Ocean City, Maryland – (February 5, 2019): During the month of February, the Museum’s changing exhibit, Archives and Artifacts, focuses on black history within Ocean City, MD. This exhibit is a pictorial history that provides insight into the lives of black men and women living and working in Ocean City from the 1930s through the1960s.
African Americans were often the backbone of many Ocean City iconic hotels and restaurants such as the Commander and Atlantic Hotel. From hotel bellman to the restaurant cooks and waitstaff these men and women were responsible for maintaining many establishments’ distinguished reputations.
While black men and women were an integral part of Ocean City’s hospitality workforce, most hotels did not accommodate them as guests. The Henry Hotel was one of the few places located in Ocean City that would rent to black guests. Due to the narrow lodging options black visitors had to choose from when visiting Ocean City, the Henry Hotel accommodated many famous black entertainers and notable public figures such as Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and Maryland State Senator Verda Freeman.
“This display of photographs is a starting point in telling the story of what life was like for African Americans living and working in Ocean City,” said Curator Sandy Hurley. “Ultimately, we hope the exhibit sparks conversation amongst one another about black history on the Delmarva Peninsula.”