Nicknamed "The Black Pearl", the rich culture of the town of Atlantic Beach was formed of mostly Gullah/Geechee people, descendants of slaves who lived for 300 years on the Sea Islands from Wilmington, North Carolina to Jacksonville, Florida. In the early 1930’s, defying Jim Crow laws in the segregated south, debunking black stereotypes, and broadening the enterprises of the Gullah/Geechee people, black men and women opened hotels, restaurants, night clubs, and novelty shops in Atlantic Beach. They would travel along Interstate 95, Highway 17 and South Carolina Highway 9, coming from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia to Florida, where racial segregation took its toll.
Integration brought about two enormous changes into the history of Atlantic Beach. It gave Blacks the freedom, or right to enter, explore and enjoy all the beaches along the Southeast coast. While this was a positive change, Atlantic Beach had no way of knowing the adverse affects she would later suffer, (the loss of the Black Family and their dollars), to an arena far more competitive than she.
Today Atlantic Beach remains the only Black owned beach in the nation. Wow, what a culturally rich history! Nestled between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, Atlantic Beach is a remote tourist resort area that has grown by leaps and bounds, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists each summer. Atlantic Beach Still struggles to exist, and awaits the return of the African American Family. The family She rolled out the red carpet for, when Blacks were forbidden to enter other beaches. Abandoned by her own, Atlantic Beach shall rise again in spite of all that has happened through the years.
The History of Atlantic Beach