Kelvin Williams


Material Information

Kelvin Williams
Physical Description:
Oral history interview
Kelvin Williams ( Interviewee )
Jennifer Lyon ( Interviewer )
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Oral history
Civil rights movement--Mississippi--History--20th century
Temporal Coverage:
1960 - 2011
Spatial Coverage:
United States of America -- Mississippi -- Bolivar


Williams talks about chopping cotton to support his single mother and siblings in Mound Bayou, Mississippi. He also talks about moving to St. Louis where he married his wife and earned a degree in law enforcement, and about his return to Mississippi where he mounted a successful campaign to become the first black Sheriff of Bolivar County since Reconstruction. People mentioned include: Barbara Williams, Vic Foster, Calzone Hall, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Louis Farrakhan, Freeman Bosley Jr., Barack Obama, Margaret Block and Mike Lamb. Locations include: Mound Bayou, Ruleville, Cleveland, Blaine, Doddsville, Parchman, Shaw, Shelby and Rosedale, Mississippi; Chicago, Illinois; and St. Louis, Missouri.

Record Information

Source Institution:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Holding Location:
UF Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Rights Management:
All rights reserved by the submitter.
Resource Identifier:
spohp - MFP 098
System ID:

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The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz 241 Pugh Hall Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor O ral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, re ligious and intellectual life in Florida and the South. In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer t o both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview t ranscripts available on the UF D igital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to refl ect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit http://oral.histor or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013


MFP 098 Intervi ewee: Kelvin Williams Interviewer: Jennifer Lyon Date: September 23, 2011 L : O k ay so today is September 23, 2011 and on behalf of the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program we have the opportunity to speak with M ister Kelvin Williams. Mr. Williams, thank you so much for taking the time out to speak with us today. We really app reciate it. W: No problem. L : We were wondering if you could just begin by telling us your name and where you were born. W: M y name is Kelvin Williams. I am a senior now because I have a junior, a nd I was initially born in Chicago, Illinois but I did Mound Bayou, there and went to Rule ville Mississippi. M y last year of high school I moved to Cleveland Mississippi. L : Can you tell us a little bit abou t your parents? W: Barbara Williams. S he was born in Blaine, Mississippi, right outside of Doddsville Her mother was my grandmother and she died at a n early age when she was about seven years old. So I never got a chan ce to get to know that grandmother. When I was about three years old her Rule ville, Mississippi and he is deceased now. But his father and mother are from Rule ville and they were what we called in those days they were considered as well off or rich people. My grand two


MFP 098; Williams; Page 2 died and he was bedridden before he died with t there the Mississippi Delta. L : Can you tell us a little bit about growing u p here in the Delta and in Rule ville? W: track is that being that my father was in and out of my life my mother worked in a f actory. Both parents received degree s from Mississippi Valley State. My mother received a teaching degree, but she working at Baxte h ere in Cleveland. And retired from there. She was a single mother. She had four children and I had another brother and two sisters. Being the oldest I learned how to take on responsibility early on. One of the responsibilities I took on was babysitting basically my brothers and sisters. At ten, eleven years old I was having to look out to stay at home sometimes by myself to watch my brothers and sisters. So I started cooking at an early age and things like that. At some point I saw my mother look like she was struggling. My was that I took it upon myself to take on that responsibility to try to purchase my own c lothes for myself. That led me to the cotton field. At an early age, I am forty particular time I chopped cotton for thirteen dollars a day at the time. That was from sun up to sun down. And I had to lie that I was fifteen or sixteen years old, but I was only th irteen or fourteen at the time, to go to the cotton field. So they spent thirteen or fourteen dollars a day then so what I did, I knew that in Rule ville


MFP 098; Williams; Page 3 where my un cle was taking people to the cotton field that they were paying seventeen or eighteen dollars so I went and stayed with hi m for the summer and made the seventeen and eighteen dollars per day. Basically, I tried to purchase e to do that. I cooked for my brother and sister s I had to learn how to do a lot of things at an early age. So that was the main part growing up in Mound Bayou the history of my Mound Bayou the things you kn ow growing in Mound Bayou We would go from Mound Bayou to Rule ville. The water in Mound B a you was brown. It almost looked like it was dirty. Then you go to Rule here. So I went to I. T. Montgomery Elementary School u p until I was in sixth actually failed a year. After that, I went to John F. Kennedy High School my seventh grade year. And from John F. Kennedy, I was there one y ear and then m y mom chose to move out with my aunt, who she was staying with. Initially, we stayed in the projects of Mound Bayou We left there and went to stay with my with her mother being deceased. We lef t there and moved to Rule ville and kind of moved around from house to house in Ruleville have a sofa bed so I grew up sleeping on the sofa in order to allow my brothers and sisters to sleep in the bed. And my mother had her own bed; it was only a two bedroom house that she was renting. Well, we belonged to the Church of Christ in Ruleville Mississippi and they had a church home, which the minister allowed us to move into that particular house. I thought that I was a big boy when


MFP 098; Williams; Page 4 I had my own room. I was glad I had my own bedroom. Well, my baby brother was in there with me, but we had our own room. Those things kind of molded me from chopping cotton I learned how to cut hair at an early age to try to make mone Washed cars, mowed yards, and all of this in order to pull away from the cotton field. So I made that money and then I left to also pay football. I was a decent football player. At Rule ville Central I was all district, all area and things like that at Ruleville Central High School, which I probably would have had a chance to did what she could, as a mom, b ut I had no male influence in my life. That led me football and I had a coach that set me down my first year trying to play junior high football and told me that, to pass. That came back to haunt me my senior year. I had schools from University of Southern Mississippi to Gremlin a lot of different schools that were interested in me playing ball for them, but I knew that I needed to have the ACT score or grades to do it. So I tell that story to young children who play sports because I was stupid or dumb, I just never took it seriously and stuf f. That led me went to Texas to try to find a cousin or someone that could get me a quick job. Stay with them. I left her so I was working minimum wage jobs so I said l et me go to California where my other cousin was. Trying to get a decent job at the age


MFP 098; Williams; Page 5 of eighteen so I ended up back at home, back in Mississippi. Going to Mississippi Valley, it ended up working out, and I had a coach, a couple of hig h school coaches that played against me, against our school, that saw me and told me that son, if you can make team So I went to Valley and was determined to make the team and I did. I had a full scholarship, but I was still young, crazy, I wanted to hang out with my friends. Well at the time I was kind of, well all of us, I was a year older than everybody. When I left Texas and California, they were at different universities. S o when I decided to come back to Mississippi Valley State all of them left their schools, Rust Alcorn Texas State all those they got there, I wanted to hang out, drink, do thin doing, drinking and smoking. And gave up my full scholarship, wanting to hang L : When did you become interested in law enforcement? W: Well, in law enforcement, when I went to Valley someone said t hat you need a major and I said I ended up choosing Criminal Justice at Mississippi Valley State. In the beginning was always these dreams of going to federal government or something like that, never believed in being a police officer. But what happened was, when I was in my second year or third year after I quit football, Parch m an Mississippi was hiring. I filled out an application I was around twenty twenty one I filled out the application, t hey hired me, and I had to go through the basic training and stuff


MFP 098; Williams; Page 6 like that. That gave me another little spark, ok ay, this is law enforcement, so I ended up purchasing my own vehicle when I was working there. I worked full time, from 4 :00 12 :00 and I was in class from 8 :00 2 :00 zed that I needed to get back in focus because while working and going to school full time working. So I told myself that, ok ay, well you can do this. Of course my wife pl ayed an instrumental part in that also when she sat me down and told me that because I to help me do my papers if I was going to be hanging out with th e boys and things like that. I knew that she was about to leave me, so I got focused and started working there. But really getting into police work is when my wife was my girlfriend at the time, s he finished her degree at Mississippi Valley, and they offe red her a job to work for the government in St. Louis, Missouri for the I forgot, the government operates as a contractor with the government in St. Louis S o she took the job and like I said, I just bought my first Bronco, Ford Bronco, and I was running back and forth from St. Louis and she was coming this way. We were going back and forth until her uncle, who was instrumental in me becoming a police officer and wanting me to be a leader in law enforcement who grew up in Mound Bayou Mississippi. His nam e was Calzone Hall he was the assistant chief. He was the assistant chief of the St. Louis police department, which is a major pol ice department. I said, man, I walked into his office and he said son I have another opportunity. Well if you pass th e te st job. I said,


