Sunday, May 15, 2011

At Last! The St. Augustine Foot Soldiers Monument

This month St. Johns County in Florida took another step towards reconciling the racial divisions of its past through the unveiling of the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers monument.

Built to honor citizens of all ages who endured harassment, beatings, jail time and worse, in their efforts to bring civil rights to that city during the 1960s, the monument was the result of many years of hard work by a nonprofit group called the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers.

As noted by Ken Bryan, chairman of the St. Johns County Commission, in the St. Augustine Record, the fundraising efforts of the St. Augustine Foot Soldiers included screenings of Jeremy Dean's "Dare Not Walk Alone," the award-winning documentary about local events that precipitated passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

These screenings served a double purpose, raising funds while also raising awareness of just how great were the sacrifices of the Foot Soldiers. And throughout the movie you see the brilliance of Rev. Martin Luther King's strategy of non-violence, often orchestrated by Andrew Young, executed by "ordinary" men, women, and sometimes children, who became, through their actions, "extraordinary."

As a nation, we owe these people a debt of gratitude for daring to put their lives on the line for what was right and cement for all Americans the equalities first envisioned in the country's constitution.

[Many thanks to for publicizing the unveiling and Brian Owens for the photo.]