Library parterning with African-American Heritage Museum for new exhibit

George Walls Bath House 1920sThe Jet Black, Brown and Tan on the Beach exhibit – a compilation of five photo collections of Atlantic City’s famed Missouri Avenue Beach – will go on display beginning this month. Missouri Avenue Beach later became known as Chicken Bone Beach.
The exhibit consists of photos from the African-American Heritage Museum of Southern New Jersey (AAHMSNJ), Atlantic City Free Public Library, Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Inc. (CBBHFI), Diane Graves and George E. Dickerson Collection, and Charles L. Blockson Collection of Temple University Libraries.
A panel discussion and the exhibit grand opening will be held Friday, June 12, at the AAHMSNJ at The Noyes Arts Garage – Stockton University, located at 2200 Fairmount Ave. in Atlantic City. The discussion will begin at 4:45 p.m. and run until the exhibit opening at 6 p.m. AAHMSNJ founder Ralph E. Hunter, Sr., and CBBHFI founder Henrietta Shelton will discuss the history of Missouri Avenue Beach, share stories and answer questions. The public will be invited to bring in and share their personal photos with the audience.
The exhibit will be comprised of more than 100 photographs, as well as framed quilted pieces. The photos, taken from 1910-60, feature the lifeguards, locals, tourists and celebrities who frequented this beach, which was designated as a blacks-only beach until the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. The exhibit will include photos of Martin Luther King, Jr., Sammy Davis, Jr., Rosalind Cash and Madame Sarah Spencer Washington. The exhibit will remain at the AAHMSNJ until Oct. 8.
The museum also plans to have a photo slideshow. Those who wish to have their photos considered for this exhibit are asked to email them to Atlantic City Free Public Library archivist Heather Perez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call her at (609) 345-2269, ext. 3062, for more information.
The museum’s suggested donations are $2 for students and seniors, and $3 for adults. It is free for members of the military, and on Wednesdays. Please call Hunter at (609) 350-6662 for more information.

PHOTO: Lifeguards and bathing beauties represented the George Walls Bath House in a Miss America parade in the 1920s. This bath house, where people would go to rent bathing suits, was the only African American-owned business on the Missouri Avenue Beach. This photo is from the Atlantic City Free Public Library’s Atlantic City Heritage Collections