AP PHOTOS: Miami's Village West neighborhood

LYNNE SLADKY
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In this photo taken July 1, 2013, a woman walks up a stairway of an apartment building decorated with a mural on Grand Avenue in the Village West neighborhood of Coconut Grove in Miami. The community, settled by Bahamian immigrants in the 1880's, was the first black settlement in South Florida. It has suffered from many years of decline and lack of investment. This building is among six blocks of Grand Avenue which are part of a $306 million redevelopment plan proposed by Point Group Advisors to build retail, office, and residential space. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

MIAMI (AP) — When the first black residents of South Florida arrived in the 1880s from the Bahamas to work at the Peacock Inn on Biscayne Bay, they established the Village West neighborhood in Miami's Coconut Grove section.

The neighborhood thrived in the early 1900s with many black-owned businesses and single-family homes. But after World War II ended, many of the homes were torn down and replaced with large apartment buildings. Today, many of those apartment buildings are in disrepair and the residents are struggling. There are many vacant lots, boarded up homes, empty storefronts along the main thoroughfare of Grand Avenue and numerous properties for sale, slated for development.

Here is a look at the neighborhood, and some of its residents, through photos: