Title: Ernest Lee Stevenson
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005757/00001
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Title: Ernest Lee Stevenson
Series Title: Ernest Lee Stevenson
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Bibliographic ID: UF00005757
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Ev^^jeHs 14- V7e is J Ve eS
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I: Viola Daniels . .Viola is a student in the college of/ursing and

transferred here from (iapola) Junior College. Viola expressed some

fear about talking into the tape recorder and said that she had a

fear of either signing petitions and so forth because of the fact

that she oftentimes did not understand what was written in the small

print above, and had gotten certain ideas about misuse of taperecord-

ings that she'd gotten from television. She said, although there'd

probably been no overt discrimination from teachers directly, she

felt that white people were very bright and were able to discriminate

in some way which would not be discernable, but would still make

wrong ideas seemingly come out right. Viola was a student for the
first two years at a predominantly lack school to which she had to

be bussed approximately eighty miles each way. She's from (Sneed) Flo-

rida which has an all-white high school to which she wen t her senior
CA, *
year. She suggested that the idea she chose to go to (,Fpola) Junior

College and to the University of Florida because it is a White man's

world and even though white men may not know the best ways of doing

things, she felt that one had to learn to conform to ways in which

a white man expects you to. She feels rather vague feelings towards

discrimination on this campus and felt that white students did not

overtly discriminate but gave her a feeling that they didn't care

much about her. She did not seem to have very much contact-with oth-
er llack or ite students. She expressed a desire to participate to

a greater degree in extra-curricular activities, although to this

point she hasn't done so. She has never attended a Black Student

-2 -

Union meeting because of the fact that she works at the (Shans) teach-

ing Hospital during the same hour that the meetings take place. .

I: We can take notes while were talking . Where're you from?

E: (Prt~land)

I: Where is it?

E: It's near Lakeland. It's between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida/

I: Between where?

E: Tampa and Orlando in Central Florida.

I: What school'd you go to?

E: Uh-- (Union Academyt High school, and then uh, Florida A&M University.

I: What is Union Academy?

E: That's the High Sbhool.

I: In Bartow-

i1: Ye.

1; i that a public school?

E: Right.

I: It just doesn't . you know, it doesn't sound like it. I guesa a

lot of people think that.

E: Right. Well, they thought it was some type of Academy a military

Academy but it was just a normal high school.

I: Black school?

E: Right.

I: Was there a white school in town also?

E: Yeah, Bartow High School.

I: Did you have the choice to go there?

E: No, freedom of choice started in sixty-five; I graduated in sixty-five.

I: Oh, I see. And then you went first to A&M.

E: Right.


I: When you graduated from--what is the name of it again?

E: Union Academy?

I: Uh, did you think of going anywhere else?

E: Well . .

I: Besides A&M?

E: No, I thought about dodging the draft first; that was my first ob-


I: Uh, huh.

E: That's because I was sorta raised on the farm, you know. I knew a

lot about farming, so I went up to A&M on a band scholarship . .

I: Oh, I see.

E: Played in a band for about eight years.

I: Eight years?

E: Yeah.

I: Oh, you mean before!

E: Right.

I: Oh, I thought you meant you played for eight years in A&M.

E: No I played eight years in high school, and after going to A&M I got

on the Government Research Project which is called "Project Upward


I: Hm. Hmmm.

E: Then I couldn't play in the band and participate in the program so

then I got interested in Agriculture; and then on to Science, and got

interested in Ecology I guess--and got my BS in sixty-nine.

I: So what are you now? What's your classification?

E: I'm classified as six AG

I: So you're in the college of Agriculture?

E: Right. Yeah.

I: And Animal Science?

I _

I -

- 4 -

E: Right. Animal Science; should be seven AG in June . .well, I hope so.

I: You know I spoke to somebody else whose name I can't remember off-hand,

somebody else in that program, whose also concerned about whether or not

. what? Lee?

E: Lee Anderson?

I: Right, right, right.

E: Yeah, he's the greatest, man. We have just about the same name: His

name was Lee Ernest Anderson, my name is Ernest Lee Stevenson.

I: Uh huh, did you know him A&M?

E: Yeah, we went to school together.

I: Were you in the same field?

E: Right, right /-/?Q( SI .

I: So you were four years at A&M . .

E: Right.

I: Then you went to Union Academy, which was predominantly lack, well

actually, allJAack.

E: Yes it is.

I: So this is the first time you've actually been in a predominantly

WAite situation.

E: Right, it is. This school /1.

I: Hm Hmmm. That's what I meant. . When you graduated from A&M,

did you consider going anywhere else?

E: Well, I considered about three schools. I thought about PUrdue, Mich-

igan State and Tuskeegee, but I couldn't get any money through grad-

uate assistance; I didn't make that high on the GRE. And at that

time they told me that it didn't mean that much you know, until it

got ready to apply . and uh, actually I narrowed it down to uh,
either Purdue or Tuskeegee, Tuskeegee being allt/lack, I guess.

I: Hm. Hqim.

