If It Takes All Summer
Martin Luther King, the KKK, and States' Rights in St. Augustine, 1964
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: The University of Alabama Press
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For the first time in the history of the civil rights movement, a political insider reveals an eyewitness account of the relationship between money, law, and a white power structure that virtually shut blacks out of the social and economic life of the nation’s oldest city. A southerner by birth, Dan Warren was the state attorney for Florida’s Seventh Judicial...
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This book began as an autobiography written primarily for my children. The project was started in 1999; however, when I reached the St. Augustine racial crisis of 1963–64, the more I wrote, the more I realized that this part of my life was a book, not a chapter. Encouraged by my loving wife, Stasia, whose patience and support gave me the freedom to...
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In the summer of 1964, as the elected state attorney for Florida’s Seventh Judicial Circuit, a huge circuit that included St. Augustine, I watched as the “nation’s oldest city” became the final battleground in the long struggle for passage of a meaningful civil rights bill. Die-hard segregationists, who believed that the War between the States had been fought ...
1. Protest and Reaction
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In 1964 St. Augustine became a battleground in America’s unfi nished Civil War. That war had been fought to preserve the Union and bring a measure of equality to millions who had been held in slavery. At the end of that great struggle, it was the fervent hope of the nation that passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments would end the ...
2. Where Does St. Augustine Stand?
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St. Augustine in 1964 was a small coastal city located on the east coast of Florida about forty miles south of Jacksonville. As in Daytona Beach and other cities along Florida’s east coast, it was separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway. Bracketed by the San Sebastian and Matanzas rivers, the harbor at St. Augustine had been the gateway to the ...
3. Birth of a Social Conscience
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The seeds of a social conscience were sown in my psyche from birth, planted there by my mother. “Danny Boy,” she would say, “hold your head high. You are just as good as anyone, no better but just as good. Don’t you ever let anyone put you down.” Her deep religious beliefs made it a mortal sin to act superior to another human being, and this idea was drummed ...
4. The Point of No Return
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On Friday, March 27, Mrs. Malcolm Peabody, accompanied by her friend Mrs. John Burgess, arrived in St. Augustine. They had been invited, she said, to come to St. Augustine by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and they had come to be arrested. The mayor was all too willing to accommodate her. He blamed the disturbances that...
5. The Fuse Is Lit
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On June 11, 1964, Martin Luther King, accompanied by Ralph D. Abernathy, appeared on the steps of the Monson Motor Lodge in the heart of St. Augustine and made a bold move at a defining moment in the civil James Brock, the motel manager, met them at the entrance to the lodge and told the assembled group they could not enter. “We’re segregated at ...
6. Little Children Shall Lead Them
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It could have been a scene from a different time, a different country. Racists lashing out blindly against ideas they feared, solely on the basis of physical attributes they had been programmed to hate. The scene reminded me of Pathe newsreels from the 1930s depicting the racial hatred taking place in Germany. It was ironic to see the same intense...
7. State versus Federal Control
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The rerouting of the demonstrators was in direct violation of Judge Simpson’s order allowing night demonstrations. I immediately contacted Governor Bryant and reported to him why we had taken this action. The next day he issued an executive order banning night demonstrations in St...
8. Exodus with Honor
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The failure of Judge Simpson to promptly rule on the contempt citation was seen as a victory for the state. The judge’s decision to defer a ruling on this critical issue had placed King in a rather precarious situation. The Klan was growing stronger and now the attorney for the Florida southeast district of the NAACP was attacking King. Francisco Rodriguez ...
9. Recrimination and Recovery
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In January 1965 I received a letter from Harold DeWolf, dean of the School of Theology at Boston University. He had been Martin Luther King’s faculty adviser when King received his doctorate in theology. He issued an invitation for me to speak in February to the students and the combined faculties of the College of Law and the School of Theology. ...
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Publication Year: 2008