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June 18, 1964: The Arrest of 16 Rabbis in St. Augustine…And Why It Matters with Dr. Mike Butler

May 6 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Police officer James Hewitt jumps into the Monson's pool to arrest the protesters as

On June 17, 1964, sixteen Jewish Rabbis were arrested in St. Augustine for demonstrating against segregated facilities in the Nation’s Oldest City. It was the largest mass arrest of rabbis in American history and inspired the men to write Why We Went from behind bars early the next morning. The letter, written in the light of a single light bulb hanging outside of their crowded cell, represented what SCLC official Andrew Young called the Jewish equivalent of Dr. King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail. This presentation explains why the rabbis came to St. Augustine during the long, hot summer of 1964, details the impact their letter had on the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and explores why the event still matters in contemporary America.

Dr. J. Michael Butler is a Kenan Distinguished Professor of History at Flagler College where he has taught since 2008. He has published numerous essays and his book Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980 won a 2017 Florida Book Award in nonfiction. Dr. Butler specializes in southern cultural history with an emphasis on the Black freedom struggle and has spoken to dozens of teachers and community groups about the civil rights movement.

This Florida Talks program is a partnership between Florida Humanities and the Palm Coast Historical Society. Funding for this program was provided by Florida Humanities and sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the aforementioned entities.

Event Details

Event Date/time:

May 6 @ 10:00 am -
May 6 @ 11:00 am


Presenter Information:
J. Michael Butler, Kenan Distinguished Professor of History
Event Fee:
Event Type:

Event Contact:

Kathy Kellvasky
(978) 270-7366

Event Venue:

Palm Coast Community Center
305 Palm Coast Parkway NE
Palm Coast, FL 32137 United States
+ Google Map
Venue Phone:
(978) 270-7366

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