A Florida Heritage Site
Dania Beach, Florida
African Americans living in South Florida in the earlier part of the 20th century drove from as far away as Palm Beach and Miami to use Fort Lauderdale's beaches, but met with significant resistance from oceanfront property owners. On May 14, 1946, a delegation from the Negro Professional and Business Men's League, Inc., petitioned the Board of County Commissioners "seeking a public bathing beach for colored people in Broward County." In 1954, the county finally acquired a barrier island site, designated it for segregation, and promised to make the beach accessible, but a road was never built. In response, Eula Johnson, Dr. Von D. Mizell and many others led a series of protest wade-ins on all-white public beaches. In July 1962, the City of Fort Lauderdale requested an injunction to end the wade-ins. The court disagreed with the municipality's position and entered an order in favor of defendants, thus launching a larger civil rights movement that soon brought integration to local schools. John U. Lloyd, the county attorney at the time of these landmark cases, is the namesake of this state park. Unrecognized, however, are the local black leaders, whose historic actions forever changed the landscape.