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St. Augustine’s Lincolnville Among 5 Florida Sites Added To U.S. Civil Rights Trail

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Photo via Visit St. Augustine
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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is pictured in St. Augustine in the spring of 1964.

St. Augustine is home to one of five sites in Florida recently added to the United States Civil Rights Trail - a tourism marketing creation. The city’s historic black district is one of more than 100 locations in 15 states on the trail’s website.

The Lincolnville Historic District was at the center of a number of St. Augustine protests and sit-ins in the1960s.

“St. Augustine played a significant role in the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the push to bring about equality all over the land,”  said Gwendolyn Duncan, who heads the nonprofit Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstration (ACCORD). “So we’re just excited about it.”

Duncan said St. Augustine played a critical yet underappreciated role in Civil Rights history.

“When anyone discusses the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, they always think about Alabama, Mississippi, maybe Tennessee, but no one really knew about the movement  that Dr. King led in St. Augustine, which led directly to the passage of the civil rights act,” she said.

In the Spring of 1964, civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., organized sit-ins and marches in St. Augustine to desegregate public facilities. Duncan said their arrests and the violence they faced drew international attention, and was a pivotal moment for the movement.

“For anyone that was wavering, they convinced them to vote on a necessity to vote to change the law,” she said, referring to the direct impact the incident had on ending a Senate filibuster, which allowed the final vote and passage of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

Tourism marketing agency Visit Florida joined the U.S. Civil Rights Trail last year at a cost of about $15,000 annually to the southern agency consortium Travel South.

Related: Jacksonville Task Force Paves Way For Florida’s Inclusion In U.S. Civil Rights Trail

Each city that wants to apply has to foot to a bill for the $3,500 application fee for each site entered for consideration.

St. Augustine’s sites include the Lincoln Civil Rights Museum, Fort Mose, and markers showing the path taken by civil rights activist Andrew Young.

The other four Florida sites featured on the U.S. Civil Rights Trail are:

  • The Bay County Court County Courthouse in  Panama City.
  • The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum in Mims.
  •  The Newtown African American Heritage trail in Sarasota, and the Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach.