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Green Bay in Prince Edward County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Prince Edward State Park: A Refuge of Freedom

Twin Lakes State Park

 
 
Prince Edward State Park: A Refuge of Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 24, 2021
1. Prince Edward State Park: A Refuge of Freedom Marker
Inscription.  
Today when you think of the outdoors you imagine a place that everyone can enjoy, but in post Civil War America, this was not the case. Many southern states operated on very strict segregation laws leaving many Americans without the opportunity to visit a park and recreate. After a legal battle with the Virginia Conservation Commission, it was decided that a separate but equal facility would be built to accommodate people of color. In 1950 Prince Edward State Park for Negroes was built in this location, giving African Americans the first opportunity in the Commonwealth of Virginia to visit a State Park without discrimination or limitations based on race.

Once opened, word spread of Virginia's 8th State Park and, in just one year after opening, attendance had jumped by the thousands. Prince Edward State Park for Negroes was the only pre-Civil Rights era State Park that offered equal recreation opportunities for people of color. Shining like a beacon of freedom, people from all over the Mid-Atlantic began to travel miles upon miles to visit the park and enjoy recreation free from discrimination.

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A. Latham, II, pictured above, worked as the first Supervisor of Prince Edward State Park from its opening in 1950 until 1968.

Upon opening, the Virginia State Parks began to advertise for the park in the State Park catalogue. In the ad Prince Edward State Park is briefly described "exclusively for Negroes".
 
Erected by Department of Conservation and Recreation, Virginia State Parks.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsParks & Recreational Areas. A significant historical year for this entry is 1950.
 
Location. 37° 10.348′ N, 78° 16.284′ W. Marker is in Green Bay, Virginia, in Prince Edward County. Marker is on County Road 697, 0.1 miles west of County Road 707, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 22 Co Rd 697, Green Bay VA 23942, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Pushing the Boundaries (here, next to this marker); Prince Edward State Park for Negroes (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Twin Lakes State Park (approx. half a mile away); a different marker also named Prince Edward State Park for Negroes (approx. 1.2 miles away); Prince Edward County / Nottoway County (approx.
Prince Edward State Park: A Refuge of Freedom Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), September 24, 2021
2. Prince Edward State Park: A Refuge of Freedom Marker
2 miles away); CCC Company 1390 (approx. 3.4 miles away); Blanche Kelso Bruce (approx. 3.4 miles away); Burkeville Junction (approx. 3.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Green Bay.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 25, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 172 times since then and 9 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 25, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Feb. 26, 2024