Title: Willie Washington
CITATION PDF VIEWER THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005803/00001
 Material Information
Title: Willie Washington
Series Title: Willie Washington
Physical Description: Book
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00005803
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Downloads

This item has the following downloads:

Binder14 ( PDF )


Full Text

FB 43A

SUB: Willie Washington

INT: "Button Project"

PLACE: Welaka

JF

NOV. 14, 1980






I: Okay this first series of questions is about voting rights since the act of 4965,

and you know how that helpedAor didn't help you. The first question is what

year did you register to vote?

W: I believe it was back in, I can creccal I can't

tell you right off hand.

I: Just give me a general idea.

W: I think it was back in '58,47 or something like that, it was sometime 10C Ck

I: Okay, and what year were you first eligible to vote?

W: (chuckle) At least as soon as I was 21, 'cause I'm,..

I: Then it should be, yeah that's right.

W: As soon as I got twenty-one, I'm thirty-six, I'm thirty-six now.

I: Okay, I can figure it out a little later. Let's see, how were you registered, by

local registration board or by the federal examiners?

W: No, we went up to the, just to the courthouse there in N~qtO to the registration,

registering blacks there in the courthouse.

I: Okay, did the local registrars ever turn you down when you applied to register?

W: No, no, no.

I: Have voter registration drives been held in the district which you hold office?

W: Uh yes, well since we got elected)here in town, well at least ina/^~4Afthat was

for the county, but in the town here)you could register down at the city hall.

They have registration books for the city election for the municipality downtown




FB 43A
2


W: there, at least down there, that's where you register for municpality. But

here, I think about a couple of years ago, after you register for the county,
yoDure
then b covered for the whole municpality too, I think A41_ new

lawAcome out. Other words you had to be registered in the county.

I: Yeah, do you know any of the organizations that held the drives, were they local

or national organizations?

W: Well not in Welaka they didn't, 'cause I mean most everybody voted, you know,
I tat ue
you know, here in Welakathey've never had any trouble TOr, that used

to be a big deal all along here in Welaka, coming up for election of city

municipality here in Welaka.

U; I bet a lot of these questions apply to big cities
a. lot-- oJ 4
I: Yeah, they do. When I went through themthEy;eT(n me iot .. ,a'n-.all

the places I'm doing are smaller towns.

W: Yep, yep, yep.

I: Okay, are there any things today which prevent blacks from voting in your

district?

W: ]op 4.T I don-t -inhk so.
50 is ho.
I: Okay) yourr answer oadt'yei,/iz,

W: I mean everybody wanted to vote, you know they afraid of you

know, I mean it's no hassle, unless you can't vote
But that's not only in Welaka, that's in the county too. I mean I never heard

anyone say that they, you know were turned down.

I: That's in all of Putnam County?

' : Right.
I: Nowythis is some factors that have prevented people from voting in other places,

and maybe you could run through them with me since you said there hasn't been

anything,it probably won't apply, but we'll go through it anyway. I'll give you

a pencil, what did I do with it? here. Okay the first one is economic dependence

on whites?





FB 43A


W: UP, now mean, how do you mean?

I: IF these things might have kept blacks from registering to vote or from voting,

how important are they. A

W: No, not really.

I: You can check not applicable, there isn't one here but it might not apply.

(We Uh huh, well not that I know of I would say.

I: Okay, fear of physical violence from whites?

W: No, no.

I: Let's see, complicated registration forms?
were sappa 0
W: No)they4qWi4 I mean, well least here in town I know, I mean)if there was any

questioning, I mean whoever was registering, they'd explain everything. Of course

mostly every year it was mostly about the same onesuntil here recently) /uite

a few younger, you got to become eligible to vote, and they didn't have enough
I0hoksy
.Aw:And uh . .

I: How about number six if none of the others apply?

W: No no. No, not that I know of.

I: Then we'll just go on to the second section. That one really went fast. Okay

the second section is mostly about your campaign, you know, for your election.

