Dana A. Dorsey (1872-1940) was the first African-American millionaire in Miami. He and his wife Rebecca acquired extensive real estate holdings in the newly incorporated city and built, sold and leased property to many of Miami’s early black residents. The Dorseys developed extensive financial dealings with the founders of early Miami, including Mary McCleod Bethune, and Anna and Mary Brickell.
The Papers of Dana A. Dorsey, based on materials held in the Special Collections Department of the FIU Libraries, comprise the legal and financial records of his vast real estate holdings. Mortgages, leases, rental and loan 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's business relations with the founding families of the city.