Title: Reverend Nolan Pitts
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00005807/00001
 Material Information
Title: Reverend Nolan Pitts
Series Title: Reverend Nolan Pitts
Physical Description: Book
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Bibliographic ID: UF00005807
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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Side 1-Beginning


This is an interview with Reverend Nolan Pitts of Eatonville on 8-2-75.

I: The first series of questions we have deal wit. blacks and their

political participation in Florida. And first of all I'd just like

to ask you what year did you first register to vote here in Florida?

P: Here in Florida?

I: Yeah.

P: Nineteen sixtyAtwo.

I: Okay. Had you registered elsewhere previously?

P: Yes, I'm from Louisiana.

I: Okay.

P: I registered there at the age of eighteen.

I: At the age of eighteen? Okay. Were you ever turned down when you

applied to register here in Florida?

P: No.

I: Okay. You registered here in Mt. Dora or, excuse me, Eatonville?

P: Yes.

I: Okay. Now what year was that?

P: Nineteen sixty two.

I: Sixty two. Okay. And you were in office from what years?
hol --
P: they count back six years from 1960 I believe-no--let's see. I

just got out of office in '74. And six years back from '74 would be '68.

I: Sixty eight?

P: Uh huh.

I: Okay. Have voter registration drives been held in Eatonville or in

this area?

P: Yes. U- hUk,
I: What years? Can you remember /what period of time?

FB 47A


FB 47A Bridges

P: I say about three--no-about four years ago.

I: Four years ago?

P: Uh huh.

I: And that was the only drive held?

P: The only drive I know of. Yes.

I: Who sponsored that?
0, c(+fiia i4 viet5
P: And that was held locally by a group of citizens who were campaigning

for office. They thought that they could probably increase the voter

registration roll, and get more participation. And this was only done

by a small group of people who were supporting a newcomer to office.

I~ Who was the newcomer?

P: At the time I think they were trying to elect Eddy Tossee-/one or two
other people I think. I can'tAcall their names, but I know that at

that time Eddy Tossee was running for mayor at the time.

I; I' see. Okay.

P: And then he tried to get enough votes to get enough push to get him into

office at the time.

I: And that was, what, about four years ago you say?

P: I should think so. Yes.

I: Okay. Were there any other voter registration drives that you can


P: No.
I: Did the NAACP or any othe groups sponsor any voter registration drives

that you know of?

P: In this area?

I: Yeah.

P: No.

FB 47A Bridges


I: Okay. How successful was the voter registration drive that was held

four years ago?
174 depends en ~-
P:* jt depends on how you measure success. I assume if you got twenty-

five or fifty more, you were successful to a degree 'cause they were

not there on the roll before. But in estimating)I assume that we--

I would think we probably increased about/sixty or seventy people.

But that's not saying very much. Of course, depending on how you

look at it.

I: Uh huh.
-JAf's A.C4 -4o
P: Now this lastgvote we did casually like get people to vote- register.

Now it wasn't a big campaign, but we did contact individuals. And

mostly young people.

I: Uh huh.

P: This last election was in March--February of this year. And we got
-- we hw* about eighty or ninety them to go down to register.

I: Uh huh.
viC s.- p..<-+ Of 4tle C6Lr01PA rqPl < PrICC Yj SS
P: I-fa for *hp Pmpai fno ,h-it- nrgu.--< didn't launch a campaign,

but each one of us contacted people ind,'v!' d]/l to get to vote if

you know that they weren't voters--got them to come to register-

young people.

I: Okay. Are there any things in this area which prevent blacks from

registering to vote that you know of?

P: Nothing but attitude.

I: Nothing but attitude? Okay.

P: Nothing but attitude. If they had the attitude, if they have the

willingness, they can vote. And nothing inhibits them from voting.

I: Okay. Okay. I have a short list of items here which in some places

FB 47A Bridges


I:: have prevented blacks from registering to vote. If you would, I'd

like you to look this over and tell me whether you think these items,

as far as Eatonville goes, have been very important, fairly important,

or not important.

P: I don't have my glasses. I bettered get my glasses.
ow 4 Aozt
I': Oh. Okay. In fact, we'd like to have you check whether you think

they're-and comment just briefly on each one. In terms of--have

these factors been very important, fairly important, or not important

in terms of preventing blacks from registering to vote in this area.

First of all, economic dependence on whites?

P: Not important.
D65- -PoF0r
I: What do most of the people do around here foya living?

P: Well, most of the people here are domesticated workers and migrant

workers. We have no industry.h~teo in the town. The townA I suppose


(Interruption by someone saying "Excuse me."I

I: Yeah. (Answering the interrupter)

I: We're talking about the occupations ofA people in this area.
Oh Ae--
P: Yeah. Well, most people here are domesticated workers andAsome are

construction workers. And we have a very small percentage of people

here who are professionals-a very small percentage.

I: Uh huh.

P: And mostly are school teachers and businessmen.

I: Okay. So you've said economic dependence was not important.

P: No, not important-not if it determines whetherAto vote or not-that's

not--is that what you're saying now?

I. Yes, right. How about actually voting--,I economic dependence on whites

FB 47A h- idges

I: influence voting?

P: Not important.

I: Okay. owr about fear of physcial violence from whites?

P: Not important.

I: Okay. Complicated registration forms?

P: Not important.

I: GAlong with that, some officials have mentioned that in some cases
citizens who have trouble reading--haveA trouble reading the registration

forms and therefore in some cases have trouble getting registered?

Is that a problem here at all?

P: No, that's not a problem. See, I think the whole thing could be summed

up that they don't register because they don't have the confidence in-n '-he

governments. Now, I've talked to a lot of people. They say, "Well, what

the use. They're going to do what they want to anyway. What's the

use. You're all crooked." And the attitude they got now is very--

it's a sad picture we see. If they say, "Well, now if they're going

to do it. They're going to run it so why should I worry about going

down and voting." See, they all are like this. And because of-and

believe it or not, because of the whole extent of the Nixon case-
+tturn i .\ o-P'F
Watergate case-a lot of people are turning off/govef"nment.

I:: Uh huh.

P.' turning off any official--say they all lie, you know. So therefore,

it's a sad thing. It's a sad thing that the Watergate case has really

killed the momentum of people in this area as far as interest in the

government is concerned. They turn their back. And--

T: Were they turned off even before Watergate?

P: Slightly, but it put more water on it when that Watergate thing came

FB 47A Bridges


P: up. Pls'a& d rnawr O -Ja local officials are involved i being

indicted and state officials. And all of a sudden they're.saying,
"My goodness. The whole shebang-none of them are any good."

I: Have some local officials been indicted)in this area?
--fkc(rc- -J
P: Well, there/pave been some here, you know, around Orlando *-g?

pdicS) county-wAie. And now you've got this big ri e case,

you know-, statewide. And that case Cofy T"h in if all the years he

has served. And so many other things that have contributed to people's

attitudes toward government.

