Just one day after the racially motivated killings on Kings Road, the 63rd Anniversary of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP 1960 sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday was held with a full audience in attendance. The commemoration tributes the infamous Jacksonville riot of 1960. Also a racially motivated attack in the former Hemming Park (since renamed James Weldon Johnson Park or JWJ Park), the anniversary reflects on the date when a group of 200 white men used baseball bats and ax handles to attack black people who were in sit-in protests opposing racial segregation. Rodney Hurst, who, at age 16, was the president of the leaders of the sit-ins, presided. Several speakers during the evening dialogue, discussed civil rights and human rights then and now and offered “capsules” about current issues and community projects. Speakers included local professors, human rights commission executives, public entertainment/industry representatives and nonprofit supporters. During the commemoration Hurst was presented with a mayoral proclamation and City Council Resolution recognizing Ax Handle Saturday’s impact on Jacksonville’s, African American community, history and legacy. Attendees acknowledged that through the climate may have changed, Black Americans are still at the mercy of racist ideology.
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