Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day at the Historical Virginia Key Beach

The 2011-2012 school year is quickly drawing to a close and the Dreamers went on their last field trip for the school year to Virginia Key Beach (VKB). VKB is the first keys of the Florida Keys, but was originally attached to Miami Beach until a natural disaster caused it to separate in 1830. VKB was orginally inhabited by Native Americans, but as more African-Americans began to migrate further South , many looked for beaches to attend, especially on hot summer days. But due to the segregation laws at the time, African-Americans and minorities were banned from the White beaches. After a few protests and wade-ins, VKB was officially designated the "Negro" beach in 1945.

Across the street from VKB, is Crandon Park, which was known as the White-only beach. VKB had stronger currents, a small pond, concession stand, and mini carousel and train rides, while Crandon Park had calmer waters, a petting zoo, and elaborate train and carousel rides. Nevertheless, African-Americans made VKB their own! In 1945, the only way in and out of VKB was by ferryboats. In the 1960s, due the Civil Rights Movement, segregation became illegal and VKB was open to everyone. In the 1980s, VKB was closed down due to a lack of city funding, but was finally declared a historical site in 2008. Today, VKB is open to the public!

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