UNF to Host Award-Winning Film About the Bloodiest Campaign of the Entire Civil Rights Movement
that Placed the First Coast on the World Stage and Transformed America
February 23, 2017 - 6:00 p.m. - Andrew A. Robinson, Jr. Theater
The University of North Florida will help mark this year’s Black History Month by presenting an award-winning film about the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement that catapulted Florida’s First Coast to the World stage, and transformed America. UNF is hosting a screening of the award-winning hour-long Passage at St. Augustine – A 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America, Tuesday, February 23, 2017 at 6 p.m. at the Andrew A. Robinson, Jr. Theater, 1 UNF Drive, Jacksonville, Florida 32224. The screening will be followed by a conversation and Q&A session with Boston-based filmmaker and former Jacksonville TV reporter and anchor Clennon L. King. Please click here to view the trailer.
“People only associates the Civil Rights Movement with Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia,” said King, who also wrote for the Florida Times-Union. “But the truth is that the most violent and transformative campaign of the Movement unfolded in Northeast Florida, made news worldwide and changed America for the better.” This latest edition of the documentary is about the little-known St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement, which dominated the headlines in 1963 and ’64 and made world news, in places like England, China, and Russia.
Leading the real-life cast of this documentary is late Dr. Robert B. Hayling, a FAMU grad, retired Air Force lieutenant and St. Augustine dentist, who became a target for his role in leading a push for desegregation in the Nation’s Oldest City. He was arrested and jailed multiple times, was beaten by the Klan, and suffered at the hands of nightriders who shot into his house, narrowly missing his pregnant wife and two daughters, but killing his dog. In all, more than 45 voices tell the story, including civil rights foot soldiers and field lieutenants, segregationists, White House insiders, clergy, Klansman, correspondents and politicians. And while LBJ and MLK are also featured prominently, audiences invariably come away asking why a campaign so pivotal appears to have been wiped from the hard drive of History, said the filmmaker.
An Albany, Georgia native first began working on the documentary in 2002, after a four-year stint as a TV reporter and anchor at Jacksonville’s NBC News affiliate. With a father who was a lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King (no relation), King grew up steeped in civil rights history. Well aware of nearby St. Augustine’s rich civil rights past, King began tracking down veterans of the campaign. “I wanted to capture and chronicle their stories while they were still here,” he said, noting nearly a third of those interviewed are now deceased.
Thirteen years in the making, the film premiered in February 2015 before the League of Women Voters in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Since then, King has presented at multiple institutions across the country, including Brandeis University, Boston College, the University of Texas at Austin and Flagler College in St. Augustine where the campaign unfolded. On January 18th, the documentary and discussion program will be featured at Dartmouth College, at FAMU’s Sarasota Alumni Chapter event on January 21st and on February 28th by the St. Petersburg Public Library.
Last summer, the film earned The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival. King resides in Boston, home to AugustineMonica Films, which produced Passage at St. Augustine (www.passageatstaugustine.com