News & Updates

Film director moses shumow recognized for his work in Liberty Square by miami times, south florida’s oldest black newspaper

Liberty square documentary featured in coverage of the oscar-winning “moonlight’!

From the Miami Herald:

“Dr. Moses Shumow, an assistant professor at FIU’s School of Communication and Journalism, directed a documentary in 2015, “Liberty Square Rising,” that chronicled the rich history of the community, the oldest and largest public housing complex in the United States, built in 1937. Last summer, Miami-Dade County approved a $307 million redevelopment project that will create more than 1,500 new housing units in the 52-acre region.

“It’s going to be a completely different community,” Shumow said. “The magic and the sadness and everything that place holds will be gone in a few years. Liberty Square is so colorful, you can’t help but be inspired by the beauty of it. But then you juxtapose that with the severe endemic poverty and everything that comes with it. ‘Moonlight’ helps to cement that history, which is important.

“A lot of people’s impressions of Liberty City is that it’s a scary place full of drug dealers and gangs and murders,” he said. “‘Moonlight’ helps shift that narrative a little bit. That’s not to say it’s an uplifting film about a wonderful community these kids live in. It’s pretty truthful in its portrayal of how hard life is there. But there’s a humanity there that doesn’t come across when you watch the nightly news. It could make some kids from the community think that filmmaking could possibly be for them.”

Shumow says that this summer, he will reprise the Eyes on Your Mission Academy project that debuted last year, which brings together students from Northwestern High and FIU to create marketing and digital videos for local nonprofit organizations.”


From Agence France Presse:

“It was the first segregated public housing anywhere in the United States,” said Moses Shumow, assistant professor in the department of communications at Florida International University.

Shumow has made a documentary about the area, showcasing the happy memories of longtime residents who moved in hoping for a better life.

His documentary also shows the struggles Liberty City has endured, ranging from segregation and the inability of residents to secure home loans, to racially-tinged riots in the 1980s and the crack cocaine epidemic.

“Here is a community that didn’t undergo a moment of trauma, but rather 70 years of trauma,” he told AFP.

Historians say some of the troubles of Miami’s black community stem from the construction of major highways decades ago that cut through what were cohesive neighborhoods and drove poverty in those areas.

Due to the surging violence around Liberty City, with seven deaths and 43 shootings in 2015 alone, Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez decided to redevelop the heart of the project, known as Liberty Square.

Many changes lie ahead for the area. But looking back, “Moonlight” — which featured an all-black cast — earned praise for penetrating the inner lives of its characters as they fought against stereotypes, addiction, heartbreak and poverty.

“I don’t think it puts a gloss on the reality, but it moves beyond that, raising questions of sexuality and questions of poverty and how do you escape and what does it mean for you?” Shumow said.

“To me, it is just so positive that a different kind of story could emerge. And that it is getting global recognition.”



IMAGES AND VOICES OF HOPE: ivoh fellow Moses Shumow screens ‘Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami

Since becoming a Restorative Narrative fellow last winter, Moses Shumow, digital media faculty in the School of Communication and Journalism at Florida International University, has been hard at work. As a fellow, Shumow has organized community conversations, worked on a series of ongoing digital storytelling projects with students and completed his documentary, “Liberty Square: Power, History, and Race in Miami.” (more)


Liberty square redevelopment updates

Related Urban, the development group overseeing the redevelopment of Liberty Square, is holding a series of meetings in the community center at 6304 NW 14th Ave, Miami, FL 33147. 

The group has also developed a website,, that is a clearing house for information on the development and summaries of the meetings.