our story

The story of Highland Beach and its sister community, Venice Beach, is one of triumph in a time of much adversity for African Americans. 


In the late 1800's the Chesapeake Bay beaches were emerging as popular resort destinations for urban elite in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. During this time of segregation and Jim Crow laws the educated, prosperous community of African American professionals, especially in Washington, D.C., had no place to relax and enjoy a summer swim or a beach outing. 

On these pages, we tell the story of the founding of Highland Beach in 1892 and then, in the 1920s, Venice Beach. Both communities were founded by African Americans for African Americans.

We also tell the story of the summer home built for Frederick Douglass, "Twin Oaks", and provide a look at Frederick Douglass and his family through many decades when they summered in this still-thriving community on the Bay.

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