“It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!” is subtitled “A Personal Account of the 1960 Sit-in Demonstrations in Jacksonville, Florida and Ax Handle Saturday”. It is Hurst’s personal eyewitness account, as President of the Jacksonville Florida Youth Council NAACP, of the events leading up to, and the fallout from, the bloody events of August 27, 1960. On that day, 200 ax handle and baseball bat wielding whites attacked members of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, who were “sitting-in” at white lunch counters in downtown Jacksonville peacefully protesting segregation. Part memoir, part history and part biography, “It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®!” provides a chronicle of those pivotal events whether you were there, only heard the stories, or, as is the case with so many people today, know next to nothing about the violent years of the Civil Rights struggle.
They must understand the fight against racism continues …
It was never about a hot dog and a Coke®! has won more a dozen awards, including: the USA Book News Book First Place Gold Medal Award for Multi-Cultural Nonfiction; the Independent Publisher Awards Silver Medal for Nonfiction; the New York Library Silver Medal for Nonfiction; the Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal in Nonfiction; the Inaugural Stetson Kennedy Award by the Florida Historical Society; the City of Jacksonville’s Historic Preservation Award; the Sabrina Book Reviews Award for Best General Non-Fiction Book; the Sabrina Book Reviews Award as the Best Book of the year; and the Southeast Region Reader Views Literary Awards Best Book for Nonfiction.
Hurst speaks extensively on Civil Rights, Black History, and Racism. He gave the keynote address at the 2010 City of Jacksonville’s 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast, and also gave the keynote address at the 2013 Nassau County Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast. Hurst is also the recipient of numerous awards including: the Clanzel T. Brown Award from the Jacksonville Urban league, the James Genwright Sr. Humanitarian Award presented by the Lincoln-Douglas Memorial Emancipation Proclamation Association, Inc, and The Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Visionary Award present by the Bethune-Cookman University National Alumni Association.
In addition to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, Hurst served two four-year terms on the Jacksonville City Council and is responsible for a number of “firsts” in the Jacksonville Community. He is one of the First Thirteen National “Fellows” receiving fellowships from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Television for study in Public Television; the first Black to co-host a television talk show in Jacksonville on PBS Channel WJCT; the first Black male hired at the Prudential South Central Home Office in Jacksonville, Florida; and the first Black to serve as the Executive Director of the State of Florida’s Construction Industry Licensing Board.
Hurst and his wife Ann have been married for more than 46 years. They have two sons, Rodney II and Todd, and two granddaughters Marquiette, and Jasmine.