the inkwell” by nearby anglos in reference to the skin color of the beachgoers. such names existed for other beaches across the u.s. as well, including on martha's vineyard off the coast of massachusetts. nonetheless, african americans in southern california, like their counterparts elsewhere, transformed the hateful moniker for their beach into a badge of pride.
the inkwell was originally located at the western end of pico boulevard and stretched two city blocks south to bicknell street. it was situated near phillips chapel christian methodist episcopal (cme) church, the first black church in santa monica, which also anchored an early black settlement around 4th and bay streets in the city. african americans from throughout southern california socialized, enjoyed the ocean breezes, and swam at the inkwell with less racial harassment than at other area beaches.
over the decades, due to the inkwell’s unique location, blacks were able to avoid overly hostile discrimination as the area evolved from the edge of public activity to a center of it. racial discrimination and in particular restrictive covenants prevented african americans from buying property throughout the urban region, but their community’s presences and agency sustained their oceanfront usage in santa monica.
even the inkwell was challenged by nearby white homeowners and businessmen. in 1922 the santa monica bay protective league attempted to purge african americans from the city’s shoreline by blocking the effort by the ocean frontage syndicate, an african american investment group led by norman o. houstonand charles s. darden, to develop a resort with beach access at the base of pico boulevard. local african american civil rightsleaders, however, reflected the ambivalence of the general black population on the continued existence of the inkwell. while they appreciated the access to the pacific ocean that the beach represented, they also wanted an end to all efforts to inhibit their freedom to use all public beaches.
Happy two year anniversary to my best friend. you have always lifted me up & have never let me down. you have comforted me & guided me at my lowest of lows while always cheering me on at my highest of highs. you have inspired me to accomplish things i never thought was possible & have always supported my exhausting goals. you have a genuine heart of pure gold that is so rare these days & the fact that you always strive 24/7 to put a smile on my face just proves i’m the luckiest wife in the world. here’s to many more years of overcoming obstacles, of exceeding our goals & to a lifetime of endless adventure & laughter together 💕💕 #anniversary#inkwellbeach#sunriseandchampagne
One of the catalysts for this trip was a ny times article about the black community of martha’s vineyard. so i’m especially grateful that the sun came all the way out for a quick trip to inkwell beach before we left.
from blackpast.org: the ”inkwell” or town beach in oak bluffs is the name of the popular beach frequented by african americans beginning in the late nineteenth century. the strand was pejoratively called “the inkwell” by nearby whites in reference to the skin color of the beachgoers. it is the most famous of beaches across the u.s. to transform this odious nickname into an emblem of pride. (✊🏾)
grateful for all the people met, adventures had, and food eaten. it wasn’t a “vacation,” (workity-work), but it was a beautiful getaway from new york. until next time.
my ig stories will be obnoxious later tonight. also, why can’t i location tag #inkwellbeach...? 🤔