I-: WhoA-Car->'se_ ?

P: Pardon me?

I: Did you say-who did you say EPr voice blocks 6od ?

P: Oh, Gfrney. Gfrney.
I-ic- 'n-
I: Yeah, but you said someone else in/this area. Did you say--

P: No, I'm saying that this whole area-the county-county wi'e and people


I: Oh. Okay. I thought you were me';rminr the name of an official.

P: No.

I: Okay. Okay. How about registration not held often enough? Is that--

P: That's no probleA her because here we have kept the booths open

after hours so that people can come and register when they get off of

work. And even on Saturdays had it opened up for

that, but that's y ey.- V Co excuse .

I: Okay. Along with that, how about--oh, did I mention poor registration

hours? That was-I guess you said that was not important. How about
ofT ,A ,
the effect of re-registration for those who/have been-their names have

been taken off the lists because they haven't voted over a certain period


FB 47A Bridges

I: of time and then they have trouble-you have trouble getting them

re-registered. as that been a problem at all?

P: Well, one thing about it--first if a person registers and he doesn't

vote in so many years, it's hard to get him back there to register

again, but he could care less anymore.

I: Yeah.

P: You know, once he--once/they get into that rut, it's hard, you know. in --

And I've had some very embarrassing answers from people who I ask

about voting. They don't care. And the first thing they tell you

that as long as they don't bother me, I don't bother them. Let me

alone. Don 'r bother my money, my family. So I don't care what they


I: Uh huh.
b A4 v
P: Well, see,Abut they fail to see that whatever the government does is

going to effect them one way or the other anyway, but they can't see it.

Unless it effects them directly, you know. It hurts themjAt hen they

become concerned,1f their water--if it b s up Or something like that
Po ck 4+s 0p oc kets
because they're concerned about their .ap!atmn- e-individual aptment

Then here they come squawking, but other than that, they're happy. They

don't care what happens to you. Believe it or not ~tsa ead- to. As
Vk<- -f f./!ty
long as it don't bother-t e You know, we've gotten se isolated--too

individualistic 'til it's ineffective-even government's ineffective

Jou know, in terms of getting something done for the community. You
!____h CO Mmtoi.Pl p e if if
can a at a zesamte project, and I tell you,/it doesn't affectS-it

doesn't shall I say, help the individual, he doesn't want to participate.

Al, dtt's sad, but that's the way it is and ,). c co -dri e 't~ct5S .

I: The last item here is indifference of blacks to voting. And I guess you're

FB 47A Bridges


I: saying that that is-" ~ ci very important?

L..Verysimportant. Indifference.

,:j Okay. Fine. I'd like to ask you a few questions about your election

campaigns here. And first of all, were you able to campaign freely--

that is, were you threatened in any way when you campaigned for


P: No. No. No more than the average person who always have opposition.

And that's 'o ucvk to be understood. But I have never been

threatened by any white to campaign.

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

P: Campaign money?

I: Campaign money.

P: No. No, because see, in this area-in Eatonville you don't need the

money. All you need is time, the place, andopportunity to talk to

with people. Money is no factor because it's not a very large place.

And I think in the last election I gv 1e4 P--I think I spent about
,p 0 ,-s V 70oS fzCrs
maybe sixty dollars in otage and this sort of thing--enough po tage

and getting some small Crce printed. That's all I spent, but that's

all i Of course, we had a fish fry once and we put some

money in for that. But ue., t a ca ol o kids -- with that

thing; W- hppc t-o get that project so it didn't cost much, \oi

dor'1 nr~ccf r'wdl.

I, Did you spend the sixty dollars yourself or did you--

P: I'd .say totallyI as an individual spent sixty dollars with other jiLo

who combined to get enoughmoney to have a fish fry ,)/( / '.Si aw ,

and get cards printed and pictures taken and this sort of thing. So

I'd say I spent only about sixty dollars.

FB 47A Bridges


I: I see. Why did you decide to run for office?

P: I'll tell you, number one, I was brought up in ,a very Christian home.

And I've seen so many injustices--so many-so much wrongdoing. So I

decided, I said, well, I'm going to get into it and try to help

straighten out some of the ills because Isaw that there were too

much preferential treatment /And I don't like it because I feel that

we all are citizens--al-1 paying taxes. I think all should be

treated the same. I saw so much underhanded work. I saw so much

money being spent in the wrong places. I saw too much people

loading up on the payroll just because of friendship. Z-he other

people could be working because they had the knowledge, and the

ability to do so. And this I try to change. Inadvertently, it was

kind of difficult, number one, because I am a--well, people refer

to me around here as a transplant. My home's in Louisiana. I came

by here 0f -flis 4lnCC, And ItSS always have the opposition of
hohre- 64)n -
theAhome town folk which is kind of hard to beat. And I've tried
-hf,, reaJl, An J hdu
for six years to do that-to change goeur n And I have received

a lot of opposition. A lot of opposition--even from members of my

church who are friends of those who have been here for years. And
;4s aeL_1
this sort of thing isAinvolved. It's so involved 'til--4a- this last

election I ran to be elected again but I lost it,for the simple reason

because there were littleSuntruths spread and little coniving going

on which I suppose that's all in politics. But I have made my mind

that I would never ever conduct a dirty campaign against anything.
If I lose, I lose freely and honestly. So I think maybe here i qhas
s-o+ 0'
been -,onh of a lesson in disguise that I lost 'cause I have become

a littleuptight--a little t r,..{ DJ of the wrongness I had seen. And
A I- I

FB 47A Bridges


P: I have tried to correct some of it, and some of it I did very

minutely. But some of the major things are still going on, and

that, I just can't see people being mistreated because they don't

know--that people are being taken advantage of because of their

ignorance of the law. And bei read someI;Ac .'/.: -' PJ,

And I feel that we as officials are supposed to keep people informed

and give them the equal treatment of every other citizen. Not only

because a person is my friend or because he's a teacher or because

he's a doctor. I'll pick a man who's making $10.00 a day or $50.00

a week--to me he's the same as a man making $1000.00 a month. I

have no picks or CC0ScS I never have had them. I never will,

see. And tS plf .... ff l t(fhe mainstream of that

little clique up there then you get ostricized and kicked. So therefore,

that's one reason why I lost -my campaign because I was out for the

common man.

I: Okay. To what political organization do you belong--Democrat or


P: well, Il'm a democrat. I'm a registerediemocrat.

I Did you ever receive any support from the democratt party--financial

support or organizational support?

P: No. No. No. Nothing. I never approached theDemocratic party, and

I've never been approached by any of them--from them. And I just

/oD/ ~0 kep my own campaign on my own.
Lkk-- yiM go# 14
I: You don't run on a party label here in Eatonville?

