Seaside, riverside and lakeshore beaches in America today are democratic scenes — level playing fields for folks of all stripes.
Not so in summers past.
Dunes and Don'ts
Time was, certain beaches in America were off limits to people of color. Some beachgoers publicly objected to women and men bathing together. And there were conventional rules — written and unwritten — that dictated behavior for bathers everywhere.
"Don't wear a conspicuous bathing suit," the Philadelphia Times noted in a story titled "For the Surf Girl" on May 14, 1896. And there were other "don'ts," including:
- "Don't sit in the sand in a wet bathing suit with a man similarly attired."
- "Don't encourage men to loiter outside your bathing house waiting for your reappearance."
- "Don't go into a café after your bath and take a cocktail."
- "Don't bathe with strange men; the etiquette of introduction is just as strict in the water as in the drawing room."
The Guarded Life