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During the early 20th century, northerners were attracted to the city, and Miami prospered during the 1920s with an increase in population and infrastructure.
The legacy of Jim Crow was embedded in these developments. Leslie Quigg, did not hide the fact that he, like many other white Miami police officers, was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
Julia Tuttle subsequently convinced Henry Flagler, a railroad tycoon, to expand his Florida East Coast Railway to the region, for which she became known as "the mother of Miami." Black labor played a crucial role in Miami's early development.
During the beginning of the 20th century, migrants from the Bahamas and African-Americans constituted 40 percent of the city's population.
When World War II began, Miami, well-situated on the southern coast of Florida, became a base for US defense against German submarines.
The war brought an increase in Miami's population; by 1940, 172,172 people lived in the city.
The highest undulations are found along the coastal Miami Rock Ridge, whose substrate underlies most of the eastern Miami metropolitan region.
The main portion of the city lies on the shores of Biscayne Bay which contains several hundred natural and artificially created barrier islands, the largest of which contains Miami Beach and South Beach.
Winter visitors remarked that the city grew so much from one year to the next that it was like magic.
Unsurprisingly, these officers enforced social codes far beyond the written law.
Quigg, for example, "personally and publicly beat a colored bellboy to death for speaking directly to a white woman." The collapse of the Florida land boom of the 1920s, the 1926 Miami Hurricane, and the Great Depression in the 1930s slowed development.
In the late 19th century, reports described the area as a promising wilderness.
The Great Freeze of 1894–95 hastened Miami's growth, as the crops of the Miami area were the only ones in Florida that survived.
The Miami area was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous Native American tribes.