Integration of St. Augustine Waters Subject of New Permanent Exhibition

Shown engaging in a Q&A session is Civil Rights demonstrator and wade-in protester Shed Dawson.

The opening of the ‘Waves of Change,’ a permanent exhibition at the Cultural Arts Center at the St. Augustine Beach Hotel tells the history of St. Augustine Beach Civil Rights movement wade-ins of 1964.  A “wade-in” was a tactic used by demonstrators during the movement to integrate pools and beaches.

Speakers included individuals that participated in the wade-ins, a concert with Billy Buchanan and his Rock n Soul Review and words of support from St. Augustine Mayor Dylan Rumrell.

On June 25, 1964, the property saw one of the largest and most violent wade-in demonstrations in the Civil Rights Era. The images of uniformed Florida Highway Patrol breaking up the riot in the water are among the most circulated imagery of the movement.

Waves of Change exhibition tells the history of the building and beach where the wade-ins took place from June 17 to July 1, 1964.  These protests were significant elements of the larger St. Augustine civil rights demonstrations that attracted international attention to the plight of African Americans in the United States. These protests are widely credited for providing pressure for the federal government to enact this legislation, which President Lyndon B. Johnson eventually signed into law on July 2, 1964. The St. Augustine Beach Hotel and Beachfront were added to the National Register of Historic Places on January 11, 2022 for its national importance as part of the Civil Rights movement known as the St. Augustine Campaign.

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Cultural Arts Center at the St. Augustine Beach Hotel

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