Virginia Key Beach Park

In 1918, D.A. Dorsey, an African American millionaire, purchased what is now known as Fisher Island so that blacks could have a beach of their own during segregation. Due to increasing property taxes, Dorsey sold the property and without a beach, blacks protested by attempting to swim in white beach waters. On August 1, 1945, county officials designated Virginia Key Beach a "Dade County Park for the exclusive use of Negroes" . The park was only accessible by boat from a downtown dock on the Miami River. Structures included a concession stand, a bathhouse with restrooms, an octagonal carousel building and three picnic pavilions. A 70-foot wood tunnel surrounded by native coral rock was constructed in 1956 for a miniature train, and remains today. In 1944, the Navy conducted Negro training on this beach, since black enlisted men could not be trained on other beaches.