ACCORD Civil Rights Museum Celebrates History
Special to Historic City News
On Saturday, September 24th, 12 noon until 5:00 p.m., ACCORD Civil Rights Museum, located in the Rudcarlie Bulding, 79 Bridge Street, St. Augustine, FL, will be open to the public, free of charge, to observe 150 years of Lincolnville’s History; Dr. Robert B. Hayling, Father of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; and the Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC).
In addition to all of the usual displays, two exhibits will be featured.
The first exhibit: Celebrating the Life of Dr. Robert B. Hayling: Leader of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement of St. Augustine, Florida will include many pictures, newspaper clippings, documents, letters, trophies, plaques, and videos of his life.
Dr. Hayling’s last visit to the ACCORD Museum was November 15, 2015. Dr. Hayling passed one month later. He was so elated that there was a place for people to come and learn about the struggles they endured during the Civil Rights Era of the 60s, in the Nation’s Oldest City.
The second exhibit: A Place for All People is a historic poster exhibit of unique and highly informative posters celebrating the Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and part of its Global Initiative, Lift Every Voice, showcasing the depth and breadth of African American history and culture across the nation and around the world.
The African American story is one characterized by pain and glory, power and civility, Enslavement, and freedom. It is a multi-disciplinary tribute to the best ideals of the American Philosophy. A Place for All People evokes the power of oration and freedom stories, the brilliance of artistic achievement, and the soaring heights of cultural expression that tell the rich and diverse story of the African American experience.
From the child-size shackles of a slave and the clothing worn by Carlotta Walls on her first day at Little Rock Central High School to Chuck Berry’s Gibson guitar, “Maybelline,” and the track shoes worn by Olympian Carl Lewis, the exhibition presents a living history that reflects challenge, triumph, faith and hope.
Gwendolyn Duncan assisted Lonnie G. Bunch III, Director of the Smithsonian NMAAHC, Dr. Joseph Mosnier, Project Manager (University of North Carolina of Chapel Hill), and Elaine Nichols, Supervisory Curator of Culture (NMAACH) with coordinating the interviews for the Library of Congress’ Civil Rights Oral History Project. Dr. Mosnier traveled to St. Augustine in 2011 and interviewed Dr. Robert B. Hayling, Audrey Nell Edwards, Joeann Anderson-Ulmer, Mrs. Barbara Vickers, Purcell Conway, and other Civil Rights Activists of the St. Augustine Movement. Mr. Bunch shared the story of the St. Augustine Four on C-Span.
In 1963, four teens were incarcerated in the St. Johns County Jail for a Sit-In at the local Woolworth Lunch Counter and sentenced to a year in reform school for convincing their parents not to sign documents stating that they would refrain from participating in other demonstration and that Dr. Hayling was contributing to the delinquency of minors. Dr. Hayling often said that had the parents, of the juveniles, signed that document, “…his goose would have been cooked…”. These brave teens, in which only two are with us, were hailed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as the Heroes of St. Augustine. FL. For Mrs. Duncan’s help, Mr. Bunch sent her a letter of thanks and a book entitled, “Let Your Motto Be Resistance”, the catalogue of their first exhibition of the same title.
Gwendolyn Duncan, President Emerita of ACCORD and her daughter Elizabeth will join thousands of visitors, in Washington, DC, for the Grand Opening and Dedication of the National African American Museum of History and Culture on September 24th. Dr. Hayling’s sister and brother-in-law, Attorney Garvey and Yvonne (Hayling) Clarke will also be in attendance.