Historic Markers Across Florida



5480 Atlantic View



Marker ID: AFT 
Location: On Atlanta View Ave north of Sea Oats Rd, St Augustine, FL
County: St. Johns
Coordinates: N 29° 47.607    W 081° 15.609
  29.79345    -81.26015
Style: Interpretative Sign **
Waymark: WMJ73N
 



Text:

This beach cottage attracted international attention in 1964, and a photograph taken here of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has become one of the iconic images of the civil rights movement. It was the winter home of Dr. Cyril M. Canright (1894-1965) and his wife Winifred (1898-1995), who taught as missionaries in China in the 1920s and 1930s and later made their home in New Jersey. The Canrights were supporters of the civil rights movement. They made their beach house available to Dr. King when he came here with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) at the urging of Dr. Robert B. Hayling and the St. Augustine movement in May 1964. The mass campaign led to the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

SCLC staffers Dorothy Cotton, Rev. C.T. Vivian, and Harry Boyte visited or stayed here. Dr. King had not yet spent a night in the house when the local newspaper ran directions to it on the front page. It was vandalized by segregationists. They shot up the house on May 28, 1964, and then attempted to burn it on May 30. On June 8, they smashed the windows and furniture, painted racist graffiti inside, and firebombed it. All of these events were widely reported around the country, and increased public pressure to do away with racial segregation.

Dr. Canright passed away the next year, but Mrs. Canright continued up into her 90s to work for prison reform and other causes in New Jersey. The Winifred Canright House in Asbury Park was named in her honor. They provide housing for people with HIV/AIDS who might otherwise be homeless.

Gay and Kathleen Welborn from Gainesville, Florida, put the heavily damaged house back into livable condition. They made their home here while running businesses on St. George Street in downtown St. Augustine. Mrs. Welborn was also a nurse at Flagler Hospital. When she passed away in 2009 at the age of 93, she was the senior member of the local Altrusa Club.

This house has been featured as a civil rights landmark, in newspaper stories, books, television programs, and in Clennon King's 2004 documentary "Slave Market Diaries.


Notes:

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