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Land Was OursHow Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South$
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Andrew W. Kahrl

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628721

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628721.001.0001

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A Sanctuary by the Sea

A Sanctuary by the Sea

Chapter:
(p.52) 2 A Sanctuary by the Sea
Source:
Land Was Ours
Author(s):

Andrew W. Kahrl

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628721.003.0003

Focusing on the history of the Methodist Church’s Gulfside Assembly in Waveland, Mississippi, the chapter shows how seaside land ownership and development acquired a spiritual dimension and became integral to separate black institutional development under Jim Crow. In 1923, the African American Methodist Bishop Robert E. Jones acquired 300 acres of real estate along the Gulf of Mexico for the purpose of developing a Chautauqua-style retreat for black Methodist congregations in the Deep South. Through its programs and activities, the Gulfside Assembly exemplified the tenets of black middle-class respectability and religiosity during this era. The founding of Gulfside coincided with a land boom along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which, as the chapter shows, rendered it highly vulnerable to attack and forced removal. To hold onto the land and keep “the Gulfside Idea” (as its promoters called it) alive, the resort’s administrators outwardly accommodated Jim Crow and worked to forge mutually beneficial relationships with local white officials and businessmen. In tracing Gulfside’s struggle to claim its place along a changing coastline from the 1920s through the 1950s, the chapter also highlights an early stage of coastal capitalism in the South and examines its environmental impact.

Keywords:   Gulfside Assembly, Mississippi Gulf Coast, Methodist Episcopal Church, Land Development, Religion

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