5 --

. predominantly lack, and Purdue being for the most part, a
Yhite university but the race didn't have anything to do with even

where I wanted to get my /aster's from. It was just that I was look-

ing for the money. I needed sono money and I had a lot of bills to

pay . I was with a lot of bills to pay so I was thinking about

the money--the'bills that I had accumulated over a four-year period,

by sending myself to school and working at the same time, seet So

I don't know, I got . I came to the University of Florida for

the money you might as well say, because I didn't know--I don't know--

still too much about this school, and been here a year now . .

just about a year--September it'll be a year so . it's not . .

I don'-know, I was just looking for the money, I guess.

I: You know, I was just sort of surprised cause you said you narrowed

your choices down to Tuskeegee and Purdue and then you were here.

And I didn't -- you didn't explain that. How did you ever decide

to come to ?

E: Well, uh, first I say aoV- A, r eo Purdue; I had an Anatomy and

Physiology instructor to graduate from Purdue. He also taught at


I: Hm. Hmm.

E: And he explained to me that he would do all he could to get me into

Purdue, and that the guy . uh, his instructor at Purdue wanted
some students, you know, from ack schools at Purdue . I guess

tie same as the University of Florida wants some students too, but

uh, at the time I didn't have the money and we couldn't getjnney

at these schools, and then I was elected by my dean to participate

on this program at the University of Florida)and the first thing

he mentioned was the twenty-seven hundred dollars on the three quar-

ter program that you should have entered in grad school the third

-6- /B /X

quarter, so I got to thinking about it and my draft status was 1A,

so that kinda helped me to, you know, to get in school.

I: Are you married?

E: No.

I: -

E: No, I'm not married.
I: And you get twerzt. oe vn hu.A -I sla for three quarters?

E: Right, right. It was 1t-- fit nud_-J; they raised it to t 7l-

sevrn *

I: Who was the grant from?

E: Rockefeller Foundation.

I: Yeah, that's good money for a graduate student.

E: Yeah.

I: Is that a grant or a loan or an assistantship or what?

E: No that's a . what you might call a Fellowship or I think it's

closest to a grant because you don't have to pay it back. It's sup-
posed to be to help Backs . We're trying . h, the Univer-

sity of Florida is supposed.t6 be trying to get some lacks into

the education program, I guess instructors, that was the objective

. supposed to be the objective, for bringing' 'em here. And I think

Doctor York devised this program with the Rockefeller Foundation.

I: You say _/4 _ ,_w_ of Agriculture.

E: So uh, as.h explained it to me the first . you know when I first

talked to Doctor Brooker, the adviser, you know, he explained it as

a pretty good program, but you just hbout--. .. yoh-cn just about get

anything personally, wants to go to school that you want, you know to

come to you but probaby about the tolling them about the V r ven

hund-addo-a.lers; not knowing about the University its functiqns, or

anything like that, I am proud to be here.


-7- / /A

I: You're what? /

E: Proud to be here, pretty nice.

I: Had you heard very much about Florida before you came?

E: Yea, I had heard a lot. That was where all my research and most of

my research in seminars and the work that we're doing in the library.

Aklot of the information was coming from the university of Florida.

All of my Nart j materials; Iwas on the lae& S3Vcl

l'/^'0Q team for two years. We won the regional S'ky -'/ ,i

contest, so if the Aack schools in the southern region, we won thab

for two years straight. And uh, we got most of our material from the

University of Florida and uh, Dr. -" and Mrs. Mullhill, the

instructors, you know sent information out we asked for--I did some
research, I think on some protein one time)and I wrote down here and

they sent the information to me, and everything. But I had learned

a lot of names. I came down last spring--to the uh, we had the uh,

S. not this spring gone . we had the lest judging contest
here--about eight or ten /lack schools here and the University of

Florida was the whole school. We judged animals out to the pro-

vision out here and we were introduced to quite a few fellows and

that's the time that a Doctor *Fryerf I think, in the Poultry De-

partment told me about this program that we were supposed to have,

incidentally, and it was in the near future and he didn't know when

it would be starting; and so he told about eighty guys I guess,

might not have been that many, on the different judging teams you

know, and uh, we were formulating qp opinion at that time, you know

about the money 'cause at the time it really seemed like a lot of

money. . working at A&M and making (say) the highest you could

make, e... rs a month.

I: How much?

-8 / /- //

E: SA-e~ight.

I: Doing what?

E: That was work-study.

I: Oh, I see.
E: Our highest was su4nty-e-ehtA I don't know; I think the University

of Florida was a little bit higher.

I: SeVJ "ei-ht?

E: Yeah, dollars a month.

I: You'll get a lot more than that; mwArty=s.ir.. Ld. is . .

E: We get tw~ d a month for ten months.

I: Right, that's an easy way to figure it out.

E: Right, that . that

I: Works out easy, yeah.

E: Right, yeah . see that's a lot of money.

I: And not working . .

E: No, not working we can't. Don't have to do any work, just study and

make good grades.

I: Yeah, how are you doing?

