Historic City News has learned that now, fifty-years after the fact, in the same dining room where a group of more than 100 students from the all-black Richard Murray High School held the first “sit-in” of the civil rights movement in St Augustine, Flagler College will introduce the Civil Rights Library.
It was March 31, 1964 that the students staged their protest because colored people could not be served in the dining hall of the Hotel Ponce de Leon. They were greeted by police and the group was arrested. All the more fitting that the Civil Rights Library of St Augustine is itself a student-led project, and that the Internet-based multimedia archive documenting the St Augustine Civil Rights Movement is unveiled to the public in the very same room.
The special ceremony will be held from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on September 18th in the Hotel Ponce de Leon Dining Hall located at 74 King Street in St Augustine.
Guests can interact with the online database, ask questions of the students, faculty and staff who worked on the project, listen to speakers both from the College and the community, beginning at 5:30 p.m., as well as enjoy light refreshments.
Highlights of the Civil Rights Library of St Augustine database include a digital copy of the fingerprint card taken at the time of the arrest of Martin Luther King Jr in 1964, the FBI files detailing King’s time in St Augustine as well as the surveillance the city was under — both before Dr. King arrived, and after he left.
Other interesting items include details on the arrest of the St Augustine Four, audio of Jackie Robinson’s visit to St Augustine, as well as the archives of Civil Rights leader Andrew Young.