ACCORD to mark Civil Rights Act anniversary in July 2014

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GWENDOLYN DUNCAN
GUEST COLUMNIST

The Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, Inc. (ACCORD) mission is, remembering, recognizing, and honoring all those who risked their lives to attain civil rights for all and celebrate St. Augustine’s pivotal role in the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.

We have sponsored and participated in many activities to enlighten the public on one of the greatest events that took place in American History: The American Civil Rights Movement.

Our greatest project to date has been the establishment of an ACCORD Freedom Trail in the Nation’s Oldest City, sponsored by the Northrop Grumman Corporation.

We have thirty one historic markers in and around the city and county of St. Augustine/St. Johns County to mark significant events that took place during the 1963 – 64 Movement.

Of the 31 markers, the one located at 76 Washington Street was sponsored by a private citizen and ACCORD member Beth Levenbach, of Lansdowne, Pa.

We have added another feature to the trail: an audio portion one can use their cell phone to dial into the system and hear actual voices of some of the heroes and sheroes of that time. One in particular is Dr. Robert B. Hayling, leader of the St. Augustine Movement.

ACCORD will be commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 2014 by hosting our eighth annual ACCORD Freedom Trail Luncheon on the campus of Flagler College, the site where significant civil rights history was made.

Former Florida State Senator Dr. Anthony ‘Tony’ Hill will be our emcee once again. Dr. Hill is the sponsor of the Dr. Robert B. Hayling Award of Valor, given annually to an activist of the St. Augustine Movement who displayed outstanding courage during that turbulent time.

Keynote speaker will be Dr. David R. Colburn, professor and chairman emeritus of the history department of the University of Florida. The guest speaker will be an activist of the St. Augustine movement, to be announced later.

We would like to encourage visitors to St. Augustine to stop by the Wells Fargo Bank, located at 33 King Street, downtown St. Augustine, and see the mural recently unveiled that depicts some of the civil rights history of the city. It is accessible 24/7.

Fifty years later the struggle continues. We need to work together to ensure that it won’t take another 50 years to bring about justice, equality, and racial reconciliation in this, the United States of America.

Gwendolyn Duncan is president emeritus of the Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations, Inc., a non-profit group of volunteers envisioned in December 2002, organized in February 2003, and incorporated in 2004 out of St. Augustine.

Contact Elizabeth Duncan for more information at (904) 347-1382,  (386) 283 4055 or go to www.accordfreedomtrail.org.

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