Title: James Randolph
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Title: James Randolph
Series Title: James Randolph
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FB 29A CTM 11-1-75

Subject: James Randolph
Interviewer: "Button Project"
Place: Eatonville

I: The purpose of this study, I don't know if we told you or not, what

we are doing is going around the state talking to black elected

officials. We want to investigate the impact of the black vote since

1965, paying particular attention to the effects of the Voting Rights

Act of 1965,Awhat that did. We also want to find out how effective is

the vote, once the minority gets the vote. How much can they do with
\e'vJe. Qot
it. Wea ihaveseveral sections here of questions to probe each of these

areas. All of the results of this are completely anonymous. We will

use them and then the tapes will be erased. So, feel free to say any-

thing you want to. OK, the first group of questions are asked to find

out specifically about how well the Voting Rights Act has helped blacks

to take part in Florida politics. What year did you first register to


S: 1970.

I: And what year were you first eligible to vote?

S: 1965.

I: Did local registrars ever turn you down when you applied register?

S: No.

I: How long have you lived in Eatonville?

S: Approximately six years.

I: OK. Where did you live before that?

S: Orlando.

I: OK. Have voter registration drives been held here in Eatonville?

S: Yes, they have.

I: How successful were those drives?


S: They were 50 percent effective, I think. I'll say even 75 percent

effective. They really woke some people up. People got really inter-

ested in the Eatonville politics. And we hadapproximately two hundred,

three hundred new registered voters in'75 alone.

I: What were some of the organizations? Were there organizations involved

with these?

S: Yes. It was the young peoples' organizations for a better government.

And I think the drive was realjgood and successful. We didn't, by

being anti we didn't win the election but we did come up'with, you

know, at least/150 more votes from the younger people from 25 on down

that we wouldn't have gotten if we didn't have the voter registration.

I: Were there any registration drives held before 1975?

S: Not to my knowledge, no.

I: OK. Are there any things here in Eatonville that prevent blacks from

registering to vote?

S: No,Atherelrs- not anything. It's really wide open, you know. The people

can vote,Acome down and register to vote like they want to. There is

nothing really to hold them back. I think alot of people just aren't

interested, the officials, you know, just not actually them vote.
< 0\- C. \ot
But I think, from '75 on, I think we would see lot4more people getting

involved in the, government and registering to vote. So, I think the

last election has been real critical in-it-hesashown lot of people

some things happening in our town. We have to register to vote to

speak ett- opinion.

I: OK. We have a list of factors here that have each, or that have been

found in studies in other areas to be causes or things that prevent

Page 2


people from registering to vote. And I'd like to ask you to comment

on whether you think here that each of these factors is very important,

fairly important, or not important in preventing people from registering

to vote. The first one is economic dependence on whites?

S: That's not a problem kere. I thinkAehkf it don't have any bearing on

people registering to voteAin Eatonville. I think it, it's like I said

getting back to the statement I made a few minutes ago, it's/up to the

individual and up to the particular candidates whether they are going
90 cutg -L\a O-cd1
to)get those people and bring them in to register. I don't think they), \iC-

will come in voluntarily. I think during the last election, we had to

go out and seek people that wasn't registered voters, you know. So, I

don't think that has any bearing on it at all.

I: OK. What about fear of physical violence from whites?

S: No, not in Eatonville because it is all black, /YOA- V0J '

I: A/)'at about complicated registration forms?

S: No, that's not a problem not here in Eatonville. I haven't seen one

outside of Eatonville, you know, a form or anything. But here in

Eatonville, it's very simple. I think a 15 or 10 year old/lcould do it.

It's very simple.

I: OK. What about poor registration hours?

S: I think the registration hours during the you know, I think they should

be maybe from 6 to 7. Or sit a certain week aside or two weeks or three

weeksnwhere you are going to have the office so people can register to

vote. As you know, probably 90 percent of the people in Eatonville,

work outside of Eatonville. -The-usually out-from 8 to 5 or 9 to 6)
i -
and town hall is closed on Saturday so reallyA they got to loose some

time from work to come in and register to vote. Say before election

Page 3


or just after election, we were having, you know, extendl-he hours

or work something out that the people could get in to register to

vote at night or have someone to go around and register to vote these

people. I think this is going to be, with the situation as it is, I

think it should be left up to the individual candidateito get these

people in.

