When eleven-year old Rodney Hurst accepted his American History teacher's invitation to join the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, he could not have guessed at the enormous impact it would have on his life, Jacksonville history or the Civil Rights Movement. Hurst's new book, It was never about a hot dog and a Coke, released in January, 2008, is subtitled "A Personal Account of the 1960 Sit-in Demonstrations in Jacksonville, Florida and Ax Handle Saturday" and recounts 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 young Blacks, led by Hurst as Youth Council NAACP President, staging sit-in demonstrations at white lunch counters in downtown Jacksonville. Aptly named Ax Handle Saturday by the media, the event gained national attention and thrust Hurst and the Youth Council into the spotlight of the Civil Rights era. Ironically, the local press and media blacked-out all news of the events prior to Ax Handle Saturday, and reported sparingly on the those events after Ax Handle Saturday.
Hurst writes with clarity and an historical eye as he details the times, the mood and the people of Jacksonville in a time of high tension and change. Part memoir, part history and part biography, It was never about a hot dog and a Coke provides a chronicle of the pivotal event and an in-depth look at the players whose lives and actions helped make Jacksonville and America what it is today.
The book is a captivating history lesson, 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.
In addition to his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, Hurst's years of service in the Jacksonville Community include, two four-year terms on the Jacksonville City Council; one of the first thirteen national recipients of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Fellowships; and the first Black to co-host a television talk show in Jacksonville. Hurst has served on the boards of several state and national organizations most notably the Arrangements Committee of the 1980 National Democratic Convention.
A former administrator at Edward Waters College, Hurst remains active in the Jacksonville community and serves on several local organizational and agency boards. He is the recipient of numerous recognitions and awards and is a subscribing Silver Life Member of the NAACP. He is a member of the Bethel Baptist Institutional Church in Jacksonville Florida where he actively serves in the Fine Arts Ministry. He and his wife Ann have been married for more than 41 years. They have two sons, Todd, and Rodney, and two granddaughters Marquiette, and Jasmine. His hobbies are Oldies and Motown music, and he spends what he calls quality time, as an "Oldies" DJ.
Old School and Motown Music
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