MFP 098; Williams; Page 7 country c ity and being a police officer. Well, after riding all night, getting off of work at twelve and having to ride to Mississippi Valley, getting to class, getting home, getting to your room about one or two in the morning and getting back up and having to have class, I went to thinking about that. And then, working at Mississippi Department of Corrections, working at Parchman, b eing threatened by inmates at that time I was in fairly good shape, muscle s and stuff like that they were cursing me out and I wanted to jump on them when they were threatening me and stuff like that S o I said, well, this job may not be bad. And when he told me the salary and they were to completely pay for education what I was missing, of course. W a nting to get with my girlfriend I got involved. Once I got there, I almost came back when I first came out of the police academy. Police moving there. So when I finished the academy, the first day on the street I almost moved back to Mississippi because we had an incident where a guy, who was a young police officer that had just come out of the police academy class before I There was a guy, black male walking down street with a sawed off shotgun. The firs t th ing that this officer said was, we going to get hi m. We going to get there first. where I was. We got there just as sure as he said, the guy was just wal king down the street wi th a sawed off shotgun. He jumped out with his gun, couple of investigators and detectives pulled up with their guns out. Guess where I was?


MFP 098; Williams; Page 8 Still sitt ing in the car because I said, Lord, what have I gotten myself into? A nd not knowing the area that they w ere putting me in was one of the high est crime areas in 1990 per capita in the United States. That taught me a lot. That taught in it so I went back to school and said t get some management skills and things like that in case I get hurt or you know have something to fall back o n. I was kind of thinking, having that football mentality if something happens to my knee ree with the help of St. Louis P olice D epartment because they paid for every clas s if I made a C or above. I did complete that. L : How long did you stay in St. Louis? W: Stayed in St. Louis fo r ten and a half years. I was twenty two, almost twenty three when I got there. Could have been retired if I had stayed there because they ha d a good pension system and if you retired when you was twenty in twenty But I stay ed there ten and a half years f r om the seventh district of St. Louis I left there, was a school officer for a while and then I was afforded the opportunity to work for the first African American mayor in St. Louis. He was a young black male, about forty two forty four years old when he won and I ended up being his personal driver, body guard, running his security force and workin g with the secret service who brought in Pr esident Clinton to Al Gore to Far r akhan, I met a lot of people. And


MFP 098; Williams; Page 9 that taught me, as a young man, that if you volunteer, your service to help people but he needed security one day to go out and take him around when he was campaigning. And I just volunteered me and another friend of mine. Then the time came when he did get elected he put friends in position, the position that I was in, and they had pe rsonal interest, personal things, personal gains and stuff like that, which brought him a lot of flack in his first term as mayor. So he came to me and asked me if I would do it, and if I worked part time would I be willing to let it go and things like th at would hinder on bringing attention to him. So I let it go because there was an opportunity to get off the streets and he taught me a lot, from how to deal with people, from the highest level all the way down to the person that is on the street. And aft er that, after he lost, I became his traffic officer where I wrote tickets all day, DUIs. I was a DUI specialist and things like that. Just got that energy and interest and urge to move back home to start my own business. My wife and I got a job working fo r Delta State University t o kind of offset what we were doing, the business part that I did. I opened a tobacco and liquor store. closed in three years. So I ended getting back into law enforcement after that. I worked for the st ate of Mississippi as a correction Went back to the state of Mississippi, with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, working as an investigator, state investigator, which I was assigned to the Mississippi State P enitentiary again at Parchman where I was in internal affairs where I had to investigate crimes and things like that that happened; deaths and stuff that happened to most inmates A nd also investigate officers that were


