami Pic! The Historic Hampton House served as the setting for the triple Academy-Award nominees flick One Night in Miami which presents a fictional rendition of a historic meeting of Civil Rights icon Malcolm X, legendary soul singer Sam Cooke, three-time boxing world champion Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali), and football star and actor Jim Brown on the night of February 25, 1964, after Clay's upset victory over then champion Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This film was directed by Academy Award-Winner Regina King.

Dr. Pinkney and the Historic Hampton House is now included in the QCT FLALGANC Experiencesm by Queen City Tours® and Travel!

Note: All photos (except Regina King) courtesy of Kenneth Curtis Photography (R.I.P. Cuz)

Want to be interviewed for an upcoming edition? Click here to submit your request. Must be entertainment, travel, or leisure related.

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