III. ACCORD Freedom Trail Site - (State Rd 312) A1A Beach Blvd.
St. Augustine Beach Wade-ins -St. Augustine Beach Pier
Some of the most widely-publicized events of the civil rights movement took place at St. Augustine Beach in the summer of 1964, when wade-ins were conducted at what had historically been a beach reserved for “Whites Only”. Many courageous local residents took part in the wade-ins, along with a number of staff members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), including Rev. C.T. Vivian, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dorothy Cotton, Al Lingo, Rev. LaVert Taylor, Benjamin Van Clarke, Golden Frinks, Rev. S. B. Wells, Dana Swan, Willie Bolden, and J. T. Johnson.
Black and white supporters came from different parts of the country during a campaign organized by Dr. Robert B. Hayling that brought Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and SCLC to St. Augustine. The many rallies, marches, sit-ins, and wade-ins that took place here led directly to the passage and signing of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed racial segregation in hotels, motels, restaurants and other public accommodations, and job discrimination against blacks and women.
Images broadcast internationally, of peaceful demonstrators being brutally attacked, yet holding their ground, helped to change American attitudes and inspired the world for generations to come. Dr. Martin Luther King went on from here to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
The inside story of how law enforcement protection was finally provided to demonstrators, after a number of beatings had taken place, is told by Dan Warren in the book If It Takes All Summer, published by the University of Alabama Press in 2008. The events at St. Augustine Beach, and their wide-ranging historic significance, form an important episode in Jeremy Dean's award-winning movie "Dare Not Walk Alone," and in books by Pulitzer Prizewinning authors Taylor Branch and David Garrow.
ACCORD and the Northrop Grumman Corporation present this Freedom Trail marker in 2009 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the incorporation of St. Augustine Beach, and the 45th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.