Clashes on King Street: The Role of State Officials in the 1964 St. Augustine Racial Crisis Public Deposited

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  • February 26, 2019
  • Donohue, K. Murphy
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • The first chapter of this thesis analyzes the deteriorating situation in St. Augustine in 1963. In 1963, local blacks held sit-ins for the integration of private businesses. These sit-ins eventually aroused violent backlash from the Klan in surrounding parts of Florida. This chapter focuses on the failures of local leadership that precipitated the 1964 conflict and pinpoints when state actors played a role in the escalating tensions during the summer of 1963. The second chapter details official responses to the crisis in St. Augustine, with an emphasis on those of state actors. This chapter showcases the lengths to which Warren went to solve the crisis in comparison to the actions of Governor Bryant. The third chapter stresses the differing treatment by state and local officials of the Klan and the almost wholly peaceful civil rights demonstrators. Whites accused the SCLC of fabricating tensions and misrepresenting the city to the world. Simultaneously, state and local officials protected the rights of Klansmen despite their attacks on peaceful protestors. This chapter also highlights shared prejudices held by local officials and Governor Bryant that colored their actions during the crisis and impeded efforts to negotiate with the civil rights marchers. The intricacies of the 1964 St. Augustine racial crisis are as fascinating as they are overlooked, from Warren’s efforts to use an adulterous affair to combat Ku Klux Klan violence to a biracial commission that never met. State officials molded the course of the civil rights conflict in St. Augustine. Governor Bryant issued key executive orders which resulted in furor from demonstrators on both sides. Dan Warren moved from Daytona Beach to St. Augustine for the duration of the summer of 1964 in order to devote his full attention to aiding the civil rights demonstrators and local officials in coming to a solution to the crisis. The extent of Dan Warren’s involvement as a state official was unprecedented and truly aided the integrationists in demonstrating for equal rights.
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  • In Copyright
  • Funding: Boyatt Award in History supported by the Michael L. and Matthew L. Boyatt Fund
  • Brundage, W. Fitzhugh
  • Bachelor of Arts
Honors level
  • Honors
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 78

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