Growth during the decade of the 1960s was an extension of the growth experienced in the prior decade. With the building and opening of expressways, the suburbs experienced rapid growth. This decade literally paved the way for the flight from the urban core to the suburban areas during the late 1960s and into the 1970s.
The decade featured a lot of investment in infrastructure and education. Suburban shopping centers, such as Dadeland Mall, sprung up everywhere during this decade. The Port of Miami moved to Dodge Island. Dade County Junior College began during the 1960s, and Florida International University was chartered during this time.
The 1960s also featured a variety of interactions with Cuba that led to mass migration from the communist island to Miami. Operation Pedro Pan, the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis all occurred during the first half of this decade.
It was during this time that Miami experienced a lot of civil and political strife. The first race riot occurred in Liberty City in 1968. During that same time, the Republican National Convention nominated Richard Nixon as their candidate for president at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
February of 1964 proved to be an eventful month in Miami Beach History. On February 25, Cassius Clay defeated Sonny Liston at the Convention Center. Following the fight, he announced that he was changing his name to Muhammed X.
During the same month, Jackie Gleason announced that he was moving his show to the Convention Center. Also, the Beatles stayed at the Deauville Hotel while they filmed the Ed Sullivan Show during this same month.
The City of Miami was awarded the Dolphins in 1966. It wasn’t until the arrival of Don Shula in 1970 that the team experienced success on the field, however, the city was proud to have a professional sports franchise to support.
The decade of the 1960s was the beginning of an ecology movement. The formation of Bill Baggs State Park and Biscayne National Park were two big steps to preserving the delicate environment that the city depends.
Overall, the 1960s was a time of transformation and preparation for the future. The changes that began in this decade would continue to shape South Florida in the next couple of decades.
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