top of page

Mother of Massachusetts Governor Jailed in St. Augustine

Apr. 1, 1964 - The 72-year-old mother of the Governor of Massachusetts, jailed in St. Augustine, Fla., for participating in a racial demonstration, said today she was doing just what any American should be doing.

Mrs. Mary Peabody held a brief news conference today on the steps of the St. John’s County jail, where she has been a prisoner since yesterday afternoon.

She was arrested, along with other visiting whites and St. Augustine Negroes, when she sought service in the segregated dining room of the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge.

As she spoke, sheriff’s deputies and local policemen were booking 88 more prisoners (pictured), who took part in demonstrations today. The total of those arrested since the protests started last Saturday is now 288.

Of St. Augustine’s 14,734 residents in 1960, 11,323 were whites. The pleasant little town on Florida’s eastern coast is a mecca for tourists, who find it easy to relax here.

The Negro minority, in its current campaign, is asking that all public and private accommodations be desegregated. It accuses the police of brutality and wants an equal employment plan for public employees and a biracial committee to discuss the future.

Mayor Joseph A. Shelley, 42 years old, was asked today about his feelings on race.

“I consider myself a segregationist,” he replied. “God segregated the races, as far as I’m concerned, when he made the skins a different color. You don’t find bluebirds and redbirds feeding together at the same trough, and you certainly don’t see them breeding together.”

Support this project at


bottom of page