Lincolnville St. Augustine History TourRaja Rahim
Much of the scholarship on African American life and history in St. Augustine has focused on the local Civil Rights Movement from 1963-1964, and a large gap exists in both primary research and formal scholarship about the African American communities before and after the civil rights movement. Furthermore, conflicting narratives in both popular memory and academic historical discussion on the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine have left some individuals’ experiences and perspectives buried in the past. Although not the primary goal of the project, the oral interviews conducted this summer uncovered new voices that previously were not included in the story of black freedom struggle of St. Augustine.
The purpose of the project was to expand the context on the life and history of African Americans in St. Augustine, Florida, beyond the conversation centered on civil rights. Prior to integration, African American life and history in St. Augustine was rich, particularly in the Lincolnville community. The oral interviews conducted spoke to prominence of black schools, churches, businesses, and athletics, as as well as the leaders of black St. Augustine. Furthermore, this research expanded the narrative on the intricacies of Jim Crow era as interviewees spoke to segregation at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, Flagler Hospital and other local institutions.
While interested in adding to the already recognized historical research about individuals and events in the community during the civil rights movement and documenting African American life and culture of the past, researchers gained insight to the presence of African American life that still exists in St. Augustine, Florida. The Corner Market, a black-owned family business, and St. Paul AME Church, a historic black church, still stand as cornerstones and reminders of black life in Lincolnville.
In collaboration with the Department of History and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP), Trace is currently developing a location-based history application for the neighborhood of Lincolnville in St. Augustine, FL. Drawing from a database of oral histories collected by SPOHP, the application will coordinate audio narratives from community members to historical churches, businesses, and homes throughout Lincolnville. After downloading the application to their mobile device, visitors to the area will be able to access a guided Google Maps tour that will direct them to various points of interest (POI). Upon arrival at a POI, users will be prompted to scan “trigger” images within the area to access audio narratives related to the history of that location.
During a walk around St. Augustine’s historic black neighborhood, Lincolnville, graduate coordinators Raja Rahim and Annemarie Nichols meet civil rights leader J.T. Johnson, who lead a “swim-in” demonstration in efforts to desegregate the Monson Motor Lodge pool during the summer of 1964.