AMERICAN BEACH FLORIDA - negro ocean playground

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  • Item Category: Advertising
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Apr 12,2009
  • Channel: Online Auction

AMERICAN BEACH

FLA.

NEGRO OCEAN PLAYGROUND

This is a cast iron sign, it weighs just over a pound, it is a little over 11 inches wide.

This used to be a license plate topper, made to fit over a license plate.

American Beach is a historic beach and community located north of Jacksonville, Florida on Amelia Island in Nassau County . During the time of segregation, African Americans were not allowed to swim at the beaches in Jacksonville , so several black-only areas were created. American Beach was the largest and most popular. It contains American Beach Historic District .

American Beach was founded in 1935 by Florida's first black millionaire, Abraham Lincoln Lewis , and his Afro-American Life Insurance Company . The plan was for his employees to have a place to buy homes and vacation spots for their families. Throughout the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, summers at American Beach were known for being jammed with families, churches and children. The beach included hotels, restaurants and nightclubs as well as homes and other businesses.

American Beach played host to numerous celebrities during this period, including: folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, singer Billie Daniels, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, BillySckstein, Hank Aaron, JoeLouis and actor Ossie Davis, James Brown was actually turned away from performing outside Evans' Rendezvous, a nightclub on the beach. In 1964, American Beach was hit hard by Hurricane Dora , and many homes and buildings were destroyed. The passage of the Civil Rights Act that same year desegregated the beaches of Florida, and American Beach became a less and less popular vacation destination as more African American Jacksonvillians turned to locations nearer their homes.

A.L. Lewis' great-granddaughterMaVynee Betsch , known to locals as the Beach Lady , returned to American Beach in 1977 to fight for its preservation. For years she planted trees along Lewis street, offered historical tours of the beach, and fought to raise public awareness of the beach and its struggle until her death September 2005. As of January 2002, American Beach is listed as a historic site by the National Register of Historic Places.

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