Photo: Los Angeles Public Library
Verna and Sidney at Santa Monica’s Bay Street Beach, 1931. Photos: Los Angeles Public Library
Map of the Bay Street Beach Historic District. Credit: Sea of Clouds
19 July 19
Santa Monica Beach has been added to the National Register as a significant site of African American recreation, leisure, and struggle for equality during the Jim Crow Era. (The National Park Service, Department of Interior.)
The beach was self-selected by African Americans a place of recreation where its visitors felt relatively safe from harassment. California’s lax enforcement or overlooked civil rights laws and the Los Angeles region’s de facto white supremacist actions and policies manifested as discrimination in housing, employment, and sometimes access to public lands or private facilities
At times, beach visitors elsewhere faced exclusion, harassment, even violence. The-53 acre district, entirely on public lands, recognizes this important coastal history and celebrates a rarity: a 100-plus-year-old intact African American seaside cultural landscape.
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