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Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers 1st edition by Wright, David, Zoby, David () Paperback on .
Table of contents



The Outer Banks 2. Wild's December Raid 4.


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The Bottom Rail on Top 5. In the Trenches 6. North Carolina's Lifesaving Woes The Reformation of the Sixth District Segregation for the Good of "Progress" Fire on the Beach Part Three: The Life of a Surfman The Portrait of a Surfman Life at the Station Patrolling the Beach Pressures Particular to Pea Island Surfman The Right Men in the Right Place The Wreck of the E.


  • Gataca (Portuguese Edition).
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  • Now Poems: from Babe Ruth in Boston to The Mirror on the Wall?
  • Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers.
  • Gods Healing for Hurting Families: Biblical Principles for Reconciliation and Recovery.

Newman, October 11, Epilogue. David Zoby teaches at Casper College in Wyoming.

Fire on the Beach

Louis Post-Dispatch , Best Books of A rich social history of 19th century race relations mirrored in the life of a remarkable African American A compelling read about heroes and scoundrels, seafarers and soldiers Readers will want the whole story Wright and Zoby have so ably researched and narrated.

Fire on the Beach is far more than the story of heroic surfmen. It is a rich social history of 19th century race relations mirrored in the life of a remarkable African-American A compelling read about heroes and scoundrels, seafarers and soldiers, pride in doing a job and prejudice toward those who strove to prove themselves equals. In the words of the LSS officer who urged his appointment: North Carolina crews lacked discipline and a familiarity with the military style that was so necessary to provide proper service.

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Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers

A veteran such as Richard Etheridge seemed ideal. Other military veterans, though few, had performed well as keepers. Etheridge himself had received his early lifesaver's training under one of them. Etheridge was not just a superior surfman, he was also a leader in his community, respected by both black and white. His race aside, he was, without question, the best choice.

FIRE ON THE BEACH Recovering - The Washington Post

Still, when the administration of the LSS approved Etheridge's appointment, it was "a surprising and unprecedented decision. Though anti-black prejudice was not as virulent along the Outer Banks as it was a few miles west on the mainland, it certainly existed: The LSS was determined to press through with it but sought to appease local sentiment by making the Pea Island crew entirely black.


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More important, it sought to retain the services of its other black lifesavers, who "numbered among the district's finest. Though a few were inconvenienced by having to move significant distances from their families, the positive aspects of the decision had greatest weight: No longer would Etheridge nor [sic] any of the others be subordinate to less experienced, less qualified surfmen merely because of their race.

Here they had their equality -- equality of pay and of working conditions, under a man who, like each of them, was invested in seeing that equality maintained.

See a Problem?

For more than a decade the station at Pea Island was blessed with "vigilant service and good fortune," but in the s "Richard Etheridge and his crew suddenly found themselves confronted with disaster after disaster. Though the LSS lost no confidence in the all-black station, there can be little question that its crew wanted to make up for the losses that had occurred on their watch.

The opportunity came in October , when a ton schooner, the E. Newman, "pitched and rolled among the waves as if she were a rowboat.

FIRE ON THE BEACH: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers

As the storm grew ever more intense, Gardner realized that his only hope was to run the ship aground and pray for help from land. The men of Pea Island provided it.

Rescue Men

With grit and courage they improvised a means of getting to the schooner and taking people off one by one. The New Englanders about the ship were startled to discover that "these men were Negroes," but gratefully surrendered themselves to their assistance. The rescue was a complete success. As Etheridge laconically noted in his log, "Although it seemed impossible to render assistance in such Conditions, the ship wreck crew was all safely landed.