P: No. No.

I: Non partisan.

P: I just run at large.

FB 47A Bridges


I: Okay. Okay. What were the two or three most important issues

on which you campaigned?
P: Well, the first-I campaigned on the idea that too many expect

prefential treatment. I was very displeased at the attitude of the

police department 'cause I was very displeased of their conduct--who

or who they should or should not arrest. Who gets the ax? Who does

not get the ax because he knows somebody who knows somebody who knows

somebody. I try to A et1- felil e .L And our finance have

been very very loosely handled. I-: Records are missing. No one

seems to know where they are. And someone does know, but no one seems

to know. And these are the issues that I've tried to ge ironed out,

hut I~'- ad I--it was C(d~~ i" V0hl no--I wouldn't say a thV4ng,

ut I did ut it was not done strong enough. I: didn't convince the

people enough that there was a need for a change, O6.need for something
CL P --ncL)
new. -W need newxguidelines-a new leader but as I say they stick

to hometown folks. And you're. tryings-you ,s-t Se-t- eer, you know,

yied can't h -'ea [\l ~~ iA twelve or thirteen years or, you know,

we've een here a long time. Our roots are here--my grandmother's

here, you know, so therefore wvi beLcr, tgS pF;~r, ds And it's

a hard test.

I: Were there any other major issues.upon which you campaigned?

P: No, just honesty of-government.

I: Okay.

P: That there be honesty in government, andAIm'm going to put it like this--
^iY nhe-ej
I don't see no neel for so much secrecy, you know, talking Ca2 al

thing. AndAl get kind of vexed of people doing this, especially on a

small political level. And there is no need for secrecy in this town.

FB 47A Bridges


P: You know, 5e ;-F-\c\ ---" What is there to be secret? You

know, you've got a government to operate and the books are supposed to

be open. So why do we have closed doors? What's up? So /lok Aere

a councilman here gets $100.OQ a month. And the mayor gets $200.00 a

month. So that can't be a secret. Everybody knows-- 4"H1 we get

$100.00 for the compensation.

I: Uh huh.

P: -hat is no secret. But there seems to be so much cloak and dagger and

about what I don't know. Unless there's something that I don't know

is going on that it has to be hid that's maybe hidden. I don't know.

I'm saying .O0jL L I all the secrecy. That's why it just vexes

me to see that go on.

I: Do you think the issues that you mentioned, I guess, problems with the

police force--do you think that those issues are the main problems facing
--Thfd y 0-
blacks in Eatonville or were there other issues as well that yo didn't

mention in your campaign?

P: Well, I think that these-44se c_[A ~thing you find right here

about most of the people that be complaining about the police department.

I: Okay. Were there any other pressing problems?

PI. Only the comments aside where the-let me give you an example of something

here. For example, Miss X may be a dollar or so--maybe four of five

days late-on her water'hill.

I: Uh huh.

P: They send the maintenance man down to cut the water off, but Mr. J.has

been owing the town five or six-hundred-dollars-worth for months, but

no one touches him. You know he knows somebody who knows somebody.

1: Uh huh.

FB 47A Bridges


P: And this is the thing that I was trying to--I was trying--now it's

not right. Those who owe the town a lot are let go, and here's a lady

who just could barely make it on welfare--money-the water's cut off

and she has a house full of kids and she has to scrimp and come down

and plead with the council to turn my water back on because I owe

fifty cents or a dollar or two dollars extra. And here's a person

who owes $500.00--.ia g $1000.00 or more and they say," ell, we

can live. Don't worry about it. This is what I'm talking about, -"

you know, in the preferential treatment.

I: Yeah.

P: And it's--it really hurts me, you know. And the more I think about it,

the more uptight I get. And it's going on and I suppose it may go on

in the big government, too, I assume.

IT: ih huh.

P: It may or may not, but it's all wrong regardless of who does it.

I: Excuse me just a second. I'd like to--

I'd like to ask you a few questions aboutAthe conditions under which

you won office. You were elected at large in Eatonville? Okay.

How many people are in the city of Eatonville?

P: About 2,600.

I: What percent is black?

P: Ninety-nine percent.

I: Ninety-nine percent?
id 'I --
P: Well, it's totally black. I think we have about one or two white

businesses, but it is a totally black town.

I: Yeah. Okay. What percent of blacks of voting age are registered to

vote here?

FB 47A Bridges


P: We have aboutA700 people registered to vote-y-maybe about 800 now.

And at any given election, you would have about 3 q-fajabout 400

people or maybe less than 400 people who really actually vote in

every election.

I: About fifty percent voted when you were elected?

P: Fifty percent and maybe some-most -p ab less.

IT Less?

P: Yeah. Neyer/more than fifty percent.

I; So you have about 800 registered voters out of--how many are eligible

to be registered?

P: Well, if you were to conduct a campaign-I- should say you could

expect to the vote to go up to about 1,000 or more if you really
--cef4 & -
get out ier\d ---

I: And so there about 1,000 that are eighteen and over that could vote?

p: Yeah. Yeah.

I: When you were elected, what percent of the vote did you get? Do you

remember for each election approximately?

P: I'd say one-fourth.

I,: Ell __ i ________

P: No. About a third.

I: Then you had a run-off.

P: Correct. But see, we don't have a run-off. All the majority-whatever

the majority is--

I: You mean plurality?

P: Plurality, yeah.

I: Yeah, the guy with the highest number of votes wins?

P: That's it. Yes.









47A Bridges


Okay. And you got about a third?

A third of those who voted.


Uh huh.

And this was true each time? You got about a third?

y A eve-fy-
Well, yeah. Just about ea h time I got almost about the same number

of votes, but maybe a little more because of-

After a while?

You know, after a while you increase your, you know, your popularity,

or whatever you want to call it.

I': Uh huh.

P: So--

I: Okay.

PBf.This last election we had, I fell short of that one-third. As a matter

of fact, I lost by approximately thirty votes.

I: Oh, you lost the last time?

P: Yes.

I: When was that--just this last-

P: This March past.

I: Okay. Okay. Right.

P: And thirty votes separated me and my opponent.

I: Okay. Now then you said that in terms of white voters there are just

a couple)maybe?

P: Well, actually, we don't have any white voters here.

I: No white voters. Okay. Okay.

P: No.

I: Just a couple white citizens.

FB 47A Bridges


P: Yes, living.

I: Okay. I'd like to ask you a few questions now about how well you've

been able to benefit those you represent. First of all, in what ways

do you think you've helped blacks by holding office?

