African-American History - Rosamond Johnson
Pensacola's black community continued to prosper in spite of segregation and “Jim Crow” laws imposed at the end of the Reconstruction Era that continued into the 20th century. Segregation was extended to the beaches, and Pensacola Beach was "whites only." Among the few beaches open to African-Americans was Rosamond Johnson Beach on Perdido Key, now a part of the Seashore.
Private Rosamond Johnson, Jr. was killed on July 26, 1950 during the Korean Conflict. Having carried two wounded men to safety under enemy fire, he was killed going back for a third, becoming the first African-American from this area to die in that conflict.
How many of the visitors enjoying Johnson Beach today notice the modest memorial to this man? How many know that Johnson joined a long roll of African-Americans who have fought for this country in every war since the Revolution? The contributions and experiences of African-Americans in Pensacola are a bigger part of our history than many suspect. Theirs is a remarkable tale of contributions and successes in the face of constant struggles and overwhelming obstacles.
Did You Know?
Because of the tropical-like conditions, the U. S. Army established the Cat Island War Dog Training Camp in south Mississippi during World War II. A variety of dog breeds were trained to guard, deliver messages, and attack the enemy. Cat Island is part of Gulf Islands National Seashore.