Ocean City was once a highly segregated town with unwritten “Jim Crow” laws in effect into the late 1960s. Blacks (known as Negroes or colored in that era) were not welcome as guests in the white-only hotels and restaurants or on the beach or Boardwalk.
A unique event developed in the years prior to WWI known as “Colored Excursion Day”. Designed by local merchants to sell food and souvenirs that would otherwise spoil or be stored for the winter, time was set aside after Labor Day for Blacks to visit the resort and enjoy the food, games, and sights of the Boardwalk. Special excursion trains would bring them, dressed in their Sunday best, to Ocean City from throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. Following the demise of the railroad the tradition continued by car and bus into the early 1950s.
Today people of all races, religions, and color are welcome in the hotels and restaurants and on the beach and Boardwalk of Ocean City.
To purchase one of Bunk Mann’s books, click over to www.vanishingoc.com.
Photo circa 1940 courtesy Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum