top of page

Florida Governor Bans Demonstrations on Public Property after Beach Attack

June 20, 1964 - Florida Governor Farris Bryant tonight banned night demonstrations on all public property in St. Augustine. The action came as segregationists attacked an integrated group swimming at a public beach.

The Governor acted under his emergency police powers at the request of State Senator Verle Pope, who said the public safety was endangered by riotous outbreaks such as occurred last night when Negroes and whites held simultaneous street demonstrations.

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which has been leading a civil rights movement in St. Augustine, was expected to go into Federal Court to ask that the ban be lifted. United States District Judge Bryan Simpson of Jacksonville earlier had voided a similar ban made by local authorities.

The melee at the beach today came when a group of whites waded into the surf and attacked the swimmers. Three Negroes were injured before state troopers moved in and broke up the fighting.

Negroes previously had used the public beach without incident.

Holsted Manucy, the leader of a group of white toughs who have been harassing Negroes, was waiting in his car when the demonstrators arrived at the beach.

By two-way radio, he notified his men, called “Manucy’s Raiders” by the townspeople, that the group had arrived. Within a few minutes, several carloads of whites waving Confederate flags arrived and poured out on the beach.

They waded into the water and began beating some of the group, which numbered about 25.

Four state troopers who were stationed nearby waded into the water and broke up the slugfest with their clubs.

Those injured were Al Lingo, leader of the demonstrators; Dorothy Cotten, one of Dr. Martin Luther King’s staff members; and an unidentified 15-year-old girl. All suffered head injuries and were given emergency treatment.

Mr. Lingo was one of those arrested. He was charged with disturbing the peace.

Support this project at


bottom of page