MFP 098; Williams; Page 10 son by dealing with your friends and people that you grew up with and sometimes you had to go out and investigate them and keep your mouth closed and do what you had to do. Do your job. After that, my wife was in school, working on her doctorate. My boys w ere at home and that job would call me out at 3 :00 or 4 :00 so I choose to leave and come to the able to become a school resource officer after a year or two at now. L : When did you first become interested in running for sheriff? W: When I used to come back home and visit, I would always tell different political leaders in the area that when I retire from St. Louis that I was going to come back and run for sheriff. That was my interest when I got into law enforcement, to come back and run for sheriff. Gain experience from the big city and come back and run for sheriff or be the chief of police for one of the local towns. I had that dream when I moved back here. Well, when I got out of law enforcement for a little whi le, I said, well going to worry about it again. But when I became a police officer again I said, let me start w orking towa rds this goal again. just been involved in the community so I just stepped it up a little bit by volunteering for differe nt boards and things like t hat. And about, probably about [20]05, [20] 06 I started because I knew that in order to do this people need to


MFP 098; Williams; Page 11 know who you are. So that visiting I feel that God played a rol e in that because he afforded me an opportunity once so I began to speak out and watch my own opinion and the schools and things like that. I started being noticed for having suc cess with my that one guy told me when he found out that I was going to run for sheriff. He said hildren to achieve their goals. I to ld him, even before I s became noticed an d people started noticing that. So I was able to come in and attack with that. To put myself out there and for people to get to know me. L : Did you face a lot of resistance when you first expressed interest in running? W: Yes. Yes. From the guy telling me that know me, though some did, black and white. My children go to an all black school, one goes to Eastside and one goes to B. M Smith At the particular time, I had one that just come from a magnet school and went to B. M Smith and a lot of people thought I was crazy for sending them to the black school because all of his friends and classmates out of fifty something of them, went to Marg a r e t Green. But the s chool is in my neighborhood, and like what I told my wife, I am a part of an all black school in Ruleville Mississippi and she is a part of an all black


MFP 098; Williams; Page 12 school at John F. Kennedy High School in Mound Bayou Whatever our kids are alright at whatever school they go to because we play a major part in their education and what they do. They want to be successful at whatever school they go to regardless. I ended up putting my son in that school in the new school. And it was in pretty bad shape, so the first year he got there and people said we need a PTA for me to be the PTA president. The first year t know what I was getting into and the next year we came into the school, the first year the air conditioning and a lot of things like that were horrible. The kids took state tests e was about to fall asleep and I knew that he was focused. He was about to fall asleep in that particular test, taking that state test. I said, well, what was wrong son? He said, it was hot, Dad. And I started asking other people, paren ts, what was going on? so what happended was, the following the school year, be fore they started school teaching, a teacher came to me and said, Kel They need to do something about this air, and we need you; you need to speak up. I said, well. I did, I mean, like what I said, God puts you in mysterious places. So I took on the school board and I pulled some parents together, pulled some community leaders together, li ke Ms. Block and some other people, pulled them together and showed them what we were trying to do. The air was messed up, the bleachers, the carpet, the flooring tile, it was horrible.


MFP 098; Williams; Page 13 So, what I did was sat down at a computer and typed up all that was go ing on, and shared the concerns. Got a group of parents to come with me. That kind o f put me really into the community as a leader. When I was doing that, a few people that knew I was running for sheriff they came to me and said, raising a lot of s and, you know; for sheriff I said, this o i children and the te achers and the people out here. I continued on. Eventually, my group started dwindling down, the parents started dwindling down. You know how you start something, everybody is with you and eventually it started looking like me was doing this or I was tied to certain groups and things like that. But I stop me because : t w can guarantee you that, but it did help me in my race for sheriff because I gave the people an opportunity to know th at I was willing to stand for something. I was articulate enough to get out here and speak and put stuff on paper and lead a community, lead the people. A lot of positive came out of it and a lot of people respected me in the black and white community for speaking up. Stores and everywhere I went people said, and taking on the school board. I quickly told them that other people that wer e concerned about these issues. That there, but wh en I really really put the pressure on and showed people that I was going to run for sh eriff, a lot of people thought I was crazy. They said, beat this guy. I said, well, through fai th and God anything can happen. But I


