During segregation in Pensacola, Bruce Beach was the city’s only Black beach—a much-beloved recreational space with a steep drop-off close to the shore. As the Civil Rights Movement grew in the 1950s, local Black leaders and community advocates finally succeeded in a decades-long effort: to build a safer swimming facility on the site serving Black Pensacolans.
Open from 1957 to 1975, Bruce Pool was “the place to be” come summer. After its closure due to lack of funding and mounting repair costs, the site sat empty for decades, reopening to the public in 2018. Soon after, as part of the Pensacola Waterfront Framework Plan, two catalyst projects were identified to move forward through the City of Pensacola, including a public park and educational facility at Bruce Beach. As a key element of this project, SCAPE worked with the University of West Florida Historic Trust and a community advisory group to develop a series of five double-sided signs exploring the origin and lasting significance of Bruce Beach for Black, Indigenous, and Creole members of the Pensacola community.
Designed in 2021, the signs are slated for installation at Bruce Beach in 2023.
- City of Pensacola
University of West Florida Historic Trust: Dr. Jamin Wells, Joe Vinson
Community Advisory Group: Councilwoman Teniadé Broughton, Pastor C. Marcel Davis, Michelle Lowe, Tony McCray, Jr., Robin Reshard, Marilyn Wiggins, Dr. Marion Williams