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Flagler unveils Civil Rights Library of St. Augustine

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Sept. 18, 2013

The Civil Rights Library of
 St. Augustine, an Internet-based multimedia archive documenting the St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement, was unveiled at a special ceremony today at Flagler College.

Guests at the ceremony were able to catch the first peek at the online site,

"We wanted to do something that paid tribute to people's stories," said Michael Butler, assistant professor of history, who helped lead the archive project. "One year later, with help from a lot of students and faculty, we're happy to say that the web site goes live."

St. Augustine should be at the center of the civil rights narrative, he said.

"It has turned into a project that has touched hundreds of people," he said. "The history is much bigger than any of us. We owe it to people to make these stories available to anyone in the United States."

For photos of the event, click here.

Micajah Henley, one of the students who worked on the project and who is now studying civil rights history at the University of Mississippi, called the project a rewarding experience that helped solidify his interest in civil rights history and research.

"I never knew so much violence existed in a city that I loved so much," he said. "But there's power to knowing."

UN Ambassador and civil rights activist Andrew Young also attended the unveiling. Young, who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr., was beaten during a protest march in St. Augustine in 1964. He chronicled that incident in the documentary “Crossing in St. Augustine” with filmmaker CB Hackworth. After showing the film at Flagler College in 2010, Young decided to donate archival footage to the college for the online archive. For the past year, Hackworth worked with students, faculty and staff to make it a reality.

At the event, Young spoke about the beginnings of the non-violence movement, as well as his own connection with St. Augustine.

"More and more, the events around this movement have not only shaped my life and your life," he told the audience, "but the world in which we live."

Flagler President William T. Abare Jr. said the Civil Rights Archive will be one of the milestones of his presidency.

"I couldn't have been more proud of what our students have accomplished with this project," he said. "The students have exceeded my expectations."

The student-led project features never before seen items including FBI files detailing Martin Luther King Jr.’s time in St. Augustine, as well as the surveillance the city was under both before and after MLK arrived. Other items include details on the arrest of the St. Augustine Four, audio of Jackie Robinson’s visit, and civil rights archives from Young.

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