W: %fell uh, when I first ran, that was back in 1968.
(Break in tape)

I: *0M you knowwhat Well it just started

to play.

W: Got to back over this.

I: I thought it was awful quiet. Some of these I've made notation on. Now it's

running. It may, I may have hit it some way, 'cause this cord's right up here,

Oh I'd hate to start this thing over again. Let me see what I've got down. I

shouldn't have any trouble with the first page. I've been taking some notes.

I think we can go ahead from here, because I've pretty much covered these in my





FB 43A


I: notes.

W: Okay.

I: Okay, these questions, I don't know if you'll have any precise figure on 'em,

but I'd just like to give me maybe your estimation of 'em. What percentage of

blacks of voting age are in your district that are registered to vote?

W: Oh let's see. Now . it's probably about uh, I don't know, probably about

twenty per cent is youngsters I would say.

I: Um hum, and how many of those people are registered to vote, what percentage, of
Creo
those that are old enough to vote & registered?

W: Out of the twenty per cent?

I: Um hum.

W: Well I was speaking twenty percent as a whole. Now is, now you said . .

that's what I think we got a little confusion here. (chuckle)

I: Okay, about what percentage of blacks of voting age in your district are

registered to vote?

W: Probably about twenty per cent of themni,. .e Ktt,

I: Okay, and how many do you think actually voted, what percentage actually did

vote?

W: Probably about, well about fifteen per cent, because most of the ones that is

eligible to vote they does register and go out and vote.

I: Okay, do you think you got any votes from whites?

W: Oh yes.

I: What percentage of the total vote came from whites?

W: Probably about seventy-five percent, probably about seventy-five.

I: In the election in which you won office, how many opponents did you have?

W: Well in the last one I ran I believe I had, I believe it was four, I believe

there was four of us running, in the last election I ran in. And I think I was

the highest, or the second highest, I was the highest because I was president, I

was president of the council. This last time I ran.





FB 43A 5



I: So when you resignedyou resigned as president?

W: Right.

I: Wow.

W: Yeah.

I: How many of the people that ran with you were white, and how many were black?
Do yo u.emem er?
W: Uh it was, well in the last one it was two, that was myself and George Barlow, he
-he Joor Yhe ou o L wre.
lived down 0leraenAecond 0er there. Think'A"4Abdbtt... 4/%! the first . .

I: I've got to talk to him.

W:; I think he's home is the trouble.

I: Yeah, I called him, I think I called him either last night or this morning, and

we're going to meet first of August.

W: First of August?

I: Um hum.

W: Well he lives second door down here (laughter), and he was home, I know he was

home, this morning pq I was out in the yard. I saw him out there in the yard.

I: Okay, this is the last question in this section. What percentage of the total

vote did you get?

W: I think about, it must have been about uh, I think about eighty per cent.

I: Okay, the next section is the longest /ft's aboyt three or four pages long. So

when we're finished with this one we're kind of home free. And it's mostly,

mostly deals with how well black officials in Florida were able to benefit the

people that they represented. So it is a long one. The first question is) in

what ways do you think you have helped blacks in your district by holding office?

W: Well uh, well I think &#I44MO like I said 4%E ago, I think we have improved

the town and the colored section fA y/jp/ And it's also the same way, well

I can't speak for Palatka, because Polatka doesn't have any coloreds on their

council. But Crescent City in about a couple years ago,Aabout two years ago, I

think they got their first black on their council there. But speaking of Pqlatka,





FB 43A


W: like as a whole, I think we have benefited you know by helping their, well in the

streets, just as you call here, just blacktop it, what you all call it now, see

that road used to be so bad, especially like if it was raining late, I mean you

couldn't hardly get in and out. And since we was on the council we got that,

think about that that was the first paved street in Welaka in the last fifteen

years I believe.

I: Is that so?

W: Right.

I: I'd say that's an accomplishment.

