On September 10, 1964, Hurricane Dora slammed into American Beach, damaging or destroying many homes and businesses. The damage was a setback for the community. But it proved minor compared with the setback caused, ironically, by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the words of historian Phelts: “The civil rights legislated in 1964 had opened all public facilities to African Americans. Former American Beach vacationers and day-trippers now frolicked on Miami Beach, raced up and down the wide sands at Daytona, wore out the cobblestones of Savannah, and rode high at St. Simons Island. All along the shores of the East Coast, blacks explored areas that had once been off limits. The three-day weekends at American Beach shrank to one day; the Sunday visitors and day-trippers no longer stayed overnight. Loaded buses no longer caused a bottleneck at the crossroads. With so little business most of the restaurants and resort establishments closed.”
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Last updated: January 6, 2016