Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Joseph B. Perry Co-Chair

Second Advisor

Matthew G. Lasner Co-Chair

Third Advisor

Kathryn Wilson


This thesis explores the intersections of a Black Power leisure identity, real property ownership, the progression of economic agency and land development through the example of Black resorts, focusing on Azurest North, a summer community in Sag Harbor, New York developed in the 1950s by Azurest Syndicate Incorporated. The project traces the history of real estate syndicates during the mid-twentieth century as a way to circumvent the practices of Jim Crow housing discrimination. Independent mortgage financing and land development especially in the field of resort housing, also points to the emergence of what I call a Black Power leisure identity. This study also seeks to determine how the American pursuit of leisure during the twentieth century forged identity and how real estate property ownership has been used to maintain and secure community and individual identity.