In the Footsteps of the Civil Rights Movement

In conjunction with a unit on Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 3rd grade students participated in a civil rights tour of St. Augustine. Bernadette Reeves, a resident of St. Augustine who participated in our area’s civil rights protests, led the tour. History was brought to life through her personal stories and the local landmarks visited.
Here are some student reflections from the field trip, which is new at JCDS this year. 
“I now realize how much times have changed. I recommend that you take this St. Augustine civil rights tour because you will learn a lot!“ 
— Norah
“I discovered that even though St. Augustine was named after a man from Africa, African-Americans were not always treated fairly here.” 
— Sofia
“Our tour guide passed around photographs of the 1964 civil rights protests in St. Augustine. When I looked at the photos, I felt a mixture of sadness and anger. “ 
— Jenny Ann
“I was shocked to learn that people could not go to the same hotels, schools, bathrooms, and they couldn’t even drink from the same water fountains!” 
— Mateo
“I was amazed to learn that teenagers who lived here went to jail just for marching for their rights!”
— Neily
“I couldn’t believe it when we were told that we were standing where Rev. Martin Luther King once stood!”
— Gwyneth
“It blew my mind to learn that on July 11, 1964, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to drink coffee at a hotel, and as he went up the hotel’s stairs in St. Augustine, the owner told him that he could not enter just because of the color of his skin. Then, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was pushed down the stairs! When I realized I was standing on the site where this happened, a shiver ran down my spine.”
— Kenzi
“The owner of the hotel called the police and they put Martin Luther King in jail. When he got out, he courageously marched right back up those hotel stairs and was arrested again!”
— Alayna

“They arrested many of the young protesters throughout that summer, put them in jail, and fed them only baby food!”
— Anya
“Wow! They did this not because of a crime, but because of the color of their skin. Judge people by the content of  character, not by their skin!”
— Nikhil
“I was saddened to learn that my people were hurt like that and you should be too.” 
— Anderson

“Rev. Andrew Young also led peaceful marches in St. Augustine during the summer of 1964. To honor him, there is a street named after him at the corner of the town’s square where he protested. We literally walked in his bronze footprints along the sidewalk, which made me feel very proud to be part of this.”
— Kate

“If I were alive back then, I would have fought for freedom too!“
— Olivia
“I’m grateful that segregation doesn’t exist in the USA anymore.”
— Colton
“We should never be treated unequally again!”
— Amir
“I think we can be better than the way they behaved back then!”
— Lynn 
The 3rd grade students were inspired by Ms. Reeve’s first-hand account of this pivotal moment in our nation’s history. As we approach Martin Luther King Day, our students' reflections demonstrate a new layer of understanding about our country’s pledge for liberty and justice, and gratitude for all those who courageously persevered to create a more just world for all.
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Located In Jacksonville, FL, Jacksonville Country Day School is a private school for Pre-K 3 through 6th grade. JCDS prepares students for a healthy and productive lifetime of intellectual exploration, character development, and social responsibility.