“Ax Handle Saturday” in Jacksonville on August 27, 1960

Victim of "Ax Handle Saturday" attack on peaceful black protesters in Jacksonville, Florida on August 27, 1960.
Victim of “Ax Handle Saturday” attack on peaceful black protesters in Jacksonville, Florida on August 27, 1960.

Many of the good Christian white folks of Jacksonville in 1960 did not like an influx of young black people to their lunch counters. As tensions developed so did protests and eventually at least 200 white people attacked the protesters with axe handles, bats, and other weapons.

“𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝘅 𝗛𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗦𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗱𝗮𝘆 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝘂𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗱 𝗶𝗻 𝗟𝗜𝗙𝗘 𝗺𝗮𝗴𝗮𝘇𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗻𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗽𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗺𝗮𝗷𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗲𝘀 𝗮𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘀𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗿𝘆, 𝗿𝗲𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲 𝗧𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀-𝗨𝗻𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗝𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀𝗼𝗻𝘃𝗶𝗹𝗹𝗲 𝗝𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗻𝗮𝗹 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘆.”

It’s so obvious that a big part of where we are today is sweeping the ugly truths of the past under the rug and dismissing them with words like “tensions”, “agitators”, and generic “race riots” (which in my experience puts all the blame on black people).

The South has an epidemic of sweeping our ugly past under the rug and reframing it as “Heritage, not hate”. There is a huge difference between hearing briefly about generic “race riots” and learning that white people handed out ax handles to go beat a group of peaceful protesters. That’s a fucking terrorist attack by today’s standards. “Race riot”… Doesn’t sit well with me at all to describe this situation. Wholly inadequate.

Most of the photos are from Rodney L. Hurst’s website. He was the NAACP Youth Council President at the time. He also gives some of this thoughts on the matter here:


More info from the Florida Historical Society:


Article with the quote about the blackout on coverage at Jacksonville newspapers: