Governor Wes Moore and First Lady Dawn Moore yesterday joined the historic Highland Beach community to celebrate the town’s 130th anniversary. Highland Beach is Maryland’s first African American municipality. Founded by abolitionist Frederick Douglass’ youngest son, Charles Douglass as an oasis for Black Americans along the Chesapeake Bay. 

“Highland Beach is a celebration, not just of perseverance, but of power. It is not just a landmark, it’s an inheritance–built and nurtured over generations. And today, we recognize the broad shoulders we stand on,” said Gov. Moore. “It’s the shoulders of every family – of every child – of every property owner – of every volunteer public servant who made this place what it is. Let’s move in partnership to continue writing the beautiful story of Highland Beach.”

Under the theme Honoring Our Past, Embracing Our Future: Celebrating 130 Years, Governor Moore and the First Lady enjoyed the celebration that included dinner, dancing and reflections from local officials, including Highland Beach Mayor Crystal Chissell. 

The waterfront community of Highland Beach is a close-knit, majority-Black neighborhood of more than 100 people. Preserving the historic land there are approximately 60 homes in the area, many of which are still owned and occupied by descendants of the original owners. Other than Annapolis, Highland Beach is Anne Arundel County’s only incorporated municipality with its own government.

Highland Beach is home to Twin Oaks, the Frederick Douglass Museum and Cultural Center. African American intellectuals such as Paul Robeson, Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes and Paul Laurence Dunbar have all visited the town. 

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