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An American Beach for African Americans Hardcover – June 24, 1997


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Editorial Reviews

Review

This folk history of a Florida beach which welcomed generations of vacation blacks from Jim Crow to modern times provides a lively social coverage which includes local character and customs as well as a reflection on the 1930s black businessman who developed the beach which began as a 200-acre black community in the 1700s. A powerful regional and social history evolves. -- Midwest Book Review

Book Description

A vivid recollection of a groundbreaking beach community

 

“This book is both distinctive and valuable as one of the relatively few books on African Americans in Florida and as one of the even smaller number of publications treating the subject of well-to-do blacks.”—Choice

 

“An insider’s account, which is remarkably candid about the strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and pitfalls, of the community.”—Southern Quarterly

 

“This is a lively story of a place marked by community, sociability and food, where generations of families found an oasis from racism.”—Publishers Weekly

 

“The vivid, personal story of American Beach, a coastal community on Amelia Island in northeastern Florida . . . blends oral history with never-before-collected documents dating back to the turn of the century, including photographs, historical records, and even recipes for such local favorites as Daddy Charlie’s Jamaican Con Pollo.”—Preservation

 

“More than a study of African American recreation, the book provides insight into the self-sufficient African American communities that were commonplace in the days of Jim Crow and their ultimate decline after desegregation.”—Alabama Review

 

“Marsha Dean Phelts uses facts, photographs, profiles, memories and recipes to tell a story as intimate as the epics we enjoy over pie and coffee. It’s less a book about racial discrimination than it is a story of the consequences for the people of a particular community and their triumph over confinement.”—Tampa Tribune

 

Marsha Dean Phelts draws together personal interviews, photos, newspaper articles, memoirs, maps, and official documents to reconstruct the character and traditions of Amelia Island’s 200-acre African American community. Phelts invokes colorful firsthand accounts and “old-timer” stories, and paints what is ultimately a personal and intimate portrait of a community rich in heritage and culture.

 

 

 

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida; 1st edition (June 24, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813015049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813015040
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,161,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This is really one of the most important contributions to Florida history in recent years. Some may think that black people just disappeared during the Jim Crow era, but this book will disabuse them of that notion. It has it all, from stories to recipes to photographs, covering a part of history that is still almost studiously ignored hereabouts. I hope this will encourage others to do the kind of digging Marsha Phelts has done, because Florida's black beaches from the age of segregation are an endangered species. They should all be studied, documented, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places to preserve what remains from the endless bulldozers of developers. Cheers to the author for telling this story so well!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
An American Beach for African Americans is a special treasure of knowledge and history for everyone interested in reflecting upon the love, strength, and beauty of African American culture in Florida. Marsha Dean Phelts is truly a remarkable writer. She has dedicated a significant part of her time and expertise as a writer in order for all of us to appreciate times when the Beach Boys were not likely to be the first group to book a concert tour at American Beach, (although they had the choice), even though I sometimes wondered as a child growing up in Florida and New York in the 60s and 70s, if The Beach Boys were ever going to entertain an audience at American Beach. Thank God for Marsha Dean Phelts for writing this book. She was instumental in her sharing her writer-to-writer knowledge to me as I finalized the pages of my book titled Surfing the Sea, which is planned for release very soon. An American Beach for African Americans is more than a mere contribution to literature and Florida history. It is simultaneously long overdue and right on time!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Leroy Robinson on September 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, An American Beach for African Americans, while it did not provide for me all that I presumed it would be, it did add to the puzzle of What It Means to be Black in America.

The place covered, the people involved, and the results, reflect the pursuit and aggressive nature of African Americans, especially during the early part of the 20th Century, when many African Americans didn't know if there would be a tomorrow. The tomorrows in this book, like so many tomorrows that preceded this place and time, is one more milestone that I'm pleased was not overlooked. I'm pleased this author, Marsha Dean Phelts, took the initiative to chronicle our past.
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