Highland Beach, Maryland
Highland Beach is a town in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, United States. The population was 96 at the 2010 census. The town was founded early in the 20th century by affluent African Americans from Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, looking for a retreat on the Chesapeake Bay. The town's incorporated status gave it a unique standing in empowering it to maintain its own police force. Celebrities with homes there have included Alex Haley, Bill Cosby, and Arthur Ashe. Streets there include Crummell, Dunbar, Henson, Augusta, Douglass, Langston, and Washington, which named for the famous African Americans.
Douglass Summer House, December 2009
Location in Maryland
|• Mayor||William H. Sanders III|
|• Total||0.08 sq mi (0.20 km2)|
|• Land||0.07 sq mi (0.18 km2)|
|• Water||0.01 sq mi (0.02 km2) 14.29%|
|Elevation||20 ft (6 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,573.53/sq mi (603.54/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (Eastern)|
|GNIS feature ID||0590467|
Highland Beach was founded in summer 1893 by Charles Douglass (Frederick Douglass' son) and his wife Laura after they had been turned away from a restaurant at the nearby Bay Ridge resort because of their race. Charles Douglass was a retired officer formerly with the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. Douglas had been denied access to a restaurant on Chesapeake Bay because he was African American, so he decided to buy beachfront property directly south of Bay Ridge and sell lots to family and friends. The couple bought a 40-acre (160,000 m2) tract on the Chesapeake Bay with 500 feet (150 m) of beachfront, and they turned it into a summer enclave. Their own home, the Douglass Summer House, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. It became a gathering place for upper-class African-Americans, including many of the well known personages of the age.
Among the residents and guests of the Douglass family were Paul Robeson, D.C. municipal court judge Robert Terrell and his wife Dr. Mary Church Terrell, Robert Weaver, Harriet Tubman, W. E. B. Du Bois, and poets Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Charles Douglass’ father, the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass, visited and would have become a resident but he died before the house that his son was building for him was completed.
After the death of Charles Douglass in 1920, his son Hayley Douglass took over the development of the area. When Highland Beach was incorporated in 1922 it became the first African-American municipality in Maryland. Douglass and his friends controlled the community for the next thirty years, keeping it small and exclusive.
Although founded as a summer resort, it is now a town of year-round residents who choose not to permit commercial establishments. There are some sixty homes, many of them still owned and occupied by descendants of the original settlers. The residents are proud and protective of their town's heritage, established over a century ago by people determined to overcome the prejudices of their post-Reconstruction times. However, as of the 2000 census, less than 40 percent of the town's residents were African American. A 2018 report however, indicated that 53.5% of the population of 114 people identified as Black.
The history of Highland Beach is recounted in the book The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South by Andrew W. Kahrl. The author described the development of Highland Beach as part of the emergence of a niche market in African American planned vacation communities.
Highland Beach is located at (38.931880, -76.466455).
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2010, there were 96 people, 46 households, and 27 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,600.0 inhabitants per square mile (617.8/km2). There were 74 housing units at an average density of 1,233.3 per square mile (476.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 19.8% White, 70.8% African American, 1.0% Asian, 5.2% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.2% of the population.
There were 46 households of which 19.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.3% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.56.
The median age in the town was 55.7 years. 10.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 13.6% were from 25 to 44; 39.6% were from 45 to 64; and 28.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.0% male and 51.0% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 109 people, 44 households, and 27 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,647.1 people per square mile (601.2/km²). There were 80 housing units at an average density of 1,208.9 per square mile (441.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 52.29% White, 39.45% African American, and 8.26% from two or more races.
There were 44 households out of which 27.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.9% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the town, the population was spread out with 26.6% under the age of 18, 2.8% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $53,333, and the median income for a family was $82,379. Males had a median income of $36,563 versus $31,250 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,802. There were no families and 1.5% of the population living below the poverty line, including no under eighteens and 10.5% of those over 64.
- "Mayor and Commissioners". Town of Highland Beach, Maryland. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
- "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
- "American FactFinder". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved March 24, 2018.
- "Highland Beach, Maryland (1893- ) • BlackPast". blackpast.org. January 6, 2011. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
- "Highland Beach, MD". Data USA. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
- Kahrl, Andrew W. The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South. Harvard University Press. April 16, 2012. ISBN 978-0674050471.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved January 25, 2013.
- "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
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