History

Art Dorrington

In 1950 Art Dorrington became the first African American hockey player to sign a National Hockey League contract when he joined the New York Rangers. Although Dorrington never got called up to play in the major leagues, he had very good stats in the minor leagues. He played for the Atlantic City Seagulls who were a part of the Eastern Hockey League. He also created the Art Dorrington Ice Hockey Foundation, which teaches hockey to children from low-income families in Atlantic City.

1964 Democratic National Convention

In late August of 1964, famous political personalities came to Atlantic City, New Jersey to attend the Democratic National Convention that was being held at Boardwalk Hall. Attendees of the convention included the current president at the time Lyndon B. Johnson, members of the Kennedy family, Fannie Lou Hammer, and a number of other political leaders. One thousand members of the press attended the event which gave the city worldwide attention.  During this convention Fannie Lou Hammer, a member of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party group, challenged the seating of the all-white Mississippi delegation.

Freedom Summer

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party decided to challenge the seating at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. The 68 person MFDP delegation was made up of activists who were determined to stand up and face the harsh racial oppression in the country. Fannie Lou Hamer delivered a powerful and vivid testimony that described her life in Mississippi. A compromise came from the Minneapolis Attorney General that two seats will be given to the MFDP. But the MFDP delegates rejected the offer saying, "We didn't come all this way for no two seats since all of us is tired," Mrs. Hamer. These events later forced reform in the national Democratic party which expanded the participation of women and minorities. 

Chicken Bone Beach

When talking about Atlantic City, you cannot forget to mention the beaches. There is even a deep cultural history connected to the sandy shoreline. Around 1900 a section of the beach was designated exclusively African American and remained that way until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Black entrepreneurs provided entertainment during the summer evenings with performers like the Mills Brothers and Louis Jordan. In 1997 the Atlantic City Council passed an ordinance changing the beach known as Missouri Avenue Beach to Chicken Bone Beach historical landmark.

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