Ladies relaxing at Chicken Bone Beach on the sand and under an umbrella. (Undated, H009.ChickenBoneBeach2; ACFPL Heston Collection)
|The sandy stretch from Missouri Avenue to Ohio Avenue was a dedicated area where African Americans could enjoy the Atlantic City Beach from 1900 until the early 1950s. This segregated beach came to be known as Chicken Bone Beach, as families and visitors arrived for a day at the beach with chicken dinners packed in picnic baskets.
African American visitors to Chicken Bone Beach included Sammy Davis, Jr., Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, the Club Harlem showgirls, Jackie Robinson, Lena Horne, and Sugar Ray Robinson. Musicians would hold impromptu concerts on the stretch, while children and adults splashed in the ocean and played on the sand.
The Atlantic City Beach Patrol employed an all-black patrol that guarded Chicken Bone Beach at Missouri. The first black beach patrol captain was William Rube Albouy.
The City of Atlantic City designated Chicken Bone Beach as a local historic site on August 6, 1997. Currently, a historical foundation exists to promote family programs and activities at Missouri Avenue, including a summer jazz concert series.
Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation
Charles E. Funnell By the Beautiful Sea: the rise and high times of that great resort Atlantic City. New York: Knopf, 1975.
Levi, Vicki Gold. Atlantic City, 125 Years of Ocean Madness. New York: C.N. Potter, 1979.
Chicken Bone Beach
Black History in Atlantic City
"30 Years, 30 Voices" Oral History Project, 2008: Interview with Henrietta Shelton
Chicken Bone Beach Collection
Audrey Hart Photograph Collection
Please see the Heston Collection Indexes at the Reference Desk to locate some of the photographs and postcards on this subject.