OK. What about the fact that, is registration not held often enough?

I would think so. You know, it's like I said, it's held often enough.

It's just the individual, individual candidates. You got to motivate

the people you know.

So, would you say4that's very important, not important?

It's important, it's important, you know. I think it's definitely


Very important?


OK. What about the indifference of blacks to voting?

How do you figure that, how...

OK. Some studies have shown that black people just don't care about

voting because many have been, say feel, particularly some younger

blacks, feel that it doesn't matter hat they vote. They are a

minority. What can they do.

I can't speak for, you know, any other city, you know, that...

Just here in Eatonville.

Just Eatonville./ I think this year in the '75, say '73, I think,

I think)4he- young blacks, 90 percent of the people >1< we registered

was young blacks. So I'm really proud of the young blacks in Eatonville.

I feel that they are getting involved in their government. They want

to see Eatonville's progress and this is very important to get in-

Page 4


volved, to know that their votes do count, regardless of whether

1, registering these people are inter-

esting to explain to them that their votes do count.

I: How often is reregistration required?

S: It's not required if you vote every year. I'm not absolutely sure.

But if you vote every year in the general city election, it's not

required. Youo it, you know, every time you vote. You a

automatically renewK'.

I: OK. When you were campaigning, were you able to campaign freely, that

is, were you threatened in any way I your campaign?
J~t wavcV C, W~
S: No, I wasn't threatened in any way during it.4 \t was a darn good

campaign. It was run, you know, I think it was pyf clean and I oCt -o

respect the man that did beat meg I think he ran a good honest cam-

paign. You know, if you don't hear anything or someone comes to you,

it's a good clean campaign.

I: How many times did you run for election?

S: Three times.

I: The first two, you.won?

S: Right.

I: OK. Were you threatened during either of those?

S: No,/ neither one of those.

I: Were you handicapped by a lack of campaign money?

S: (Mumble) I don't think so. I think it's/basic. I think you can get

out here with a few dedicated people and really motivate yourself. I

think money is less important in a campaign election. It plays a major

part, you know, it plays a major part. I'd 6ay 50 percent of the part.

But I think 50 percent depends on the individual because we are a

Page 5


small .e etgh here. We can walk from door to door. You

know,AI think it plays, the money in this situation, plays a small

part unless you want to go public, you know, if you want 4 go spend

some money on f advertising media, the radio, in the media. I don't

see where that helps, the mediaX Oayway. I think person to person

contact be the only way.

I: OK. How much did you spend D, ta say p your first campaign, and

your second campaign?

S: Amy first campaign, absolutely nothing. Oh, I'll say, no. I ewone Cuowc

say7, fMaeay about 25 bucks bseasM I did have a victory party. The
second campaign ran me)oh about, 200 dollars and the third wAn about


I: How come your prices went up?

S: Well, the prices went up simply because, you know, you had to get more

literature out and you had to get people involved with taking people

to the poles...

I: Was it easier to win the first time than/the second tba?

S: Yes, I had no opponent the first time.

I: Oh, OK, that explains it. Why did you decide to run for office?

S: First of all, I came to Eatonville with the hope that Eatonville could

progress like some around the municipality, you know. I came

in with the idea that Eatonville could be an ideal community for

blacks. It could be a model city for blacks. This is my first), r\y{QP/

concern for Eatonville. Simply because it Jt an all black town. And

they say-that blacks are always second class citizens. I think that I

had in mind -42 we were going to show the world what kind of a city

we could have ec.ic,

Page 6


I: OK. What political party do you belong to#Apolitical party?

S: Yes, I am affiliated with the democrats, the democrat party.

I: Did you get any support from the party in any of your campaigns?

