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Civil Rights Library honors anniversary of ‘Night of Terror’

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Feb. 5, 2014

On the night of Feb. 7 and into the early morning of Feb. 8, 1964, several loads of buckshot were fired into the house of Dr. Robert Hayling, a local NAACP leader, killing his dog and just missing his pregnant wife. These events would lead Dr. Hayling to seek the help of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., kicking the St. Augustine Civil Rights movement into high gear.

The 50th anniversary of “The Night of Terror” will be commemorated this week by the Civil Rights Library of 
St. Augustine, an Internet-based multimedia archive documenting the St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement. The site will feature several new pages devoted to the events of Feb. 7-8, 1964.

“This date was the turning point for St. Augustine.  Everything that happened later in 1964 could have been prevented -- until the night of Feb. 7, 1964,” said documentarian CB Hackworth, who oversaw the project. “Martin Luther King Jr. was busy with other things and would never have come here.  The national media never would have come here.  But when racists were allowed to retaliate violently against two families whose children integrated an elementary school, and were allowed to engage in that ‘Night of Terror,’ there was no turning back.”

The Flagler College-based site is a student-led project undertaken with the help of college faculty and staff.

Hackworth said some of the highlights of the database include the 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 to St. Augustine as well as the archives of civil rights leader Andrew Young.

For more information, or to view the site, visit civilrightslibrary.com.


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