“The disjuncture between civil rights laws and the reality of segregation was particularly stark in Ohio. In 1894 an African American state legislator from Cleveland, Harry C. Smith, introduced a law barring discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Five years later the inventor of kettle corn, Dudley Sherman Humphrey, bought Euclid Beach Park on the southern shore of Lake Erie at the end of Cleveland’s trolley line. His first priority was to establish the park as an “open and clean business,” which meant eliminating the beer garden and freak shows and aggressively ejecting any customers he and his managers deemed “undesirable.”26 To bolster his marketing of a clean, family-friendly park, Humphrey openly refused to comply with Ohio’s civil rights laws.
Prohibiting African Americans was an integral part of this marketing tactic. The amusement parks of the early twentieth century were white spaces that signaled their purity and safety through racial exclusion.”
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