S: Yes, yes, I think I got some good encouragement from them. And
3:L M%'P bo thy uuLoAol 16"SO~f ^ -Ze--Zy
they offered me any way6they s-e~d help me, minor

political party _

I: Did theyAhelp you in door to door campaigning or something like


S: Yes, yes. There6eoa some people that are democrats which is 90 per-

cent of the people out here are democrats. They did help me do

a little bit of tiZ campaign'Q.

I: OK. What were the two or three most important issues that you cam-

paigned on in your first election and then again in your second


S: OK. My first election was basically, people wasn't, I think I

campaigned on Eatonvillejmy first election, to the best of my re-

collection, we didn't have any people in Eatonville who were really

interested in the town. I think my platform there was fairness to

all people in government. I think this is a big part, you know. Now
yvOL& 1'"O,0
it's sort of, politics is sort of,/jthe man- ie don't have, the forgotten

man, he never gets anything he wants from you except, you know, when

you go vote for him. I think that's a little unfair. And this is

my reason for running "4 my first election. And I thought I could do

so much for Eatonville. This/is another thing And this is my major

concern when I first ran for office.

I: OK. What about in your second election?

S: In my second election, I think that really, you get a little more in

Page 7


detail and get a little more, you know, 'P& the campaign .ast in there.

I thought this second election that my thing was improving the town,

you know, you sit back the first election, the first couple years,ybL 'ut' aiY

3rc you have to observe. And the second, I thought about improving some
\\n 0
of the services Df our town, would be reallyAgood campaign platform.

We have our water system that is just beginning, just beginning to be

revamped. And I think this is my platform. And to get Eatonville on

the move. My second election. I think/Eatonville is dying. To me

it is really dying. / You can look at municipalities around, it is not

a very good model. And this is some of the things that I want people

to really see. My third election, I get, you know, a little carried

away, it's more interesting than the first. I think the third election

was honesty in our government, you know, fairness, integrity in our

government. And I think these three things, as you know, last year the

Watergate scandal, I think these things are really important/in any

city government. You got to have the trust of the people, with you.

I think now backing up again, to shape up but like I say, one day I

might want to run again but for now I don't see any hope of even

thinking about running again. I think after Watergate I am getting

back to the third, after Watergate,/people are a little lekry of their

official and an official's whole life, you know. And I think to get <\'(\\,)

we have a really, city government, that has integrity, honesty in

government, and fairness to the people. I think this is what the people

want. I think People get tired of wasted spending of their tax dollars.

And this is my program in the last election. This is my platform.
goIq to
Course you are going to have people that say well everybody is -onthe

take, every official is on the take. I think that is absolutely wrong.

Page 8


I think we have some very good, honest officials.

I: -jhaf about, what percentage of the blacks in this area, well it's

the people, I guess, everybody inf~ town is black,Awhat percentage

of people of voting age here in town are registered to vote?

S: I honestly feel that 50 percent or maybe higher ge registered to

vote. I honestly feel that.

I: OK. The first time you ran for election, about what percentage of

the people that are registered to vote, do you think voted in the


S: About 10 percent.

I: What about the second time?

S: The second time, about 25 percent.

I: And the third time?

S: Oh, about 40, 45 percent.

I: Well, OK. In the first election, you had no opponent and in the second

election, how madn opponents did you have?

S: One opponent.

I: And in the third election?

S: One.

I: OK. What percentage of the total vote did you get the second time?

S: OK. I'd say about 45 percent.

I: And the third time?

S: Oh, I'm sorry. The second time?

I: Yeah.

S: About 60 percent.

I: And the third time was about 45...

S: 45 percent.

Page 9


I: OK. The next questions are asked to determine how well black officials

can rep, benefit thoseithey represent. /l'ow effective have you been.

In what ways do you think you have helpedApeople in your district?

S: OK. First, I think I have helped them here quite well. I think I

have represented them best of my ability. I think I bought some

things, I have some issues out that was real relevant to Eatonville.

