Mentor Beach Park was the site where the Salvation Army’s Camp Fort Herrick first embraced integrated swimming in 1945. Lacking its own pool, the camp had used nearby Campbell Beach, a privately owned property, for twenty years, but the owners had refused to accommodate African American campers. In 1945, Campbell Beach did not open for the summer, leading to an arrangement for the camp to use Mentor Beach Park instead and on an integrated basis. Black and white campers swam together for the first time that summer. As a result of some whites taunting black swimmers, the camp’s director initially planned to limit black campers to only the first and sixth weeks of the 1946 camp, but after discussing the matter with the Cleveland Urban League, he decided not to accept black campers at all as long as they could not be fully and equally accommodated in all activities. However, before the camp started, he worked out an agreement whereby Mentor Beach Park would accept all campers.
Additional information coming soon
- “Bar Negro Tots from Beach,” Call and Post, June 22, 1946
- “Fort Herrick Campers Swim at Mentor Beach,” Call and Post, July 13, 1946
- “Salvation Army Camp Officials Solve Swimming Dilemma; Negro Kiddies Remain,” Call and Post, June 29, 1946