W: Yes it was, I mean you bring up paving, and everybody ih'T6yr weAwant the same

old sand street, we want paved street we go to the city. (laughter) But really

that was the first paved street here in Welaka other that this one just before

you get to the traffic light that goes down straight from the uh, straight to the

river down there, to St. Johns And I think the county
?V416e it
commissionerA\,* tM some years ago.

I: What/if anything has prevented you from doing a better job, especially with
bene-1iMi /1
KiVftwrblacks.

W: Wellwe didn't have no hassle, I mean some of the council, well the whites, I
would say they come amongst the blacks and tell them bout, well just like, I say
take instance this street, when we were first talking about this street some of
them came down there and told people live side the street~, hbifete going to make

their taxes go up, and you know just blindfoling them. Just backing out, and

all like that you know, but really it wasn't no big hassle about it. I just ept
on 'em until we got it paved. So really there's one thing, they wanted to pave,

An 11 i ee they have this, 1~WA / msf1b down at the Oit
down there. And well, well this road after you go east, turn right at the traffic

light, then where it's a little bumpy along there, and then if you go down

further you go on sort of a shell type road. So they want to pave that street





FB 43A


W: in order for the people to go down to, you know like Vliit or' Sfci'IIi C-r r

weekend people come in on the weekend, go down there want to look around. So

they want to pave that street. I told them the first street they're going to

pave in Welaka would be this street here, and only way I go along with paving

street is to pave this street first like that. So after we paved that street

here, then the next one we got was that one over there, going down there to

this nPfl t ovltorinimim.

I: Okay I've got another series of questions here, and if you'll check those while

we go over them, umthey deal with more of the same kind of what items on here

have prevented you from doing a better job in fitnf j blacks. So the first

one is office has no real authority.
W: Yeh on1
W: Yeah, we have tIe c iy qovernv e time the blacks,see once there
cou anc(lrcM
was three of us on the council, which is five ~duwth]a and the mayor. So one

time)it was three councils on there, and we did have control. Of course I mean

we didn't, you know we didn't try to take advantage of it because there was

three of us on there, I mean we still worked this whole, I think that lasted

about a year, and some, and one of the fellows resigned. So, and then they,
se d4is+-urbed and
well you know how some people A4st~ &aPf stuff, you know saying just
'cause there's three of '6m that they don't do nothing and this that and the other.

But it really wasn't no big hassle. But the reason the three got on there,
'cause some of them just sat back and didn't run, and some of the ones that was

running they didn't want 'em, so that's how three blacks got on that.

I: Okay, outvoted by white officials. For most of the time that you were in office,
were there a majority of blacks, or was that just this particular time?

W: No, no. It was just one time. I think that was one year, yeah one year I

think it was three blacks, and two whites.

I: So did you find very much difficulty in being outvoted by white officials?

W: No, no. Well the next time, the next year when it come time to run these blacks





FB 43A


W; that was on the COMLiC\ let's see who it was, me and George and

./1 /_ L, Johnson, Jl H Ue I Johnson, in fact, but he was
the one, it was George, myself,and Johnson, so E Johnson after

the first, I think he won a em of one year, so after that year was up he just
didn't run the next time. But George and I, George' BalDo J and I,

we've been on)I 4*ENZ ever since we got on the first time. I think George he

missed out a couple of times, because he missed out the first time he ran, him

and ,I ran together, and . .

I: Is that the first time you ran too?

W: 'Right,that was back in 19~ ;'lob

U: That's what the article says.

W: Yeah, and George missed out in, well one year I missed outdone year myself. And
I ran the next following year, and I think George missed out one year, two
years.

I: Okay where are we, number three, not enough revenue available, how's the town
for money? (k

W: Well it, you know you never have enough.A But this, since they, since we was
getting this, you know began to get this revenue, I mean it really ef*fe in handy.

Fact about it, that's how we paved this street out here. See 'cause they sent

that little pamphlet out, you know what the revenue supposed to be used for.

