Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, African Americans challenged segregation across the land. In Tallahassee, African Americans mounted a successful campaign to end segregated seating on city buses. The Reverend C. K. Steele, leader of the Tallahassee boycott, later became an officer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the premier civil rights organization of the 1960s.
In 1964, the SCLC supported efforts by St. Augustine blacks to desegregate public accommodations and municipal beaches. The involvement of SCLC and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in demonstrations in St. Augustine drew national attention to the civil rights movement while Congress was considering the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Many sessions of SCLC's Citizen Education Program, devoted to citizenship and leadership training for southern blacks, took place at Dorchester Academy in Liberty County, Georgia. In Savannah, a strong local movement fought for civil rights without significant outside help.