Delaware.gov logo
Segregated Sands Delaware's Segregated Beaches
During the Jim Crow Era

Small Community Beaches

Approximate area of community beaches including Big Stone Beach, Cedar Beach, and Slaughter Beach, Delaware. Delaware Official Road Map, 1940, paper, 1985.035. Image courtesy of Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
Image: Map markers locating Big Stone, Cedar and Slaughter Beach placed on the Delaware Official Road Map, 1940, paper, 1985.035. Image courtesy of Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.

Big Stone Beach, Cedar Beach, and Slaughter Beach are located on the ancestral homeland of the Lenni-Lenape people. Big Stone Beach is located on the west coast of Delaware Bay, in Kent County. Cedar Beach and Slaughter Beach are further south along the west coast of the Delaware Bay in Sussex County.

They are all small community beaches that Dr. Reba Hollingsworth remembers visiting in her youth with her family.

Big Stone Beach and Slaughter Beach were both small community beaches where Hollingsworth remembers people, including her father, crabbing and people swimming in the water. The beach areas did not have amenities for people visiting for the day. She remembers Cedar Beach and Slaughter Beach as locations that were adjacent to neighborhoods with homes owned by white families. However, even under Jim Crow segregation, her family felt comfortable enough to visit these beaches for a day of crabbing, swimming, and relaxing on the sand during the summer months. Conversely, Big Stone Beach was near land owned by Hollingsworth’s mother’s family, including her great-grandfather and grandfather, about three miles inland, near Scotts Corner. During her youth, her parents lived approximately sixteen miles inland from Big Stone Beach in the city of Felton.

Slaughter Beach Hotel grounds, Delaware Public Archives, RG 9015-009-001 Pictorial History of Milford Photograph Collection
Image: Slaughter Beach Hotel grounds, courtesy of Delaware Public Archives, RG 9015-009-001 Pictorial History of Milford Photograph Collection. View the original source at Delaware Public Archives.

Additional Resources

  1. “Big Stone Beach: Tales of a Farming Failure, a Conservationist Recluse, and War,” 04 Mar 2021, Delmarva Back Roads, accessed August 19, 2021.
  2. Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Oral History conducted by Kelli Barnes, August 12, 2021.
  3. “Slaughter Beach: The Jewel of Delaware Bay?,” 10 Feb 2021, Delmarva Back Roads, accessed August 19, 2021.