A proud black beach between two upscale white sentinels:
Purchased by an Afro-American back in the 1930s and a major aspect of American history, this primarily black beach is located between two upscale white sentinels -- the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island and Amelia Island Plantation.
It is located in a poor area that refuses to sell out to the check-waving developers who are anxious to turn it into yet another gated resort. As one of the most historic black communities in the South, the residents certainly have the right to protect it.
Traveling along Florida's East Coast highway -- Highway A1A -- between Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island Plantation, you will spy a very plain road sign that point east toward American Beach. Taking the turn will take you through a hodgepodge town of concrete-block bungalows.
In the past, if you were white, your presence might turn heads and raise eyebrows, but not so much any more. No one even looked up as we drove through. If you are black and curious about this historic seaside area, you may want to visit on weekends when the beach is more likely to be more lively.
Approximately five miles south of Fernandina Beach on Highway A1A. Turn east at the sign for American Beach. Follow signs.
Free street parking.