E: I'm doing okay . rgot sick last quarter and made a couple of C's,

but the quarter before I did real good taking advanced English and

just some general courses, but they were courses that were . well,

I don't know, I didn't like the courses in other words 'cause they

was sophomare--they were junior courses actually and I was looking

forward to taking more senior and graduate courses, but see I just

didn't have the interest you know, that I did when I started from the

bottom and came up to my, to my senior year. But I did okay--B's and

C's--I never did make too many A'S; anyway, well-uh, I think I can make

a three point average easy.

I: Hm. Hmm. When do you find out that you're gonna be accepted/

E: Uh, we'll find that out some time in JUNe. I'm taking some grad courses

now. I think this is about my third or fourth grad course I'm takin'

now, so if I can get a three point average during the three courses

I'm taking now, my adviser should say I'm able to be accepted.

I: What else had you heard about the University of FlOrida?

E: Well, except for the foot-ball team, it was just uh, not exactly the

University of Florida but this whole region around here. . around

Newberry and Gainesville and the /I r around here was more or

less what we call a redneck town, redneck community, or whatever you

wanna call it. And no one really--none of my a~afr-ies, none of my

friends I guess, ever wanted to stay around here. . be caught "round

here alone, and in driving j an ,W-i~_W talk about incidents,

you know, we always discussed incidents we had . .

I: Like what?

E: Coming from, well maybe like we stop to, well maybe . .I can remem-

ber about two years ago we stopped to a filling station and the uh,

--it was a filling station, not a service station where you get gas

only--but he had a bathroom, you know, and we wanted to use the bath-

room and he had put 'bout a quarter's worth of gas in there, so we

told him to stop you know, we'd go somewhere else . so he got

kinda mad, but he didn't start anything. I've never gotten caught,

I've never gotten put in jail for speedin' or anything like that, but

I had a friend of mine that doesn't diink or anything was caught in

I think it was /- I He was caught, they sat/he was

speedin', reckless driving' and drunk and everything. Anyway 'he paid about

three hundred dollars, see, and uh, they told him they'd give him one te-

lephone call and when he tried to call, the phone was outta order. ..

and stuff like that. And we formulated, at least I formulated an opin-

ion that it was bad . that this was a bad place to be you know, but

it's not as bad as I thought it was but it still, it seems to be some

- b-

-10- /10 /

are antagonistic--pulling away from, I guess, integration and pulling

away from coming together. It would be much better I guess, if some

of these people were really not associated with the University and not

around the University. It's not the students--it seems to me--it seems

to me like it's not the students or the instructors . seems to

me that it's the outside or somebody that . .

I: Hm1. Hmm. Had you heard anything specifically in that vein about the

University itself?

E: No I hadn't . I heard a lot of rumors about the University, about

the same rumors that were at FSU, you know but every time someone men-

tions the University of Florida uh, it was always white people and I
recall my adviser was telling me that, I think one guy, /lack guy

graduated fromm the University of Florida--recieved a master's from

the University of Florida--and that was just one you know, and I al-

ways wondered why, you know, and uh, why there were'nt enough students
LC f- C
aw students here, you know, a great deal of lack students here

but I was told once upon a time that they could'nt reach the require-

ments, that it was three hundred on the senior test. I know the sen-
ior test is not oriented to Aack students in high school because

half of the material that was on the senior test, I hadn't even seen

before you know, and it just . .

I: What kind of material are you talking about?

E: More of the cultural material, especially dealing with the arts, and

psy-. . anything dealing with art or psychology. I hadn't had any-

thing like that in high school now, for instance, the Science, the

English, the Math, I could get that; that was easy. . more like

easy, I scored highest in English and in Science, but for instance

there were a lot of questions on there dealing with different paint-

ings, dealing with different uh, uh, dealing with different . .

11 -

dealing with the fine arts, I guess, more like for instance, THE ILLIADi

when I was at A&M my freshman year I read the world literature book and

I found out what these different terms . .

I: /G o *) /, f were about.

E: Right, right what at first they meant see, so I was said I was a lot

behind you know . .

I: Hr. Hmm.

E: And when I was in high school,see --a psychology--we didn't have a

psychology at my school then. We didn't have too much, we didn't have

Fine Arts, so on the senior test, I just missed out a lot 'cause I

just guessd all through it, and uh . .

I: What did you score, do you remember?

E: It was not even two hundred; it was one something, one-fifty-five,

but I ended . I took it again and scored two-QiLfty up at A&M on

this program, this academic development program. After one year of
college my highest is twv-fi4fty, after one year of college. And I

still hadn't had the world literature that I had my sophomore year...

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: See, so after that I figured a lot of those questions I could have an-

swered, but no, it wasn't as remedial as I thought it was . see,

and I found out later that a lot of the words that were being taught,

that were on the senior test was in the vocabulary--was in, was in the

vocabulary books, notebooks.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: See, some kinda yellow--yellow notebook had just about all the words

in there that was on the senior test.

I: Where'd you get that notebook?

E: It was--the notebook was given to me when I was on the project up at

A&M. We more like studied, for instance, our courses were orientated

12 -

toward more like the examination--not exactly the same thing, but we

were orientated towards the examination so we actually studied Art,z-and

we actually studied the different uh,--studied psychology; we studied

a lot that was during tutorial session, you know. That was actually

on the test; but we didn't know it at that time, see . .

