ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The yr is 1964. America is legally segregated, Congress is contemplating the Civil Rights Act and people who find themselves in opposition to segregation are demonstrating in St. Augustine day and night time.
On a uncommon event, a younger Rev. Andrew Younger was requested by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to go to St. Augustine and cease an illustration. King had been arrested in St. Augustine earlier than for peaceable demonstrations in opposition to discrimination.
“We felt that if we might get the Civil Rights Invoice of 1964 handed that will deal with St. Augustine and we’d, we might do higher in Washington than we might in St. Augustine,” Younger, now 88, advised News4Jax.
However when he arrived, the demonstrators — principally girls and youngsters — wished to march to the outdated slave market in entrance of the Ku Klux Klan, a pro-segregation group recognized for beating and killing African People.
Younger, together with pastors, girls and youngsters, walked to the sq.. They noticed the Klan. Younger thought the group of brave demonstrators would flip round.
As a substitute, they prayed.
“I requested who was going again to the church. No one mentioned something, and a girl began singing, ‘Be not dismayed, God will deal with you,’” Younger mentioned.
Younger’s religion was examined. Realizing demise was potential, they walked towards the Klan. Then Younger walked forward of the demonstrators to talk with the Klan.
“You’ve bought a few hundred folks right here and we bought perhaps 35 or 40 principally girls and youngsters. We aren’t making an attempt to do something by pressure. We’re doing it by prayer,” Younger mentioned. “I believed I used to be making argument and any individual hit me behind the pinnacle with a blackjack or one thing.”
The media didn’t cowl many demonstrations. Nevertheless, on today the police have been there and captured this photograph of males stomping Younger.
For a second, he blacked out, however bought up. Willie Bolden, a member of the motion, helped him up.
“I mentioned, ‘No. We will’t flip again now.’ So I went again in entrance of the road of principally girls and youngsters, and we went all the way down to the subsequent nook. Properly this time after they swung at me, I ducked,” Bolden mentioned.
Younger mentioned finally a policeman advised the Klan to let the folks by means of. He and the group marched on.
“We walked across the park and I bear in mind any individual saying, ‘Them n****** bought some nerves,’” Younger mentioned. “And one of many good outdated sister’s mentioned, ‘It ain’t nerves, son. It’s religion.’”
Badly crushed, however full of religion that their act of strolling within the segregated south would have a ripple impact on getting integration.
“Individuals bought beat up worse in St. Augustine than they did on the bridge in Selma as a result of we marched a number of nights and in the course of the day,” Younger mentioned.
Shortly after, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was handed. It was unlawful to discriminate in opposition to an individual on account of race, shade, faith, intercourse and nationwide origin.
King and Younger returned the subsequent week to a neighborhood diner to get meals and ensure integration was occurring in St. Augustine. They have been profitable.
“It wasn’t our motion, this was a religious motion the place the ability of the spirit of God prevailed in opposition to the evils of a few of his kids,” Younger defined.
Nevertheless, the night time in St. Augustine, standing earlier than a gaggle of racist males, stays a vivid reminiscence for Younger.
“I nearly suppose that was the night time that I grew up and have become a person,” he mentioned. “I’d been by means of numerous issues at school, however that was one of many excessive factors of my life. It was extra necessary to me than, much more of a triumph for me than being elected to Congress or being appointed the pinnacle of the UN, as a result of these have been issues any individual else did for me.
“St. Augustine, we have been on our personal and we needed to belief within the Lord, and we discovered that he by no means failed us but.”
Younger would go on to alter the world as a U.N. ambassador, and as mayor of Atlanta, he led the town to unprecedented progress.
Younger says he encourages younger folks, telling them that they can also make a distinction on the planet like King Jr. The truth is, the well-known orator and civil rights chief bought a C in public talking, in keeping with Younger. He explains that it teaches the lesson: You get to determine what you wish to do together with your life.
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