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Summer of '64 Takes Center Stage At Beaches Museum Boardwalk Talk

Mario De Biassi/Giorgio Lotti (Mondadori Publishers)
Wikimedia Commons
Jacksonville's Bob Hayes (far right) is pictured winning the 100-metre dash at the Tokyo Olympics in October 1964.

Local historian Scott A. Grant has made a name for himself, educating the public on little known facts that have shaped this region.

For example, Grant has given dozens of presentations on the 1942 Nazi U-boat attack on Jacksonville Beach during World War Two.

Now he is starting a campaign to present the pivotal civil rights “Summer of ’64,” highlighting all of the dramatic civil rights events that happened that year.

He’s looking at how everyone from the Beatles to local Olympic champion Bullet Bob Hayes changed Northeast Florida forever.

According to Grant, after winning metals and setting a record during the Tokyo Olympics, a parade planned for Hayes in Jacksonville was of no interest to the Times-Union, which is a WJCT news partner.

“The Times-Union did not want to cover the parade at all,” said Grant, who noted the Times-Union had a separate newspaper for African-Americans at the time called The Star Edition.

The parade included Florida A&M, Texas A&M, Matthew W Gilbert High School and other predominantly African-American institutions. Edition. 

Grant said there are many examples that illustrate how significant that summer was.

“Many of the most iconic figures of the second half of the 20th century come to St. Augustine and Jacksonville over a six, seven month period. The Beatles, Martin Luther King was here- he was arrested in St. Augustine,” said Grant.

Grant said the First Coast has to embrace this history, “what happens here, changes the world, changes the United States. There would not have been a Civil Rights Act, at least not when it happened, had it not been for the events that happened in St. Augustine.” 

You can see Scott A. Grant in person talking about the pivotal “Summer of ‘64,” at a Beaches Museum Boardwalk Talk on Thursday, June 21 at 6 p.m.

The Beaches Museum is at 381 Beach Boulevard in Jacksonville.  Additional information about the event is on the Beaches Museum website.

Melissa Ross can be reached at, 904-358-6382 or on Twitter at @MelissainJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.

Mark Wray is a WJCT News intern for summer 2018.