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The subject interviewed is Karl Weaver. The interviewer is with the "Button
Project." No introduction was given.
I: What year did you first register to vote?
W: In 1958--'59. 1959.
I: Okay. And when were you first eligible to vote?
W: In 1959.
I: And eligible to register also in 1959?
I: Okay. How did the local registration--did the local registrators ever
turn you down when you applied to register?
W: No. I never had any problem with that. I never had to.
I: Uh, have voter registration drives been held in the district in which
you hold office? Could you name a few for me? Of any groups of citizens
or--they'd put on a registration drive or?
W: Uh, the first registration drive that I was familiar with is one I conducted
myself in 1960 possibly. I think / was the year. In which the
our local newspaper carried an advertisement in there where we were
actively participating in getting registered to vote. That was under the
auspices of the North Broward Democratic Club. That was the name of our
group. The Northwest Voter's League has always put on a registration drive
pretty much yearly-ever since I've been in Pompano.
I': Hmmm. Were there any national organizations?
W: Not to my knowledge. I think on occasions, the NAACP may have asked that,
you know, people go out and register to vote, you know, through announcements
to church, but I don't-I'm not aware of any active organization in the
I: Okay. So you say it's from about 1960 on where there's been a pretty good
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W: Yes. Uh huh.
I: How successful were these drives?
W: In my terminology successful would be--a successful voter registration
would be 100 percent of the occupants in a city to register to vote. I
could say that.; in a sense, it was successful that you got a number of
people registered whereby that it made the politicians in the city--both
city and local government take notice of the community. And I think,
really, this is when some of the changes began, too.
I: Are there any things which prevent blacks from registering to vote here
W-; At the present, no. I don't think there's anything that prohibits blacks
from registering. There's nothing to discourage them from registering.
In the past, ITd say there were some handicaps in registering, simply
because all of the polling places were located in Ft. Lauderdale. Many
of them was located completely out of the black community, and they was
held at an hour in which the black people really couldn't get out to
register to vote. It was during these voter registration campaigns that,
you know, we were able to get the booths into the community or get them
to hold open the registratrar's office on Saturdays so the working people
could come in and register.
I: Do they have night registration here in Pompano now? No?
W: Not to my knowledge. No. It's-I think it's pretty much a 9-5 proposition.
I: Okay. I just want you to check-some of these questions may not apply to
Pompano, but just put not important at the end. I want you to rate how
important you think each of the following items are in preventing blacks
to register to vote here in Pompano or in your district.
W: Will you repeat that question again?
I: Okay. How important do you think each of the following items are in
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preventing blacks from registering to vote here in Pompano, uh, economical?
W: Oh, I see what you mean. Okay.
I: Economic dependence on whites?
W: From preventing blacks to register--thatts unbelievable. I'd say the
first one would probably be fairly important. Uh, so you don't want me
to check them off?
W: Just put a check by it. Okay.
I: That's right. What about pure physical violence?
W: I'd say it's not important.
I: Is complicated registration forms--is that---
W: I could say that's, uh--
I: You know, people have trouble reading the forms.
W: Yeah, I know. I really don't think that that's--I'd say-I wouldn't want
to rate it not important. I would say fairly important simply because
a lot of them still feel that, you know, you got to go take the literacy
test, and so forth. They're not really knowledgable that all you have to
do is go down there and really mainly just almost write your name. That's all.
I:: Do they have people here to help you?
W: Yes they do. Uh huh.
I: You've already commented on the poor __ .
W: Yeah. I think this is a--I'd say this is a-but uh, I'd say very important.
This has an effect in it.
I: What about registration not held often enough?
W: Well, I'd say that's not important because, you know, you register just
about any day that you want to other than when elections is in the process.
-I: Do they take your name off the polls here if you don't vote after two years?
W: Uh, they purge them regular, but not after two years. There's many people
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who've been on the books for years that didn't register, you know, didn't
vote at all, but they still maintained their residency. And even if they-
your name was purged from the books, all you had to do is go down and prove
that you had maintained your residence at that location even though you
didn't vote. And you were allowed to vote. Because I found people being
able to register and vote during my elections who had never voted, both
blacks and whites, you know, under the same category.