MFP 098; Williams; Page 14 found o ut that there were ot her blacks running. They said, there are three blacks in this race and one white. You all are messing everything up. Wel l, initially when I tol d some other people, they said, try to talk to the other guys. So I went to two of them, inc luding one of them that is running now, I went to another one that is a chief in Rosedale ne said that they may file as an independent, the one from Rosedale, just in case you Well, he ca me on in and he picked up his papers, the guy that is running now, I asked him i f he was running. He said, no. Picked up his papers and he ended up filing around the same time that I did. So, of course a lot of people said, well ou all talk som ebody out of it? I said, doing it e some money or talk him out of runn ing. He has every right to run. And so, some other people, community leaders, tried to talk to the other two bl acks and asked th em to get out, but they said, re what nobody says. So I just told the people, I said, going to get to the people. people that I was the best candidate for the job. A nd out of thirty two years, this guy had never been in a run off election and it shocked a lot of people. It actuall y overwhelmed me the night it happened because we have twenty eight precincts in Boliva r Coun ty. Twenty seven of the precincts was in; the incumbent was up 51, 50%, 50.1%, and one preci diff erence of a few hund red votes. I w as counting my absentee ballots and stuff


MFP 098; Williams; Page 15 like that; I was k ind of discouraged, but we still have the absentee ballot and if I can get most of those and pull him back down under 50% we can still be in the run off. W Mound Bayou And when Mound Bayou came in, I had three hundred and seventy something votes to his one hundred and sixty something votes. And that pu lled him down and put us in a run about to walk out of the courthouse. Actually, I had walked out and walking back in to check on my wife to see what she was doing. And I was met by people and they were saying off. I said, off. I said, how did that happen? They said, the box that came in was Mound Bayou And I had already heard the results from Mound Bayou and I said, wow, I thought t hey counted those well, ok ay The good Lord blessed us to be in a run off, because a lot of things that I did, I should have kids, because you nee things. Whatever I could to squeeze in on the weekends, I was campaigning and doing things like that. And I said, we just d to into this election the first time. So the day after the primary, we hit the ground running. We kno cked on doors and people said, well, the o nly thing is know him. And I used this scenario for some of them and said, know Barack Obama, but they voted for him. Bu t that was in the black community


MFP 098; Williams; Page 16 we had a lot of people in I had to go to Shaw. The areas that I was weak in, Shaw, Rosedale, and Shelby, I had to hit those towns hard I was blessed to have a group of police officer friends, a couple of whites and blacks, that were willing to get out there and volunteer with me every day and we covered towns like Shaw in two, three hours. They stuck with me so I was blessed to have people do that and not have to spend a lot of money doing that. how we got to the peop le. From the primary to the run off, by getting out, knocking on doors, speaking to people we gained another, almost 1,500 votes. The biggest thing people said was that people were not going to come back out for a run off. You know, especially black people back out, the opportunity to win was great. All we knew was that we needed one vote to win. We ended up getting 54% of the vote to his 47% of the vote in the wha t people were telling me the So now time in the white community to make them feel comfortable going with supporting me. I was getting good feedback from them. I feel good about it. I think we will beat the she riff, actually, matter of fact, I know that we will beat the sheriff. But,


MFP 098; Williams; Page 17 despite all of the obst acles that I have had, yo u know. I was Mississippi Valley today speaking to criminology, sociology various class, and trying to motivate the young people in there, the opportunity for you is great if we work towards it. I ask a question [Laughter] L : since Reconstruction? ; we need the first blac k sheriff since Reconstruction. What do y ou think that means to this community? W: W ell first of all it sends chills down when you said that, it sends chills through der the impression like a lot of other people that first of all that I was going to be the first black sheriff I was going around thinking, I was going to be the first black sheriff until, which might have been Ms. Block or some other people th at go in to me and told me that matter of fact, she was speaking at an engagement that we were at together and she said, and s well, I might need to look into that. And then I heard it from her and then I was at a black history progra and one of the children ther e said the same thing. I said, I need to look into this. So we found out that there was a black sheriff, and there was Reconstruction. So wh en I went out I stopped saying the first black sheriff. I said, t h e first blac k sheriff since Reconstruction. So it means, for me to be in this position, it is a great honor because it gives young men the opportunity to see someone who is


