HOMES WERE BUILT FOR
VETERANS IN 1949 BY
CAPTAIN FRANK C. MARTIN
In 1949 Captain Frank Crawford Martin was a trail blazer. He envisioned and developed Richmond Heights as a self sufficient "little town" that would have all of the amenities that a family could desire. You see Capt. Martin was White and to build a community specifically for Black veterans was a bit of a leap for 1949. He did this as a good sound business decision. He did not have a desire to be the creator of social change…but he did. He orchestrated many firsts for Blacks.
It was all thanks to the Black Sky Caps that worked at Pan American Airlines in 1949. These men were also World War II veterans and were in search of homes for their family. They knew that Pan American Airlines co-worker Captain Martin was the owner of acreage in an undeveloped area of South Dade County. They urged him to build homes for them. This land is now known as Richmond Heights. The historic society provides the vehicle to harness their truths - to validate each experience and to document their story.
The mission of the organization is two part. It shall be the collection, preservation, and the dissemination of material and information related to the history of Black South Floridans. We shall disseminate information to underserved Black South Florida communities. By doing so we wish to inspire, nurture, and instill a resilient Spirit for life
HOW WE STARTED
The organization’s Founder & Executive Director, Jessica Garrett Modkins, saw the history of a 1949 historic community in Miami, Florida die with the passing of each pioneer. Out of the concern of preservation, she and her mother, Patricia Harper Garrett, co-authored a book to preserve the rich legacy of this community. The book is entitled, Images of America: Miami’s Richmond Heights; published by Arcadia Publishing. As a result of the book, they were afforded many historic documents, photographs, artifacts, and visual stories of the journey. In September of 2013, Jessica decided to form a non-profit organization, The Historic Society, which would expand her efforts to preserve this rich history. She wanted to form an organization dedicated to preserving this legacy and provide information for generations to come.