MacArthur Fellows Program

Otis Pitts Jr.

Community Development Leader | Class of 1990

Community Development Leader
Miami, Florida
48 at time of award
Published August 1, 1990

About Otis' Work

Otis Pitts Jr. is a community organizer who has helped to develop and implement an economic agenda for the Liberty City area of Miami, Florida.

In the aftermath of the Liberty City disorders in 1980, Pitts set out to develop an economic environment that would improve the quality of goods and services available to the community, increase the level of entrepreneurial activity, and expand job opportunities.  Noted for his successful efforts at team and coalition building, he co-founded the Tacolcy Economic Development Corporation (TEDC), whose members included local leaders from government, banks, foundations, and corporations, as well as neighborhood residents.  He and TEDC were responsible for developing Edison Plaza, which was the only shopping center in the community, as well as the first multifamily, low-income housing to be built in Liberty City in decades.


Pitts has been president of Peninsula Developers, Inc. since 1996.  He was president of the Tacolcy Economic Development Corporation, and was executive director of the Belafonte Tacolcy Center, Inc. (1974-83).  He was also a police officer with the Miami Police Department (1970-74) and taught at the Criminal Justice Institute at Miami-Dade Community College (1973-74).

Pitts received a B.S. (1982) and an M.A. (1984) from Pepperdine University.

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Otis Pitts Jr.
September 24, 2014
"Eight MacArthur Fellows Had Miami Connections"
Miami Herald
Otis Pitts Jr. , 1990 MacArthur Fellow
Robert H. McCabe , 1992 MacArthur Fellow
Pedro José Greer Jr. , Marion Williams , 1993 MacArthur Fellows
Campbell McGrath , 1999 MacArthur Fellow
Edwidge Danticat, 2009 MacArthur Fellow
Tarell McCraney, Karen Russell, 2013 MacArthur Fellows
More Fellows

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