THE NEGRO OCEAN PLAYGROUNDS
The Civil Writer Magazine
In the late 19th century, there were few beaches African Americans could visit without the fear of discrimination or violence. Some of the first Black beaches were discovered by freed slaves. Abolitionist and activist Frederick Douglass’ youngest son established the first African American beach resort in Maryland in 1893 after being denied entry from a Chesapeake Bay restaurant because of his race.
Black history shouldn’t be just about the celebration of people but the things Black Americans invented and enjoyed. Just as Black Americans were segregated from water fountains, schools, hotels, railroad cars, jail cells, restaurants, churches, funeral homes and hospitals they were segregated from beaches. This is why Black Americans created their own beaches with caricature names like Chicken Bone and Inkwell as well as others scattered up and down the east coast.
-Atlantic Beach in South Carolina.
- Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard.
-American Beach in Jacksonville, Florida. -Highland Beach in Maryland.
-Sag Harbor in Long Island, New York.
-Gullah-Geechee Islands in South Carolina. -Chicken Bone Beach (Atlantic City, NJ).
-The Inkwell (Santa Monica, CA).
-Bruce’s Beach (Manhattan Beach, CA).
-Freeman Beach (Wilmington, NC).
-Carr’s Beach (Annapolis, MD).
-Virginia Key Beach, Virginia beach, Virginia
As tourism grew on these beaches they became “The Negro Ocean Playgrounds” sprinkled with food, lodging and entertainment. After the Civil Rights Act desegregated beaches they still remained part of the souls of Black folks.