American Beach, the only beach in Florida that welcomed black Americans and offered safe, secure overnight accommodations during Jim Crow segregation, was founded in 1935 by the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, which was established in 1901 to provide the black community in Jacksonville with life insurance. The firm’s Afro-American Pension Bureau purchased a 33-acre piece of property at the beach on nearby Amelia Island, partly as an investment but also to provide it as a resort area for black Floridians who had been excluded from other beaches.


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