With the event’s move from Cape May to Atlantic County it is only fitting that Nelson Johnson, one of the county’s foremost historians and author of Boardwalk Empire and The Northside, be invited to speak.
Former Press of Atlantic City reporter Thomas Peele introduced the Mr. Johnson. Johnson consulted with Peele while Peele was a reporter in Atlantic City and Johnson a lawyer. Peele praised Johnson’s work on the book, Boardwalk Empire, which inspired the HBO show of the same name.
“There was a painstaking amount of research in this 20-year passion project, in bringing this story and history alive for us,I can’t imagine 20 years of that level of research, and then having the wherewithal and the humanity, to take a couple chapters about the plight of African Americans in Atlantic City and turning it into the next book, The North Side.”
Nelson Johnson has been a lifelong resident of Hammonton. He recounted the people he met when trying to capture the essence of Atlantic City. He also spoke about the widespread corruption and dysfunction of past the city governments.
Johnson headed to the Atlantic City library when became interested in the history of the city. He read over twenty books about the city from different perspectives. After completing his extensive reading the decided to write a complete history of Atlantic City.
“The corruption in Atlantic City…it was organic. You had to give the visitor what they wanted during the season, or they wouldn’t come back, and the city wouldn’t flourish…in order to provide that kind of entertainment, the law had to be bent.”
Read more about the event at ‘Boardwalk Empire’ Author Speaks at Seaview.