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Mims in Brevard County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Violence In Hemming Plaza

Jacksonville, Florida

— Harry T. & Harriet V. Moore Memorial Park —

 
 
Violence In Hemming Plaza Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, July 21, 2021
1. Violence In Hemming Plaza Marker
Inscription.  
It was August 27, 1960, a day that became known as “Ax Handle Saturday.” The violent attack was in response to peaceful lunch counter demonstrations organized by the Jacksonville Youth Council of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The attack began with white people spitting on the protesters and yelling racial slurs at them. When the young demonstrators held their resolve, they were beaten with wooden handles that had not yet had metal ax heads attached. While the violence was first aimed at the lunch counter demonstrators, it quickly escalated to include any African American in sight of the white mob. Police stood idly by watching the beatings until members of a black street gang called “The Boomerangs” attempted to protect those being attacked. At that point police night sticks joined the baseball bats and ax handles.

Sixteen-year-old Rodney L. Hurst was president of the Jacksonville Youth Council leading sit-ins at “whites only” lunch counters in Woolworth’s and W.J. Grant Department Store to protest racial segregation. Hurst has written about his experiences in the award-winning book,
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“It was Never about a Hot Dod and a Coke.” History teacher Rutledge Pearson inspired Hurst to become involved in the civil rights movement at a very early age. Pearson was an innovative teacher who facilitated interactive classes, and talked about American history as he gave insights, he would say, ‘freedom is not free, and if you are not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’ He would encourage them to join the Youth Council NAACP which they did.”

It is believed that the Ku Klux Klan organized the violence of Ax Handle Saturday. The intent was to scare, intimidate, and bring physical harm. Many times you could not draw a line between the Klan and law enforcement, because law enforcement were at least accomplices to a lot of the things the Klan did. While the events of Ax Handle Saturday were documented in Life Magazine and newspapers from major cities across the country, reporters from the Jacksonville Times-Union and the Jacksonville Journal were not allowed to cover the story.
 
Erected by Harry T. & Harriet V. Moore Memorial Park.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCivil RightsLaw Enforcement. A significant historical date for this entry is August 27, 1960.
 
Location. 28° 39.227′ N, 80° 50.749′ W. Marker is in Mims, Florida
Violence In Hemming Plaza Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Brandon D Cross, July 21, 2021
2. Violence In Hemming Plaza Marker
, in Brevard County. Marker can be reached from Freedom Avenue, 0.3 miles south of Parker Street, on the right when traveling south. The marker stands within the Harry T. & Harriet V. Moore Memorial Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2180 Freedom Ave, Mims FL 32754, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (a few steps from this marker); Rosewood Massacre - 1921 (a few steps from this marker); Eatonville (within shouting distance of this marker); Little Rock Nine (within shouting distance of this marker); Emmet Till (within shouting distance of this marker); Brown v. Board of Education (within shouting distance of this marker); Virgil D. Hawkins – April 1949 (within shouting distance of this marker); Juneteenth (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Mims.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 15, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. This page has been viewed 149 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 15, 2021, by Brandon D Cross of Flagler Beach, Florida. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Apr. 23, 2024