Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America's Most Exclusive Shoreline

Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America's Most Exclusive Shoreline

by Andrew W. Kahrl


View All Available Formats & Editions
Members save with free shipping everyday! 
See details


The story of our separate and unequal America in the making, and one man’s fight against it

During the long, hot summers of the late 1960s and 1970s, one man began a campaign to open some of America’s most exclusive beaches to minorities and the urban poor. That man was anti-poverty activist and one‑time presidential candidate Ned Coll of Connecticut, a state that permitted public access to a mere seven miles of its 253‑mile shoreline. Nearly all of the state’s coast was held privately, for the most part by white, wealthy residents.

This book is the first to tell the story of the controversial protester who gathered a band of determined African American mothers and children and challenged the racist, exclusionary tactics of homeowners in a state synonymous with liberalism. Coll’s legacy of remarkable successes—and failures—illuminates how our nation’s fragile coasts have not only become more exclusive in subsequent decades but also have suffered greater environmental destruction and erosion as a result of that private ownership.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300215144
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 03/20/2018
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 463,186
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Andrew W. Kahrl is associate professor of history and African American studies at the University of Virginia. His first book, The Land Was Ours, received the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 New England's Sand Curtain 14

2 What Am I Doing Here? 38

3 Rats Cause Riots 68

4 Let's Share Summer 96

5 Gut Liberalism 119

6 Who the Hell Invited That Guy? 148

7 Freedom of Beach 175

8 Saving the Shore 207

9 Go Home, Ned 231

10 Welcome to Greenwich! 263

Epilogue: Nature Bats Last 289

List of Abbreviations 305

Notes 307

Acknowledgments 349

Index 353

Customer Reviews