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Ax Handle Saturday

What happened on Ax Handle Saturday, Aug. 27, 1960, in Jacksonville, FL?

For two weeks in the summer of 1960, young Black demonstrators had held sit-ins at lunch counters of downtown Jacksonville stores, where they were ignored by staff and taunted by white counter-protesters. Their actions made for angry enemies, including the local KKK. And there were reputable reports that violence might be coming their way.

But the young demonstrators, who’d vowed nonviolence, didn’t back down.

White Department stores in downtown Jacksonville insulted Black shoppers daily by wanting them to spend their money, but only where the stores wanted Black shoppers to spend their money. One of the many places White stores did not want Blacks to spend money was at the White lunch counters. We said that was an insult. We did not sit in because we wanted to eat a hot dog and a coke. We sat in to dramatize our opposition to segregation and Racism and for our Human Dignity and Respect. White Department stores in downtown Jacksonville insulted Black shoppers daily by wanting them to spend their money, but only where the stores wanted Black shoppers to spend their money. One of the many places White stores did not want Blacks to spend money was at the White lunch counters. We said that was an insult. We did not sit in because we wanted to eat a hot dog and a coke. We sat in to dramatize our opposition to segregation and Racism and for our Human Dignity and Respect. 

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*(The Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP was comprised of mostly high school students in Jacksonville from the Black segregated high schools-Matthew W. Gilbert Junior Senior high school on the East side or “out East” as we used to say; New Stanton high school on the West side; Douglas Anderson Junior Senior high school on the Southside; and Northwestern Junior Senior high school [my Alma Mater] on the North side. I had the honor of serving as the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP President. Mr. Rutledge Henry Pearson was the Youth Council adviser.) 

During the 60th Commemoration for Ax Handle Saturday we will officially announce the first annual Civil Rights Conference in Jacksonville, FL to be held August 26-29, 2021. This event will include a mass meeting, an educational component, Civil Rights films and art, keynotes, and much more. We will also announce monthly learning exchanges that will precede the first annual Civil Rights Conference, beginning in September 2020 that will include a youth leadership development experience.

Ax Handle Saturday Created by Vanguard Solutions Consulting

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