No Sample Chapter AvailableAwards
Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education / Media - 1999
"This nostalgic folk history of a Florida beach that welcomed generations of vacationing blacks throughout the grim era of segregation and Jim Crow is so rich in anecdote, character study, customs and the abundance of nature (not to mention the 106 b&w photos) that it could almost serve as a tourist guidebook - right down to the homespun recipes." "This is a lively story of a place marked by community, sociability and food, where generations of families found an oasis from racism. Phelts draws the reader so thoroughly into the everydat life of American Beach that by the final chapter, when she describes the natural disasters, white development and, most tragically, recent police violence (including the shooting of four unarmed African American men between 1990 and 1994) that threaten the community, one feels one's own childhood has been menaced."
"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." "If Phelts' wish to preserve the historical American Beach proves to be frustrated by progress, at least we will have this record. Here, those who never knew American Beach will get a taste of its rich history; those who visited it in its heyday will find material for some lively dinner-table conversations."
"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. It also contains a readable discussion of various customs and traditons associated with the beach's history. A particularly tasty addition is the inclusion of several recipes."
"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. A member of the American Beach community with a long family connection to the place, Phelts gives us the view from inside."
"An insider's account, which is remarkably candid about the strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and pitfalls, of the community." -- Southern Quarterly
"Will appeal to connoisseurs of black history." -- Black Issues
"An important African American story." -- Florida Historical Quarterly
--Florida Historical Quarterly
"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