New Exhibit

Mon – Thu  8:30am – 5:00pm
Fridays  8:30am – 1:00pm
Groups may book a tour for a convenient time
by contacting

The Frisch Family Holocaust Memorial Gallery | The LJD Jewish Family & Community Services
8540 Baycenter Road, Jacksonville, FL  32256

About the Exhibit

WE COULD NOT BE SILENT Commemorates a Remarkable Act of Solidarity at a Critical Moment in History

What transpired over the course of three days in June of 1964 changed our nation’s history and was a significant factor in the passage of the Civil Rights Act. This was an era when Black citizens and their allies in St. Augustine were striving to desegregate private and public properties – from hotels, to lunch counters, to pools, to public beaches. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. arrived in St. Augustine to work with local movement leaders, the environment was one of incredible hostility and violence.

Recognizing the need to shine a larger spotlight on what was happening in the city, Dr. King sent a letter to Rabbi Israel Dresner, a former freedom rider, calling for his support. Rabbi Dresner, along with 15 other rabbis and a layperson responded by traveling to St. Augustine to stand with the Black community.

Why This Exhibit in the Holocaust Memorial Gallery

While sitting in a jail cell, the rabbis wrote a letter to their communities as a witness to what they were experiencing and the reasons they had come. They expressed how history had informed their decision:

We came as Jews who remember the millions of faceless people who stood quietly, watching the smoke rise from Hitler’s crematoria. We came because we know that, second only to silence, the greatest danger to man is loss of faith in man’s capacity to act.

Why We Choose To Tell This Story

Many of the forces during this turbulent time are still with us today. As certain groups have become more active and emboldened in their public displays of hate, it is imperative we recognize the power of community and solidarity and let history remind us of who we can be.

A phrase written by the rabbis almost sixty years ago echoes through the years and speaks to us today:

Silence has become the unpardonable sin of our time.

Thank You to Our Generous Supporters

The Frisch Family
Florida Blue
The Dr. Larry & Kathy Kanter Art Fund
The Theodore and Pauline Cohen Charitable Trust

WE COULD NOT BE SILENT is curated by Hope McMath and represents decades of work by historians, journalists, activists, and leaders in the Black and Jewish communities in Northeast Florida.

Historic Photos:
1) St. Augustine, June 10, 1964. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gives encouragement as a group of youngsters picket in St. Augustine. (AP Photo, FILE). 2) St. Augustine, June 18, 1964. When a group of white and African American integrationists entered a segregated hotel pool, manager James Brock poured muriatic acid into it, shouting “I’m cleaning the pool.” The demonstrators refused to leave and were arrested. (AP Photo/Horace Cort). 3) St. Augustine, June 18, 1964. Hotel Manager James Brock, left, shoves Rabbi Michael Robinson toward a police officer after a group of white and African American demonstrators entered the hotel restaurant. (AP Photo/JK)

Mon, October 2 | 10am-12pm

We are offering training for anyone who would like to volunteer as a docent, serving both as a greeter and guide to the exhibit at times the gallery is open to the public. Scheduling would be flexible to fit your availability.

Contact Melissa Williams at for more info and to register for training.


In partnership with the Jacksonville Public Library, JFCS offers an opportunity to come together in a safe space and engage in discussion on topics around the rise of hate group activity, its impact on targeted groups, and how we can work together to create a supportive community. The evening will include a presentation, a facilitated panel, and a moderated Q&A session.