North Carolina Beach Becoming Part of State’s Civil Rights Trail
Have you ever been to Topsail Island Beach? Topsail Island is on its way to making even more history for the state. The area is on its way to becoming part of the state’s Civil Rights Trail thanks to the community. In the 1950s, Carla Torrey watched her father build houses and other structures on Topsail Island that remain standing today.
Star News Online says that Torrey also recalls watching the heavy amount of segregation all around during those times. “There was seriously an invisible line that separated us,” Torrey says. Back then, an area on the beach known as Ocean City was where Black people could go to enjoy the beach. This area was a vacation haven in the late 1940s for Black people and the only place they could purchase oceanfront properties, says Star News Online.
Community members attend church at St Mark’s Episcopal Chapel, now known as Wade H Chestnut Memorial Chapel. Now, Torrey is working with the community to keep the legacy of their area alive. “They didn’t make it a place where Black people could just go dance and seek entertainment,” Torrey said to Star News Online. “They made it a community.”
This July, Ocean City will be honored with a marker from the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and N.C. African American Heritage Commission. The sign will be part of the state’s Civil Rights Trail, says Star News Online.
Community members are continuing to keep the legacy of Ocean City alive and fighting for recognition of its rich history. For more information on their history and the full story on Ocean City, click here.