I: Hm. Hmmm.

E: At the end of my freshman year I found out 'see, I been studying' the

test; I been studying' the exam, you know'.

I: The sqme one that you took?

E: Yes. Yes, the same senior exam that I took in high school. I say,

"I been studying' the exam all the time and didn't know it".

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: It was mainly the same material--they give maybe a sample question and

not all the sample questions are on the test, most of them were so I

was told--I don't know how true it is--that at the white schools, the

students were taught more uh, you know, how to pass the senior test.

See, and I think even now they have books;you probably could buy a

book now or a manual on how to score high on the senior test or some-

thing like that. See so, that would even help you.

I: Do you know does a book like that exist, or are you just guessing?

E: I really don't knrw. It's a book for um,--it is a book, I don't

know for which twelfth grade test it is, it's the'one that youlake

for the equivalent.

I: But is this a book about how to score high on your college boards or

something like that?

E; It's one for the equivalent, you know like uh, you dropped out of

school say for instance at sixteen and now you wanna take--you wanna

get a .

I: Yeah, right

E: Equivalent. They have an equivalent book. I know they have one of

-13 /-B /,


I: Hm. Hmm.

E: So you can study for the test and then they give the test probably

once or twice and

I: What kind student were you at A&M?

E: Well, I hrd uh, in Agriculture I had about thzls point- iht and

good grades in History and pretty good in pretty good in Science,

I don't like Math, -so I made C's and D's . B's and C's in Math,

made an A in Algebra. I had a ninety . the USDA rates me as a

ninety, A average with a -- with a GS7 you know, in rating so that

meant that I had more A's in my department you know, A-rating in my


I: How did you get rated by the GA . .the University department of


E: Well, latt quarter I was real sick you know, I had twisted my knee

and then I had the flu too and missed about seven class periods and

so I was really bored with school you know, and thinking' about quit-

tin'. And uh, incidentally, I made three C's anywaybut I had B

averages-- t) 4-~l in three courses you know, before I got

sick and hurt my knee playing basketball so I wrote to the USDA and

so they told me to send in for a job, told me to send in my trans-

cript--my transcript, and then on my transcript I added I went one

quarter at the University of Florida, and they sent back about, I

guess it was about a month ago what my rating was GS7 and with a

ninety rating, and I asked a friend of mine, Patterson, he works

with the USDA on the same program I'm on. He explained the rating

to me . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: The GS7 meant that I was in a certain classification above the GS5

-14- -X

you know, and that my salary was about eighty-four, eighty-five hun-

dred, something like that . and that that ninety meant that I

had about an A average on the border I guess for an A average . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: And that's my average. And they, the University, the USDA wrote back

and told me that after I finish this quarter of study that they would

put my name orthe revolving list for a job, and now I'm 4'husbandry

but I just wanted to rate and practically just see where I stand cause

I feel like if I can't make it, if I don't make a three point average

you know, at the end of this quarter I wouldn't wanna, probably wouldn't

wanna go-to grad school anyway because I'd mess, I'd just stay there

and flunk out anyway see, so probably if I can't do it this quarter

after being here three quarters and getting adjusted and um, then I'm

probably not graduate material . probably should find something

else to do. Gradewise I can--I can make the A's and B'S if I put my

mind to it you know but it's so many other things you know that

'specially at A&M being hungry all the time was one, and not having

the money and not knowing where next dollar was coming' from tomorrow

you know, and all this kinda took a lot outta me . trying to

study and I didn't have anything to eat half the time, and I was

borrowin' anyway and uh, I just didn't know whether I'd ever finish ,AooI

at first. When I started, you know, it was my freshman year-- I

really didn't know. See probably I'd go to school couple years and

I'd quit you know but one reason that helped me you know, to make

probably better grades and to go to school is that my family. . I

have a lot of brothers and sisters actually graduated from college.

Actually I have two out of a family of eleven that haven't graduated

from college.

I: That haven't?

- 15 -

E: Yes.

I: So, you have nine brothers and sisters that have graduated from college?

E: No, actually, not exactly nine because I have a sister that's in high

school so that would be about eight. But the majority of them either

graduated from a four-year college or a two-year college. I have a

brother that's a physical therapist and another brother that's a min-
ister and he finished some course to teach $lack history out in Texas,

and I guess it must have been a two-year junior college course. He's
an instructor in Plack history out there. And but most of them kinda

--I wanna be the highest ___I wanna be

the highest anyway so I have a l1t to go through because . .

I: Wjhat did you just say? You started to say something about why you

wanted to be at the highest.

E: Oh, the reason I wanna be the highest is because you know, they always

--I always was--I'm the baby boy you see, and they always thought that

you know, I wouldn't be too much 'cause when I was coming' up I didn't

know, I never did say what I really wanted to be. I played in the band

all that long time, was president of the student council--got in a lit-

tle government--this and that and the other, played basketball, got in

trouble, was running the streets, so I really . I was making A's

and B'S in class yet and still I never did study anything . .

I: Was this in high school?

