june 1964

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reacts in St. Augustine, Fla., after learning that the senate passed the civil rights bill, June 19, 1964.

When she joined a “swim-in” in St. Augustine, Florida on June 18, 1964, then 17-year-old Mamie Nell Ford had little idea that her picture would soon be seen around the world – and help spur the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. On that day, seven civil rights activists, including Ford, jumped into the segregated pool at the Monson Motor Lodge to protest its ‘whites-only’ policy. As journalists looked on, the motel owner’s James Brock responded by dumping acid into the pool in an effort to drive them out. Ford recalls that her immediate reaction was “I couldn’t breathe,” and a photo of her with an alarmed expression as Brock pours acid nearby appeared in newspapers around the world. When people learn about the incident today, Ford says, “I’m often asked, ‘How could you have so much courage?’ Courage for me is not ‘the absence of fear,’ but what you do in the face of fear.”

The campaign to challenge segregation in St. Augustine in 1963 and 1964, known as the St. Augustine Movement, is considered one of the bloodiest of the Civil Rights Movement. Students staging “wade-ins” to challenge segregation on the beaches were violently beaten and, after several black children were admitted into white schools due to the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing school segregation, several of the children’s homes were burnt to the ground by local segregationists. Martin Luther King, Jr. was even arrested on the steps of this same motel only a week prior to the pool “swim-in,” after being charged with trespassing when he attempted to dine at the “whites-only” Monson Restaurant.

Prior to the pool “swim-in”, Ford was already an experienced civil rights activist in her hometown of Albany, Georgia. When Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference came to Albany to recruit activists to support the movement in St. Augustine, she immediately signed up. “When they asked for volunteers to participate in the swim-in demonstration, I said, yes, because, despite segregation, I knew how to swim,” she says. While they knew it was likely they would be arrested, no one expected the owner to pour acid into the pool. “It is as fresh in my mind as the morning dew, because when the acid was poured in the pool, the water began to bubble up,” Ford recalls. Although the group was arrested shortly thereafter, their protest had the intended effect: as it made headlines worldwide, President Johnson said in a recorded phone conservation: “Our whole foreign policy will go to hell over this!” Within 24 hours, the civil rights bill that had been introduced a year before and had been stalled in the Senate won approval, leading directly to the passage of the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964.

After being released from serving jail time for the swim-in, Ford made a powerful statement urging the people of St. Augustine to keep fighting: “Don’t lose heart now because you’re the ones on whom this movement rests. People will come and go because they live somewhere else, but you live here and you make this thing happen.” She returned home and went on to join five other black girls to lead the desegregation of the formerly all-white Albany High School, where she graduated with honors in 1965. Ford, who later changed her name to Mimi Jones, then went to college in Boston where she spent her career working in the Department of Education.

Although less well known than school segregation, the long legacy of segregation in swimming pools still lives on today. After legal challenges and actions like this one in St. Augustine forced the end of segregated pools, in many towns, especially in the South, ‘white flight’ from public pools to private clubs often led to their closure. The impact of first segregation and later pool closures over generations has led to a major gap between white and black Americans in swimming ability, with whites being twice as likely to know how to swim as blacks. This difference is also reflected in the CDC finding that black children are three times more likely die from drowning than white children. For these reasons and the long legacy of racism at swimming pools, Simone Manuel’s victory at the last Olympic Games took on special meaning for many African Americans – a significance the young swimmer alluded to after she became the first African-American woman to ever win an individual Olympic gold in swimming: “The gold medal wasn’t just for me,“ she said. "It’s for a lot of people who came before me.”

Picture and text from "A Mighty Girl” on Facebook

Previously unpublished photograph of George Harrison at the Royal Hotel, Copenhagen, Denmark, 4 June 1964; as sold by Julien’s Auctions. This and a few other images were photographed by young reporter from a Swedish magazine; the negatives have since been destroyed, making these unique prints.

