Historic City News Editor Michael Gold walked along with more than one-hundred marchers who followed a path once walked by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights leader whose life we celebrated on Monday, January 18, 2016. Marchers traveled from the St. Paul AME Church on Martin Luther King Avenue to the Plaza de la Constitucion.
The Rev. Arthur Williams, young adult minister at St Paul AME Church in St. Augustine, gave the keynote speech at the city’s annual Martin Luther King Day celebration at the gazebo on the Plaza de la Constitucion.
St Augustine Mayor, Nancy E. Shaver, was invited to address the peaceful assembly of residents, young and old, some of whom were in the city during the demonstrations in 1964 — most of whom were not.
“I am humbled and honored to be standing here, and unlike many of the cities across the country that are honoring Martin Luther King Jr. today, Dr. King actually came here and worked for civil rights,” Shaver said.
A nod to another doctor, one-time St Augustine dentist, Robert B. Hayling whose death last month, was commemorated in his home town of Tallahassee last week. Hayling lived in St Augustine for about two years during 1963-1964, then moved south; settling in Lauderhill, where he lived for over 40 years.
While the procession is held annually in honor of Dr. King, people also spoke of Dr. Robert Hayling. Shaver, who represented the City of St Augustine and spoke at the ceremony, asked for a moment of silence during the local ceremony “to remember the grace, the gentleness and the strength of Dr. Hayling, who worked tirelessly for civil rights long after the passage of the Act itself.”
The event concluded with a dramatic reading from King’s “I have a dream” speech.
Photo credits: © 2016 Historic City News staff photographer