Historic Markers Across Florida

262 West King Street

Marker ID: AFT 
Location: 262 West King Street, St. Augustine, FL
County: St. Johns
Coordinates: N 29° 53.429    W 081° 19.873
  29.89048333    -81.33121666
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMGAQR


One of the oldest businesses in St. Augustine, this funeral home was opened in 1955 by Leo C. Chase, Sr., who had previously managed the Huff Funeral Home in Lincolnville. His son, Arnett Chase, took over after his father's death in 1977. Another son, Leo C. Chase, Jr., was the first St. Augustinian killed in the Vietnam War, and a nearby park was named in his honor in 1965.

During the 1960s, this was a place of sanctuary for civil rights activists who were subjected to harassment in St. Augustine. The funeral home's ambulance was used to take marchers to the hospital when they were beaten in the downtown area. Dianne (Mrs. Arnett) Chase took part in the demonstrations that led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There were many black elected officials in St. Augustine in the decades after the Civil War, but the shooting of black alderman John Papino by a white city marshal during an official meeting in 1902 was the act of terror that put an end to black political office holding for more than 70 years. Arnett Chase made history in 1973 when he was elected to the city commission as the first black elected official in modern times.

In 2008, a Chase limousine went to the Jacksonville airport to pick up the Rev. Dr. C. T. Vivian, one of Dr. Martin Luther King's closest associates. Vivian returned to St. Augustine--where he had been beaten and arrested while leading beach wade-ins and demonstrations in 1964--to address the second annual Freedom Trail Luncheon sponsored by ACCORD.

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