The Story Of Fisher Island Getting Owned By Dana Albert Dorsey

The Story Of Fisher Island Getting Owned By Dana Albert Dorsey, Miami’s First Black Millionaire

Dorsey Amassed Fortune As Miami’s First Black Land Developer

Long before Fisher Island became an elite enclave, the luxe private isle off Miami Beach belonged to Dana Albert Dorsey – the area’s trailblazing first Black millionaire.

Arriving in 1896 with $5 to his name, Dorsey found success as a carpenter before investing in Miami real estate. Leveraging skills from construction to sales, Dorsey built and resold homes, accumulating wealth in an era of virulent racism.

By 1919, the self-made mogul had purchased Fisher Island to launch a “high-class colored resort.” Dorsey envisioned the idyllic site as a hotel and cottage community for affluent African Americans.

Philanthropist Who Advanced Black Miami

Beyond real estate, Dana Albert Dorsey uplifted Miami’s Black community through decades of philanthropy. He funded the historic Dorsey Hotel and Negro Savings Bank in the segregated neighborhood of Overtown.

Dorsey also donated land for a library, high school and ballpark serving African American residents. Each institution advanced Black education, business and recreation despite pervasive discrimination.

Forced to Sell Island, But Dorsey’s Legacy Endures

Sadly, Miami’s white establishment barred Dorsey’s resort ambitions, forcing the magnate to sell Fisher Island to white developers in 1921.

However, Overtown still boasts Dorsey Boulevard, D.A. Dorsey Technical College and the meticulously preserved Dana A. Dorsey House Museum as monuments to the pioneering mogul’s vision and generosity over a century later.

Though stripped of his crowning achievement, Dana Albert Dorsey’s rags-to-riches story remains a testament to Black excellence prevailing against all odds.