Axe Handle Saturday

BBUUC’s remembrance of Jacksonville’s Axe Handle Saturday.

You are invited to join in BBUUC’s remembrance of Axe Handle Saturday. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, August 25, 7-9 PM, on Zoom.

Sixty years ago this month, an integrated group of Jacksonville high school and college students gathered every Saturday and ordered lunch at a segregated counter in the Woolworth store in downtown Jacksonville. They were refused service as they knew they would be. But they didn’t leave their seats at the counter. This meant that the white customers couldn’t order their food.

This caused much consternation the first couple of Saturdays. On Saturday, August 27, a group of about 200 white men gathered in Hemming Plaza and passed out axe handles. Next, they went to Woolworths and beat the crap out of the integrated group of students. By pre-arrangement, the police did not arrive until most of the damage was done. Mostly black students were arrested. Ever since then, August 27, 1960, has carried the moniker Axe Handle Saturday.

In 2010, in preparation for the 50th Anniversary of Axe Handle Saturday, WJCT dug for any available video footage. There wasn’t much locally, but they found a Hearst newsreel film stored at UCLA that had significant footage of the event and the immediate aftermath. That and additional video material was expanded into a hour long movie about Axe Handle Saturday in 2014. You can find it at and watch it at home if you wish.

On Zoom on August 25, we will show the movie 7-8 PM, followed by a discussion 8-9 PM. Check in any time. The Zoom link is: