Black History Month special film presentation Feb. 28 at Palladium

ST. PETERSBURG – The City of St. Petersburg will help mark Black History Month with a special film presentation about the bloodiest campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement, chronicling events based in Florida.

The St. Petersburg Library System will host a screening of the award-winning, hour-long film “Passage at St. Augustine: The 1964 Black Lives Matter Movement That Transformed America,” at The Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N, Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 6 p.m.

Free and open to the public, the screening will be followed by a conversation and Q&A session with Boston-based filmmaker and Emmy-nominated journalist Clennon L. King.

The documentary film is about the little-known but turbulent St. Augustine Civil Rights Movement that dominated the headlines in 1963-64 during the push for desegregation in the nation’s oldest city. Learn more and view the film trailer online at

Documentary filmmaker Clennon L. King . (Delores Handy/WBUR)

“Often people only associate the Civil Rights Movement with Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia,” said King, who is a former Florida-based on-air television reporter and correspondent for the St. Petersburg-based “Florida Trend” magazine. “But the truth is that the most violent and transformative campaign of the movement unfolded in Florida, changing America for the better,”

In all, more than 45 voices tell the story, including civil rights foot soldiers and field lieutenants, segregationists, White House insiders, clergy, Klansman, correspondents and politicians.

“And while LBJ and MLK are also featured prominently, audiences invariably come away asking why a campaign so pivotal appears to have been wiped from the hard drive of history,” King stated.

An Albany, Ga., native, the filmmaker first began working on the documentary in 2002 after a four-year stint as a television reporter and anchor at Jacksonville’s NBC affiliate. With a father who was a lawyer for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (no relation), King grew up steeped in civil rights history.

Well aware of nearby St. Augustine’s rich civil rights past, King began tracking down veterans of the campaign.

“I wanted to capture and chronicle their stories while they were still here,” he said, noting nearly a third of those interviewed are now deceased.

Thirteen years in the making, the film premiered in February 2015 before the League of Women Voters in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Since then, King has presented at multiple institutions across the country, including Brandeis University, Boston College, the University of Texas at Austin and Flagler College in St. Augustine – where the campaign unfolded. Last month, the film was featured at Dartmouth College and before FAMU’s Sarasota Alumni Chapter in Sarasota.

King resides in Boston, home to AugustineMonica Films, which produced Passage at St. Augustine (  Last summer, the film earned The Henry Hampton Award for Excellence in Documentary Filmmaking at the 2015 Roxbury International Film Festival.

 The Black History Month Celebration is presented by the St. Petersburg Library System, the City of St. Petersburg Urban Affairs, The Palladium Theater and AugustineMonica Films.

About the St. Petersburg Library

St. Petersburg’s Library System provides library resources to meet the educational, recreational, cultural, intellectual and social needs of its diverse community. It operates seven community libraries, including the Main Library, North Community Library, South Community Library, West Community Library, Johnson Community Library, Mirror Lake Community Library and a micro-library at Childs Park. For more information, visit

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