Located near the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, Highland Beach Town is the first Black-owned beach town, founded in 1893 by Frederick Douglass’ son Charles and his wife Laura.
One day, Charles and his wife grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant, but things did not go as they had planned.
The restaurant denied them service because they were Black. Of course, this upset the couple, so they decided to do something about it.
Charles studied real estate, and bought a beachfront property on the Chesapeake Bay.
Spanning 40 acres with 500 feet of beachfront, the property became a summer home for his friends and family and a vacation getaway of choice for many other Black luminaries such as Paul Robeson, Alex Haley, Harriet Tubman, Langston Hughes, and W.E.B. Du Bois.
Other investors (such as BET co-founder Sheila Johnson with her Salamander Resort in northern Virginia) continue to follow Douglass’ example by reclaiming lands and spaces that historically have made Black patrons feel unwelcome at best and a dangerous threat at worst!
Instead, locales like Highland Beach specifically provide Black vacationers the opportunity to enjoy leisure time without being policed, discriminated against, or verbally or physically assaulted for the color of their skin.