4. Frank Hampton Residence 6143 Spirea Street

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. also visited the Northside home of Frank Hampton in 1961. Hampton was a Civil-rights activist and self-made millionaire who sponsored King’s 1961 visit to Jacksonville. He owned Hampton’s Gulf Service and Fuel Oil Services across the street from Mt. Ararat Baptist Church at Myrtle Avenue and West 16th Street. Prior to that, in 1958 Hampton successfully sued the city to integrate its golf course. As a result, the city sold its courses to the private sector to keep Segregation in tact. Hampton followed up by successfully fighting city all the way to the Supreme Court to force it open all of its recreational facilities to African-Americans. Eventually Hampton was elected to the City Council in 1974. Before being escorted back to the airport by Hampton, King enjoyed a meal from Singleton’s Superior Barbeque which was known for serving chicken and pork ribs on slices of white bread wrapped in glossy brown butcher paper. Owned by Isadore Singleton, the local barbeque establishment had locations on Broad Street, Florida Avenue, Ashley Street, Moncrief Road and Edgewood Avenue.

5. Federal Courthouse 311 West Monroe Street

In 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. testified in Judge Bryan Simpson’s courtroom inside the old federal courthouse building in Downtown Jacksonville. Here, in the case of Young v. Davis, King appealed that the judge overturn a racist ban against night time civil rights marches in St. Augustine. Judge Simpson honored the request, paving the path for the events that took place in St. Augustine, which garnered enough media attention to help push the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into existence.

Judge Bryan Simpson’s courtroom where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. testified in 1964.

Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at edavis@moderncities.com