In 1855, Alexander and Charity Freeman, who were freed slaves, bought 99 acres of land near Myrtle Grove Sound. They were of mixed African and American Indian heritage.
By the time of Alexander Freeman’s death, the couple had acquired 180 acres at the head of Myrtle Grove Sound.
The property purchased was at Federal Point Township, a peninsula that separates the Cape Fear River from the Atlantic Ocean.
By 1876, Alexander’s descendant, Robert Bruce Freeman Sr. bought an additional 2,500 acres for $1 an acre. At his death, Robert Bruce Freeman Jr. parceled the land in tracts, designed to be self-supporting waterfront properties, to a number of relatives. The beach community became home to a number of African American families.
Two of Robert Bruce Freeman’s heirs, Rowland Freeman and Nathan Freeman, played a major role in developing Seabreeze as a resort in the 1920s.
Between the 1920s and the 1960s Freeman Beach Seabreeze developed rich cultural traditions and history as blacks from across eastern and central North Carolina traveled for miles to experience the wooden dance floors and jukeboxes. With Freeman Beach they found a place to vacation, relax, and play. From the 1920s through the 1960s, the beach had three hotels, ten restaurants, dozens of rental cottages, a boat pier, a bingo parlor, and a small amusement park, complete with Ferris wheel. During the summer months thousands of visitors flocked to the area. When black people were forbidden from even travelling through Carolina Beach to get to Seabreeze, the Freeman family bought a boat to ferry people back and forth to the resort.
Freeman Beach Seabreeze suffered major damage from Hurricane Hazel in 1954. More insidious was beach erosion, which increased after the opening of the artificial Carolina Beach Inlet in 1952.
By the late 1960s when desegregation opened other beaches to African Americans, Freeman Beach lost its summer visitors.
Many of the older landmarks were blown down or washed away by other hurricanes in the 1990s, symbolizing an area long in decline.
#365daysblackhistory - 1 hour ago