The Perdido Key Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Gulf Islands National Seashore, is proud to announce its annual Rosamond Johnson Beach Day. The ceremony will take place Saturday, May 2, 2020 at 10 am under the Star Pavilion on Johnson Beach, which is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
The ceremony will honor and remember the life of Army Private Rosamond Johnson Jr.
After enlisting in the Army at only 15, Johnson died in combat at age 17. Johnson rescued two injured soldiers and brought them to safety before he was fatally wounded while returning for a third comrade. He was the first Escambia County resident to die in the Korean War. Johnson posthumously received the Purple Heart on August 21, 1950.
During the time of Johnson’s death, Pensacola beaches were racially segregated. After the Korean Conflict, the county-owned recreational area was renamed to honor its fallen hero at the suggestion of the Sunset Riding Club, Inc. The club leased the land in 1950 from the county for the sole use of bathing, beach and recreational facilities for "colored citizens."
Although the lease was cancelled in 1956, the name Rosamond Johnson Beach remained. The area became part of Gulf Islands National Seashore May 8, 1973. A permanent monument in his honor was erected at Johnson Beach on June 10, 1996.
Every year, the Perdido Key community spends a day on Johnson Beach with its citizens and Johnson’s family, honoring his memory and sacrifices.
We appreciate your support and involvement. For more information on this celebratory day, please go to Perdidochamber.com or our Visitors Information Center, located at 15500 Perdido Key Drive, Perdido Key, Fla.