The area indicated by this marker was a popular recreation area for the local Black community for many years. Beginning in the early twentieth century, the area began to be called Bears Cut. Due to the efforts of a protest led by Attorney Lawson B. Thomas, Virginia Key Beach was opened in August 1, 1945 as a beach for exclusive use of Negroes. The park regularly attracted 1,000 visitors on weekends. Notably, Lawson B. Thomas later became the first Black person to become a judge in the post-Reconstruction South.