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American Beach Historic District, Florida: Row of houses on Southern side of Amelia Island
Photo by Barbara Mattick, courtesy of Florida Division of Historical Resources
American Beach Historic District:
American Beach, Florida

American Beach was developed as an ocean front resort for African Americans on the south end of Amelia Island, Florida, in 1935. The Pension Bureau of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company bought three parcels of land just north of Franklintown, a black township, to create a beach and resort for African Americans in response to segregation laws in Florida. According to the nomination, American Beach was "the most ambitious and intact of Florida's beach resorts developed by and for African Americans…" The American Beach Historic District was the location of choice for African Americans from Jacksonville and Fernandia, Florida, as well as notables such as Cab Calloway and Joe Louis.

Hurricane of 1928 African American Mass Grave:
West Palm Beach, Florida

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Hurricane of 1928 African American Mass Grave Site

Photo by Sherry Piland, courtesy of Florida Division of Historical Resources

The Hurricane of 1928 African American Mass Burial site is important as the burial site of approximately 674 victims, primarily African American agricultural workers, who were killed in the hurricane of 1928 that devastated South Florida--one of the worst natural disasters in American history. A major event for the African American community, it was the source for literary inspiration by noted author Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God; well known educator Mary McLeod Bethune, along with 3,000 other mourners attended the memorial service at the mass grave.

The bodies brought to West Palm Beach, Florida, were delivered to two cemeteries: 69 bodies were buried in a mass grave intended for white victims at Woodlawn Cemetery, and an additional 674 victims were buried in a mass grave intended for black victims in the City's pauper cemetery at 25th Street and Tamarind Avenue. The mass grave was never marked. In December 2000, responding to public interest, the City of West Palm Beach reacquired the property of the burial ground from the last owner, and plans to memorialize this site in the history of the community are underway.

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