I: Was this government revenue sharing programs?
W: Right, yeah. And fact about it I told 'em was I bU+fYid' b riered over Y
4he.
know how it's supposed to be spent. I told them that's that the idea ofArevenue

sharing, that's it's supposed to spent in you know lower . .

I: That's what a lot of people don't understand.

W: That's right, it's hard to get over to em, it's hard to get over to 'em too.
So the attorney which I was clerking, our attorney Sam Holt, so he got ahold of

that pamphlet and then I haven't seen it yet. (laughter) Well like I said, I
had read everything and got the understanding of it, you know what it really,





FB 43A


W: you know the revenue is all about. But like I said, it really has helped a
whole lot of us. "Cause I think one time 4 oJ Y10o 5 ) you know the
reason the town was on a standstill because it just, you know it was going off
the taxes and this, that and the other. L~s 15 i o0Y. i '/ y -,
I: What they could bring in rVOYiAe .
W: Yes, uh huh. But uh since this revenue started, it helped a whole lot/ Vo
u ir abouif-'.
I: Okay, number four: unfamiliar with administrative duties?
W: Well, I didn't, well what I was doing, I mean IApretty well ?mllia r with ,'
'cause I think, well one time I was on the, I was on the . different
committees, but the one I was on IAmost ec rCentiy mim I of i.
I: Here's one, number five is lack of cooperation from whites.
W: No, I never did have no, you know hard times with 'em, I mean I always got
along with 'em.
I: Okay, you've pretty much answered that one. And the next one is lack of
cooperation from blacks?
W: Well we always got 0lO_ V', -, -
L/ke I say some peopleyou know it's sort of hard to get over to 'em, you know,
04 fe/r
butAyou explain it to them, I mean if they want to understand,they will under-
., Wo,//o, lk fo 'ew
stand, you know.some people will youAjust don't understand /ou canAstIip /
try to preachAand this, that, and stomp and everything else, if he don't want
to understand, you qljLAS5t v\A)OVn' understand you know. But overall,
I mean jld n'r- hove ouy prol 5
I: Okay. Number seven is lack of cooperation from state officials.
W: No, I mean let's see. Well when we asked the county commissioner, \A)-| -
~_ asked him to do something, I mean when he got around
to it, you know he come aVailable, when they come down. I know recently we had
had him to come in and grade the streets and this kind of thing. Of course we






FB 43A


W: had to pay 'em, but they didn't give us no hassle about coming out.

I: And here we have lack of cooperation from federal officials?
y- s.ai j a5s m-ftfer Pac-
W: Well likeAsa uh well on that we didn't uh,/ZAf$-to thi-jiKabout it, I never did

have no contact with federal officials, I put it that way. 'Cause like I say)
hy a5 lcty A ,
whenAI guess they,AI know)they did what they supposed to do, this that and the

other, I never did have no hassle with them.

I: Okay, we can skip the next two questions, 'cause you've already answered

them above. (We've pretty much covered number twenty-five too, but I'll ask

you anyway. What services have you provided blacks in your district that they

did not have before you took office? Could you please give some examples.

W: Well one thing a lot of them had these outside facilities so the town drew

up an ordinance that abandoned all those, because we got the county health

department to, you knowhelp us on that, you know so he got on committee and did

some inside facilities.

I: Okay, is there anything else you can think of?

W: Well, well anything else would be over the whole town I would say.

I: Okay, I've got one more list of things here you can check off. And this deals
eaih of- 4ae
with your effectiveness inAOtel following, in this list here, and it's in

terms of benefits for the blacks here in Welaka. So the first is police
protection?

W: Yeah, well we didn't have any, I mean we always had police protection from the

police for the last sixteen years

I: So that one really doesn't apply? /; h w
Of cofv,:
W: Yes, he was a black fellow,s 6he lived right across the street over there,
/
(chuckle) so. a0nA lik. 44 c c 4- ao t- ,l shoot he's been with
=;. z M I or / V like ha
the police here ever since back in the 1f, something p, Ed Smith.

