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Dana A. Dorsey Collection

Identifier: SPC5070

Scope and Contents

The collection of Dana A. Dorsey is comprised of the legal and financial records of his vast real estate holdings. Mortgages, leases, rental and loans agreements represent the focus of the collection. Of special interest to researchers are those documents which detail the growth of both black and white Miami, deeds which describe in detail the properties and location of what were the newly created sub-divisions in the city. In a period of racial segregation these documents show a blurring of racial lines as exemplified by Dana Dorsey business relations with the founding families of the city.


  • Created: 1900-1966
  • Other: Date acquired: 10/18/1999


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on this collection

Conditions Governing Use

Rights: Copyright undetermined.

Special Collections & University Archives provides copies of materials in our collections for private study, scholarship, or research. Patrons are responsible for determining the proper copyright holder and securing permission to publish, quote, broadcast, exhibit, or perform that work. FIU Special Collections will provide all available information about the copyright holder of materials found in our collections.

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Biographical or Historical Information

Dana Albert Dorsey (1872-1940) was the first African-American millionaire in Miami.

Born in Quitman, Georgia and the son of former slaves, was a self taught man who with only a fourth grade education became a highly influential businessman, realtor, banker, and philanthropist.

He worked as a carpenter for Henry M. Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad in the late 1800s, which gave him the idea to create housing for black workers in the Miami area. By purchasing land, constructing rental housing and reinvesting the income to build more, he was able to extend his holdings as far north as Ft. Lauderdale. During the era of segregation Dana A. Dorsey was one of the pioneer land owners in the Liberty City Development. He and his wife sold land on Northwest 17th Street and First Avenue to the City of Miami for a park for African-Americans which is still enjoyed today. Dorsey Hotel, the first black owned hotel in Miami, and the Negro Savings Bank were his properties. Dorsey was a firm believer in education and he donated large tracts of land for black schools. He sold to Dade County Public Schools for one penny the property on which Dorsey High School was eventually built. The Dorsey Memorial Library, opened on August 13, 1941, was built on land he donated shortly before his death. The flags were lowered to half-staff all over Miami when Dana A. Dorsey died in 1940.


2.00 boxes

Language of Materials


Physical Access Requirements

There are no physical restrictions on this collection

Source of Acquisition

Marvin Dunn

Method of Acquisition


Processing Information

The collection was processed between 2003 and 2006

Dana A. Dorsey Collection
Althea Silvera
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Florida International University Repository

Green Library
11200 SW 8th Street, GL 422
Miami FL 33199 US