Bernard Street is one of three historically black residential streets in the North City area, dating back to the Flagler Era. At the west end of the street were a lumber yard, steam laundry, and ice plant that provided employment. Other residents worked at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind and the Fountain of Youth.
In the early twentieth century, Dawson Chapel C.M.E., Hurst Chapel A.M.E., and North City Baptist Church were built on Bernard St.
Many residents were active in the civl rights movement of the 1960's, including Eliza Hawthorne, secretary of the NAACP, and Bungum Roberson, treasurer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Another notable resident was Cary White for whom a building was named at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind is named. He was the school's first black graduate.
St. Augustine public schools were segregated until 1963, when 6 black students enrolled in formerly all-white schools. In May, 1964 it was announced that 13 more black students would go to white schools, a majority of them lived on Bernard Street.
This marker is placed here to honor the pioneers of school desegregation who lived on Bernard Street: Rose Etta Washington and Alfred Eugene Davis (who lived in this house), Christopher White, Janet Elizabeth White, Janice Marie White, Deanna Debra Brown, Michael Edward Brown, and Walter Eugene White.
For their courage, they were included in the group that Dr. Martin Luther King hailed as "the heroes of St. Augustine."
This historical marker presented on the 2nd day of July, 2008 by Northrop Grumman.