I: That's a long time.

W:A 'e's been around a long time.
/P


I






FB 43A


I: Okay, number two is streets and roads?

W: Well like I say)until we, they started paving these couple streets here/they

mostly just you know sand streets, and that's what the people say they wanted.l(ckv\e

I: And then housing.

W: Well most of the houses, I mean they own their own houses, I mean the4didn't

have any, you know federal houses come in, I know a company supposedly that you

buy a house, and the company come in and build it for you.

I: Okay, number four is welfare.

W: Well I haven't heard of any difficulty concerning welfare, not that I know of.

I: Okay, so then that one doesn't really apply?

W: No.

I: Either?

W: Welfare?

I: Yeah.

W: No, because they didn't have any hassles, not that I know of, no ne hadn't had
tho^ w'f
any hassles concerning welfare. I knowAif you i 4 qualifiedAwelfare, you imagine

o10, had gotten it.

I: What about employment?

W: Yes, now down until the, well it's always has been, fact about that was2mostly

the only employment in Welaka down i thereA* the fish house by

SI mean the deals with catfish, and they're taxing ships

and all. Now they also deal with crab,and they can crabs

and this, that and the other. And most of it, well that's about the only,

you know considering jobs, it's always been just SGy the eCOYo)fl\/.

I: So is there any problem there with hiring blacks?

W: No, -no.

I: Never.

W: Fact about it, that's mostly all that works down there is blacks, really.





FB 43A 12


I: Okay, parks and recreation?

W: Well we improved the recreation place up here, 'cause well uh, it used to be

owned by some white lady, she had a lot of land around here, and since we was in

office, well what it was, when it come up to you know, t e 2O4io 2

something on the ballot, they'd say,.well the city doesn't own that, and we can't

do this and that and the other. Sowe finally got our clerk to contact this

lady, and she deeded the town/this park up in the colored section, and by doing
hfe c'it
that)e q'thgy didn't have any excuse for not spending money) so they started,Y4 knov

spending money you know on it, jf course,that's been in the last three years.

I: The next one is water, sewage, and garbage?
of
W: Well we have garbage, but we doesn't have any city sewage water, we have cA

garbage collection.

I: So then again that one doesn't really apply etx. Hi lker,

W: Over here such as those like sewage and garbage, likeAiP we doesn't have, what

that supposed to beM marked or checked there?

I: Pardon me?

W: What's that supposed to be checked as?

I: I guess just as not, doesn't apply?

W: Not effective?

I: Well not really not effective)but if you could just make another column along

the side for the ones that didn't apply to you at all, 'cause there have been

a couple of themyou know.

:W Oh I see what you, I get the idea.

I: 'Cause there have been a few that didn't really fit in.

IWtl Okay, what one was we, health ?

I: Health and hospitals?

W: We doesn't have any of that down in Welaka either.

I: Education.






t1 43A


W: No, they,Athe university at Gainesville they have this Sjet 5 ee I 's

OYI h&rei well it's not neWf) in the city limit, it's,outside the city
limits, / A-^ ^%, keep on through the traffic light, on through to 90/

University a (ov,'Jld have a place down there. And I think the kids mostly

come down there on research, this that and the other. But like I said)it's not

in the city limits, so we doesn't handle it ir l c+ Cv. .

I: And then the last one is fire protection?

W: Well they have a little volunteer department/that's all.

I: And that services everybody?

W: Yes.

I: Okay number twenty-seven deals with I guess more of the revenue sharing, because

it asks if you have any federal funds in &td district?

W: In the district or in the, are you speaking of the town?

I: Well, in your town/yeah.

W: The whole .

I: Yeah.

W: Yes.

I: Okay, it's still on, I'm listening for it. The next one i~could you please list

some of the important federal grants that you and other black leaders have

obtained for your area?

W: You mean such as what have we used the federal money for, is that what you're

saying?

I: Well wait a minute I think that comes later. Has, is the only federal money

you've gotten the revenue sharing programs?

