At the center of this year’s festival is a month-long exhibition, featuring photos from the famous Chicken Bone Beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Located on the long stretch of the Jersey shore just south of downtown, Chicken Bone Beach was designated as the exclusively African American section of beach around 1900. By the 1940s, black entrepreneurs began to provide entertainment during the summer evenings at Chicken Bone Beach; and leading black performers such as Sammy Davis, Jr., Louis Jordan, the Mills Brothers, Jackie “Moms” Mabley, and the Club Harlem showgirls, staged shows for black tourists and local residents. It remained a blacks only beach until the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed.
By the 1970s Casinos further changed the culture of the beach by making Atlantic City into a world class resort which in turn limited access to all working class families. To protect this endangered African American heritage site, the Atlantic City Council passed an ordinance in 1997, declaring Chicken Bone Beach a historical landmark. There are an estimated 300,000 photographs and negatives preserved in the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection of Temple University Libraries of the iconic beach taken by the Philadelphia photographer, John W. Mosley.
Visit us in the gallery (FREE admission), enjoy the exhibit, and maybe even find yourself and/or relatives among the photos! Exhibit runs through August 2014 – Mon-Wed, 10am-3pm; Thu 10am-7pm; CLOSED Fridays and Sundays Sat 12pm-4pm
Art Sanctuary, 628 S. 16th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19146