I think I tried to show them what is going on in Eatonville and how

to get people involved in Eatonville. And you cannot represent

the people if you don't know what's, you know, whatS some of the

things that people want, you know. What's some of the things St i$:/

e demand./A ou go around and say/that I need to fix this street OR-vk

.am~ this water, That may not be things/they want. /I thinkjpeople

are going to have to get involved, you know. For quite some time,

the people wasn't getting involved. And it's in the last two or three

years they got involved. Then you really find out what people want

and what they are thinking about.

I: Were there any specific projects that you were able to get through?

S: No, I, yes, I think with the help of the council and the mayor, I think

we got through improving our water system. When I came here we had

a volunteer fire department. I think we got at, you know, got

that pretty well moving now. I think in the last bte- SsSr four years
X; 11cy/I >', IUouJ
all our services have improved a hundred percent./ I don't say tb=-
Ck\ oV
one man done/it. It takes everybody to, from the council here, to

get into the legislation that is going to benefit all the people.

I think legislation has been passed where it benefitted individuals,

not the town as a whole, you know, I think this is why our county is

so,/hasn't been able to really move like any other town around us

can move.

Page 10

FB 29A CTM Page 11

I: OK. What, if anything, has prevented you from doing a better job?

S: I think the division wsake here in Eatonville, we have half anti

and half not anti. This will block it.

I: Anti and not anti what?

S: Well, what I mean ....

I: With reference to what?

S: I would say in reference to, you know, in any city you are going to
have people that have their people in office, you know. AYou have

people, I would say that are part of the establishment, you follow,

ame So, I think/jin order to get anything accomplished, every

member on the council is going to have to vote for that particular

legislation or 3 to 2 for this legislation to pass. Legislation

can be passed in Eatonville and when the actual work need to be done,

it don't get done./ecause no council here is, no councilman here is

a day to day administrator. Your mayor is your day to day administrator.

So, if this passed and he doesn't want it, or a couple other council-

men don't want it, all they do is stall it and stall it and a project

never gets, you know, any attention at all. It layion a shelfdead.

There is always a problem- jgS, you know. But I think if he want a

project through, he would, the administration would find time for the

individual supervisory or someone to do these things, you know. And

I think 2S the council has passed it and it should be put into effect

immediately, you know. I think this has been the hold up here in

Eatonville. A number of the legislation hqs been passed, a number of

them. But/rte-e-a---s J-lln- -tie--she.-hlf,--they-are-sti-l-on -the shelf-

I: Do you have an example of that?


S: Well, I'll say for instance, you know, just like when I was there, we

had money,a pool for the water system, a year ago. We are just

getting around to it now. We have money in the pool and we are just

getting something done which should be done when it passed because

there is a definite need for these things when it is passed. And this

money is just left on the shelf or planned, like I say our water

system, our street lights system, plans been made four, five years

ago but they are not being implemented.

I: OK. We have a list of factors/ that have according to studies pre-

vented elected officials, particularly black elected officials from

doing a better job. Again, rate each of these factors, if you would

as being very important, fairly important or not important. OK, the

first factor is the office has no real authority, in other words, it's

just sort of a figure head position.

S: True. It is true. I think, '- andn' t-ie -f-f ewa 't has been

a figure head position, even though, you know, you get your vote

on the council. But what good is it legislation passes the council

and it doesn't be implemented, you know. I think it is a figure

head pIeesion.

I: OK. What about not enough revenue available, not enough money.

S: As you know, money is the main problem all over the country. There's

not enough money here to really do what we want to do in Eatonville, _T- IL ni

As you know, 90 percent of Eatonville is residential,Asay 95 percent.

And we have to really depend on our federal andAstate for really

funds coming in here. We have no businesses here. We have no tax

base here, business tax base. There is so much you can do with ad-

velorum tax, you know. And I think you have to depend on the federal

Page 12


and state/fgovernment for support. I think right now about 60 percent

or more than that of our money is coming from the federal and state

government. So without them, we are just a drop in the bucket.

I: OK. What about being unfamiliar with the administrative duties of

the office.

S: I don't think, I think most councilmen are aware of what his duties

and what his duties are not. I think primarily, you know, they know

their duties. It's the legislative making body and that's it.

I: OK. What about lack of cooperation from the citizens?