E: Yeah, in high school so uh, I just . I didn't ever know so they

thought I'd never be anything

'he'll just run the streets you know, and he'll be the odd ball,' so

during my junior year I really put forth a lot of effort, you know

and say, I'm gonna be the best. I'm gonna get my PHD; and I started

out then making my grades a change . If anybody would look at my

grades you'd see B's and C's my freshman and sophomore years even in

- 16 -

my major. I changed to A's and C's in my junior and senior year and

the C was in Organic Chemistry and BIorganic Chemistry and Physics,

those two courses I never was too good in .. taking a load, prob-

bably if I could take one or two courses at a time I probably could

you know, do real good.

I: How've things been since you've gotten here?

E: They've been okay . educational-wise, I guess. But uh, socially,

I expected a little different atmosphere of students--of a school of

twenty-two thousand students. I figured, you know, I would have prob-

bably more friends and probably would get to know the opposite race

you know, more than I do.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: 'Cause actually they don't know too much about me . and I don't know

too much about them, you know, about you--you might as well say . .

so, I always thought about being more like neutral or color-blind, not

exactly being white but I realize that I'm lack and I'm proud to be

ack but, I always wanted to find out what the other guy feels and he

thinks about, you know, certain things.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: Well I couldn't--I couldn't picture myself as being white and I know

you probably--you probably could picture yourself but you couldn't,

you couldn't accept the hardships of the .. you couldn't accept be-

ing c/ k probably not from a standpoint of just sitting' down sayin'

you know, if I was lack I'd dosuch and such a thing. I've thought

about that a lot of times and its really not, it's not the same as

being that color, see . .

I: Hiq. Hmm.

E: 'Cause a guy once. .. had a good friend of mine over at FSU, we never

knww each others names, but we were good friends playing basketball

see, so we--he, we were talking about colors, you know, and he was

17 i /1

saying 'you know, I can understand, you know, how it feels and I can

understand how it feels you know' but I told him you know I try to

visualize and I try to put myself in+is place and it just doesn't--

it doesn't work out. It doesn't seem right, see because one person

one white person is not the same as another white person; one black

person is not the same as another black person. I find that out

all over the world, 'cause I've found . I have some friends on

the University of Florida campus you know--I don't, names I don't

know too many names . 4 if I see 'em on the walk we know

each other maybe from faces . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: We'll speak and maybe talk a few minutes but other than that, other

than that I haven't socialized as much as I'd have liked to. If

its not merely justo talk or explaining each other's problems and

things like that, even in my department, I don't know half of the

guys down there . kinda like being in the twilight zone you know

you're in the middle and you have one extreme up here and another ex-

treme down here. I say extreme in speaking of graduate students and

under-grads, and I'm in the middle see . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: Six AG, and I don't associate with grad students and I don't associate

with undergrads. I'm trying to get in grad school and you know, just

got out of under-grad school so actually it's all education, book ed-

ucation I'd say for me . and not reaping other rewards of educa-

tion, more like you have tie in, you could tie in your socializing

to the education you know, tie in what move is a part of education

you know different . if not playing an instrument you're allowed

an education noi-that I found out participating in government. It's

- 18 -

a lot of things you know, that contribute to I guess--a well-rounded

education, and I'd say one thing if I were at a black, if I were at

a black school as an undergrad my education probably would be uh, more

I guess enjoyable I'd say. . than at the University of Florida.

And I mean eoyable, I mean like uh, going to school wouldn't be like

a hustle, like to me it's like going to work every morning. I get up

every morning and it's no fun involved in going to school but when I

started out at A&M it was fun you know, going to school every day,

well say for instance meeting the people, meeting new people, well

I might meet a girl on the walk I haven't seen before, you know, or

meeting an instructor . like this was my first time going to uh,

for instance Economics Two Hundred. Okay I go in and here's this

new instructor I've never seen before and something like that. You

know it's enjoyment but here I get that ol' feeling man I'm tired

of going to school' and I get--it gets like a job you know-- and I

got to get up in the morning and make this, go to work, you know it's

just hard, just hard on learning see, not that I don't thinnk that

the University probably doesn't have that much to do with me going

to school and learning and thinking about it as a job and that much

but I think it's just a mental let down on my part because I'm used

to, to I guess, a black environment. But I'm getting' used to it,

going by looks probably after being a year or two maybe I'll fit in-

to this situation, but I've been here three quarters and . .

I: Where do you live?

E: In Buckman. In Buckman B, well living in Buckman B we don't have . .

Let's see, first I started off with a brean roommate and I stayed

with him for a quarter--just about two quarters. Then I moved over

with Ron, he came in January, but uh, we have a mixture--when I say

mixture I mean a complete mixture of colors, you might say of ethnic

19- 7 /;I

groups, you might say, see we have 1oreans and we have . maybe it might

be some Chinese there. I really don't know the difference. Indians and

uh, well a couple of whites, you know and Ron and I are the only two blacks

there in our section.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: So, we have some African guy from South Africa

I: White?

E: Yeah, so actually we have a lot of you know, and so we . Cu-

bans too, I forgot about the Cubans. We're . The Cubans, we're real

good friends . cause uh, we talk about our problems a lot and theirs

. our mystery in knowing about Cuba, and they're always wondering
about the blacks from the United States.

