The city of St. Augustine became a battleground in the Civil Rights Movement during the summer of 1964.
Demonstrators held several nonviolent “wade-ins” at segregated hotel pools and beaches. This film shows footage taken by the Florida Highway Patrol of one of the largest demonstrations, a wade-in held at St. Augustine Beach on June 25, 1964 (see full-length version).
Civil rights leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., came to northeast Florida to show their support for the Movement. King is said to have remarked that St. Augustine was “the most segregated city in America” at the time. He pledged to defeat segregation using nonviolence, even “if it takes all summer.”
To learn more, see Dan R. Warren, If It Takes All Summer: Martin Luther King, the KKK, and States’ Rights in St. Augustine, 1964 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2008).
Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed each year on the third Monday of January, near Dr. King’s birthday (January 15, 1929).
Ralph Abernathy and Martin Luther King Jr. in Saint Augustine, Florida (1964)
Dr. King led and participated in countless demonstrations during the Civil Rights Movement. Two films from the collections of the State Library and Archives of Florida contain footage of Dr. King from demonstrations in St. Augustine, Florida, and Selma, Alabama.
Florida Memory is funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State, Division of Library and Information Services.