S: I don't think that's real big factor in Eatonville. Like I say, it

all depends on the individual. Is he going to motivate the citizens.

I think we have a lack of citizen participation in each city. It's here
qefc ^o'e q;cva-re Q w^'6 ovnc V
too. You know, A and it'o 6gulii"Lu-k-,-, you know, the

same citizen over and over and over but you want to get those citizens

that don't//never come down and see whategoing on in their town. And

like I say, you know, when I first ran here, we would have one citizen
you- V-no^j,
at a council meeting and now it's gettingJw hee- the council is almost

full, the chamber has 50 or 60 people on that kind of thing. Some of

them are interested in the town and some of them are interested in

their particular candidate or they are friend or something like that.

But I think, the citizens turnout is alot better than it used to be.

I: What about lack of cooperation from state officials?

S: I don't think so. I think that if each official wants something or

he wants something for his city, I think that if you go to the state

or you present them with a package or plan that will help your city

or state, I think you can mostly get it. I don't think we have been

turned down that much. I think it is a matter of getting funds from,

it's getting your application out and writing a proposal in time and



following it through.

I: What about lack of cooperation from federal officials?

S: I think that that hasn't been a problem I don't see where that has

been a problem here in Eatonville. I think that, it's like-e- '
.a-*e matter MgU following through on your application, and so


I: OK. Has criticism or lack of support from members of the community

hindered you ge holding office, in other words, do some people think

you are just a token and you can't do anything and that you have no


S: I thin/!lthere5aae people w4b think that, you know. And 4~L sk O VnO-

getting back to a question before, I stated a few minutes ago, that

you know, it's a figure head, you know. And thereaMe a few people

who think that, you know -Qe e situation in the past

where you have 3 or 2 councilmen for a program, 3 or 2 against, you

know. So, really, it all depends, you know, whatnprogram you thought

would be best for the city, you know. Eatonville, you know, you can't

disagree in Eatonville unless a citizen thinks you are disagreeable

with someone, you know. I think f you/idisagree with a man4you don't

have to be disagreeable with him, you know. I think any official

should analyze the specific legislation that is before him and vote

to the best of his abilitylpaccording to what each other councilman,

I think you have to root those things out.

I: OK. Do you think white officials, county, state, federal officials,

treat you differently from other municipal officials simply because

you are black. Do they consider you a spokesman for blacks on racial

matters and are you able to raise other issues?

Page 14


S: I think, in my experience, when I was here, I, they didn't treat me

any differently, I think from any other official here. I think most

of them in the political arena, they are concerned with the board. gS41

if there is anything they can do to help you, they will. I think that

most officials really look out for each other, you know. I think

if.ycity needs something they can do it, they will do it together.

I d1Rs think wejhave a problem there but you also have to realize

that we are democratic out here. We are strictly a democratic town.

And say Orange County is republican, you are going to get a little

less out here from the republican officials than you are going to get

out of democratic officials. So, it's, you know, that would be, that -

is our main problem here. I think, you can't really say democrat or

republican. I think black folks going to have to vote on what person,

individual's going to help them.

I: OK. You mentioned that you have been able to help the fire department

and the development of water and sewer. What other services have you

provided the people in the district that they didn't have before you

took office?

S: I think improved representation of the people. I think that fairness

of the people here. I think, in a small municipality, it's sort of \~\4_--

like, the small, the men that never come to council meeting, you

know, he always be the man who is left out. I think, let's say if

you had a business you would be concerned about your business, you

know, but you know, your business is real good, but it still yet ES ycL (jC(iO O

oy built around the people4in the community. You can't go out and

put this here and-eay the heck wfetah Biei- the people, you know.

I've seen legislation that passed that was best for business or best

Page 15


for the individual but is it good enough for the rest of the citizens.

I think this is wrong. This is the kind of thing I wanted to get rid

of here but it's still here and it will be years and years before you

get rid of it.

