Amelia Island holds a significant place in the black history of Northeast Florida. American Beach was established in the mid-1930s by the Pension Bureau of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company of Jacksonville and was a very fashionable resort, drawing blacks from all over the region. Abraham Lincoln Lewis, who was one of the insurance company’s founders, was Chairman of the Board and President of the Pension Bureau when the 200-acre American Beach resort was established.
It is one of the oldest African-American residential communities and vacation beaches in the United States and is included on the Florida Black Heritage Trail.
Many descendants of the Afro-American Life Insurance Company founders still live in American Beach today as do families who can trace their heritage on Amelia Island to the years before the Civil War.