In 1935, the Pension Bureau of a pioneering black-owned business – Jacksonville’s Afro-American Life Insurance Company (“the Afro”) – bought 33 acres of shorefront property on Amelia Island. A. L. Lewis, the Afro’s president, invited company employees to make use of the beach, and hosted company outings there. The Pension Bureau also had the land subdivided, and offered parcels for sale to company executives and shareowners, and to community leaders. Two later land acquisitions expanded the community’s size to 216 acres. In 1940, with many building lots unsold, the Afro offered them for sale to the wider black community. After World War II, home construction took off.
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