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John  Herbers
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John Herbers, "Martin Luther King and 17 Others Jailed Trying To Integrate St. Augustine Restaurant." The New York Times, June 12, 1964.

By day downtown St. Augustine is the picture of tranquility with old men playing checkers in the slave market and tourists viewing old Spanish buildings from horse drawn surreys. At night it is the scene of an outpouring of racial hatred and violence.

Dr. King was arrested on the doorstep of the Monson Motor Lodge Restaurant after a 20-minute confrontation with the president and general manager of the concern, James Brock...

The night before Mr. Brock, who also is president of the Florida Hotel and Motel Association, had been seen on a downtown street carrying a shotgun, a billy stick, a pistol and a flashlight. He was one of several businessmen in town who were made special deputies yesterday by Sheriff L. O. Davis. The sheriff said he had appealed to the city's civic clubs to help maintain law and order.

Mr. Brock told Dr. King that he and his party of eight persons were not wanted. The two then began a polite debate of the civil rights issue.

Dr. King asked if Mr. Brock understood the "humiliation our people have to go through." Mr. Brock replied he would integrate his business if substantial white citizens of the community asked him to or if he were served with a Federal Court order.

"You realize it would be detrimental to my business to serve you here," Mr. Brock said. "I have unfortunately had to arrest 84 persons here since Easter."

Then he turned to the television cameras, smiled and said, "I would like to invite my many friends throughout the country to come to Monson's. We expect to remain segregated."

Copyright © 1964 The New York Times Co.  Selected from the Library of America anthology.  See  Reporting  Civil  Rights:  American Journalism 1963-1973.