Rodney Lawrence Hurst, Sr. is the author of two award winning books, “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke!” and “Unless WE Tell It…It Never Gets Told!” Hurst recounts with clarity, in his book It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!, the segregated civic, the segregated political, and the segregated educational climate of Jacksonville Florida in the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Through his eyes as the sixteen-year-old President of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP and one of the leaders of the 1960 Jacksonville sit-in demonstrations, Hurst chronicles the accurate history of the bloody events of August 27, 1960. On that day, 200 white males with ax handles and baseball bats attacked members of the Jacksonville, Florida Youth Council NAACP who were demonstrating peaceably at White lunch counters in downtown Jacksonville; and also attacked anyone Black in downtown Jacksonville. The press calls that day Ax Handle Saturday. Hurst covers everything from why they demonstrated to the after math.
“Unless WE Tell It…It Never Gets Told!” tells the stories of some of Jacksonville’s notable Blacks: those who impacted this city and the country; those were a part of
America’s Black History; those who impacted America’s Civil Rights History, and those who were and are essential components of Black America’s historic fight against Racism. History, as it is usually told, ignores those Blacks who fought for equality and justice against great odds while also fighting against the racism of America. Hurst’s second books discusses the racist forces in America today would like to revise American history; to “pretty up” the abhorrent practices of slavery; to romanticize the South’s par-ticipation in the misnamed Civil War; to ignore the impact of Jim Crow laws; to conceal the obscenely violent acts perpetrated against the Civil Rights Movement; to return to the routine use of racial epithets; and to redefine the meanings of segregation and racism. This ridiculous lack of honesty coincides with our country’s apparent penchant to seek a return to its past racist attitudes. It is easier to think that relations are getting better when you are not feeling the brunt of racism.