JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Sunday marked 63 years since Ax Handle Saturday unfolded in Jacksonville and a commemoration was held at Jessie Ball duPont Center on Adams Street.
On August 27, 1960, a mob of white men with axes and bats attacked young black people after a peaceful sit-in at a segregated lunch counter in downtown Jacksonville.
Attendees talked about how horrific it was to have young Black people fighting to make a change in the city and get beaten for it, and they also expressed how over six decades later, more change still needs to happen, especially after the three Black lives were senselessly taken when a shooter opened fire outside and in a store in the New Town neighborhood.
Rodney Hurst, who was 16 years old at the time, remembers that bloody day in August.
He says at the time their group knew something big could happen but didn’t expect that.
“We’re dealing with some of the same issues today in 2023 that we dealt with in 1960. The raw violence that we saw in Jacksonville yesterday was not surprising to some of us who have faced that kind of sheer violent dehumanizing racism,” Hurst said.
Hurst said he believes that the new generation of young activists hopefully can create a change.