W: Yes.

I: Okay, well that's covered here . .

W: Then you, well that and then you get the, you know your cigarette taxes and taxes of
and
this, that and the other AAs far as revenue9 that was on this revenue sharing that we
1)





FB 43A


W: received from the government.

I: Okay, again some of these questions mostly apply in the bigger areas.

W: Yes. (laughter)

I: $V1I just have to kind of run through them so it looks like I covered them.

U: It may be that, that PX'e24f the small places 4a eligible for them, but they're

never told because it always . .

W: That's true too, that's true too, right.
I: Okay number twenty-eight, have you as an elected official or as part of a local

committee too I guess, been able to bring industry or retail stores into your area?

W: Well, *~' let's see. Well o10 thing we, W 1el Vl StdA reason the fellow

btli]Wdif the 7-11's down there because he already had owned the land where he built it
at, and he had a lease on this, on one store and then the lease ran outhe owned
this land across the road that the 7-11 is now, so he just didn't renew his lease

because they didn't, he just since he owned that land he just built a new one.

I: Well I think they were thinking more of terms of things that would provide jobs
for black people and stuff like that.

W: Uh no, 'cause it's really Ja*iV any, Q*~h1 I-Oa .

I: Have you been able to see that blacks are iIrdi fairly in local government?

W: Well what few is open. Well I say for one reason)uhwe got this money through
the county r believe. I've heard I think the state distributed it to the county

and the county distributed amongst the municipalities. And it was for you to hire
or
some low income that was on welfare,Asomething like that. So we hired this colored
b e-~ uCe oul
girl that I knew to be, i,11 we didn't have no secretary thatAbe there all, you

know everyday through the week, and since we got this money through the government,
we in turn hired her, and so down at the town hall it does, there's somebody down

there every day through the week.

I: Okay, here's the part on the revenue sharing, Aas federal revenue sharing helped
in your district or not, and please explain your answer.
in ou ditrct/r o2





FB 43A


W: Well yes, because well when we, when we, well before, before we started getting
that revenue sharingwe didn't,APolice usedJfliAI ov n 0, now that we
started getting that revenue sharing they bought a special police car through
S3,F
revenue sharing. And/liike I ,jCthe street work, that was did out of revenue

sharing too, _nd a lot of work on the parks and recreation that was also, come from

revenue sharing.
I: Okayhave you had any protests or sit-ins or boycotts or riots/fn Welaka in the
last ten years. (laughter) I didn't really think I had to ask. Okay well that

was supposed to be the real hard section. The rest is real short.

W: Well,/ike I said, we always, they always ot c IOVO3 I It P -in

I: Okay, we're trying to make some sort of assessment of black politics in Florida in
generalsso that's the next couple of questions. I think there are only two or three
that deal with that. What is your opinion of(Go Reuben Askew)I guess in relation

to blacks in Florida?

W: Well I imagine he's doing all he can, you know,Alet's see how would you say it . .
Well you know a lot of times I think some blacks feel because they're black they're
supposed to get you know, you're just supposed to get 'em the job, but a lot of times

it, you know it consists of whether you're qualified for the job or not. But I

think far as people being qualified when a job come open, and I think, you know it

seems to me like that they would get the job. I mean, well put it this way, in
this area of Putman County I would sayand I see where Askew appointed this uh,

guy that's on the what you call it you know, black, we had a


I: What2the guy on the supreme court?
W: Yeah.

I: Yeah, that was last week,d~a reLweakLoe Gack or prbaCTy-ji~t time in
the summertime,

W: SoI mean, like I say, they, they, the whole world ain't gonna turn over overnight,


1





FB 43A


W: but I think you know, I think it's improving a whole lot considering what it was.
Fact about it, I would say I know it, i.

