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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Bloomington in McLean County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Miller Park's Segregated Beaches

 
 
Miller Park's Segregated Beaches Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 28, 2020
1. Miller Park's Segregated Beaches Marker
Inscription.  In 1908, the park board established racially segregated beaches and bathing facilities at Miller Park. Whites had exclusive use of the lake's larger beach and cleaner waters, while the "colored" beach was located in the park's smaller lagoon - a "weed-grown hole of stagnant water," as one black resident later described it.

This disgraceful arrangement did not go unchallenged. Local blacks already exercised the rights to vote, hold elected office, and attend integrated schools. But the nation's deteriorating racial climate - as evidenced by the 1908 Springfield and 1919 Chicago race riots - helped silence the controversy over segregated beaches. Despite anti-segregation efforts led by the local NAACP, in the 1920s African Americans in Bloomington-Normal could no longer eat at many restaurants or stay in downtown hotels, and were restricted to segregated seating in theaters. Quality jobs and housing were severely limited. Miller Park's beaches were the site of tragedy. In 1948 when six-year-old Phyllis Hogan drowned in its segregated waters with no lifeguard on duty. Plagued by poor water quality, the park's segregated beaches closed
Miller Park's Segregated Beaches Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 28, 2020
2. Miller Park's Segregated Beaches Marker
Near the arched stone bridge connecting the lagoon with the larger lake at Miller Park
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in 1953. In 1957, officials reopened the larger beach on an integrated basis. Today, Miller Park - like all city facilities - is open to all.
 
Erected 2018 by The McLean County Museum of History, with support from the city of Bloomington, Bloomington-Normal NAACP, Not In Our Town Bloomington-Normal, & the Illinois State Historical Society.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsParks & Recreational AreasWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Illinois State Historical Society series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
 
Location. 40° 27.986′ N, 89° 0.173′ W. Marker is in Bloomington, Illinois, in McLean County. Marker is on Park Lake Drive south of Lake Street, on the right when traveling south. Marker is on the grounds of Miller Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1020 S Morris Ave, Bloomington IL 61701, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dome (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Train Whistle Monument (approx. ¼ mile away); Rhodes Mill Stones (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bloomington Fire Fighters IAFF Local #49 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Bloomington Fire Department (approx. 0.3 miles away); Helen L. Cooper
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(approx. 0.7 miles away); Plane Crash Memorial (approx. 0.7 miles away); Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (approx. ¾ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Bloomington.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 57 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Apr. 15, 2021