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Amelia Islander

American Beach 2015

Jun 11, 2015 04:37PM
In 1935, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, president of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company, initiated the purchase of the one hundred twenty acres on the south end of Amelia Island that is now American Beach. His purchase provided an escape from racism and segregation for generations of devoted beach-loving African Americans. It was and is prime real estate, nestled between Summer Beach and Amelia Island Plantation. A community within a community, American Beach with its unique history continues to be treasured by the descendants of those whose families first built houses there, as well as those who found its magic later and now make it home. Its eclectic population includes judges, educators, a congress woman, authors, artists, dancers, musicians, and chefs. In the fall of 2014, Stephan Leimberg, Dickie Anderson, and Marsha Phelts set out to capture the portraits and stories of the residents of American Beach. More than sixty photos were taken and interviews were conducted. An exhibit was presented at the Amelia Island Museum of History on February 15, 2015. Portraits were displayed accompanied by a multimedia presentation by Steve and Marsha. Plans are currently in the works for the publication of a book and an exhibit to be offered to museums and organizations throughout Florida. Portraits of American Beach will be exhibited at the new Friends of the Library Community Room from June 1-August 15. The exhibit will move to The Ritz Theatre Museum in Jacksonville until mid-October. To learn more about American Beach, visit the American Beach Museum at American Beach Community Center, 1600 Julia Street. The museum is open Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., and Sunday: 1 – 5 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call (904) 510-7036 or visit www.americanbeachmuseum.org.