What does progress look like? In regards to the Summer of 1960, the courage, determination, and direct action of dozens of individuals and a few organizations brought about much-delayed progress. Yes, those lunch counters were desegregated, as were most businesses, but some remained deep-rooted in separatism until only recently. Yes, the fallacy of ‘separate but equal’ schools was addressed only after decades of missteps and intentional obstructionism. The Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts of 1964 and 1965 passed, but are still being stripped today. And for decades, the sacrifices of those who led the change in Northeast Florida were ignored. Sixty years later the light is shining brightly on the importance of THAT moment on THIS moment, proving the adage that this is not a moment, but a movement. And one that seems stubborn to move forward…but we will not stop moving.
With this, we leave you, one last time, with the words of Rodney L. Hurst Sr.:
“Because you cannot see the visible vestiges of racism and segregation, does not mean that racism and segregation no longer exist. Fighting for civil rights today requires the same diligence as it did in the sixties. Believe me, there is still a war to fight. If we are committed to meaningful race relations in Jacksonville, we must have serious dialogue and communication between the white and Black communities. You can compare every racial study completed in Jacksonville over the years, and find that the results are remarkably similar; which means the problems have not changed and this community has not addressed them. If Jacksonville is to reach a level of greatness, men and women of goodwill must continually attack racism at every level. The consequences should not be a consideration.”
In the voice of Rodney L. Hurst Sr., from his book, It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!