The Northside: African Americans and the Creation of Atlantic City
Atlantic City, once a desolate seaside island with no access, was a developer’s dream. Over time, a fashionable resort for the privileged white upper class emerged. Prior to the American Civil Rights movement and after the Civil War, blacks migrated to the Northeast for jobs. The plan to build a fashionable resort that would cater exclusively to the leisure desires of whites became a coveted place to find work.
The Northside is a compelling story and narrative of the African Americans who were instrumental in the creation of Atlantic City. As it thrived, so did they. The church served as a community center that nurtured solidarity and produced numerous dynamic leaders. The people of Northside prospered with pride despite the segregation and racial prejudice they endured. Johnson presents the story of the making of Atlantic City through the lives of key leaders. Sara Spencer Washington was a successful entrepreneur, sports great Pop Lloyd became a legend. Morris Cain, civic leader led the community and preached that “life has no purpose if we aren’t about the business of helping one another.”
Johnson’s history of African Americans’ role in our past covers an important period of racial instability. It is a haunting reminder of America’s shameful past that is a continuum of revelations.