I: What about indifference of blacks to voting?
W: I think that's a very important because it's just that blacks don't vote
like they should. You know, and this is what's really keeping them, as far
as--well, I don't say that's not keeping them from registering to vote, but
this is one of the factors of them not being able to elect people to the,
you know, elected officials.
I: Do they have districting here in Pompano?
W: They have districting.
I: They do.
W: And this is used primarily against the black vote, yeah.
I: Sometimes they do--they can change it?
W: They gerrymandered around and uh, if the population of blacks grows, they
may add white districts into that particular district in order to pretty
Much what you-have a neutralizing effect on the black vote.
I': That's pretty strange for this far down.
W: It has an effect, but then the way that the system of districting is set
up in Pompano whereby you only voting--you really voting citywide. So if
you get out and campaign even in other communities, you can really beat them.
I: Okay. The following questions are asked to gather information on the
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elected campaigns of black elected officials in Florida. Were you able to
campaign freely, that is, were you threatened in any way--your family?
W: No, I was pretty much free to campaign, you know, in-well, a couple of
times I knew a few things, I could--you could be interpreted as gestures
that you should stay here or there, but uh, you know, a few threats, you
know, a black cat on the door or something like that. But this
didn't bother me.
I: Nothing serious?
W: Nothing. No. No. No physical violence whatever.
I: Okay. Were you handicapped by lack of campaign money?
W:! I wouldn't say that I was handicapped by a lack of money. More so by than a
lack of--you know, the presence of restrictive type legislation which allows
you not to be able to do things until you had the money. Actually, what
I'm saying, I guess, is that I could have campaigned much freer. Like
you get your literature out quicker 'cause I could have gotten it
credited to me and put it in later, but, you know, the way they have it
set up, you've got to have your money in in a certain time. And that
you name people who've given you money. And this, I guess, was restrictive.
I: Okay. Why did you decide to run for office?
W: I don't think I answered that question probably like I should have.
I: No. WEll, that's fine.
W: If it's okay.
I: Why did you decide to run for office? Was it your own decision, selected
by a political party, group of concerned citizens or other?
W: I think it's pretty much my own decision. I've refrained from any kind
of party politics. I've identified myself with the democratic party, but
really, when it comes down to it, I'm pretty much my own man. I don't
follow the dictates of the republican or the democrats or anybody else.
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And I just decided that I wanted to serve the people of this community.
I felt that, you know, I could bridge the gap between the black and the
white community because I had pretty good relations with the white
community as well as the black community. And I feel like I could
amplify or pretty much clarify the black people's positions and their
desires in city hall. And this is why I decided to run.along with many
of the people in the black community urging me. They say, well, you
should run, after I decided I want to run, they encouraged me to run.
I: You did get a lot of support then?
W: Oh yeah. I had the citywide .
I: Did you receive any support from the democratic party in your campaign or-
W: No. No. I had--after I was elected, I had all kinds of democratic people
Sand so forth come by who say, you know, we really helped you. We pushed
you this and we got you to passing But
when you sit down and really analyze the votes you got, and analyze where
they come from, you could just about account for all of them. So, you
I: So they really didn't give you financial support?
W: No. No, and I've never received any money from, you know, per se democratic
party or you know, any party period, really.
I: What are the two or three most important issues on which you campaigned?
V: Three of the most important issues that I--
I: Oh, two or three.
W: Two or three, okay. I'll make it three.
W: The main issue that I campaigned on was annexation--to annex particularly
areas west of Pompano city limits. This is the area which included, I'd
say, the majority of the black people. Because, actually, there's only a
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small minority of black people that live within the city limits of
Pompano Beach. And I felt, number one, annexing these areas into the city
would entitle us to a much larger black vote. It would entitle us to a
better bargaining position, you know, from a political standpoint.
