top of page

[VIDEO] June 11, 1964 | MLK Interviewed in St. Augustine, Fla.

June 11, 1964 - Dr. Martin Luther King was jailed today after he attempted to eat in one of St. Augustine’s finer restaurants overlooking Matanzas Bay.

While Dr. King and 17 companions were held on charges of violating Florida’s unwanted guest law, other civil rights demonstrators made another night march through crowds of jeering whites.

The whites threw firecrackers into the line of 200 marchers as they circled the old Slave Market. But there were so many helmeted officers — one for every marcher — that the cursing whites made no attempt to assault the demonstrators as they had done previously.

After the march, a crowd of white youths attempted to form a march of their own but were blocked by state troopers and police dogs.

“If the n*****s can march, why can’t we?” they shouted.

Dr. King was arrested on the doorstep of the Monson Motor Lodge Restaurant after a 20-minute confrontation with the president and general manager of the establishment, James Brock.

Everyone in town had known for 24 hours that Dr. King would be arrested. He had announced yesterday that he would go to jail to dramatize discrimination against Negroes in the nation’s oldest city.

When Dr. King and his chief aide, the Rev. Ralph Abernathy, arrived shortly after noon, Mr. Brock was waiting.

The night before, Mr. Brock, who is also president of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, had been seen on a downtown street carrying a shotgun, a billy club, a pistol, and a flashlight. He was one of several businessmen in town who were made special deputies yesterday by Sheriff L.O. Davis. The sheriff said he had appealed to the city’s civic clubs to help maintain law and order.

Mr. Brock told Dr. King he and his party of eight persons were not wanted. The two then began a debate of the civil rights issue.

Dr. King asked if Mr. Brock understood the “humiliation our people have to go through.” Mr. Brock replied he would integrate his business if the substantial white citizens of the community asked him to or if he were served with a Federal court order.

“You realize it would be detrimental to my business to serve you here,” Mr. Brock said. “I have unfortunately had to arrest 84 persons here since Easter.”

Then he turned to the television cameras, smiled, and said: “I would like to invite my many friends throughout the country to come to Monson’s. We expect to remain segregated.”

As the cameras and reporters recorded Mr. Brock’s remarks, a burly white man, impatient for his lunch, bulled his way through the crowd, violently shoved Dr. King aside, and entered the restaurant.

Finally, Sheriff Davis and a deputy arrived and whisked Dr. King and his companions off to jail. Dr. King was expected to remain in jail for a few days while demonstrations continue.

Support this project at


bottom of page