Historic Markers Across Florida

1960 Civil Rights Demonstration

Marker ID: FLHM F-463
Location: Hemming Square, Downtown Jacksonville
County: Duval
Coordinates: N 30° 19.744    W 081° 39.586
  30.32906666    -81.65976666
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WM3TRZ


1960 CIVIL RIGHTS DEMONSTRATION On Saturday, August 27,1960, 40 Youth Council demonstrators from the Jacksonville Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) advised by local civil rights leader Rutledge H. Pearson (1929-1967), sat in at the W.T. Grant Department Store, then located at the corner of West Adams and North Main Streets, and at Woolworth´s Five and Ten Cent Store on Hogan Street across from Hemming Park. Seeking access to the whites-only lunch counters, the youths were met by 150 white males wielding axe handles and baseball bats. Many of the youths were injured while others sought safety at the adjacent Snyder Memorial Methodist Church. Although not the beginning of the Jacksonville civil rights movement, this conflict was a turning point. It awakened many to the seriousness of the African-American community´s demand for equal rights, equal opportunity, human dignity, and respect, and inspired further resolve in supporters to accomplish these goals. Within the decade, lunch counters were integrated, Duval County public schools began to desegregate, four African-Americans were elected to City Council, and segregation of public accommodations, including parks, restrooms, and water fountains ended. Sponsors: Jacksonville Historical Society and the Florida Department of State


City: Jacksonville, FL