Interview with Doretha Nichson, Part 1 of 2
From - UM Libraries
The African American family has traditionally valued the constant interaction of community. Whether it is professional or social, this sense of community eventually began to disappear once African Americans began to disperse into different neighborhoods. In many ways, this phenomenon is related to the larger development in the United States, where the traditional neighborhood began to break down as people became less interactive. In examining the present day conditions of the housing projects in Liberty City, it is hard for one to imagine that these were once considered desirable housing. The conditions of modern day Liberty City have depreciated to the point that they must now be destroyed. This destruction will cause the removal of nearly all of its residents. There have been different reactions to this plan. Some of the residents feel it will give them a better living facility, whereas others feel that the newly constructed houses will be too expensive. What are interesting about this development are the different notions of home. For some a home is a place that has all of the modern conveniences. For others home is a place where things are familiar. One must not also forget the role that memory plays in the conceptualizing of home. Many of the residents that will be relocated by the destruction of Scott and Carver Homes recall the destruction of Overtown by I-95. Consequently, there are negative memories associated with moving. However, the purpose of public housing should be to provide temporary housing. One reason this has failed is that under the Model City program of the 1970’s the proposed idea of including the entire community in its own development was not successful. This lack of economic opportunity created a community that was not self-sufficient. Even still there were some organizations, which aided in finding housing for low-income people. One organization in particular is the Neighborhood Housing Services organization. This organization is in the process of helping residents of Scott Projects in gaining home ownership. The subject interviewed, Mrs. Doretha Nichson has worked diligently with this effort. This interview tries to give an overview of different issues relating to housing in Liberty City. Mrs. Nichson has lived in different areas of Liberty City and North Central Dade County most of her life. However, her main goal is to help others achieve home ownership. This interview also gives some insight into why home ownership is an important step to empowerment. Another issue that is discussed is access to public space. Overall, the interview was fascinating because she is a native of Miami and has chosen to make her life’s work service to others. She has not forgotten that community is the idea of interaction of all social classes, working toward a common goal. She is currently exhibiting this by owning and operating an assisted living facility.