Historic Markers Across Florida

102 M. L. King Avenue

Marker ID: AFT 
Location: 102 M.L.King Avenue, St. Augustine, FL
County: St. Johns
Coordinates: N 29° 53.142    W 081° 18.879
  29.8857    -81.31465
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMGAEV


This area, in the heart of Lincolnville, was associated with black education for nearly a century. This lot was the site of the Presbyterian Parochial and Industrial School, headed by Rev. James H. Cooper. It was demolished in 1940 and the grounds became part of Excelsior School.

Across the street there were two school buildings dating back to the Flagler Era of the late 1800s, before the existing Excelsior School was built in 1925. It was the first public high school serving black students in St. Augustine. Before that, a public high school education had only been available to whites.

One of the early teachers at Excelsior was Edward D. Davis (1904-1989). He became president of the Florida NAACP and worked with civil rights martyr Harry T. Moore and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall on a campaign in the 1940s to equalize the pay of black and white teachers. At the time, Blacks were paid only about half as much as their white counterparts. Davis published his autobiography, 'A Half Century of Struggle for Freedom in Florida', in 1981.

Many Excelsior alumni made important contributions to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, including Henry Thomas (one of the original Freedom Riders), members of the Eubanks family, Henry and Katherine Twine, and College Football Hall of Famer Willie Galimore. In 2005, the Excelsior building opened as the city's first museum of African American history.

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