I: Where did these people belong to-these people you wanted to annex within
W: The unincorporated areas surrounding Pompano Beach, and so didn't belong
to anybody. They was out in no man's land. And the main issue was that
I: the--now the reason that I wanted annexation-that I could,
municipal services, provide a lot of the services to those areas which
they needed--fire protection, police protection, water, sewage. All of
these things you can only get through a municipality but they didn't
have this, see. And they didn't have any voice and so this is my main
reason. And secondarily, I'd guess you'd say that it was so that we
could/political strength so that we could really get in there and
bargain for some of these things.
I: Was there other important issues?
W:.' I'd say the most second important issue was getting municipal services to
the black community which was presently in the city of Pompano Beach. I
don't remember exact figures as to what they were spending in the
northwest area, but it was peanuts compared to what they were spending in
the other areas of the city. And the black people were contributing a
sizable sum of money to the city's and were receiving absolutely
no service, and that's what it amounted to. And actually, we went so
far as to ask the federal investigation as well as the justice department
to look into the discriminatory practices of the city in trying to get
Smonies and services to the black community.
I: So these issues were also the main problems that were facing the blacks?
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W: These are the problems that were facing black people. And then I'd say
the most, and the third issue would have been zoning, uh, housing and
zoning. This is, uh, in the black community we just had a
multiplicity of zoning-industry lumped in with residential. A guy
build a house today and tomorrow a guy come and build a tar factory
j right next to him and there's nothing said about it and nothing done.
So we managed to get, you know, density control, land set aside for
single family homes rather than just apartments all the time. It was
a lots involved into that, you know, zoning and that land use plan that
I: So it was adopted?
W: It was adopted. All--mostly all these things was accomplished, excepting
the annexation, and I almost won that annexation, but they had a help from
the state legislators and even the governor and some of the other people.
I: I got a couple good questions about that you may want to answer.
W. Yeah. Boy would I love to.
I: Okay. These questions are asked to determine some of the conditions which
have enabled blacks to win office in Florida. How were you elected, at
large or by a district?
W: At large. It was--you run from a district, but you was voted up on as at
large. And this to the district then. The only thing that,
you know, like our--it's divided up into three districts. You must belong
within-live within=-reside withinvthat district.
I: Uh huh.
W: But then you're voted upon citywide. This is why I say, as far as
districting, it doesn't have any effect on voting. Just a matter that
you got to live where you running from. And I don't mind that 'cause I
don't want to live anywhere else but in my district anyway.
I: How many people are here in your district?
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W: I have no knowledge how many are in the district because that thing changes,
you know, almost every time the wind blows. adds on a new
condominium then district three grows and this thing. So I wouldn't
really have any idea.
I: You don't have any idea. Okay.
W: I wouldn't even want to guesstimate at this point.
I: Okay. Do you know what percentage of the population in your district is
W: I'd say about 17 percent.
W: Uh huh.
I: Okay. About what percentage of blacks are voting age in your district--
are registered to vote?
W: What percentage of blacks are--
I: Of voting age.
W: Of voting age? I'd venture to guess about, I'd say about 60 percent 'cause
there's really not a lot of, you know, it's not a young--this is not a
young community. Most of these are my age and older, you know. We're
considered, you know, some of the younger groups of this, you know, the
city. And I'm well over the voting age and my kids are almost at voting age.
And there's not too many young ones coming on.
I: What percentage would you guess blacks are registered to vote, do you
estimate, actually voted when you were elected?
W: Let's see. It's a little bit easier to go find the documents and find out
than it is guessing, but I would guess--I'd say about 15-25 percent. I'd
say 25, you know, that's--
I: Do you think you got any votes from whites?
W: Oh yeah. I'd never got elected otherwise.
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I: Okay. About what percentage-from whites?
W: What percentage of my votes were from whites? I'd say probably about.
I: Sixty percent? Okay. In the election in which you won office, how many
opponents did you have?
W: Well, you see, you're always eliminated-you eliminate them until one.
I: Right, but when you started out.