P: Well, see, the office I ran for was Rules and Ordinances. I am a

social studies teacher at /e/vqor T f lc. High School. And in my

C_-_vM a-P office I've taken my time to first teach them the laws of

the land--the Constitution, teach them parliamentary procedures, and

try to bring about some laws _yd -t< that may help them, you

know. there are some laws that I thought that were out of date. And

I pushed through, and when I say I--I say that very loosely because,

see, on a council a majority had to determine the fact what they do or

do not. But I'll.say'influentialN in convincing the council that these

things are necessary. So-and we have--well, over the years-- over the

six years I have helped a lot in the recreational area where the young

people are concerned. Now and that has improved a lot. And as far

as the law's concerned, I've held some classes-I've taught and people

have listened and they have learned. They've learned how the government

works. And they have appreciated that. And I think the effectiveness

off-my effectiveness of office is mostly mental rather than physically

seeing something erected or constructed. I think people have come into

the knowledge of the operation of their government--how it operates.
And many people who live here before didn't even know/mayor council-

government operates or :f yu-T-kn6) c WC hl ava mayor had a council.

So I've taken time out. I've taught them the form--the government form

we use and why we use it and what procedures--where the powers are. And

that way they weren't kept in the dark. AS many of them were in the dark

FB 47A Bridges


P: before. They didn't know.

I: Uh huh.

P: So therefore, I could qualify one effort--my major effort is to

teach them how government functions.

I: Do you teach social studies in the/high school here?

P: Yes. Yeah, Wjv-rc 7 Tech High School right over there. It's

approximately four blocks from here.

I: Uh huh. How long have you been teaching?

P:/Thirteen years.
ULh huI. Li,
I: Okay. What, if anything, has prevented youAfrom doing a better job

in regard to benefiting blacks here in Eatonville?

P: Time.

I: Uh huh. ajala

P: You see, I often have been told by my wife that, you see, you can't-yo~- 'c

change the whole world, she says. You know, of course, now s- pastor eft

the church right down the street here, St. twrrcnc A 1 Ch rhch,
,f -ntcc wIs d0Lonrnc;r1e&r
work at the school a"n m0 f-.n 0rnll1. Back in '69 I organized here

the Eatonville Boy's Club 'cause ournyoung men had nothing to do but

walk the street. So I organized the Eatonville Boy's Club, and I

.!j it Tin the Little League football.

I: Uh huh.

P: And we've been going ever since, you know, struggling, trying to

make -o.TJ 'iSh t equipment. I've got the list from people.

Every year I have from about thirty-five to forty boys every year out

there. And we are very pf droeu r Ire, by the way, in our football.

I: Uh huh

P: Now--and I've done that for the boys now. And even with that I have

FB 47A Bridges


P: received some opposition because they thought it shouldn't be done.

You know some people are--some of those are a little behind times.

I think there are two trophies up there that we have won. On the

right side of there we won those two trophies, we r-T Doei s

champion--football champion in the Boy's Club. We've gone as far

as Georgia to play in bowl games. And we se -eht the

boys from ten to thirteen years of age. That's all. And they're

tremendous--good boys. And I get a kick out of that. And that

has brought here to Eatonville a certain prestige to the boys -4fro

this area that they are members of the Eatonville Rockers football

team. You know what I mean. They are proud that J,l. -f1i- .-, y fI- /

L-olde and heavy enough to play little league. And, see, I got

involved with all of these things around here, and boy it seemed like

you divide yourself too much, you know. You know-,~ e-i ve I am, but 1-
0Jo c-
I get a satisfaction from doing that. ANo compensation but satisfaction

that our young men in this area have a chance to compete against other

people in competitive sports, you know, and learn what honesty is and

dignity and cleanliness and respect for each other--this sort of thing.

I: Uh huh.

P: And it has paid off because since the first time we started T see
Wl6o &-c- W410 pl- 4
SE r-- now -wor playing in high school W pa r yced hl ,in.,

9g(ia water High School and Oak Ridge and w iL l Ierywhere now.

And one of them--a couple of them are going to college now because

they started, you know, with me in little league.

I: Yeah.

P: So I look back on that and I feel proud. I Sn/, that's my boys--

whenever they come back through here, come back and see their Coach Pitts.

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P: They call me coach or reverend or councilman or whatever they call me)

I don't care what the title is, but I'm just me, you know.

I: I hope you send a few of those football players up to Florida--the

University of Florida, F IeckC.j-

P: Well, they may. U4 .ht,

I: I have a few--another checklist thing here. A few items which in

some cases have prevented councilmen from doing a better job or so

they feel.

P: Uh huh.

I: And I'd like to have you look these over and see whether any of these

factors have been again very important, fairly important, or not

important in terms of preventing you from doing a better job.

P: Me L _c_ __

I: Yeah. In terms of how you feel. First of all the office having no

real authority. Do you think--do you feel that's true and is that a

very important, fairly important or not important in terms of--

P: Well, now, you know on a ayor-council government, the authority does

rest in the council.

I: Uh huh.

P: So the only thing about it, it takes the majority of the council.

See you got five people on the council and if one man sees

something he'd like to be done and the other four can't see it,

then you have no voice. You have nothing--you can't do anything but

sit there and say, oh well, the four--the majority wins. So you've

lost. See and so many times something has come up--I've brought

things up. They have died because they didn't see a need for them,

and that's their perogative.

FB 47A Bridges


I: Uh huh.

P: But I saw a very dire need for it. I thought it was necessary. But
now, because of somebody had told somebody not to vote for.~e because

we don't want -4--this sort of thing, you know--the

I: Would you feel as a councilman that your office has a fair amount of

-ar, I aco^"Cil Y.g^
P: As anAindividual* 'o. But as a majority)- eb se-t group,-s--

I: Yeah.

P: But now you are asking me as an individual? As one councilman?

I: Yeah, in terms of--yes, as an individual.

P: Okay. It's very important.

I: Okay. Number two obviously doesn't apply here.

P: Doesn't apply.

I: How about number three, not enough revenue available?

P: Very important.

I: Okay. We'll come back to that. I guess there are a number of areas

where we try to get revenue.

P: Yeah.
I: Unfamiliar with administrative duties ofpbeing a councilman. Has

that hampered you?

P: Me?

I: Yeah.

P: No. No.

I: Not important. Lack of cooperation from whites I guess is again--is

not a factor here.

P: Not important.

FB 47A Bridges


I: How about lack of cooperation from blacks?

P: Very important.

I: Again in what pense ~n terms of not going along with ideas you have

or still seeing you as an outsider or what?

P: Well, no. The things that I've experienced here that there is too
I-/8L OC. -C
much friendship.' Now when it comes to business, you couldbe my

brother--my blood brother, but when business comes to business I

forget about that brotherhood and go for what's good for the sake

of all. I have found here there is too much buddy buddy. You see,

you got to become mature in politics rather than just say, well, okay,
I'll vote against him because, you know, he's not with us. I'll for

you-- .1 ... .. js cr-y-I'll vote for you without thinking of

the necessity of that which we're voting .on. And I have seen a lot

of incidents where people have voted on certain things because their

friends--it's all right because their friends--Ihey vote on it. And

then later on they find out it was wrong. Then they come back and

say, "Oh I wasn't thinking then." But see, they weren 't-thinking.

