St. Augustine in St. Johns County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
112 M.L. King Avenue
ACCORD Freedom Trail
In 1964 this was the home of Robert Victor Bell, who worked for the Post Office, and his wife Willie Mae Bell. The family was active in the civil rights movement, and their daughter, Veronica, was one of the pioneers of school desegregation in St. Augustine. The Bells provided lodging for people who came to town to support the civil rights efforts here. One of them was J.T. Johnson, a longtime aide to Dr. King, who took part in one of the most famous incidents of the movement: what came to be known as “the splash heard `round the world.”
On June 18, 1964, a swim-in was held at the Monson Motor Lodge on the bayfront. Johnson and his colleagues were shown in what became the most famous photograph ever taken in St. Augustine--of the motel manager pouring acid in the pool while they were swimming. That horrifying image of “Southern Hospitality” showed the world why the old segregated way of doing things had to end.
The photograph appeared on the front page of the Washington, D.C. newspaper the day that
This Historic Marker Presented this 2nd Day of July, 2008 by Northrop Grumman.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Florida, St. Augustine Freedom Trail marker series.
Location. 29° 53.122′ N, 81° 18.882′ W. Marker is in St. Augustine, Florida, in St. Johns County. Marker is on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue near Pomar Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 112 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, Saint Augustine FL 32084, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. 102 M.L. King Avenue (within shouting distance of this marker); 97 M.L. King Avenue (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 111 Lincoln Street (about 400 feet away); 113 DeHaven Street (about 400 feet away); Black Catholic Heritage (about 500 feet away); 120 DeHaven Street (about 500 feet away); St. Paul A.M.E. Church (about 500 feet away); 84 St. Benedict Street (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in St. Augustine.
Categories. • African Americans • Civil Rights • Peace •
Credits. This page was last revised on January 2, 2019. This page originally submitted on April 13, 2009, by Gwendolyn Duncan of St. Augustine, Florida. This page has been viewed 2,478 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on April 13, 2017, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. 2. submitted on April 13, 2009, by Gwendolyn Duncan of St. Augustine, Florida. 3. submitted on May 21, 2014, by James R. Murray of Elkton, Florida. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.