I: HM. Hmm.

E: So, um, we talk a lot, at least--especially about the campus crisis.

We discuss that a lot you know. So. . they seem to be probably my best

friends on campus . th e Cubans.

I: Are you closer with the Cubans than you are with other lacks?
E: No, no I'm probably closer friends with the other blacks. Actually I

don't see too many other students, you know living in Buckman . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: And trying to make good grades, and not socializing too much . I

don't see too many except in town when I go home probably about every

other weekend. And see, I'm usually gone Friday evening and I don't

usually associate with them too much. I go to U-- I go to BSU meeting

sometimes, but a lot of times I have an examination on Thurdday night,


I: Hm. Hmm.

E: Most of the Physiology exams are on Thursday night and takes a lot . .

it takes some time you know, and a guy gives a one-hour exam and it takes
three hours, some thirteen--you might call 'em essay questions, so it

20 -

really is very hard you know to associate with any color now I guess ex-

cept you know for maybe on the walk, going to class, or maybe eating

lunch or I guess, maybe on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday nights--something

like that . in the television room or something like that.

I: Hm. Hmm. Do you date on campus?

E: NO, I haven't dated anyone on campus since I've been here. I've dated

off-campus, a couple of black girls, young ladies mostly but I haven't

dated any more like the freshman, the /lak freshman or any of the white

girls or anything. I haven't done too much dating . been getting

around you know, but not, you know on campus, see . .

I: Off campus, in town?

E: Yeah, well, they're mostly the black girls. They're about my about my

age group--around twenty- three or twenty-four.

I: Why do you prefer to date off campus?

E; Well, I didn't exactly prefer it. After . when I first got here in

September, oh about the first . the day before class I met a couple

of girls out to the mall, you know, and I started dating them and then

from there I'd been dating these girls you know until probably aboutlast

quarter I guess then I started really going home, not exactly home but

to Tampa--it's about thrity-nine miles from Bartow, youknow, home. .

So I really started going back to Bartow, you know, my girl friends and

I been going there like I'm married for the last two or threes weeks you

know . as a matter of fact I think I went for about three week s

straight, and I haven't been . .

I: How do you think you get along with most white students on campus?

E: Well, I get along okay because I don't like . I don't be . I

don't usually go out my way too much to bother anybody, ay anything

to anybody . so, most of the time I look at a person and figure he's

the friendly type, or just the talking type, I might strike up a con-

21 -

versation and I might speak to him and say something but uh, I get along

fine. -After I got in in September, I was used to speaking to everyone

on the walk, you know, so I learned . I went down the walk leaving

Buckman going to Mc Carthy and I think one girl spoke to me on the way

. and so that was . I was understanding, you know, see--a campus

of twenty-two thousand people, everybody don't speak, you know. After

talking wiht a white guy he told me he say well it's not that the whites

don't speak to the Blacks, it's all over the campus. ..

I-E: Nobody speaks to anybody

E: See,

I: Seems like the smaller schools sort of like people to say hello, how are

you doing?

E: Right, Right. And see we . you get a chance to see about the same

person everyday I might say. You speak a lot and actually talk with each

other about certain things, you know.

I: Would you rather be at a small school?

E: Well, in terms of education, in terms of research the smaller schools,

whether black or white, wouldn't have the facilities in Agriculture--

you know, providing, I'd say, adequate research for the students in

Agriculture. And on the same token in the under-graduate level, see

the students learn to use the equipment as they progress, you know.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: From freshman you know to grad level so by the time they get to grad-

uate level they know what a (Physiograph) is an (electrocardiagram)

(tramanian) they know all of this, how to work all 6f this equipment

take for instance, now I'm at on a grad level and I have to learn how

to work certain equipment, how to do lab procedures and at a smaller

school whether black or white, you probably wouldn't have the equip-


- 22 -

I: Oh, I see

E: So, uh strictly from the educationpoint of view, from a social point of

view, depends on what you're looking for for a social life and education

you probably . I would feel better at a black school, but for now I'M

looking more for an education, a master's degree so I can make some money.

I: Hm. Hmm. / /

E: And probably I figure about a year or two from now eil~,l ur- ME n uTI -

sande4~tSrs won't take care . won't take care, see of my family so
,/el coo /y3, QCb
I figure I havnto have at least -we or t s, so

that's gonna call for some education, a good education and a master's or

a PHD degree . so I guess I have to pay the price of getting one,

not that I'm being hindered that much in terms of, in terms of social

life. I believe I probably could--I could socialize with just about

anybody, but the time is the thing that's bothering me. If I put the

time in social life--socializing, I can't put the time in studying and

I have too much pressure on me about these grades, and I'd like free-

wheeling and making whatever I want to, you know . I feel like mak-


I: Hm. Hmm.

E: I have this extreme pressure on me now to make A's and B's and so you

know, I have to cut just about my social life whether its drinking' or

anything else. I have to cut all that just about out to a minimum . .

I: How are you getting along with your professors?

E: I get along . I get along okay. It's just that when I came here

. before getting here, I always thought, you know, that the pro-

fessors were more education-minded, I'd say-if I'm putting' that right--

than they are. They are more research oreintated than they are . .

