The Gulf Beach area was one of the few beaches that blacks were allowed to enjoy during segregation. Escambia County resident Rosamond Johnson joined the U.S. Army at 15, and died in the Korean War, a hero before his 18th birthday. The first resident from Escambia County to die in that conflict, Johnson died trying to cross the 38th parallel in efforts to rescue wounded soldiers. His bravery earned him a posthumous Purple Heart. Renamed Rosamond Johnson Beach by the county after the Korean Conflict ended, a formal monument was erected on the beach in his honor in 1996. Rosamond Johnson Beach is now part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.