Miami’s historic Hampton House, a favorite gathering place for prominent African Americans in the last days of segregation, was rededicated last week in a rousing ceremony that brought out most of Miami's political establishment for a ceremony that capped a 14-year process to designate and restore the historic site as a mixed-use public space. Dr. Enid Pinkney, who led the fight to protect the Hampton House's legacy, led the parade of dignitaries along with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
After Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston for the heavyweight title in Miami Beach in 1964, he took his friend Malcolm X who had flown down for the fight to Hampton House, one of a handful of Miami establishments open to African Americans at the time, for a celebratory ice cream.
The Hampton House hotel and its famous jazz club was where Martin Luther King Jr. held court while in town and where Sammy Davis Jr., Sam Cooke and Nat King Cole performed. Dr. King is said to have given a version of his "I Have a Dream" speech in the motel prior to the March on Washington.
The two-story, 30,000-square-foot Miami Modern-style (MiMo) structure has been restored to its 1960s condition by a $6 million project financed mostly with voter-approved county bond sales.