I: Oh, I see.

E: See, so at the University of Florida I always thought . at Florida

23 -

A&M, I thought you know, that being here . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: See, all these different szies and things, I say well they could teach

me a lot, you know about animal nutrition, but I found that, that the re-

search is . means a lot to the professor, you know, on the University

of Florida campus and I probably couldn't blame4em because that's pro-

bably where the money is and it might be their main purpose in life, but

a lot of them are neglecting their students in terms of educAtion because

they are interested in covering material and talking about their research

tbpic and that's taking away from education but actually I'm not in any

position to say whether you should teach such and such a thing %r you

should teach such and such a thing . see, because actually I don't

know. Most of these courses I don't know what he should teach. You know

being here the first time, you know . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: But, after taking courses, taking courses in a sequence then I

could probably be able to go back into this first course and say,'well,

you committed such and such a thing and while you were talking about your

research we should have had . .

I: Right.

E: So that probably would help him, help him you know, as much as it would

help me.

I: How do the professors here compare with A&M?

E: Well . .

I: what do people call it? FAMU? That's . it seems

that's what most . .



E: Right, FAM-U.

I: Well, at Florida A&M, I think they take more time, by having smaller classes.

24 e

Smaller classes, and well for instance we don't try to cover as much

material I guess, as the University of Florida in one quarter. We

might have more courses in sections . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E:: Than we do down here. They--the-instructors try to solve all of your

problems. He would actually . I would say, save one's soul, but

he would more like rather thlk about proteins for a week and thorough-

ly teach you proteins rather than to teach you proteins, carbohydrates

and fats in one week and have you thoroughly confused on all of them.

So, the uh, I think the time factor is a difference . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: See, and at the University of Florida they whiz right through there,

see, the course is over you know, and they'll cover a book no matter

how thick it is you know, see for instance in Soil Science the guy

was rushing, rushing, rushing trying to cover all these courses when

he was actually looking--running over material, taking for granted

that the students had had it in Chemistry, and things like that. But

at A&M, repitition you know is a lot in terms of learning--means a

lot in terms of learning, so a lot of times you might not grasp some-

thing the first time going over but if you get it another time, in

another course--and it fits in with this course you know, and you're

teaching it . Not irrevelant iiformatinn, I mean . But if it

fits in to this course work, then it means a lot in learning the in-

formation, see . .

I: Hm. Hmm. Has anything ever happened in class that you thought was a

result of your being lack or . ?

E: Let's see . no, nothing not after three quarters . I wouldn't

say it's not--not anything. No . .

I: Have you heard anything from any other ack s students?

-25- fZ /4

E: Well, yes I've heard a lot, probably from--from other /lack students

you know, about professors being prejudiced you know and giving grades

because he was /lack and--you know, things like that, but I don't know

the validity of it . you know, of the argument but in the Agricul-

ture department I would say that most of my instructors seem to be Z

4y r pretty fair I guess. I would never put my trust in

them--any professor, I don't believe, not all my trust, but I would

say that they are--they're pretty fair.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E; My instructors, because all . you might make a mistake or then he

might be prejudiced and never show it probably I would'nt know, but

none have ever been prejudiced toward me.

I; Have you had any relationships with any administrators?

E: No, I've talked with Roy Mitchell a couple of times but he's the only

one . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: ONly administrator I've ever talked to, and he's interested . He's
a graduate of Florida A&M also. He's interested in getting /la6k pro-
fessors and more lack students at the University of Florida so, ac-

tually I was explaining the program that I'm on to him you know, and

he was commenting on it--favorably--you know, and wondering about the

money that's gonna come into the University of Florida and how much

the University of Florida was getting out of it, you know, and I real-

ly don't know but it must be a good sum of money.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: 'Cause. .

I: Do most people think Roy Mitchell's doing a good job, do you have any


E: Well, most of them, I guess all the people I talk-to seem to think

26 /- /A

that he's doing a good job. I talked with a white guy the other day

and he seemed to think . he didn't like the guy for some reason ,

I don't know him. . tellin', talking to me about him, you know? But--
he's #aright with me. He seems to be doing a good job, tlhe only thing

I don't see his job is not a clear-cut job see, and I was talking to

myself the other day saying that I really, probably with a job like

that I'd have to have some clear-cut objective in mind, you know .

just don't give me no job say, like Director of Minority Afffars,

something like that. I just want me a clear-cut job whether I'm over

a group or something like that, you know, because his job has a wide

variation to it, see . .

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: So, he can be involved in a lot.

I: You said you were a member of the BSU?

E: Well yes, I am'

I: Are you active?

E: No, I'M not.

I: Why is that?

E: Well-mostly due to the time, I guess. But any time I can make a meet-

ing and any time I can do anything to help the BSU, my race, my color

or anything you know, I'm always available. But during this last

quarter, this quarter here I've been concentrating more on studies

than on participating.

I: If you had more time would you be more active Ernest?

E: Yes, I would.

I: What would you do?