“I was dead against carrying on without Ringo. Imagine, The Beatles without Ringo! Anyway, I bowed to the pressure and off we went, but I was none too pleased, even though Jimmie [Nichol] was actually quite a lovely guy.” - George Harrison, Off The Record

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The Beatles photographed on the 3rd June 1964, a photoshoot for the Saturday Evening Post newspaper in Barnes, London. It was during this photoshoot (allegedly) that Ringo collapsed with tonsillitis and pharyngitis and had to be taken to hospital. A few hours later session drummer, Jimmie Nicol attended a rush rehearsal with the other three Beatles and was drafted in to replace Ringo on their 1964 world tour, due to start in Denmark the following day. 

June 11th, 1964 (Sheraton Hotel, Sydney): Paul makes himself known during a question on the authorship of In His Own Write, and John makes himself known during a question on their choice of holiday companions. 

Q: John, did you entirely write your book or were you given help? Did you actually write all of it?

JOHN: No, I mean – who’s gonna help you with a thing like that? [laughter] No, if I write… People are getting ghost writers for novels and things.

PAUL: [aside] Tch, tch – John! John!

JOHN: Oh, he – well, I wrote in the beginning, [Paul] wrote the intro and helped with a couple of the stories. He was only mentioned on one because they forgot. [laughter] But that’s all.

Q: Paul, you won’t mind us asking you this question, I’m sure. We read that there was some adverse comment in England about a couple of you fellas taking the girls on a holiday. How did you react to this? What did you think of this – what’s your point of view? People here would like to know.

PAUL: “Narrow-minded.” [pause] Is what I thought. That’s all I can say.

JOHN: The thing is, they either go out with girls and get talked about, or don’t and get talked about more, don’t they? [uproarious laughter; cheers] Thank you!

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Civil Rights leader and Mississippi director of C.O.R.E. (Congress of Racial Equality) Dave Dennis breaks down while giving a eulogy at James Chaney’s funeral. Chaney was one of the three civil rights workers brutally murdered by the Ku Klux Klan on June 21, 1964 during the Freedom Summer movement in Mississippi for trying to get black residents in the state to register to vote. The other two workers were Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both of whom were white Jews from New York. All three men’s bodies were disposed of in an earthen dam and weren’t discovered until August 4, 1964.

“Dave Dennis’ speech was a turning point in the summer because everybody wanted him to say the usual things that you would say at a funeral. And Dave Dennis just couldn’t do it. He challenged the people at the memorial and he challenged the whole movement.”
-Bruce Watson, author

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BREAKING: Serial Killer Ian Brady Dies Aged 79

The second half of the infamous ‘Moors Murderers’ duo, Ian Brady, has died in Ashworth Hospital, Merseyside, of lung cancer. He took with him the secret of what happened to Keith Bennett, a twelve-year-old boy Brady murdered alongside his then-girlfriend, Myra Hindley, in June 1964. His body was buried in Saddleworth Moor, and has never been found to this day. 

 Brady was born in Glasgow, and had a difficult adolescence spent in borstals. He met Myra Hindley at a work party in 1961, and the pair of them awkwardly courted for a few months before becoming a couple. Hindley nourished Brady’s sexual sadism, and he relished in her willingness to do whatever he wanted. 

Between July 1963 and October 1965, Brady and Hindley murdered five children - including Keith Bennett - in the Manchester area. All but one were buried on the nearby moors; their last victim, Edward Evans, was discovered in an upstairs bedroom a day after his murder. Brady made the fatal mistake of including another person in the murder - in this case, Myra’s brother in law - and within hours the ‘Moors Murderers’ had been charged and arrested. Brady and Hindley were clipped and cold during trial, where they calm denied everything. Both were sentenced to life sentences,  or detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure. 

Myra Hindley died in 2002 of a stroke.  She was 66 years old. 

Ian Brady spent the last thirty years of his life on a consensual hunger strike, as he believed he belonged in a medical facility and not in prison. During his final hours several detectives apparently begged Brady to divulge where he had buried Keith Bennett, but the convicted killer remained silent to the very end.