I: Are there any other state officials you got, you have some opinions on?
W: Well, )-f 5e ... See

I: You know, significant people around this state?
W: Uh let's see, well nonot around the state, 'cause I mean I had a pamphletAthey
sent, I forget the name of it, and they sent that all, you know different elected

black office around this state, and you know by looking through it, and just

going through it, I mean to me it seemed like it, the fact about it, like I said

a while agoI know it has improved considering what it was, because on the pamphlet
MosA4A< t+wIeCe W1,lj
I thinkAa black be elected, be elected into office, you know the nameAbe in this,
and they have what they ealyfe ki on the job, and to me it has really

improved over the past ten years)I know.

I: Yeah, that's about the time where we're mostly interested in)that time between


W: Yes, right, um hum. See now just like in PAlatka F there's a lot of black people

th'r qualified for city, you know to be on, to be in the city politics 'cause
ye(ar P'
everyAI doesn't never see a black on the ticket! I mean a lot of people they just
don't want to be involved you know, they just want to sit back and talk about it
you know, use something for an excuse you know. But I believe if someone would
really get out and run, you know they'd be elected. Well it's just like on the

school board this guy Sam Taylor he run the first year, and he was so, well this
was the first time a colored ran for the school board, and he missed it on the
first go round, fact j was he was in the run-off in the first time he ran, so in
the run-off he was beat, so the second time he ran and won.

I: Um hum. He came real close the first time. Do you think that winning office and
holding office in Florida has been worth the effort?

W: Oh yes, yes.
I: You need to explain that.





FB 43A


We l,T VJc ''
W :Ayvell let's say just like here in Welaka, you know, just likeI mean for years you
have.t J i 6'vmI YOU
know peopleAneen telling youAA Is line or we don't have the money, and we can't do
A4n
this and that, this, that and the other.Asince I got in you know, and I got these
pamphlets in the mail, and what money supposed fto be spent on and this that and
the other so I would say my experience, I enjoyed being in it myself. Wfi like
I said)I learned a lot while I was in there. And I just learned a wholeAhow people, yoi

noVr yo LU dt yi/ pap used to foolA /pJu you know when you go down and ask them how
'bout you know doing so and so, and then they always had an excuse you know)for
not doing iteven though they have the money, but they, you didn't know any better,
you didn't know any better.

I: That's right. Okay) we're down to the bottom here. The next questions are just

to give us an overall profile of what a black elected official in the state is
like, and so we're trying to get information on the office and how old they are

and stuff like that. T ey're pretty quick and I can run through them pretty
fast. The first one is: the type of office you held?
W: Was councilman, city councilman, town councilman at least.

I: And then the date first elected?
I Aink id-A
W:A4ack in March in 1968?
U: Right.

I: And then the date you took office?
W: I don't know. Does it, don't it say on the date there?
U: Yeah, it's 3-12-68, it's the newspaper . .
W: I think it's down there when I was installed.
U: "and will be installed as town council here at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday." Was the election
on Tuesday.

W: Yes, but I think I was installed the following Tuesday.
U: Twelve and seven, the nineteenth.

I: The number of times you ran for office, or you have run I guess total ?





FB 43A


W: I believe it was, let's see, first time I had two years, the second time I had

fMnse years, third time I had one . believe about four times.

I: And I need to know your age, which is thirty-six?

W: Yes.

I: Okay, and your occupation before election?

W: I was working for the school board as a plumber, on school board maintenance.

I: Okay and your education?

W: Twelve, high school.

I: Okay, and the salary you receive from your position?

W: That's on the council?

I: Um hum.

W: None, we wasn't getting paid. They just/you knowilast year or so, then they voted

in I think each councilman should get twenty-five dollars a monthly think it was.

But during the time I was in there, that was after you re-run for office, .'cause

if you was already on the office then you couldn't voteyou know to pay your salary,

you have to, you'd have to re-run again, right. So like I said, after I resigned,

in this past October, and then I would have had to run this past March, then I

would have been eligible to get paid then.

I: Okay, so then the pay started as, with the people who were elected this past March?

W: Right, uh huh.

