Date set to unveil Foot Soldiers monument

George Gardner, former City Commissioner and Mayor and advisor to St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Remembrance Project, Inc., notified Historic City News local reporters that six years of community effort will culminate May 14th.

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, at 4:30 p.m. in the southeast corner of the Plaza, adjacent to the public market building, city officials, residents and special guests will assemble to dedicate the monument that recognizes the diversity of “foot soldiers” who took part in the Civil Rights Movement here.

Four anonymous figures are depicted on the bronze monument; an older black man and woman, a white college student and a black teenage girl, representative of those who numbered over 100 and advanced the cause of civil rights — many at great personal cost.

Project President Barbara Vickers said, “Those who struggled in 1963 and 1964 in our city included young teens that stayed in jail when they could have left — if they promised not to march again.” She told Historic City News that it was not just one group of men, women or children who were the driving force in St. Augustine’s Civil Rights movement which led to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“There were many more, too. There were those who waded in at the beaches, kneeled in at the churches, sat in at the lunch counters, and, did a lot more. They called themselves ‘foot soldiers’ and their story is triumphant and haunting,” says Vickers. “None should be forgotten.”

More than $70,000 was raised by the community-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization to pay Deltona sculptor Brian R. Owens and Bronzart Foundry in Sarasota to construct the monument. The sculpture’s backdrop is a bas relief depicting marchers in the Plaza flanked by the public market.

Box 164, St. Augustine, FL 32085
phone 904-829-5649

President Barbara H. Vickers
Vice President Barbara H. Kalanik
secretary Cynthia C. McAuliffe
Treasurer Salley V. Gardner

George Gardner, former Mayor & former City Commissioner
David Nolan, Historian
Enzo Torcoletti, Sculptor

Photo credits: © 2011 Historic City News contributed photograph

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