All they were thinking about was trying to appease my friends. And

when I get up there on that council, I don't have no friends. I'm

sorry. I have no friends. I don't care--it could be my wife who

comes in. I'll follow the law before her.. This is the law. Now if

you want the law changed, let the council change the law. But see,
I believe in applying the law, you know. And I'm a disciplinarian./\I

believe firmly in that. And because of that, I don't have a friend-

ship? I just don't like it. And maybe that's why I don't have many

friends. (Laugh)

I: Okay. So you said lack of cooperation is what--

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P: I said it's very important. larr5'

I: Fairly important or very important?

P: Very important.

I: Okay. How about lack of cooperation from state officials? Has that

been a--

P: Now, I suppose that was somewhat-- ge0-nc-~c t r with number three.

I: Yeah. Right. In terms of getting programs, getting financial help,


P: Uh huh.

I: Have state officials been pretty cooperative in helping--

P: Well, see now, that depends on the magnitude of helping you're talking

about, you know. And that's hard to measure.

I: Yeah.

P: I don't know what's the measurement stick I would use to measure this

in terms of whether they've been helpful to us or not. I think
c6jd 5e
ScowrSe in some of the crcasi I(sccould4bee'more beneficial, more

helpful, As far as roads are concerned.-

I: Yeah. le

P: Roads and highways/and -likeqhe streets here in town they're terrible.

And that should be forms somewhere-- 4e\ 'c( find some form and fix

these streets. We did get a grant a couple of years ago-fe4 sewage

in the town--a grant and a loan to a tune of about, I think $750,000.00.
ct e is--
AndAthe whole town nowjhas sewage.

I: Excuse me. Was that a federal grant?

P: Yes, a federal grant and loan--federal loan.

I: Uh huh.

P: Now these streets are terrible, and people here C+'4 tA{tdo e bu Y

FB 47A Bridges


P: CA~fS every so often, and these streets _Tary_-_rc
and when it rains here we have lakes in our streets. new I know,--and
IIS- hee s5 fhele
I know there are some forms somewhere--there has to be money somewhere

where something could be provided to fix the streets.

I: Yeah.

P: You know. But it seems that we're M eff, or the administrations

have not asked for it, and of course now if you operate with the mayor

as being a/ -b-e ?/ administrators .etne CNA hoi --

something has to be done te- hve a liaison between he and the government

office and the councilmen which has not been done. So there is

-}o -4~o Cu :-P. Now and that's why I said I'm not in a position

to say whether they have been talking with us or not because dft' I

I: Uh huh. Okay. So I guess you're saying I guess that there is some

lack of cooperation.

P: Oh. Naturally;. Yeah, there is some lack. I'm quite sure the state

could do much more than they are doing. I mean for all the cities.

I think they could do much more, but how much more I don't know.

I: How would you rate that then as far as Eatonville goes? Fairly

important or--

P: I'll say very important.

I: Very important?

P: Uh huh.

I: How about lack of cooperation from federal officials in terms of

getting federal programs and grants?

P: Well, I think we're doing very good there. If you don't have somebody

FB 47A Bridges


P: to sit down and write the programs up and present it, you know,

without anyAcobwebs in it. See, the federal government is a very

peculiar br~uyc4A of r;u.on f You better have something drawn up

complete and show him what we need and the whole thing--the whole


I: Uh huh.

P: And who's going to run it, how 4s. going to operate.*f Ik~i. sc,

-4k kesf-I don't think--I think we are falling short locally on that

area. We have somebody who I1prf' -. t:I -fE write programS And if

you can't write the program right, you'll get not one cent.

I: Who writes up the programs? Have you hired someone or--

P: There's no one. 'That's what we're quite lacking. That somebody

really--hiring somebody to come in and sit down and write up a

program and get it in. And this has always been a controversy.

Who's going to write it who's going to do this, who's

going to do that--

I: Who wrote--
-JA ')-HIo'S C P: And again, this comes in with/friendship and so on.

I: Yeah. Who wrote up the water and sewag4grant?

P: Well, we had our engineef-te put that together.

I: I see.
0 2L-r
P: -The engineer drew it up and then he presented it, and then

we put thatAlt rough the streets of lines of government and we- w-

received it.

I: Okay. So how would you rate that factor?

P: I'd say very important.

I: Very important?

FB 47A Bridges


P: Yes, I think the federal government play a larger role in--i


I: Okay.

P: You know, there is so much money being--I say there is so much

money being wasted in other places that could be used for the

betterment of many many cities. The cities are a ol le.r\ ___

TAe- Cf'es --the cities need money. And they cry, "We don't have any money."

I: Uh huh.

P: But I think the money's somewhere.

I: HasL-have you received--I think you maybe have already answered this,

but I'll ask it again. Have you received a fair amount of criticism

from the black communitybJdhas this/hindered you in some ways in terms

of being councilman?
crU; 1;C;Sjv
P: Well, criticism/lon't bother me none. For the simple reason, if

there were no criticism, well, I'd be kind of scared anyway. You

got to have some opposition. I've been criticized and I know to

never look to go up to a thing without any criticism from somebody.

There's always going to be that opposition--that person who criticizes

and it's good. Criticism is good. But I think a person--if a person

criticizes, he -io .ur ha-t that moment have something to -4cf

n reY of you whether than, say, criticize you and leave it open.

I: Uh huh.

P: And what we've had here is we've had so much open criticism. Okay.

Good, but what would you do? I don't know. Then why criticize.

I: Uh huh.

P: I mean if I criticize a person, I'm going to be ready to give him

FB 47A Bridges


P: something--a substitute for that--what he already presented, you know.

I have something to contribute. But see, we have too much open

criticism and nothing to fill in with. WE do.
tVc- II hJ
in this area. i se-aves citizens came up to you on the street

and criticize you, but he has no answer.

I: Uh huh.

P: Okay. I'll sV Uo I(c\l r-Mr. Brown or Mr. Joe, what would you

do? What would you suggest? Well, I don't know. Then why are you

criticizing? You know what I mean. And this is what we have in

this area--too much open criticism.
I: Uh huh. tAnd you feel this has hampered you to some extent?

P: Z", to a certain extent. 'Cause, see, when you open criticize

and other people pickAup the chunks, and say, Yeah, they all

criticize ,crn '' ct'o C-', ''iC- but they don't know why.

You know, they E tWy& h oc Cto A he says,

well, he's all right, you know. It's kind of hard.

