Tybee Island, Georgia has a problematic racial history. During the Jim Crow era, the popular beach town was segregated and off-limits to Savannah’s majority African American population. More recently, Tybee officials have actively worked to end Orange Crush, an annual spring beach bash attended mostly by students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities from within the region. Partygoers and promoters of Orange Crush have engaged in ongoing clashes with residents and Tybee officials for nearly 30 years, charging them with racial discrimination and profiling. Residents express frustration with traffic, trash, crime, and noise and have put forth measures that seek to put an end to the annual event. Utilizing archival research, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation, this study will situate Orange Crush within a larger framework centered on tourism, mobilities, and black sense of place. In this piece, we will examine historic and present-day efforts to control the mobile black body through policing and measures put forth by Tybee Island to end the event. Finally, we will consider how the 30-year story of Orange Crush is part of the geography and sense of place of many African Americans in the region, despite actions by Tybee Island to limit access.
““You’re out of your place”: Black Mobility on Tybee Island, Georgia from Civil Rights to Orange Crush,” was recently published in Southeastern Geographer.
Mr. Jeffery R. Finney, MPH student at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health Georgia Southern University Armstrong Campus was the lead author. Dr. Amy E. Potter, faculty mentor and assistant professor in the Geology and Geography at Georgia Southern University was the co-author.