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White Supremacist Lawyer Arrives in St. Augustine to Oppose King

June 12, 1964 - J.B. Stoner, an Atlanta lawyer who represents Klansmen in court and is a frequent speaker at Klan rallies, arrived in St. Augustine, Fla., today to organize a march in opposition to Dr. Martin Luther King’s nonviolent campaign against segregation.

Waving a Confederate flag, Stoner stood in the old Slave Market in the center of town and told a crowd of 300 whites, “Tonight we’re going to find out whether white people have any rights.”

Stoner called Dr. King a “long-time associate of Communists” and referred to the “Jew-stacked, Communist-loving Supreme Court.” In addition to his Klan activities, Stoner is Vice-Presidential candidate for the National States Rights party, an ultra-right-wing group centered in Birmingham.

About 60 persons were jailed today in sit-in demonstrations in segregated restaurants in the city after a noon march. The joined Dr. King and 17 others who were arrested yesterday in St. John’s County Jail.

Earlier today, Dr. King was arraigned by Circuit Judge Charles Mathis on the three usual charges placed against demonstrators in St. Augustine: conspiring to create malicious mischief, trespassing, and disturbing the peace. He pleaded not guilty and was placed under $800 bail.

Dr. King testified for three hours later today before a St. John’s County grand jury, which began an investigation of the racial situation in St. Augustine. He was brought from the jail to the county courthouse at the request of the jury. After the session, he was placed in the back seat of a police car alongside a large German shepherd dog and returned to jail.

This evening, Dr. King was slipped out of town under heavy guard. “For security reasons,” he was taken to the Duval County jail in nearby Jacksonville.

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