I: I have just one more checklist form, and this deals with some

service areas. And we'd like to have you again rate how effective

you think you've been in each of the following--

(Knock on door_)

Excuse me. Somebody's at the door.

I wanted you to rate how effective you feel you've been in each

of the following service areas. First of all, police protection.

P: Do you mean I or _~_er" who are you talking about?
00 -
I: Do you think you've been able to, in terms of your being in office,

have you been able to improve police protection in the city. How

would you rate your effectiveness?

FB 47A Bridges


P: Not effective.

I: Not effective? Even though you campaigned on the issue of getting

a fairer police protection, you don't think you've been effective?

P: No, I have not.

I: Why do you think that has been?
--[e poJ'c-e
P: For the simple reason that the police4department is under the

jurisdiction of the mayor, and whatever they do, whatever they're

told to do, they're told to do by the mayor.

I: I see.
P: And-ee I'm only a councilman, yet--so I'll leave it like that.

I: Okay. Fine. How about streets and roads?

P: Not effective.

I: You said--you--

P: You can see that -_c .

I: Yeah, you've had trouble getting money.for that.

P: Yeah.

I: You've tried to get money through the state and federal government?

P: I think we've made one effort, but I think the time we made the
tla J1j FA kc
effort that we ha~-two priorities. Our first priority was to get

the sewage, but ,- _Ca ess efti(aIl get roads and they

offered sewage so therefore we worked on sewage first. So we got

all the town with sewage. Now--and the next step is to get money

for roads, and I don't think they have done it since I've been out

of'office but that is our next step to get that taken care of. ButJ', Al4s

that's the priority we placed. We picked g pr;~,'4 -p' rs on
sewage because that was necessary.

I: Uh huh.

FB 47A Bridges


P: then the next project was to get the f cuc+ goi to t--get

bodyior roads.

I: How about housing?

P: We don't have any problem here with housing. Fortunately, many

people here own their own home. As a matter of fact, I should

say about eighty percent of the people who live here own their

own home. Now it may not--it's not, say, lavish home, but it's

theirs. You know what I mean. They've been there for years and

established. So there is no problem with housing here. No problem
at all. As a matter of fact, I' very fortunate to say that we

really don't have no slums here in Eatonville--no slums per se,

you know, as far as the quote-unquote "are," you know.

I: Yeah.

P: put we have some homes here I'm quite sure could use some sprucing,

but as far as slum areas, there is none in Eatonville.

I: So you haven't attempted to get any grants or home U' voice oe-J ?
e+ C," e, e( 't- S
P: Nt- fer hoius'n -no, we haven't. No.

I: How would you rate your effective in that?

P: /I should say somewhat because be that with the individual private
So A 1 S iii .S 1 fI-C -
owners, asf -a--e t-hLt-i --there is no--there is no/ loud cry for

housing here.

I: Okay.

P: See.

I: How about welfare?

P: Well, I don't know how to rate that. In what areas to you mean

that.:am I effective to welfare?

I: You may have no jurisdiction in some of these areas like welfare.

FB 47A Bridges


I: It may be handled, say through the county or some other branch of


P: Right.

I: Is that true here in Eatonville?

P: That's true.

I: Okay. So I guess you've had no influence.

P: That's right. None.

I: How about employment?

P: Well, as I before stated that there is very little industry in this-ivfds
town. All the people who work are working either/in Orlando or

other places out from here. And iost of them are--some of them
are migrant workers and only ag hAcllf --and- fr the people who

own their own business here. ThereforeI have no direct contact--

no direct effectiveness in work, you know, in employment.

I: How about hiring people, say, through the city?

End of Side 1-FB 47A

FB 47A Bridges


I: Okay. HealthAand hospitals?

P: Well, that area we don't have too much to be concerned with because

in this area we have access to hospitals. We have access to

ambulances. That way most I cn0 TL would like to see A~

improve) fnd I'll say this very openly because I've known this

to be 4-e trdletgit O6kVi (fl(1i As far as ambulances is concerned,

if you don't--if you're not too sure that somebody going to pay for

it, you don't get no services here. They don't come.

I: Where does it come from?

P: M~. Falrel n. from Orlando.

I: Uh huh.

P: And Vju CiJ/ I-4A le Yvno HA"J fc1 yFe(f y]-te "-gIwI i /AU40 r -CPm

Mti) e2Atd 4hey draggni here, and they don't

want to come. And I'll tell you one thing, most times they don't

come because it's solely a black area. Herndon does not have any
black ambulance drivers. None. And ifAyou call Herndon-t= here,
Moptlf lmntl f 4fi!^t~c
and call them in 3aklefnd, Bakeeand will get them before we get

them. They want to know where it is, who is it, what color is he?
And I had a neighbor here)about two months ago who called the
ambulance to take in out to the hospital, and it was about forty

minutes before he got here. And when he got here, the police

department had taken her to the hospital and she died.A And I'll

say it, and if I had stayed in office and see, I may do it yet, but

if I had stayed in office my whole campaign would be pushing -e-r

correcting that Ilerndon Ambulance Service because it's rotten.

:I -3-t's noteffective at all. And they're all out for money. It's

a money dealer. That's all. See, most cities subsidize ambulance

FB 47A Bridges


P: services e mt e ij. We don't here. That's why they don't come

out here. fI-tAey sa we're not able, you know, in a sense to

subsidize the ambulance service so they don't come. And that's

where we're going to have to either find some money to subsidize

them or find a better ambulance service somewhere, and we can't

because there isn't enough of them over there.

I: So I guess you feel you were what--not effective?

P: Not effective in terms of the ambulance services--not hospitals.

I: Yeah. Yeah. How about education? I realize that may be--you may

have a separate school board that handles that.

P: That's right. They have a county school board so we have no--we

don't have any effectiveethere because it's run by the county.

I: Okay. Finally, fire protection?

P: hat's one area we have improved on greatly. When we got here--

at least when I got here to the town, there was a volunteer fire

department and one truck that may start, may not start depending

on if you get it cranked up soon enough. But now we did get now

a permanent fire department. WMe have two fire trucks. And I wish
ablIe -o tf C-.rd-cff lsd--"
that one day soon, this town will be aa a -utal a rescue unit.

We don't have a rescue unit yet. And we have some firemen who have

been trained in first aid and this sort of thing, but the town must

find some f4y tiate n get a rescue unit because they also-have at
OLu e -oC-t C7
least helped -in between the time the ambulance get here and-nee

that they N oy p pI-C C[rjVn so that we won't have to lose so

many lives or cause you to be sick longer than they

are supposed to. If we had efficient service on the spot.

I: Okay. So I guess you're saying you are what--somewhat effective

FB 47A Bridges


I: or very effective?

P: I'll say very effective excusing the rescue service.
-f/c n e s sevce 7 .
I: Okay. Okay. And-Have you gotten federal fundW? You had

mentioned water and sewage. Have there been any other federal

funds that you've gotten for Eatonville?

