Fax from Rev. Martin Luther King to
President Lyndon Banes Johnson
Violence in St. Augustine
May 29, 1964

Lyndon Banes Johnson Presidential Library

May 29 1964 9:06 PM

Fax San Diego Calif
The President
The White House

I am wiring you out of the utmost urgency. As you must know, all semblance of law and order has broken down at St.
Augustine, Florida. In the last forty-eight hours, we have witnessed raw and rampant violence even beyond much of
what we have experienced in Alabama and Mississippi.

Our demonstrations have been absolutely nonviolent. Yet the only police restraint has been directed at those who seek
the just goals of our democratic heritage in the nation’s oldest city. One of my closest aides has been brutally beaten,
newsmen have been attacked and their cameras destroyed, the homes of our people have been shot into and at least
three attempts at assassination have been made against SCLC staff.

We call on you as President of our nation to use the influence of your high office to immediately provide Federal
protection through the Department of Justice for the members of the negro community who seek redress of their
grievances under the first amendment. The Chief of Police has publically admitted that he does not have the resources
to restrict the violent onslaught of the racist opposition. We cannot in good conscience postpone our nonviolent thrust
merely because violence has erupted against us but we sincerely believe that as American citizens our right to
peaceable assembly must be guaranteed and not abridged because of the unrestrained lawlessness of the Klan
element. Unless immediate and decisive action is taken, those who have degenerated to the use of violence will be
encouraged and there will be inescapably the needless loss of life and property. Very truly yours
Martin L. King Jr. Pres S.C.L.C.
Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King
President Lyndon Banes Johnson
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