Guide Wrigthsville Beach: The Luminous Island

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Bearing right will take you to the classic downtown and points south, including the Coast Guard station and the site of the late, great Lumina Pavilion. So begins the synopsis of Wrightsville Beach: The Luminous Island by Ray McAllister, a book that explores the history and heart of this wildly popular vacation destination near Wilmington. With a year-round population of 2, that expands to 45,, in the summer months, people have been flocking to Wrightsville Beach for fun in the sun for years through various periods of development.

It was transferred into private hands in three separate grants between and Development would have to wait, however, because distance and lack of transportation other than boats impeded accessibility. From the late s until near the end of the s, there were no residents and very few visitors except for some fishermen and hunters. Sailing soon became popular, and frequent races led to the founding of the Carolina Yacht Club in April Its members built a clubhouse, the first structure on what was now being called Wrightsville Beach after the Wright family who owned land on the nearby mainland.

The Carolina Yacht Club held dozens of races every year and is now recognized as the third oldest yacht club in the country. We will share a video on the move and opportunities to help us in this endeavor. We will be looking for additional docents and greeters as the museum expands and other volunteer opportunities will grow along with the need for donations of all sorts.

You must be logged in to post a comment. By lumina on November 30, - pm Community News. Copyright Lumina News. All rights reserved. Raleigh: Office of Archives and History, N. Department of Cultural Resources, , Percy E. Key Jr. Knopf, , Both free and enslaved African Americans toiled as fishermen, pilots, sailors, and ferrymen. Segregation was enforced as a matter of practice rather than law.

The resort, however, was short-lived. African American visi tors enjoyed modern cottages, a merry-go-round, and performances from many high-caliber entertainers, including B.

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King and Clyde McPhatter. Chowan Beach remained a viable site of black recreation until the desegregation of public accommodations and the opening of several other amusement parks brought competition. David S. Kahrl, The Land Was Ours, Chicago Defender, May 16, Blair, Pub lisher, ; Jennifer J. Stephenson, Chowan Beach, 11, 37, , Provocation from white town officials forced the beaches to close in the late s. Frank Avant Dr. Avant at Freeman Beach. S a n d er s A small number of black families in North Carolina owned beachfront property that they developed for tourism.

Unlike Eli Reid, these black beach prop erty owners had to contend with white supremacists. The black Freeman family, who had owned land in New Hanover County since the late s, created Seabreeze and Freeman Beaches for black vacationers in the s. Throughout the Jim Crow era, the Freeman family beaches had more than ten restaurants, a Ferris wheel, and several juke joints.

African Americans who sought refuge in these private beaches, however, routinely experienced harassment from white racists who lived and vacationed nearby. Assata Shakur, an exiled black activist and member of the Freeman family, recalled that white night riders taunted her family for operating a black beach.


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They would visit us from time to time to express their disapproval. One time they fired guns in the air.

The NCTA was bom of struggle. Begin ning in , NCTA members met annually and discussed a variety of topics, including pedagogical trends, school discipline, teacher salary rates, and public funding for black schools.

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The inlet caused widespread erosion, and the Freeman family beach property withstood a loss of 1, feet of shoreline and 3. The youngest of three children born to a Scottish Presbyterian minister and a homemaker in a Pittsburgh slum in , Sharpe had early exposure to poverty, alcoholism, and white racism.

During childhood, he had developed a close friend ship with Archie Norris, an intelligent young black lad whose skin color limited his opportunities.


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  • He completed his undergraduate studies in three years, having financed his education hy tutoring his peers. He became the first professor of surgery at the newly opened Harvard Medical School of China after completing a neurology residency at Johns Hopkins. Arriving in Shanghai in January , Sharpe quickly made a name for himself through his surgical successes.

    In the fall of , he and several Polyclinic Hospital colleagues traveled south to spend a week hunting ducks and geese in Onslow County along the North Carolina coast. During that hunting trip, Sharpe met local resident John Hurst, who accompanied him on the hunt as an assistant. The hunting trip was so successful that Sharpe decided to purchase land nearby and tasked Hurst with finding suitable property. Sharpe hired Hurst to look after the land while he was away. The meeting between the two men began a forty-six-year friendship that included their wives, S a n d er s During a hunting trip to Onslow County in the fall of , William Sharpe, a Harvard Medical School-trained neurosurgeon, met local resident John Hurst, who accompanied him on the hunt as an assistant.

    Wright on the Beach - Holiday Inn Resort Wilmington E Wrightsville Bch

    Hurst found the Hammocks, for ty-six hundred acres of open fields and woodlands and a four-mile stretch of Atlantic beach. This chance encounter also set the stage for the later partnership between the northern physician and the NCTA. Sharpe, Brain Surgeon, The northern physician was unmoved by the intimidation. Sa n d er s for black North Carolinians to have access to oceanfront beach recreation at a time when their other options began disappearing. The budding partnership between the white medical doctor and the black professional organization built on earlier incidents of interracial cooperation in Jim Crow North Carolina.

    Melville Broughton, and laid out the conditions of the gift.

    The physician expected the state to construct a bridge connecting the Hammocks Beach main land to the tract of land known as Bear Island that consisted of acres of beach land with a four-mile oceanfront. NCTA representatives present at the meeting readily agreed to the stipulations. These members anticipated that the state would build the bridge because there was historical precedent for such action.

    In , the North Carolina General Assembly had authorized the construction of Shell Road that allowed for carriage travel between Wrightsville and Wilmington. Before then, access was only available by water. Their strategy worked, and in , the General Assembly raised black teacher salaries to the same level as white salaries. W ith a desire for beach access, the educators once again promoted negotiation and collaboration rather than litigation.

    Beginning in , black teachers, with support from the NCTA, began filing lawsuits in court to remedy discriminatory job termination. New- bold, state director of Negro Education; and Marie Mclver, state supervisor of Negro elementary education. The board oversaw fund raising, construction, and administration for the planned black resort.

    Black teachers made plans for a black beach facility while simultaneously endorsing a federal civil rights agenda that aimed to weaken white supremacy. However, they continued to deploy negotiation, rather than confrontation, to improve black life. He thus created a committee to study the proposal.

    W hen a Northampton County grand jury failed to indict seven white men who stormed the jail and attempted to lynch a black man in , Cherry exercised a fifty-four-year-old, little-known statute that authorized him to have a Superior Court judge convene a court, sitting as a committing magistrate. Raleigh Carolinian, April 3, Atlanta Daily World, June 29, The Gertrude Hurst Assembly Hall, pictured here, served as the main building at the beach resort.

    The hall housed an auditorium, office, kitchen, snack bar, and restrooms.