P: We got the neighborhood youth project thing that comes out.

of the government. We got the CETA thing going on now that

comes out of the federal government.

I: What's that?

P: CETA, that's oh boy. - m e again.
4(' d c- o
I: AWhat kind of a program?

P: It's a program funded under the-what is it-- c! we C + Y Hov/S

-fr ef Cc ( ----- a project that's funded every summer by the

government to get kids to work in the areas. We've had that in

effect here in this town.

I: Okay.

P: Plus we've also got some money to help with the parks and recreation

and so on, and we've got someone in that area.

I; Okay.

P: You know, it's hard for me to keep those all those opposition in

mind--what it means, 'cause if I don't see it on paper I'll forget

about it.

I: Yeah, I know what you mean.
P: Like a the other things that are going on.
I: Yeah, I know. I have the same problem. Do you get reVenue sharing

money here, don't you?

P: Yeah.


FB 47A Bridges


I: From the federal government? What do you use that for?

P: Various areas. it's broken down after we receive it for what

we're going to use it for. And you have to state to the government

how it's going to be used, where it's used.

I: Yeah.

P: As a matter of fact, the government has guidelines saying that you

could not or could use it for. So you follow the guidelines

pretty closely;

I: What do you use if for primarily?

P: Well, in some parts they use if for fire departments, some use it

for recreation, some use it for police protection, and other areas.

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

tried to bring in industry or retail stores into Eatonville?

P: As an individual I have. I have talked --o several people. I

have gone and no one--we don't have the effective--we don't have
M m-t be-.
a chamber of commerce here Wkch haS bothered -aornlde.y. We

had one here started once and it petered out because of lack of

interest, indifference. Many people here have not seen the

importance of a chamber of commerce.

I: Uh huh.

P: And a chamber of commerce serves a large role, a very important

role in the community building up industry. So I've talked to

peopleA individuallyabout bringing industries to town, but I don't
C- ) e I'- ICrLc
knowAhow effective I have been. The only two major things we have

here is a T they call it. And that's not saying

too much in a sense. I'd like to see industry come in here, but

the one thing about this place, almost three fourths of this town

FB 47A Bridges


P: is owned by the school board. A(1 -i c. rL-.-'. ? { f;..-* .*,r7-L-

W. S-f- of Ti-L on the left side is -on: the

school board property.

I: Why is-

P: And all back here--this area is owned by the school board. And

they're jus holding it, and the thing is if the school board were

to sell it and get the land off the tax roll, this town could grow.

But they're just holding that property. And they never ever use

it for anything. And we have approached the school board

several times about that property and they say, "Well.." They put

it up for a bid, but they got it so high no one wants to buy it,

you know. And I don't see why they won't let go and sell it, you

know. But see, and then the stipulation andfagreement some years

ago was made by the people who donated to the town--to the school

board that it must not be used for any other purpose but educational


I; I see.

P: And see, there's a loophole 4-fitl' 14i t .ad 4! cy Ce 'ra ItcaSe lr

,;C.Wo eS u -, We got &omc In cl- Now they

would find the trustees who are living now, get them to change it

before they can do anything with it. It's a big legal hassle. And

I'll tell you, it's a problem and we--for the last ten years we

have gone through that thing and gone through that thing but we

can't get it straightened out because of so many legal loopholes.

I: Uh huh.
if VJCrC
P: And I'll tell you,/they'd irkedd to release that property, Eatonville

would grow like that 'cause that property is very good property.


FB 47A Bridges


P: It's virgin land, right there next to 1-4, access to theAy-Qyo know,

egress and ingress, this sort of thing.

I: Uh huh. Have there been any black protests or sit-ins or boycotts

in this area in the last ten years that you can remember?

P: In this town?

I: Yeah.

P: No.

I: No riots or anything of that sort?

P: No. No riots.

I: Okay. Any minor disturbances or protests?

P: Well, no. No, really, just no more than any other city you find

minors _VaAT,'o_(S persons who are drinking or out

partying or-

I: No I meant sort of an active protest or demonstration.

P: No. No.

I: A political protest.

P: No. No.

I: Jina-iy, I have just a couple questions more generally about

Florida politics. First of all, what's your opinion of Governor

~Ae Askew? Has he been favorable, do you feel, in attitude and

policy toward blacks in Florida or not?

P: Well, it's hard for me at this point to really evaluate him because

-T-I don't know his really total program, you know. I know he has

hired some blacks in ten years, and I know he has done something

for blacks, but I'm not too sure whether he has done as much as he

possibly could or maybe he could have done more.

I: Uh huh.

FB 47A



P: And well, it's hard for me just to say, well, he--I can't say

he hasn't done anything. I can't say that. And I'd say he

being the position he's in, he could do more, yes. He could do mor

for blacks than he has done.

I: Are there any other state officials or state representatives that

you feel have been especially effective?

- P: Lou Friar. No. No, he's not a state official but he's a--I

should say--well, he's a federal official. I should say he has

been quite effective. He has done a lot for education for our

young people as far as-.-we Vll, -rir"- -be n with the

actions of the government. He has a program that he has funded--

taking youngsters to Washington every year to visit Washington or

visit Congress cdisr l And I like this--and this has been very

impartial to all people who have gone there. And we have had

students come back who were very impressed by the program where

they have learned--they have seen where out capital is and how they

function. And I think it's good, and my hat's off to Lou Friar for


I: What's his position? He's a Congressman, isn't he?

P:cLou Friar?

I: I don't know--from this area?

P: Yeah.

I: Is he? Okay. I'm not familiar with the Congressmen from this area.

P: Uh huh.

I: Okay. One last general question I'd like to ask you and that is,

do you think that winning and holding office in Florida has been

worth the effort?


FB 47A Bridges


P: The most unappreciated position you could hold is a public office.

Now, you=koaw, how you:evaluate your effort--I should say I have

made an indentation to the thoughts aF p C 'i, but I

should say that I think I've been to a certain degree satisfied.

Because/1you can't expect to turn the world upside down in a couple

of years. AndAgovernment is a slow process--a very slow process

in getting something done. It takes years and years before some-
^tnca ve.
thing materializes--the fact that you've been-deteted. Maybe ten

years from now I may look back and say, "Well, they finally did

that thing that I asked them to do years ago. They finally got-0ot

a chance to do it." And I'll recommend. SoAI'm not a person to
,Pv:i I '" -
become complacent. See, I'm always--I'm a pushy person. ^I'm very

ambitious and it's just that if I think 4kere' ~ h' lab I go

ahead and do it. So in terms of that, what I'm trying to say is
that I have been effective in a sense that I wish I could have

been more effective. I wish I could be more satisfied 'cause I have

lost many many hours at night in my bed figuring on how to do things

right. Late at night I get up and just walk the floor, and my wife

says, "You just worry too much. You can't change the world over-

night. And y6tA keep tugging at them. You can't do it all by

yourself, you know." I said, "Maybe not, but I'm going to do as much

as I possibly could before I leave here, you know'.' And that's the

way I feel. I don't want my children to beAsatisfied with what

I've done. I want my children to do more than I have. I want to

be more impressive. I wantAto give more to the public--give more

to the people. And cut out this so-called selfish attitude we have.

