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[VIDEO] June 18, 1964 | Racial Turmoil in St. Augustine, Fla.

June 18, 1964 - A swimming pool “dive-in” at a motor lodge that occurred as a group of integrationists were being pushed away from a segregated restaurant set off new violence in St. Augustine, Fla., today. There was cursing and pushing, and authorities roughed up some of the demonstrators.

The demonstrators are demanding desegregation of public accommodations, appointment of a biracial committee, and hiring of more Negroes by the city.

Dr. Martin Luther King, the leader of the civil rights movement in the 400-year-old city, watched from across the street.

“It was raw brutality,” he said. “Cattle prods were used on our demonstrators, and people were actually beaten.”

St. Johns County and city police were involved in the swimming-pool incident. The dive-in was a ruse that caught authorities and the enraged motel owner by surprise.

About 70 demonstrators, including the rabbis who arrived yesterday to help the movement, descended on Monson’s Motor Lodge at noon. They were led by the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a Birmingham integration leader and associate of Dr. King, and the Rev. C. Vivian of Atlanta, another King aide.

James Brock, manager of the motel and president of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, was angry when they arrived. Monson’s has been the focal point of demonstrations since Easter week.

He met the demonstrators outside the restaurant, a few feet from the swimming pool.

“This is private property, and I will have to ask you to leave,” Mr. Brock said.

When the demonstrators refused to do so, he began pushing. First he pushed the leaders, and one by one he pushed the rabbis. As one rabbi was pushed aside, another would step forward to take his place. A crowd of white businessmen and townspeople stood by and shouted.

While everyone’s attention was directed to the scene in front of the restaurant, five Negroes in swim suits jumped out of an automobile and dived into the pool. They joined two white men, also members of the civil rights movement, who were registered guests.

Mr. Brock quickly fetched two containers of muriatic acid, a cleaning agent, and poured them into the pool.

The demonstrators stayed in the water despite the acid, which is harmless, and refused orders to leave. A police officer, Henry Billitz, dived in and forced them out. Several other officers seized the swimmers, clubbed them, and thoroughly roughed them up.

The 16 rabbis, the swimmers, the two leaders of the march, and nine other demonstrators were taken to jail to join the more than 200 persons arrested earlier in sit-ins.

Late in the afternoon, eight more would-be swimmers arrived in bathing suits and were arrested before they could reach the pool.

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