Re opening Ocean Boulevard in Atlantic Beach:
Although we should move forward in an effort to invigorate the economy in Atlantic Beach, opening the road presents a unique opportunity to remind all who would pass through this road of the history, the spirits, the oppression and liberation the community and its visitors experienced. Most people see the orange barrier and don't know why it's there or what it represents to the families and descendants who recall the "no blacks past this point" signs that hung in its place.
If the barriers come down, it should have monuments and sculptures at each point with photos and writings that embody the soul and movement that has flowed through this land like a pulse over the years. The current orange barriers are a disservice and continue the oppression. For this community to flourish, I agree we should not let history hold us back, but let it be the force that drives us forward.
The monuments should have pictures of pre-segregation Atlantic Beach and stories told by the elders of their experience here during segregation carved into granite for visitors to read. Having sculptures that make people pull over and say this is someplace special, and learn why. The road must be opened but its symbolism not forgotten - with the millions who grace this area, so many can take home with them an education through the monuments - not just a souvenir, but maybe a respect for those who persevered. This community would be remiss not to embrace the opportunity to revitalize the local businesses with increased traffic or the opportunity to inform.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.