W: When you first start. Okay, the first time I ran, there must have been
about thirteen. I think I was the thirteenth candidate who filed. And I
was, you know, it boiled down to myself and my opponent who eventually won,
who was a previous mayor and also he was a, oh, hard line politician from
I: Uh huh.
W: I mean, you know, he was a pretty tough guy to beat. He had all the
organized structures behind him. And at that time, I knew nothing about,
you know, really politics or political strategies, the terminology.
I: How many were white of the original thirteen?
W: All of them. I was the only black.
I: You were the only black?
W: The second time there was only two guys, me and my opponent. And that
time I was able to beat him because I didn't have to divide up my votes
among all of the other candidates. Second, there is no chance for them
to see my strength until the final day, you know, because, you know, in
th previous election where I run against William Aserdoff and he won and
beat me. We had a primary so they saw how strong I was. And they went
back and really went to work and got the party together. And I think the
party really got involved because there was a'lot of literature running
around with the republican stamps and prominent republican figures writing
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and endorsing it. But uh, and the second time around, it's me and George
Fiveck. And see, there was no primary.
I: Uh huh.
W: And I had worked real hard to try to lay the groundwork to see that, you
know, we got the black votes out much more heavily than we did the first
time, see. And we won. We concentrated much heavily, see.
I; Little more effort.
I: Okay. Do you know what percentage of the total vote you received when you were
finally in office?
W: What percentage of the total vote that I received?
I: When it was down to the two.
W: I beat him more than two to one. I must have had about 60 or 70 percent
of the votes.
I: Okay. These questions are asked to determine how well black officials in
Florida have been able to benefit those they represent. In what ways do
you think you have helped blacks in your district by holding office?
Would you discuss a few of those?
W: Yeah. I think I've been able to help to them tremendously in, uh, number
one is establishing a line of communication between the community and city
hall. Whereas before, there was no line of communication at.all. And,
you know, and the black people were just in the community pulverized
almost each year. And then almost inevitable there was always a riot.
See, and this is one of the things I was trying to ward against is to
open up these lines of communication whereby these people can express
themselves to the proper authority rather than having to take it out,
you know, on the guy on the street. This was a major accomplishment.
There is ears open down in city hall, even now, you know, even without
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me being down there. There's a lot of improvements that was gotten during
my administration which was never thought and even gotten, you know, prior.
Improvements like sidewalks in the community, beautification, the water
pressure was upgraded, areas that was never had water at all finally got
in the water. Like some of these unincorporated areas that I was talking
about. These people had been drinking contaminated water, and we even
went as far as Rogers in Washington, but finally we got water through.
Many of the people/are talking about annexation, they see the advantages
of annexation of these outlying areas. The businessmen are thinking
toward the community now. And this-- a lot of it was even started before
I, you know, got on the commission, simply because, you know, through
business and my own self I was showing them that black people could
produce and that they were able and capable of, you know, doing these
type things. And so, you know, some of the businessmen were beginning
to look toward the community. These type of improvements were-they
were able to benefit from.
I: Were you the first black man elected in Pompano.
W: Yes. Uh huh. The first one.
I: Okay. What, if anything, has prevented you from doing a better job,
especially in regard to benefiting blacks in your district?
W: Communication is the--has been the most, to me, the most difficult thing
to try to accomplish. And there's a number of reasons for that. As a
rule, most black people don't read the paper. They won't pick it up. They
will not read it, and then they reads it, and half the time they don't
understand. And that's just not unique with the black community.
W: It's also with the white community, but I'm saying that this is the
problem. You know, and it's not really a black problem, but it is a
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problem that confronts the black also-more so than others. I just can't
even hardly think of anything else that's--
1: What about money, funding?
W: Well, money--your money itself is, you know, like economics. It will
always be a problem as far as this community is concerned. It's just
about the, like they say, root of all evils. If you don't have the
money, you know, what can you do. But I do think that, you know, a lot
of the monies that were sent down through the way of federal revenue
sharing and other federal monies--that they weren't getting their' share
of it which would enable them to do a much better job. Because I really
feel that, you know, if the city would just put forth some of the efforts
that they could have with some of the federal money they have, it would
have helped these people over the hump enough whereby they could have
become much better in producing citizens which the city would have then
benefited from in the long run. See, and uh, but they couldn't see that.
