1922 Rasmussen 2005

Cecilia Rasmussen L.A. Then and Now: In 'Whites Only' Era, an Oasis for L.A.'s Blacks Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2005 B2, 1922, 1905

     "The incident prompted blacks to claim their own sliver of public beach near the Crystal Plunge, a former open-air swimming pool that had been destroyed by a flood in 1905, then abandoned. The area was a polluted, debris-filled spot that no one else wanted. Around 1922, it became known as Inkwell Beach.

     "Inkwell offered ocean breezes, swimming, volleyball and a small, black-owned bathhouse called La Bonita, which rented swimsuits to black beachgoers. It was on Pico Boulevard several blocks off the beach.

     "(Verna Deckard Lewis) Williams, who was from Texas, loved Los Angeles because blacks had more freedom here than in the South. "You couldn't even go to the park in Texas," she said.

     "But it was far from perfect. Most black visitors to Inkwell rode in the back of the Big Red Cars along the Pacific Electric trolley lines down Pico Boulevard to Santa Monica Beach. Williams drove her own little Ford, often filled with the "Joy Girls," her new group of friends."

     " . . .

     "In 1922, homeowners formed the Santa Monica Bay Protective League to drive blacks out, according to newspaper coverage at the time. "Settlement of Negroes Is Opposed," a Times headline read. The group's agenda, The Times wrote, was "eliminating all objectionable features or anything that now is or will prove a menace to the bay district … or prove detrimental to our property values."

     "Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce President Sylvester L. Weaver Sr. urged fellow chamber directors to stop the sale of private beach in Santa Monica before the public found "the ocean fenced off." He continued: "In front of where I have a summer residence … a piece of land has been fenced off and none but colored people allowed. I was born pretty far south to have that in front of my house."

     "In actuality, the beach was public; it was merely fenced off, as many other areas were for whites."

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 Kelyn Roberts 2017