Historic American Beach

Since 1935, tiny American Beach has weathered hurricanes, segregation, economic downturns, and developers to provide a vacation haven for many African-American families.

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The Beach Lady
Courtesy of Charles Woods

The Beach Lady

Born in 1935, the same year her great-grandfather founded American Beach, MaVynee Betsch was a fixture in the neighborhood until her death in 2005. With her 7-foot-long hair draped over one arm, the former opera singer and environmentalist fought valiantly to preserve the dunes and the community from encroaching developers.

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