MFP 098; Williams; Page 18 interacting with them, who has been involved with them in their classroom, in thei r everyday lives, coaching; it gives them the opportunity to see that no matter who you are you can be a part of history, you can be successful, you can do a lot of things. So my goal throughout this whole thing, the position pays well from they say, but position to be able to contribute and give back, to give our young people the opportunity to see that that. Like what I tell som eone, anything above what I make now is good for me. B s going to be a big job. I will be the chief of law enforcement officers for Bolivar County, the second largest county in the state of a huge county. An To be the first of all, being a black in that position and having people look at you as a chief law enforcement officer in the ns and try to be trustworthy and honest with the people up front e termed. I plan on being there for a few years f or a couple of terms. No thirty years, thirty looked at law enforcement as retirement. I knew too many police officers, law enforcement officers that stayed in for thirty something years and soon after they were dying and nev er got a


MFP 098; Williams; Page 19 chance to enjoy their retirement. So I will get in as long as I can continue to be as it takes me to be effective or until I get my boys out of school. I hav e a ten year old so until I get him out of college and move on, me and my wife can sit back and enjoy. L : So when you achieve this goal of becoming sheriff, what are some of your goals for your tenure as sheriff? What are some of your campaign promises ? W: Yes. First of all, my campaign, people asked, One day I was were just talki ng and going back and forth. They said you got to get everybody involved and got to do th is and got to do that. I said, well, I thought about it. One and paper and said I wil l be t he sheriff of all of the county, n ot just some neighborhood or certain people; a ll of B olivar County B ecause I tried to instill into my children that , Despite what color or creed they are, don in order for me to be an example for them I had to show them, and show the people that ; the inclusion of everybody. Now, have I met resistance? I met a lot of resistance from the white community. When you are in the position like th is, especially now I sheriff of everybody. But my goal will be to be the sheriff of all of Bol ivar County.


MFP 098; Williams; Page 20 m to prove a lot of them wrong. done told them that I will prove them wrong re going to do, increase patrol. A t this point you might have a deputy, maybe two deputies on duty and they go to bed, go home between 1 :00 and 2 :00 in the second largest cou nty in the state of Mississippi ; a call come out at 3 :00 4:00 in the morning, they got to come get up, get out of their beds and go assist somebody. Well, what if this person is breaking in their house? And you thirty, forty. . first of all, you got to get up and put on clothes, and promise, is to increase patrol. Making sure that we have three shifts on twenty four hours a day. We will do that. That is contingent on the board of supervisors work with me on that. But, we will present a plan to them and tell them this is why we need this. The citizens of this county are not being protected and taken care of. That would be the number one. Increase the visibility of officers involved in the youth programs, getting involved in the youth period. Getting involved with the schools because our children are our future. And if we get out there and because juniors see a lot. And if they trust you, and believ e in and say, Officer Williams, I know th is happened. I saw this person. You know, danger when they do that for you, but that makes sure that they have that part of the relationship with the community. And then a lso getting involved as far as the community oriented policing. Having officers who are in


MFP 098; Williams; Page 21 unsolv ed crimes here, e specially in Mound Bayou which is an all black town. In certain are as we have crimes that are not being solv ed. And I figure a lot of that from being in law enforcement for nineteen years in the community , my goal will be to build that trust back into the ci tizens of the county, w orking with the local municipalities because most of the time they have police officers, investigate their own crimes. They depend on the sheriff department. That investigator from the sheriff department have a relationship with the people, guess things; sure that everyone can work together. T he morale at t he correction facilities itself, in itself is bad. You have a lot of black and white issues, t hings like that. So , s hut that down; l etting everybody ody to work together to make this the best sheriff department in the state of Mississippi. M argaret B lock : I want to ask you, are you going to Mike Lamb and Gerrald with you? W: [Laughter] W ell : I have two guys that has been faithful person into position because they help you with the campaign or they help you with it. But I have two guys that one is black and one is white, who has helped me throug hout this campaign. M y wife is white which is Michael