I: Okay, do you belong to a church?
W: Yes, St, Johns.

U: St. James.

W: St. James (laughter) I don't know, I always say St. Johns.

I: What kind of church is that?

W: Methodist church.

I: Are you an official in your church?

W: Yes, deacon.





FB 43A


I: And they want to know what position you hold, deacon?4

W: Deacon.

I: Are there any other community organizations or activities that you're involved in?
WJ 5
W: Well,really the first organization I was in4before the council, I believe it was

the biracial committee.

I: What was that?

W: Biracial committee. I think I was,^'A 9/ before I ietbWm,, during the time I was
on the council I believe, Yeah, yeah, it was. So I was on that during, before

my father-in-law died, biracial committee.

I: Is there anything now?

W: You mean other than the. .

I: That you're involved in right now?
0o
W: No, no. I got release from someotpfo0 licol pvler.

I: When you got out, you got out. (laughter)

W: I decided I'd give somebody else a chance to see what it's all about 'CoulS ift 5

.ie^ VtJe Sae i you know.
I: Have they taken the opportunity?

W: Well not here in Welaka. I mean only somebody ran, let's see well this past

election nobody had ran, no colored had run, because George1he had another year,

for he had a two-year term ballot, he had a two-year term, so he didn't have to

run this past month. No other one, well'yes there is, a colored guy-he run for
Mayor, Qf course it was just a waste of time to start with ,,- .,,-

But I think he just run/you know just to say he was running for mayor. It wasn't a

possible chance to start with.
I: _

W: Telling you.

I: Okay let's see I think I've covered L, what was your father's occupation?

W: He was agriculture, he worked at the fernery.

u: Thof5j \AWhy /o ae Vo a)el /CeIn pa(itf
lC





FB 43A


W: How's that?

U:A hy you have4q-~1 0 't1/ qrc07i Pig.

W: He worked over at Crescent City, fact about, that's where I'm originally from,

Crescent City. You know where Crescent City is?

I: Yes. I think this is the last question. DJo you know of any other black elected

officials in the area which have been in office since 1974? I guess except for

Mr. Barlowe.

W: Well like I said over in Crescent City, over in Crescent City, not in Welaka.

I: Is there somebody in office there now?

W: In Crescent City?

I: That has been, yeah.

W: Yes, he just recently got in there last, it was last year.

I: All right, can I take his name down, because .

W" Thomas

I: How do you spell his last name?

W: _let's see

U: how do you spell


I: Okay, and that's in Crescent City?

W: Yes.

I: What office is he in?

W: He's a city councilman. Yeah, he's in

city government too.

I: Okay, that's good, that's helpful. And then the last question. What effects

did running for office and holding office have on you personally and maybe on your

family?

I: No, it just, you know)just a lot of time, I mean it didn't really have any bearing

on anything. Because we mostly had meetings after the, I mean when, mostly we






FB 43A


W: held meetings, we'd meet about 7:30, I mean so they wasn't

I: Okay, we're finished.

W: Well George, like I say George, he lives the second door down there, and he was

home I don't know if he still is.
I: Yeah, I've got an appointment with him . .

W: The first of August? m

I: I think it's on August fifth.A August Fifth at ten in the morning.

W: Ten in the morning. (laughter) Yeah, that's about the size of it. And well as,

well let's say the sheriff's department, they just, well they, well how long

they had a black? I think they just hired a black about three years ago, 'cause

the black on there now, he's been working with them full-time about three, about

three years. That's the Sheriff's Department. Now they have three full-time
deputies. Of course they would hire more, but you know the ones that wants the

job, they just not qualified, and the ones that is qualified, they doesn't want it.

So that's all over you know.

I: Is there anything you think we might have left out on this questionairre that would
be important to Welaka?
W: Not unless you have some more questions you want to ask.

I: No. I just thought there might be something you'd want to add.

W: Uh no.

I: Once I got this tape recorder going it didn't budge.
The End
[E P or J0R/ie? FJ




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs