top of page

[VIDEO] June 30, 1964 | MLK Statement in St. Augustine, Fla.

June 30, 1964 - Hopes for racial peace in St. Augustine, Fla., revived tonight with the announcement that Florida Governor Farris Bryant had named an emergency committee to “restore communications” between whites and Negroes.

Dr. Martin Luther King, leader of the desegregation campaign in the 400-year-old city, termed the action “a demonstration of good faith” and called off civil rights demonstrations. However, he said he was not leaving St. Augustine until “a meaningful resolution” of the conflict had been worked out.

The Governor refused to disclose the membership of the committee, but it reportedly consists of two whites and two Negroes.

The committee will serve until a permanent biracial group to mediate the bitter civil rights dispute is named by a special grand jury investigating the troubles in St. Augustine.

Dr. King too refused to divulge the names of the emergency committee members, but he said it was made up of “four distinguished citizens” of the city.

“We have agreed to withhold the names so that there will be no external harassment of these people,” he said.

Dr. King called the formation of the committee the first step toward a settlement of the problem.

“Every 1,000-mile journey begins with the first step,” he said. “This is merely the first step in a long journey toward freedom and justice in St. Augustine, but it is a creative and important first step for it at least opens the channels of communications.”

However, Dr. King said that after the civil rights bill became law there would be tests of the law through small sit-ins.

St. Augustine Mayor Joseph Shelley, a physician and an outspoken segregationist, was highly indignant when he learned that Governor Bryant had formed the committee without having consulted him.

“It’s a stab in the back,” Mr. Shelley told a friend.

Support this project at


bottom of page