St. Augustine has a close connection to Dr. King, as he visited Lincolnville in March 1964 to participate in a sit-in at Monson’s Motor Lodge. He stayed at several area homes, also in Lincolnville.
Lincolnville is a small neighborhood in St. Augustine, a 45-block area bordered by DeSoto Place, Cedar, Riberia, Cerro, and Washington Streets. When it was declared a national historic landmark in 1991, it had 548 historic buildings, although many have been demolished since that time.
If you haven’t explored Lincolnville, you owe it to yourself to do so, either by foot or by bike (I know a nice bed and breakfast that has free bikes for guests!). It was established by freed slaves in 1866. A few decades later, when Henry Flagler built his spectacular hotels, it made history again as home to the first professional black baseball team, started by black hotel employees who lived in the Ponce de Leon Barracks, the servants’ quarters for Flagler’s properties. The building is still there, at 172-180 Cordova (it’s condos now).
Shortly after Dr. King’s visit, Jackie Robinson came and addressed a civil rights rally, also in Lincolnville. It is said that these events helped to hasten Congress’ passage of the Civil Rights Act, on June 26, 1964.
Today, Lincolnville is a collection of churches, modest houses, and some nicely detailed Victorians. A Civil Rights Museum is currently in the works, and should be complete prior to St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary celebration. While we wait for that, however, grab one of our bikes and head out to explore. You’ll find art galleries, interesting architecture, and lots of historic markers to check out.