By Marsha Dean Phelts

In the one entire heritage of Florida’s American seashore thus far, Marsha Dean Phelts attracts jointly own interviews, photographs, newspaper articles, memoirs, maps, and legitimate files to reconstruct the nature and traditions of Amelia Island’s 200-acre African American neighborhood. In its heyday, while different shores grudgingly supplied in basic terms restricted entry, black tourists traveled as many as 1,000 miles down the east coast of the USA and countless numbers of miles alongside the Gulf coast to a beachfront that welcomed their business.

Beginning in 1781 with the Samuel Harrison domicile at the southern finish of Amelia Island, Phelts strains the beginning of the neighborhood to common Sherman’s targeted box Order No. 15, during which the Union granted many former accomplice coastal holdings, together with Harrison’s estate, to former slaves. She then follows the lineage of the 1st African American households identified to have settled within the region to descendants last there at the present time, together with these of Zephaniah Kingsley and his spouse, Anna Jai.

Moving in the course of the Jim Crow period, Phelts describes the improvement of yankee Beach’s predecessors within the early 1900s. eventually, she presents the fullest account thus far of the existence and contributions of Abraham Lincoln Lewis, the rich African American businessman who in 1935, as president of the Afro-American existence assurance corporation, initiated the acquisition and improvement of the tract of beach referred to as American seashore. From Lewis’s arrival at the scene, Phelts follows the community’s sustained improvement and development, highlighting landmarks just like the Ocean-Vu-Inn and the Blue Palace and concluding with a stirring plea for the upkeep of yankee seashore, that's at present threatened via encroaching development.

In a story filled with firsthand debts and "old-timer" tales, Phelts, who has vacationed at American seashore when you consider that she was once 4 and now lives there, often adopts the fashion of an oral historian to color what's eventually a private and intimate portrait of a neighborhood wealthy in history and culture.

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An American Beach for African Americans by Marsha Dean Phelts


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