I: OK. Please rate how effective you have been in each of the following

service areas. Rate yourself as being very effective, somewhat effective,

or not effective. The area first, police protection.
i^^.i. .`,4cy C e- 0
S: I think the first, during the time I wase--edeed last,4a couple years

ago, effective. I think -.wvixlrM have/been effective.

I: Very effective?0Comewhat effective?

S: No, just effective. I think it has been somewhat effective by my

sitting on the council.

I: OK. What about the area of streets and roads?

S: Not effective at all.

I: OK. In the area of housing?

S: Not effective.

I: In the area of employment?

S: Somewhat effective there. I think the reason I say that, we have

hired some people that I think would be,6therwise) unemployed. They

work for the city now, probably some of them on the different farms.

I think people that wasn't working, they got a chance to come in and

work, I think that means alot to have...

I: How many employees does the city have \, 0

S: I really can't say. I would say/probably about 50 employees.

I: OK. What about in the area of parks and recreation?

S: We don't have anything for parks and recreation. We are just getting

started with a -eeel park here. Recreation we have. I think I have

Page 16


been very effective in recreation. I think the whole county, it's really

hard/to evaluate some of this because the whole council has to really
\t C i pCO-': 6 \\ j ^.\. .'.-.c \ i- c< (aA)o
pass on t a get the legislation/through,l&oryeh-eity. I think

recreation has been very effective here.

I: You all have some tennis courts here, is that right?

S: Yes, ye%, It's been very effective here. I think we all on the council

have pulled for recreation for the teenagers, nobody is opposed.

I: What about in the area of water, seweSge and garbage?

S: I think, I would say, I think water and sew age have been good, real

effective/. Garbage, you know,?before recently, wasn't, Vma oss- you Lc-

0e commissioner over each department, sewers and sanitation. I mean

I can't really say. The-sewert and water, I think we have done a very

good job, a very good job.

I: OK. What about the area of health and hospitals?

S: We don't have a hospital here in Eatonville as you know. -ih health
^J2(2 if& oao't *. C -JU e i.'
and sanitation, -ti4 wouldAbe our garbage and our sewers and things

like that. That's the only thing we would have .pg=eed-~ed-f4o-


I: OK. What about, have you been able to as a member of the council do

anything about the ambulance service to Eatonville?

S: At one time, we did have an ambulance here. A guy was going into bus-

iness here. But you know, ambulance service is franchised through the

county. They have to meet certain requirements. This specific

gentleman didn't have these things, so we couldn't get our franchise

for this area. But we did have one started here in Eatonville. I

think we did maybe fair, 30 percent.

Page 1

FB 29A CTM Page 18

I: OK. What about the area of education?

S: Education as you know, here in Orange County, you have your school

board, you have a city in there, a school in the city here but the

city officially has nothing to do with that because the county

always take city.

I: What about the area of fire protection?

S: I think our fire protection has improved tremendously. I)when I

first got in, we had a volunteer fire department. Our ratings were I

about a 10 or 11 then. Now it's down to about 8 or 9 something like

that. So, insurance rating has gone down, you know. So, I think

we did a very good job in fire protection.

I: Have you gotten federal funds for Eatonville?

S: Yes, we have./ 't's like I said, getting back .owhat-I-.ai-. b f e,

-6 4B t or more of our total revenue is federal and state funds.

I think we could have gotten more if we had a better program coordin-

ator in the past years.

I: You now have one, correct? T: \IOA c' .'i cr' 6

S: No, we don't have one as of this time, we don't have one. A\e did have

a couple of them. We had one that was very good, I think. We could

have/$jtte- quite a bit more/federal revenue share. I think it's a

matter of the man4specifically geared fe- that job 'He knows that job)

'Re knows what65g on the market for it. And I think by being an official

in Eatonville which is part time, yaidon't have time to goand seek

these things.

I: Could you list some of the more important federal -us or .grans that

you have gotten?

S: Yes, I think CETA we got, revenue sharing, that's really important,

our revenue sharing. That's definitely important.


I: How much do you get from revenue sharing?

S: I don't, I can't give you quite the figures now because that's been

six months since I've been. But at one time, we were getting about

oh, about one hundred eighty-five thousand dollars a.year 'Erf revenue


I: OK. Have you as an elected official or part of a local committee

been able to bring industry or retail stores into the area?

