Historic Markers Across Florida

120 DeHaven Street

Marker ID: AFT 
Location: 120 DeHaven Street, St., Augustine, FL
County: St. Johns
Coordinates: N 29° 53.158    W 081° 18.969
  29.88596666    -81.31615
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMGC2J


This house was built in the 1920s and purchased a decade later by Jutson Ayers, who worked as an alligator wrestler for a quarter of a century at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm before his death in 1958. His widow, Mrs. Rena Ayers, gave important support to the civil rights movement of the 1960s by providing lodging for out-of-towners who came here to support the movement.

In March 2005, when she was 100 years old, Mrs. Ayers had a visit from one of those she had hosted 41 years before. He was Alvin J. Bronstein, an attorney who had come to St. Augustine in August 1964 with the idea of spending his two week summer vacation aiding the movement with his legal skills. Instead, he wound up spending the next four years as staff counsel for the Lawyers' Constitutional Defense Committee (LCDC), handling important civil rights cases in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana (including getting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. out of jail in Mississippi). He was one of many people whose lives were deeply influenced by their time in St. Augustine.

On his 2005 return, he walked through the front door of this house pointed to the left and said, "That's my room".

When the U.S. Postal Service issued a set of stamps, commemorating the Freedom Movement in August 2005, Mrs. Ayers was honored as one of the legendary "House Mothers of the Civil Rights Movement" in St. Augustine.

Sponsored by: Northrop Grumman


This marker is part of the ACCORD Freedom Trail.

For more information:
ACCORD - Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, Inc
NAACP - National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
SCLC - Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Wikipedia - NAACP
Wikipedia - SCLC
Wikipedia - Civil Rights Act of 1964
Wikipedia - Racism
Wikipedia - Racial segregation in the United States