Film explores civil rights struggle in St. Augustine, FL

By Krystal Allan - bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It was an incident that put St. Augustine, Florida, in the national spotlight during the civil rights movement.

"When I came to St. Augustine, I happened to cross some of this black and white archival footage showing some of the instances that happened there. So, for me, it was a real moment of truth," says Jeremy Dean, director of "Dare Not Walk Alone."

The year was 1964. That summer, the city became the focal point of numerous non-violent demonstrations led in part by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was there that a white hotel owner named James Brock poured acid into a pool full of young black and white non-violent demonstrators. The civil rights demonstrations of 1964 became known as the "long hot summer."

Like other cities, St. Augustine, played a pivotal role in breaking the filibuster in Senate which allowed the Civil Rights Act to be passed into law. It was a story filmmaker, Jeremy Dean, who was passionate about capturing that piece of history. Dean doesn't think that piece of histlry should be lost amid the city's now quaint and charming image.

"This (film) really gave me a chance to dive deep into what (the civil rights struggle) meant and what was accomplished," says Dean.

The latter half of the movie delves into the challenges society is grabbling with present day. Dean tells of the glaring disparities and poverty along racial lines in the area.

"I really want the film to challenge people of my generation and younger who are disconnected from the civil rights generation to say look there are still issues of freedom and justice and equality that we need to deal with," says Dean.

Dean's hope is that the film will inspire people to become more involved and active in standing up for a more equitable society.

"I think that's our generation's job, to change hearts and minds and keep pushing those ideas forward," says Dean.

The award-winning documentary, which took seven years to complete, has been screened in film festivals across the nation. It was also nominated for an NAACP Image Award. The film is touring with the "Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Film Makers" under the Southern Arts Federation.

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