|Cuban Import: 50 Years of Dominoes|
|Written by Paul S. George -- Special to the BT|
A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami
It would be hard to overstate the impact of the vast Cuban influx to Miami in the past half-century. Until the 1960s, Miami was a city with its roots in the Deep South.
But change was already in the air in the early postwar period as Cubans and Puerto Ricans flocked to old Miami neighborhoods like Riverside, Shenandoah, and Wynwood. According to one historian, Greater Miami, on the eve of Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba in 1959, already contained 40,000 Cubans, many of whom had fled the island after Fulgencio Batista took control of it for a second time in 1952.
By the early 1960s, today’s Little Havana, which evolved from the Shenandoah and Riverside neighborhoods, contained many Cuban refugees, who quickly energized areas suffering from the flight of residents and businesses to the new western suburbs, as well as to Miami Beach.
These new entries brought many elements of their culture with them, and began transforming their neighborhoods, including newly minted Little Havana.
One of the most popular activities for many Cubans has been dominoes, introduced in their homeland by the Spanish centuries earlier.
In this photograph, taken in 1979, several men are playing this popular game in Domino Park, officially called Maximo Gómez Park, on the south side of SW 8th Street and 15th Avenue.
The park was formerly a vacant lot that began to host dominoes games in 1963. It continues to attract large numbers of players, and even larger numbers of visitors daily in the most active area of Little Havana.
Volume 11, Issue 10, December 2013
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