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Mayor Shelley's Summer Proclamation
St. Augustine Civil Rights
May 28, 1964
St. Augustine Record
Mayor Issues Statement on Seriousness of Taking Part in Demonstrations
May 28 , 1964

Mayor Joseph A Shelley has issued the following statement to the citizens of St. Augustine and St.
Johns County:

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. With summer will come the end of the
1963-1964 school year. I believe that this is an appropriate time to call to the attention of all our
citizens something which I consider to be of the gravest importance.

Militant civil rights leaders in a number of different organizations have repeatedly stated that with the
coming of summer they intend to continue their demonstrations in St. Augustine. What I am offering is
not a warning, but rather it is a word of advice and a word of caution to all parents of yount people of
both races in St. Augustine. Soon these young people will be out of school. With the coming of the
summer heat, it is a well known scientific fact that emotions and passions run deeper. Idle minds and
idle hands are a fertile field for bad and evil thoughts and actions. Parents can not for one moment
escape being held, to some degree, responsible for the actions of their children.

Police Department records all over the United States prove beyond doubt one definite fact. A high
percentage of young people who are coerced, induced or otherwise appealed to by violent, radical
civil rights leaders to go out and deliberately break civil laws of a state or community have become
later involved in crimes of violence which place a criminal mark against their records. Once a young
person has been induced to violate a civil law and has gained some excitement from this adventure, it
is but a simple step to become involved in criminal acts, such as burglary, breaking and entering,
automobile stealing, assault and battery, and even murder and rape. I can only say that any parents
who allow their children to become involved in so-called peaceful demonstrations which may later
evolve into violation of state laws, are themselves involved in crimes against both God and man. Keep
in mind that once a criminal act and conviction becomes part of the record of your child, that he or
she may well find it impossible to gain useful employment for the rest of his or her life. Any person
convicted of a felony can never enlist in the military services nor can they ever hold a Civil Service
job. These black marks, once they are placed against a person's records, can be very difficult to

For many years, the people of St. Augustine of both races have lived side by side in peace and
tranquility. Many close and binding, friendships have developed because of the serenity which has
surrounded life in St. Augustine, but because of the demonstrations and violence which have occurred
in the past year, relationships between long standing friends have become strained. The acts of
innocent individuals in both races now become suspect. No matter what laws are passed in
Washington, the damage which has been done to relationships between the races in St. Augustine and
in practically every other community in the United States, will be a long time in healing. Do you want
to contribute to this further disintegration of relationships between our people in St. Augustine? You
have a choice. You have a full, free choice of your activities in the coming months ahead. If you
consider yourselves to be responsible citizens, you will adhere to the laws which are in effect in the
state today. These laws are designed to protect the rights and property of all citizens, and as long as
they are valid, as long as they are not repealed by a constitutional amendment, or declared
unconstitutional by court action, these laws will be enforced. The decision is yours.

Mayor Joseph A. Shelley
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