Most of us all enter the thing just for itself--for money, and I


FB 47A Bridges


P: don't like that. And maybe I suppose that's why I'm somewhat of
--f e 11eC'CA
an oddball to the averageAJoe. They want to say what's in it for

me. But I never ask that--what's in it for me. I'll do it. If

there's something in it for me, fine. If not, don't worry about it.

Well, I feel--and I'm honest about this--I feel that Gods. Ng n

me health and strength, en me the power to go to school and

get an education, and that is not for me to keep to myself. It'll

help somebody else.

I: Uh huh.

P: You know, and I believe that t+h s will help somebody.

And it'll somebody who is not so fortunate as I to get what I got.

And that's my philosophy.

I: Okay.

P: And I keep saying people like me^would never become a politician.

And I don't want to be a politician, you know. I'd rather be a

diplomat and a statesman--somewhere I can help somebody. Politics

has become a dirty word--if you're a politician, boy, you're dirty.

I: Okay. Just aAfew last short questions about you personally.

P: Okay.

I: But again, we're using no names. What was the date you were first

elected? You said it was 1968?

P: It was sixty--March of '68.

I: Okay. And you left office in 1974?

P: Yeah.

I: You ran for office three times?

P: Uh huh.

I: Is that right?

FB 47A Bridges


P: Actually, I ran for four, but the fourth time I lost.

I: The fourth time you lost. That's right. Okay. And that was

this year?

P: Uh huh.

I: Your age, if I may ask?

P: Forty-seven.

I: Your occupation--you said you were--

P: I teach. I'm a teacher.

I: Uh huh.

P: Also, a minister.

I: At what church?

P: St. Lawrence AME Church.

I: A-what?

P: St. Lawrence A-M-E Church.

I: Okay.

P: Aceeft ri'tn Methodist Episcopal.

I: Okay. How long have you been associated with the church?

P: All my life. You mean as a minister or as a member?
oS c'
I: As administer.

P: Fifteen years as a minister, and all my life as a member of the

AM Church. I was born into the church.
VJ&S vYoir-
I:AWhat was your father's occupation?

P: My father's?

I: Uh huh.

P: He's retired. He was in the military, and now he's retired.

I: He was a military man?
:- h e 5
P: Uh huh. HeA living-eighty-four years old.

FB 47A Bridges


I: Uh huh.

P: My mother's eighty years old. She's a--
,L J wk1
I: What was your level of education--grade school, high school, college?

P: Me?

I: Yeah.

P: College and with some added studies. Ifell, see, just say college.

I: Okay. You completed four years of college?

P: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes-,-a-degree in--a B.S. degree in social studies speci'adze-

specializing in government.

I: Okay. Uh huh. In whatAcollege?

P: Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I: Uh huh. What's the salary you received from your elected position?

P: It was not a salary. I'd say we were compensated $100.00 per month.

I: Okay.

P: It's not a salary.

I: Do you mean expenses, travel expenses--

P: No, there were not travel expenses. When I first got into office,

we were only getting $50.00 per month. And so after a couple of

years we increased to $100.00 a month. And if we do go someplace

on business for the town, the town does give some money for expenses

as.a matter of fact for your--that's as-far-as gas and lodging, food.

Yes, they do compensate some things.

I: Were you active in the civil rights movement of the early and mid


P: Yes, not here but at home.

I: Where?

P: In Louisiana.

FB 47A Bridges


I: In what way--

P: I was e-A cff< c --I was involved with a group at Southern

University. I don't know whether you've heard of it or not, but

this march that weAhad on--we marched on the capital at Baton Rouge, W,

in '62--no, in '61. And that was one of the main things I was

involved in. I was involved in the voter registration in Baton

Rouge--try to get people to the polls to vote. And help people to

understand, and get them interested to vote to improve themselves.

I have been involved in it.

I: Okay. Were you or are you a member of the NAACP?

P: Yes.

I: And you have been for some time?

P: Yes.

I: Any other-SCLC or any other civil rights groups?

P: No, just NAACP. And, by the way, the AAflChurch--the history of

the AAME Church, as a matter of fact, was one of the first groups

of blacks to ever to perform for the equal opportunity of blacks.
-- ~a
The AMf Church has gsr-v\id. in the: fact that:our church wasporganized

because of a protest of blacks in a white church. And it came out

of the white church. Tk k/ aid A4V H&- (eweuvf4-C church alone.
-Fv 4thT f I
And from that time on, the A& Church has been the forerunner of -,~

equal opportunities for blacks. And that's why I'm so proud to be

a part of the AW Church and I was born in it. I like it's history.

I: Uh huh.

P: So therefore that's why I was a part of it.

I: Uh huh. I think that's it. We want to ask just one last question.

Do you know of any other black elected officials outside of Eatonville.

FB 47A Bridges


I: I think we have a pretty good idea of who has been in office here.

Have there been outside the city that you know of?

P: Outside of the city?

I: Yeah.

P: You mean in another city?

I: Yeah, nearby.

P: They have one in Orlando I think His name is Pappy Kennedy.

I: Yeah, I'm going to be talking to him.

P: Yeah, he's the only one I know in this area.

I: Okay.

P: I don't know any others.

I: Okay. Thank you. I should mention one other thing. We have an

oral history project at the University of Florida that's separate

from this. They asked us to tape record if we could. What they

would like to do is to transcibe this and send you a copy. It

might be a year or so, but they'll send you a copy. At that point,

they'd ask you to read it over and edit part of it or change it or)

if you want to completely just discard it. If you edit it, and

you would like to have it become part of the Oral History Project

at the University of Florida, it will become part of the library,

not open to anyone but just open to scholars and students there.
And if you approve it, they would then like to put your name on it.

If you okay it, you can, if you want to, refuse to have you name

on it.

P: Okay.

I: They want some indication that you at least tentatively would be
interested in having this become part of that or not. HowAdo you

FB 47A Bridges


I: feel about that?

P: Well, I have no objections because the things I have said today,

I'll say them on television.

I: Okay. Yeah, I think that's usually true.

P: You know, I don't--and I think you'd find out that I don't hide.

If I say something, I mean it, you know. That's the way it is, you


I: Yeah, we just--we wanted to take thattype of precaution-ioi, htO le-4

End of Tape and Side 2

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