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More Racial Violence in St. Augustine

June 19, 1964 - In St. Augustine, Fla., tonight, a mob of whites shouting threats and obscenities tried to penetrate a shoulder-to-shoulder police line in an attempt to get at a procession of Negroes celebrating passage of the civil rights bill.

The whites, fired up by Ku Klux Klan speakers, followed the 180 marchers through dark, narrow streets but were repulsed at every turn by state troopers and other officers.

Bricks and bottles were thrown, but there were apparently no injuries.

About 200 Negroes had met in a Baptist church and cheered the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King when he called passage of the civil rights bill a “dawning of a new hope” for the Negro.

At the same time, about 500 whites were meeting several blocks away in the old Slave Market, which occupies one end of a plaza in the heart of the town. They heard a speaker say that the civil rights bill would “bring on a race war.”

Meanwhile, the Negroes formed their marchers and headed for the Slave Market as they have done on previous evenings.

Sheriff L.O. Davis and a posse of officers headed them off and arrested two leaders, the Rev. Andrew Young and the Rev. C.T. Vivian, both members of Dr. King’s staff, who were intent on marching into the plaza.

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, an associate of Dr. King, then led the process past the Slave Market down Menendez Avenue toward the old Spanish Fort.

At this point, about 200 whites broke out of the plaza and rushed at the marchers.

“Get the black apes,” some of them yelled, but the police held them back as the procession was turning into a narrow street toward a white neighborhood.

The whites tried to break through the police line on several occasions but were unsuccessful.

After that, the whites, chanting and cursing, ran through lawns and hedgerows trying to find a weak spot in the line of officers. Repulsed, they finally gave up and returned to the rally.


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