Stafford Dames

Location(s): Miami, Florida

Decade: 1930s

On July 7, 1937, Stafford Dames, 19 years old, was shot to death by police officers in Miami. Dames, unarmed, was suspected of breaking into a church and was shot outside of his mother’s home. There was little reliable evidence that Dames was involved in the alleged break-in and the shooting triggered militant protests from the Dames family and many others in Miami. Dames’ father, a prominent member of Miami’s Bahamian community and an insurance businessman, hired lawyers to represent the family in the legal proceedings that followed the shooting. A coroner’s jury did not recommend charges against the officers, and a grand jury failed to return an indictment. The NAACP participated in the efforts to obtain legal redress.

The collection includes: death certificate; newspaper articles; records of the NAAP ; and CRRJ student Queen Arsem-O’Mallley’s essay, “Stafford G. Dames, Jr.: A Community Effort to Find Justice.”

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