S: No, we haven't. This is one of my main concerns; industry here
in Eatonville)because I stated in the past, yoi can't make our advelorum

taxes. I think for industry to come/lii would be the greatest thing

that ever happened to our community.

I: Why do you think you have been unsuccessful in attracting industry

to the area?

S: I think Eatonville being an all black community, I think you are going

to get those, you know,Athose companies who don't want to move to an

all black community, you know. There is a stigma, you know, with

some of these. You take a white business. They don't want to move

here because he say you know that there might be rioting or, you know,
ycL) 'v-\ouw 1 "S
some type trouble here or something like that/1hel I think, you

know, that things are changing. I think whe.L hy LL-t k they can get

some good employees or their taxes are not so high, you know, or it's

accessible to different things. I think you have to look at them

when you are talking about bringing industry in.

I: OK. Have you been able, have you been able to see that the hiring

practices, the government hiring practices, have been fair?

S: Within our city here?

I: Yeah.

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FB 29A CTM Page 20

S: Yeah, I think our hiring practices here- have been fair within the city.

I wouldjsay 90 percent.

I: OK. Let's see. Have there been any black protests, a-itam, boycotts,

or riots in Eatonville in the last ten years?

S: Yes, there have. This was in one of our clubs here. We had a riot

here probably about three or four years ago.

I: What were the issues?

S: It wasn't an issue then. It was an issue. We had a, I can't really

get to the issues It was a riot/simply because _

we had some county officer that came out and tried to arrest some

blacks at one of our local clubs. And for some reason, it turned into

a riot. And there were quite a few people that were hurt there. No one

was fatally injured and I think that came from a lack of communication

from a county level down to a city level.

I: Ok. What is briefly, what is your opinion of Governor Rubin Askew?

Do you think he has been favorable in attitude and policy toward

blacks in Florida or not?

S: I respect the man very much. He will get my vote. There are some
L^oC~~\&~'..' C"';A, to C;.--
things that I- wi elaborate on that, you know, I thitsk he did a poor

job oni-.judgment in. AI think I would have to rate him as one of the

best governors Florida has had.

I: AWWhat's your opinion of some other state officials and state representa-

tives? Do you have any that particularly strike you as outstanding

or aS particularly bad?

S: No, I, taaBfthd. I think hebdone an outstanding job. I think really

he6~he done more for Eatonville than any other elected official in the

United States.


I: What is he? cUtlc ", J

S: He, I think he helped us get some)/ederal funds.

I: Is he a congressman?

S: Yes, he's a congressman from Winter Park. I think he has done a very

good job for the black people in Eatonville. And getting back to what

I said, he is a republican, you know, and as you know, we are 95 per-

cent democratic/and I think you have to look at the man himself and

not the party so much. And in the past, the republicans\got/maybe one

or two votes from out in Eatonville. And this last time he ran, I

think he got almost one hundred votes from Eatonville./lIt really shows

that black people are beginning to vote for the candidate himself

rather than the party hejiA in.

I: OK. This is the big question. Do you think that winning and holding

office in Florida has been worth the effort?

S: Yes. To me, yes. It has been very educational and4very rewarding

for me. I would like to see every citizen, if he can only hold office

for one term, get in there and really try to hold office for one term.

I think it isAimportant to citizens, you know, to participate in city

government. Then they get a chance to see whatzS" going on, you know,

instead of complainingAwhich is their right to do by electing you.

But if yea-can get in there and see exactly what goes on in city

government, then they will have a more,Aa better knowledge of what is

going on when they are out again, you know.

I: OK. These questions are just asked to comply with an overall group

profile of black elected officials in Florida. No individual answers

are going to be recorded. You are a city councilman?

S: Right.

I: You were first elected when?

Page 21


S: March '71.

I: And you took office?

S: March '74.

I: You took office?

S: April...

I: You were first elected and then how long after the election was it

until you took office?

S: Three days.

I: Three days.

S: Right.

