Little Haiti Name Change Controversial

Brouhaha is brewing over whether to formalize the district known as Little Haiti in Miami. The boundaries of Little Haiti are generally recognized as the area extending from 38th Street to 79th Street, bounded by Interstate 95 and the Florida Railway.


Little Haiti is comprised of the neighborhoods of Lemon City, Little River, and Buena Vista. By officially designating Little Haiti as a district would obliterate the colorful names of the neighborhoods, subsumed under the official name of Little Haiti. New immigrants to Little Haiti area are pushing for the formalization of Little Haiti. Long-time residents of the area say it's unnecessary.

The official designation of Little Haiti goes against the grain of its opponents, who say not only will the character of the neighborhoods composing Little Haiti be lost, but also the officially recognized area will be smaller, according to the city planning commission.

The informal debate on how the area should be referred to has been taking place for years, more as an exercise in community pride, but without any serious intent. But Michelle Spence-Jones, a district representative of Little Haiti, has commissioned a study to define what borders would comprise an official Little Haiti.

An email and letter-writing campaign against officially recognizing Little Haiti has drawn more attention to the issue, polarizing it even more. As one citizen wrote, "Changing the name of Lemon City to Little Haiti . . . . will show disrespect for . . . Lemon City and its historical contribution to greater Miami"

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