ACCORD Civil Rights Museum
Located in St. Augustine, The ACCORD (The Anniversary to Commemorate the Civil Rights Demonstrations) Civil Rights Museum opened its doors on July 2, 2014. This grand opening was part of a ceremony commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The museum is located within the former dental offices of Drs. Rudolph Gordon and Robert B. Hayling. Gordon became one of the first black dentists in the region and his practice was succeeded by Dr. Hayling, a leader of the local St. Augustine Movement. Hayling is also known as the "Father of the Civil Rights Act of 1984."
Backstory and Context
Hayling organized the Youth Council of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). As adviser of the NAACP Youth Council and head of the St. Augustine chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, Hayling had many meetings and planning sessions at his office with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and lawyers who came to support the civil rights efforts, among others. Gordon's widow, Mrs. Rosalie Gordon-Mills (1907-2004) made history in 1965 when she became the first black woman in 400 years to seek public office in St. Augustine, as a candidate for the City Commission.
The history of the ACCORD museum begins in 2003 with a series of discussions by local residents about how they might honor the anniversary of the St. Augustine Movement of 1964. In that year, national civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.’s visited St. Augustine to join local leaders in a nonviolent campaign against segregation and discrimination.
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