MaVynee Betsch

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MaVynee Betsch (1935–2005) was an American environmentalist and an activist. She was better known as The Beach Lady, because she spent the better part of her adult life educating the public on the black history and environmental importance of American Beach. Betsch lived at American Beach on Amelia Island, Florida, the African-American Hyannis port, where the crème de la crème of black society came to relax in the Jim Crow South. MaVynee’s millionaire great-grandfather, Abraham Lincoln Lewis, founded the beach, and she was raised in luxury. Her wealth and privilege vanished after she gave away her entire fortune to environmental causes.

She was posthumously honored as an Unsung Hero of Compassion by the Dalai Lama on November 12, 2005.

Betsch is survived by her sister Johnnetta B. Cole, an anthropologist, and her brother, John Betsch, a jazz musician.

Betsch and American Beach have inspired two women to create documentaries on the subject. An American Beach, which focuses on the history of American Beach, with conversations with The Beach Lady, and The Beach Lady, a feature length documentary.

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