E: Well, I'd probably be . I'm very concerned with Black4hi in terms

of their you know, their leisure time, what they're doing during their

leisure time and stuff. And also like recreation and trying to involve

27 -

youth in different aspects of recreation. Probably keep 'em out of

trouble more and not 4 aiin wi t~ education, but bringing in more

the recrecreatoin to combine with the education part of it, help some

of the restlessness probably during the summer, during the hot months

I guess of the year
I: Hm. Hmm.

E: When everybody seems to think about-nothing but violence, you know,

it's a lot of things that can be done.

I: Has anyone ever talked to you about that you don't--lack eople--about

that you don't do enough for ak people, that maybe you're not mili-

tant enough because you don't go to meetings, you know, that kind of


E: No, no one has ever talked to me about being militant or doing anything

for black people, mostly mine has been concerned with more like white

people, I guess mine is more like a person might ask me 'well, you

have to'. . well, a guy was talking the other day, 'well you have to

choose, you have to either be more like radical or you know, kind of

conservative or something like that. You just can't be in betw--you

know, you just can't exist in between. One of these days you have to

make a stand you know,

I: Em. Hmm.

E: Of what you really believe in, you know, and things like that. I've

always thought about that, but in terms of helping my race I guess

it seems this was what you were speaking of, I try to help people; that's

my objective in life and I don't believe in too much violence or any-

thing. A person my size, I don't guess probably could see my point.

I just feel like it's better ways to solve a problem, more of an ec-

conomical and social . you know, ways.

I: What webe you saying that you were supposed to be small or something?


28- FR /A

E: No, I mean, you know, being thin and being poor--both ways--so, I real-

ly couldn't advocate fighting too much anyway. I wouldn't last five

minutes just about. So, I wouldn't . .I was just being ironic, but

uh . .

I: Yeah I was just

E: Thinkin' about fighting period, you know, see . but solving, a per-

son solving his problems you know is a really difficult thing. A lot

of people solve their problems a lot of different ways . some use

violence, alchohol--some use money and money has solved a lot of peo-

ple's problems, tried to solve them . or people have attempted to

solve their problems by using money.

I: What do you j;hink would be the major things that you would change at

this University?

E: Well, the major things . I probably would, r~L r one--I.might

change the criteria for students. When I say criteria, I don't think

. well the average three hundred is very high and I don't feel like

all students that entered in University of Florida entered with three

point averages, see. And either we should lower some 6f the criteria

or either we bring not only black students, but students in on dif-

ferent programs. There are several programs . We have students

that want to go to college but a lot of times in high school, which

could have been due to their economic background, why they didn't make

good grades. Alot of times grades are not . a student learns a

lot after examinations and it effects his grade cause a lot of in-

structors look for grades, you know, they grade-students you know,

especially on grades . actually that's the only way to grade,

but it's a lot of good students that are not going to college because

they seem to think that they're not qualified, see to go to the big--

large white schools, so I think getting more students . or either

- 29 -

I wouldn't say exactly lower the qualifications, lower the three hun-

dred, but maybe accept them in on certain basis. So, if there's a ba-

sis for accepting students in grad school, well I'm not saying it's

not at the University--I really don't know but there should be a basis

you know for accepting students on undergrad level. Its not--I know

it's not that they don't want the money because the University should

be glad to get the money from all students, race,creed or color but

you know, in an effort to get more students would probably be my main


I: Do you think that having more black faculty would also be important?

E: Right, that would . What I would say that the students--having more

students would just about demand, not exactly demand (might not be de-

mand) but we would get more . It would be a stronger effort to get

more black professors. Another thing about black professors, a guy

was telling me the other day, say 'well, we can't find any that's qua-

lified that's really high--highly qualified.' Well at the University

Of Florida today we have several white instructors that are not highly

qualified, and that if I were to speak out on an issue I would speak

out on the professors. hy should we . why should we be--a pro-

fessor be a Willie Mays or Hank Aaron or why should he be a supreme or
super- lack man in order to get to the University of Florida whereas

we have white instructors here at the University of Florida that are

really not that--not that supreme or not that superior.

I: Wii-well--ll, what criteria are you using to say that they're not that


E: I mean in far as the primary purpose of this University--for the educa-

tion, to teach and to instruct. We have some instructors here that

coulanft probably shouldn't pass English examinations, if th tge

was examinin' to get a degree. See, we have some instructors that are

30- /

not educated. And this is an educational school. It's not . .

I: Well you mean like they have their PHD's in Agriculture, or . .?

E: Yeah, I mean yeah see, for instance like in Agriculture you know

practical you can ge t a PHD and not take an education course Ler

iod, so actually I would say that in terms of their research and

what they're doing, they're superior you know, they are at the top.

But we still have some; there is always, I guess there's always some

in a population that's not--that's in the middle you might say, but

why look for it . why say you can't find a black instructor, pro-

fessor that's high enough, that has to Ie so high to fit in at the

University of Florida and the University of Florida is not Cornell.

See, the University of Florida is not a Purdue University, not a

Texas A&M, that's in terms of Agriculture.

I: Hm. Hmm.

E: I was pointing out in Agriculture.

I: Right. Right.

E: See, they are not that high you know

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