I: OK. Let me see here. You ran for office three times?

S: Yes. No, four years. Twice.
6'i 1 oL.t' y aoo.' 7
I: Twice. OK. fAnd then you ran a third time and lost?

S: Yes. Right.

I: OK. How old are you?

S: 33.

I: And your occupation?

S: Self employed.

I: Are you...

S: I am an owner of Central Florida Porcelain and Tables by Randall.

I: OK. And what's your level of education?

S: Two years high school and two years of business college.

I: OK. And what salary did you receive from your elected position?

S: One hundred, first of all we started with one hundred dollars a month

and then we got up to, I mean, I'm sorry. Fifty dollars a month. Then

the last two or three years, it has been one hundred dollars a month.

Page 22


I: Were you active in the Civil Rights Movement of 1960 to 1966, the

early sixties?

S: Yes, back home yes. I was still in w__S__ 5S originally,

a year _I was, I did participate in some civil rights

movement, where I thought it was very effective, there.

I: OK, what church do you belong to?

S: I belong to the Church of ..

I: And are you an official?

S: No, I'm not.

I: Are there tW other community organizations or activities that you

are involved in?

S: No, I'm not. I'm so primed to getting involved in any group in any

particular organization now. I think I gave the: four good years and t\e

have been really detrimental to my health. I think the less I get

involved with any organization or anything else, the better my

health will be.

I: OK. What was your father's occupation?

S: He was a farmer.

I: What social effects, or what effects generally have running for and

holding office had on you and your family? Social life and things like


S: It has a great effect. More effect than you can really, the average

person can really will can see. YEi change5your whole social life.

It turns around, you knowat an eighty degree angle, you know. There
Vo(. \-Cc, -o ,0Y9OU .-av.-
is so much, I think an official has to be,i give respect, and/ha- to De

respected so when there are things he can do, when he is not official,

Page 23


he can do what other people overlook and there are things when he is

an official, people won't over look, you know. He has to turn himself

all completely around. His whole life changes one hundred percent.

I: OK. I believe that is just about it. You did enjoy...

S: I actually enjoyed it very, I say I enjoyed it very much. It was very

rewarding to meland maybe one of these days/, I might toss my hat in

the ring again. But in the near future, I don't see me tossing the

hat in there again. It has been detrimental to my health. It really


I: What do you think-hasaen the biggest detriment to blacks gaining

political power.here in Eatonville first? Or4there isn't fibAy any

problem/here in Eatonville. But generally speaking,/in the state of

Florida or on the national level, what do you think !gthe single
biggest facto

S: I think the single biggest factor is getting back tq4 you are going to

take blacks to register and the black officials are going to participate

in election. He is going to have to get motivated workers to get these

black people out, younglan- old or young, old or farmers, teachers,

everyone to register these blacks. And I thin/)although the party

can't look at a general election,IMsay like a county or a school
board election-bat getting all, particularly black votes, you are going

to win. I think that official have to be geared so he gonna awf\" \\

to get some white votes to win too. I think you can gear yourself to

get black votes in order to win, no election outside of Eatonville.

You gotta gear yourself so you can get a vast majority of blacks and

probably a minority of whites to get in, get elected.

I: OK. /'This interview will be kept anonymous as I said. However, there

is a project at the University of Florida called the Oral History

Page 24


Project which is compiling o* a collection of tapes of historical

figures and people of the time$. In many cases, the people/waweere L~e

talking to are some of the first black, elected officials since

reconstruction (tape ends) .... (side 2) ... what they would

like to do, is, they would, if you would be willing, they would

like to take/Wape and transcribe it and then send you a copy of the

transcript and let you edit it, change it, put in things, delete

things and then release it, sign a release form. You can, at the

time you read the transcript, you can release certain parts of it,

release it with modifications or you can say I don't want to release

any of it. Now the purpose of iE is, it's not again a matter of

public record, it's for scholars, it's kept in the university

libraries, would you have any objections to this being done?

S: No, none whatsoever.

I: OK. Thank you very much.
(End of tape)
(End of tape)

Page 25

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