Saturday, January 13, 2018

1964: Martin Luther King Jr.
in St. Augustine.

When we remember Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy it is important to remember one of the turning points in the struggle for civil rights played out in this state, in Florida’s oldest city. Click title for link and watch the video (see below) taken during the protests in 1964. This is one of the more ugly examples of what happened that summer:

The beach integration efforts were thwarted by the local police who left several demonstrators in the water to potentially drown. One of the staging grounds for the summer was the Monson Motel, which was open to whites only. There some white and black civil rights supporters went for a swim together and the motel’s owner sought to intimidate the swimmers by pouring acid in the pool. Dr King was also arrested for appearing on the motel’s premises. The Monson was recently torn down and replaced by a Hilton. One wonders if this was done to avoid the embarrassment this hotel represented on an otherwise great and historic city, St Augustine.

This video is from the Florida Memory Collection: