The snub of Nelson Mandela was the last straw.
Miami politicians had planned to honor the South African leader during his June 1990 visit to the Magic City. That is, until Mandela, who spent nearly three decades in prison, voiced his support for Moammar Gadahfi, Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro a week before his visit. Miami’s Cuban community couldn’t believe it and in turn, elected officials — from city commissioners to mayors — decided to rescind the proclamation.
In their rebuke of Mandela, prominent Miami attorney H.T. Smith saw a rebuke of Black Miamians like himself. So on July 17, 1990, he launched Boycott Miami, an effort that encouraged Black tourists and businesses to
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