MFP 098; Williams; Page 22 Lamb and a lot of people in the white me. Ge slack from certain people, but you have to go in with people that you trust. You have to MB: s mart with you. . W: Correct. And then some MB: Always W: Right. And we will, we will w careful not to say what my plan is, but I know to do tell people that two guys will go in the door wi th me rald. What position yea h we ll o miss the three of us. All three of be involved. Michael has over fourteen, almost fifteen years in law enforcement. Ger ald has about ten years and a degree. So I w ill take them along and I feel that they have the skills and the ability to do the job and they will be faithful to helping me achieve the goal that we need to achieve with getting on t some other B ut I do know going into the door staff from that point on. MB: stigator. W: [L augh ter ] MB: disgusted with the investigators that they have now.


MFP 098; Williams; Page 23 W: O k ay MB: that I know from the FBI to come down here and see exactly, show them how to solve some kind of crime. W: Right. to get these trained, these guys might get the proper training that they need. To do this job you have to be continuously updated in law enforcement. From just listening to a p erson the other day, even your domestic law is changed since a year or two ago. All of that has changed. We have to make sure that we have the technology. A lot of the equipment and things out there is outdated. We need to update that e a little money. We want to get out here and find a e in to help us. Someone said, you ha ve no experience to d o the job. I said, well, when the county sheriff took the position he was a deputy know how t o be the Sheriff of Bolivar County A nd he learned and he was there thirty two years. So after thirty two years, I mean give me an educated man, I have a good sense, common sense als o, and I just tell the people, give me an opportunity to come in a nd do the same thing that he had done A nd some people I hear this all the time to o a lot of whites are saying, well, and that B olivar County ever had. And I will prove a lot of people wrong, you know.


MFP 098; Williams; Page 24 this, but regardless of a ll that not totally sure of, but I believe that when in that position we will do some positive and good things. L : Wha t are you going to do about getting a picture of Blanch e K elso t hat you can hang with the rest of the Sheriffs? W: Well, when I get there and I shared this with Ms. Bl ock, I shared this with her My understanding is that to where I get one maybe blown up and put it there time you are a part of his tory, people need to know it; people nee d not to just be able to hear, but they need to see it when the visit and come down. They just like when you all travel throughout these places, you know, I never knew them poems of Fannie until I became a grown man almost. Nobody in school even living in and going to Ruleville going to school high school in Ruleville was never hardly mentioned about Fannie Lou Hamer and she stayed a block away from go ing l known and I correct people every time that they say that to me, that he was the first black, and I am the first elected black since Reconstruction. So


MFP 098; Williams; Page 25 go down into whatever book s when I die as somebody that came in and contributed to society and was effective and doing what he needed to do. L : Is a . Unidentified : Josh, a W: [L augh ter ] J osh M oore W: doing this election, i s that when I become sheriff and fire everybody. B ut no one can go into any organization and terminate everybody , people that have used that as a tool to try to get people to support them, but I kept telling them, no one has talked to Kelvin personally. No one has talked to me personally and asked me, what is m work because somebody told me, w hen to get me off of this sit down. I said, n o no one will sit down. Not B olivar County. The story tha t I told my son today, I said, trouble ut people with force will see the good in you if you continue to do good. Y ou have to make good decisions. explain it


MFP 098; Williams; Page 26 the o ne that got into trouble today. I explained that to him, that peop le, the reason people are disappointed in you because you looked as one of the good kids, one of the kids that a lot of children look up to. And so I tell that to all my boys, having three boys, that are actually fifteen ten, and thirteen you have to that a lot of people are up se t because the service is poor that I received in Bayou County, no other place to go. So when someone offers you a contribution then you will accept that contribution. But, a certain person. We have to look at the ultimate decision and that decision and the decisions that we re made. So I have to be able to live with the decisions that I make. L : Well thank you very much for speaking with us. We look forward to coming back next year and speaking with the current sheriff. W: g through. L : Thank you so much. W: Thank you. Transcribed by: Sarah Blanc


MFP 098; Williams; Page 27 Audit e dited by: Sarah Blanc, September 5, 2013 Final edited by: Diana Dombrowski, January 2014