The Wildwood ocean breeze was a major draw for big-name entertainment coming to town. Wildwood was considered part of the African American Circuit. Due to segregation, before the Civil Rights movement, African American entertainers spent their summers performing locally in the Wildwoods where they were housed in a number of African American establishments and shopped at a variety of thriving businesses.
Prominent African American musicians, comedians, and singers helped establish the reputation of the Wildwoods as an entertainment Mecca in the 1950s and 1960s, even though African American people were not allowed in the nightclubs as patrons. Once the applause had faded, African American entertainers had to leave by the back door and head to the West side of Wildwood, the African American section of the city.
After the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the Wildwood entertainment scene had started to decline with more and more entertainers, both African American and White, opting for the nationwide exposure available on television. More oceanfront businesses opened themselves to African Americans causing many of the African American businesses to fall on hard times.
The photos list the famous entertainers who frequently performed in Wildwood.
Information and pictures compliments of the Wildwood Historical Society’s George Boyer Museum