On this dayJun 25, 1964

Hundreds Attack Civil Rights March in St. Augustine, Florida

Image |   Associated Press

On June 25, 1964, civil rights marchers were chased and violently attacked throughout downtown St. Augustine, Florida, by over 200 white segregationists.

In the summer of 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. and other Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) leaders began a campaign to desegregate St. Augustine. Over several weeks of civil rights protests and marches, many demonstrators were arrested, including Dr. King. Outbreaks of violence were also frequent, as local white people committed to the maintenance of segregation targeted the black activists with violence and harassment. In response, Florida Governor Farris Bryant, a segregationist, issued a ban on evening demonstrations held after 8:30 p.m.

On the day of the attack, many of the marchers had spent the afternoon rallying at the site of St. Augustine's Slave Market Square, where enslaved black people had once been bought and sold. When the march began, white residents gathered nearby easily evaded police and physically attacked the marchers. Committed to non-violent activism, the marchers fled to try to escape. In the end, nearly fifty marchers were injured, and fifteen were treated at the city's hospital.

Several hours before the assault on the marchers, seventy-five white segregationists had attacked a group of 100 African Americans attempting to wade into the ocean at a local "white beach." White Americans throughout the country opposed civil rights efforts and regularly used violence to do it. St. Augustine remained the site of civil rights protest and bloody repression throughout June 1964, including a June 10th shooting documented in the above photo.

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