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White Sand Black BeachCivil Rights, Public Space, and Miami's Virginia Key$
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Gregory W. Bush

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062648

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062648.001.0001

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The Shifting Sands of Civil Rights in Southeast Florida, 1945–1976

The Shifting Sands of Civil Rights in Southeast Florida, 1945–1976

(p.107) 4 The Shifting Sands of Civil Rights in Southeast Florida, 1945–1976
White Sand Black Beach

Gregory W. Bush

University Press of Florida

The evolution of the civil rights movement in Miami after World War II is explored in terms of the struggle for leisure spaces, notably beaches, pools, and golf courses, as the area developed as a tourist capital. In addition, the powerful scope of association between labor, civil rights, and communism resulted in widespread political repression in the Miami area. This chapter highlights how one of the most “liberal” cities in the South reflected an overlooked set of actors and a political dynamic promoting civil rights, and explains how Miami interfaced with larger political processes such as the harassment of civil rights leaders by the Johns Committee of the State legislature during the late 1950s and the disorder surrounding the Republican National Convention in 1968. Miami and Virginia Key Beach were vacation spots often visited by Martin Luther King and other prominent African Americans, and the island remained a powerful gathering place that enhanced the sense of power within the black community.

Keywords:   Civil rights movement, Miami, Florida, Leisure spaces, Virginia Key Beach

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