Broward County Historical Commission Presents "The Long Hard Fight for Equal Rights: The Fort Lauderdale Wade-Ins of 1961"

Exterior of Historical Commission.

Broward County Historical Commission, located at the historic West Side School in Fort Lauderdale.

DATE: February 7,, 2014
Historical Commission
PHONE: 954-357-5553

The Broward County Historical Commission, located at the historic West Side Grade School, 301 Harmon (S.W. 13) Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, will host its February Brown Bag Historical Lunch Program beginning at noon on Thursday, February 20, 2014.

In the 1900s, Fort Lauderdale had segregated, whites-only, beaches. In 1954, Broward County created a “Colored Beach,” a mile-long stretch of property in what is known today as John U. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area. There was no road to this beach, although one had been promised. In protest, some members of the black community staged a series of “wade-ins”. These brave actions eventually led to the desegregation of the beaches.

Guest speaker  William G. Crawford, Jr., will present a PowerPoint presentation about the “wade-ins” of the summer of 1961. His meticulously researched article on the long, and at times, contentious integration of the sandy beaches of Broward County was singled out to be included in the Kennedy Center Library's Bibliography on Civil Rights for Elementary and Middle School Students. Crawford's article "The Long Hard Fight for Equal Rights: A History of Broward County's Colored Beach and the Fort Lauderdale Wade Ins of the Summer of 1961" was published by the academic journal Tequesta.

Crawford is the author of numerous articles on Florida History and Florida's Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and he is an acknowledged expert on the waterway. His book, Florida's Big Dig: The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway from Jacksonville to Miami, 1818 to 1935, won the Rembert Patrick Award for the “Best Book on Florida History” by the Florida Historical Society in 2008. He has appeared as historian on the History Channel Modern Marvels documentary on the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

Crawford is a partner in the firm McDonald and Crawford P.A. and is the past chair and a 28- year member of the Broward County Historical Commission;  past president and 12-year trustee of the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society; a nine-year trustee of the Museum of Art and is currently the Fleet Historian of the Lauderdale Yacht Club. Tuesday, June 10, 2008, was declared “William G. Crawford Jr.,  Appreciation Day” by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners, and in 2004, the City of Fort Lauderdale named William G. Crawford, Jr., "Citizen of the Year”.

Attendees should bring their own lunch. Light refreshments will be offered. Parking is available on the east and west side of the Historical Commission building in unnumbered parking spaces and those marked yellow. Guests are advised to avoid parking in the white and black numbered spaces to the south and west of the building. On-street parking is also available on adjacent streets. For additional information about the program, call the Historical Commission offices at 954-357-5553.

The award-winning
Broward County Libraries Division, founded in 1974, is the ninth largest library system in the nation by population served and one of the busiest, with more than 9 million walk-in customers visiting its 40 locations annually. The library has more than 3.4 million items and 2,000 computers for public use, and offers hundreds of events and programs to meet the needs of Broward County's diverse community. Broward County Libraries Division continues its strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. In addition to our comprehensive Web site, which provides information about library activities, links to online catalogs, reference information and databases, customers can visit BCL WoW - Broward County Library Without Walls – for free eBooks, music, audiobooks, apps and more. Customers may also follow Libraries on Facebook and Twitter. Libraries Division also administers the services, programs, collections and exhibits of the Broward County Historical Commission.
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