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Celebrating Highland Beach

2023 marked an important and happy anniversary for the town of Highland Beach. The community celebrated the 130th anniversary of its founding by Charles R. Douglass, the son of Frederick Douglass.

Twin Oaks, the summer home built for the elder Douglass, was one of the first homes constructed in our town. It’s part of the fabric of our community. In 1996, this home was deeded to the Town of Highland Beach. It’s been operating as a museum ever since.

I would like to take a moment to thank all of those who have been and are currently involved in collecting, preserving, and sharing our town's rich history as well as the history of our neighboring community Venice Beach.

If you live in Highland Beach or Venice Beach, you know how special the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center is. Recently we had a chance to share our work with someone new… our governor.

The Governor and First Lady with town officials, members of the citizens association, and museum leadership on the steps of the museum

Maryland Governor Wes Moore and his wife Dawn attended the town's 130th

anniversary celebration and were able to see our community and the museum. We truly appreciate their visit.

Above: Jean Langston greets the governor

Far Right: Gov. Moore and his wife tour the museum

Right: Gov. Moore and the First Lady with Highland Beach Mayor Crystal Chissell

In his comments to those in attendance the governor said, “Highland Beach is a celebration, not just of perseverance, but of power. It is not just a landmark; it is an inheritance– built and nurtured over generations.

And today, we recognize the broad shoulders we stand on… Let’s move in partnership to continue writing the beautiful story of Highland Beach.”

We too are committed to continuing to write the story of our community.

Gov. Moore at the 130th celebration

We formed a working relationship with two individuals at the Smithsonian Institution: Mary Elliott, Curator at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Doretha Williams, Director of the Robert F. Smith Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History. Various projects are in the works.

I truly appreciate all the tireless work of so many, but I would be re-miss if I did not mention Dena Sewell - the Museum Director. Ms. Sewell works diligently on museum exhibits, with the Smithsonian, and with the docents. A special thank you to all of our donors who have contributed artifacts, family papers, photos, and made monetary contributions to allow us to continue our research and fulfill our strategic plan.

From the town of Highland Beach, to our friends and many donors, to the state of Maryland, we have many partners and supporters, and we are grateful. We will continue to work toward honoring our past as we embrace our future at the museum.

- Jean Langston, Executive Director, FDMCC

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1 Comment

Oct 06, 2023

Truly a great tribute to our past and future. So proud to be a minute part of this community and long history. This gift signifies Freedom at a time when it was hard for people of color... now let's not let the Freedom we have all come to enjoy and know slip away. Stay knowledgeable and active in the voting system.

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