June 25th, 1964

Hundreds Attack Anti-Segregation March in St. Augustine, Florida

In the summer of 1964, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other Southern Christian Leadership Conference leaders began anti-segregation work in St. Augustine, Florida. They held weeks of civil rights demonstrations and marches, and many demonstrators, including Dr. King, were arrested. After weeks of activism and outbreaks of violence between segregationists and anti-segregationists, Florida Governor Farris Bryant, a segregationist, issued a ban on evening demonstrations held after 8:30 p.m.

On June 25, 300 anti-segregationist marchers who had spent the afternoon rallying at the site of St. Augustine's former slave market, Slave Market Square, were violently attacked by over 200 white segregationists. The segregationists easily evaded police and physically assaulted the marchers. As the marchers fled, they were chased and attacked across the city's downtown area. Close to fifty of the marchers were injured, and fifteen were treated at the city's hospital. Several hours before the attacks on the marchers, seventy-five white segregationists had attacked a group of 100 African Americans who attempted to wade into the ocean at a local "white beach," and twenty people were arrested. Such violent clashes between anti-segregationists and segregationists in St. Augustine continued throughout June 1964.