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“Memorable Sands” small travel exhibit coming to RCC

With the thoughts of warmer days ahead during these cold days of winter, it’s easy to think about going to the beach and having a nice family vacation, but not too long ago, that wasn’t always possible for African Americans or American Indians, as beaches were segregated and they were denied access. In response, many individuals in these communities created their own beaches and “swimming holes.”

The small traveling exhibit coming to Robeson Community College this week captures these moments in history and tells the story that many may not know or may have forgotten about.

RCC will showcase “Memorable Sands: Beaches of Northeast North Carolina and Southeast Virginia” from The Museum of the Albemarle. The exhibit will be available for viewing on the RCC campus in Building 13 from Friday, January 13 to Tuesday, February 28 during normal operating hours.

“The purpose of the exhibit is to highlight part of the culture and history of our east coast beaches,” stated Sherry Lofton, an instructor at RCC. 

The traveling exhibit features 6 primary panels from the museum containing images and information.

According to The Albemarle Museum, the exhibit hallmarks images from African American beaches in the region including Chowan Beach in Hertford County, Bias and Hargraves Beaches in Currituck County, Bogues Beach in Pasquotank County and Seaview Beach in Virginia.

“In the early to mid-1900s, beaches were segregated with white and African American beach-goers sharing the same water, but not the same sand,” the museum’s website states. “Segregation had denied ethnic groups, such as African Americans and American Indians, access to public beaches. As a result, members of these communities began to develop their own in the late 1920s.”

Memorable Sands brings these moments inscribed in history to life and shares them for all to enjoy, as the story of the past could be easily forgotten with many of these beaches quickly becoming popular vacation destinations during the hot days of summer for people all around the world. 

The exhibit is sponsored by the RCC Cultural Events Committee. It is free and open to the general public.