Marker is located on Northwest corner of Indiana and Arctic Avenues. 1900-1981
In 1929, C.J. Newsome was a founder of the Atlantic City Board of Trade (ACBT), which became the Black Chamber of Commerce, promoting Atlantic City as a place for African-American conventions. An outstanding leader of St. James A.M.E. Church, he belonged to many civic and fraternal organizations. He served as District Deputy Grand Exalted Ruler of the Elks for 19 years. In 1941, over 100,000 people lined up on the city's Northside to see an Elks Parade, a product of Newsome's efforts. An Atlantic City Electrical Bureau Inspector, Master Mason and Shriner, he successfully brought African-American businesses and conventions to the resort where dollars were spent on the Northside, far from Boardwalk hotels from which they were barred. C.J. Newsome operated Newsome's Guest House, one of many Northside rooming houses that welcomed African-American guests. The ACBT lost most of its influence with the advent of the civil rights movement when the walls of segregation crumbled.
Clifford Newsome's life was always dedicated to promoting Atlantic City tourism throughout the country, especially tourism to the often-overlooked black communities in the Northside. Newsome sought to attract all kinds of black-oriented organizations to hold conventions in Atlantic City - including religious, social and professional ones - and always had a few tricks up his sleeve to entice them. Whenever he would travel out of the city to recruit conventioneers, his pockets were loaded with the salt water taffy Atlantic City was famous for.
Thanks to Newsome's work, large amounts of tourism and money were generated for this important community that white promoters were ignoring. Though the Board of Trade's influence waned after desegregation, Newsome kept it running until his death, always seeking to attract more people to his hometown.
|For more information, see these resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library, Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Atlantic City Press article