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Racial Violence in St. Augustine

May 29, 1964 - A march by more than 200 anti-segregation demonstrators into the downtown area of St. Augustine, Fla., late last night brought a flurry of violence in which a white mob attacked newsmen.

At least two men were injured, one seriously enough for treatment in Flagler Hospital. A tape recorder, a camera, and other equipment were smashed.

The police, St. John’s County sheriff’s deputies and state troopers, had moved in repeatedly with police dogs to prevent attacks on the demonstrators. But some of the officers acted slowly in defending the white newsmen covering the march.

Harry Boyte of Atlanta, a special assistant to Dr. Martin Luther King, who was carrying a camera, was knocked to the sidewalk by a white man. A police dog set upon Mr. Boyte, who is white, biting him on the leg and tearing his clothes.

A television sound man was taken to Flagler Hospital with a neck wound. Other newsmen, especially those carrying cameras, were roughed up.

The law enforcement officers escorted the marchers back into a Negro residential section. None of them apparently were hurt, although some teenage girls were weeping with fright.

Authorities went to New St. Paul’s African Methodist Episcopal Church following the demonstration and told Negro leaders they could conduct no further mass protest without a permit. They were warned that if they marched without one, they would be arrested.

Last night’s demonstration followed an appeal to “men of conscience” by Dr. King to join an antisegregation drive in the nation’s oldest city.

This action by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference president underscored the group’s choice of St. Augustine as the prime target for its “long hot summer” campaign for civil rights.

It came amid rising tension aroused by mass Negro marches into the city’s heart Tuesday and last night. The marches last night brought a confrontation with 60 to 70 Ku Klux Klansmen and other whites armed with bicycle chains, clubs, tire irons, knives, and a scattering of firearms.

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