I' Okay. Here's another check list.
I: Please rate how important you think the following items are in preventing
you from doing a better job benefiting blacks. How about the office has
no real authority. By that we mean not much power in getting things done.
W: Well, I think this is a--okay, I think this is really uh, I'd say it's very
important because with the type of set up that we have, a city manager
form of government, the commissioners really don't have that much power.
You can tell that city manager what to do, but you know, you have to
almost threaten with a recall or something-not a recall but a-something
to terminate his wages in order to be able to-
I': What about out voted by white officials? Do you find that the whites were
cooperating with you on the commission?
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W: I'd say that's very important because I was outvoted most of the time
I: What about, well, we've already mentioned not enough revenue. You thought
that was important also.
W: Yes, uh huh.
I: What about unfamiliar with administrative duties when you took office?
W: I don't think that was important 'cause, I mean, you know, I was pretty
much familiar with, you know, with the procedures 'cause I've always
attended city commission meetings and sit in and watch. And I observed
so I knew what they were doing and what they had to do. I just wasn't
familiar with the back room deals, you know. I didn't know how, you know,
I didn't know they were pulling the wool over my eyes then, see so.
W: I mean, as far as what they kept above board, I knew what, you know, I
was familiar. So I'd say that was really fairly important because I
learned my lessons that, you know, all it is wasn't really made up on
I: What about lack of cooperation from whites?
W: I think there is more of a lack of cooperation from blacks than there was
a lack of cooperation of whites. So I'd have to rate that not important.
r: OKay. You say the next question--lack of cooperation from blacks was
W: Okay. So I'd say very important.
I: What about lack of cooperation from the state officials?
W: I'd say that's very important.
I: And what about lack of cooperation from the federal officials?
W: And that's-I can't go beyond very important, but I'll put very important.
I: Do you want to comment on that a little bit?
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W: I'll comment on it because, you know, the state and federal officials,
they're the next step higher than our local government. And if you finding
the local government is not complying with the law-the constitution, number
one, which they supposedly swore to uphold and follow as well as the guide-
lines sent down by Lederal government and by state government. And they
fail to make them comply, then where do you have to turn to. Then that
starts undermining the whole concept of a democracy of having government,
you know, by the people, you know. And I just--I was furious with the
lack of federal government and the state government in taking proper
actions in order to help, you know, rectify/situation in which I felt
was badly in need of rectifying.
I: Okay. Has criticism or lack of support from the black community hindered
you in holding office, that is, do some blacks not cooperate with you
because they feel you're only a token in government and have no real
W: No, I don't find many of them with that attitude. I've found that, you know,
it's just a lack of being unaware. You know, people who just didn't really
know what to do and how to do it, and you didn't know how to get to them
to communicate 'cause they wouldn't get involved. You'd try to send out
leaflets and you'd talk on radio shows, and there was just no way of
communicating with them. So consequently, they didn't know how to support
or, you know, to cooperate with you. And their lack of cooperation hinders
you from getting much of the services that they would have gotten because,
you know, if they'd have showed support for things like annexation, you know,
or fluoridation to the water. That was one that really infuriated me
because of the fact that I was the only one on the whole commission fighting
to have the water-have fluoride. And because I felt that it would
basically help, particularly our poverty children who couldn't afford to
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go to dentists and have their teeth treated with fluoride and so forth.
So- they had the most benefit from it, and I don't think ten of the
people went to the polls to vote it, and then they just--you know, they
just went down the drain. And I fought the thing, you know, tooth and
nail. It's the same way with the, you know, that candidates who were
running and running on an anti-annexation platform, they should have
automatically, without a doubt, without question, voted these people-
against these people, but they didn't. They voted for one guy who
swore that he would not go for annexation. I don't say they voted for him,
but they sure didn't vote for the other candidates so, you know, silence gives
I: Are there any other examples you think of offhand that were-
WI: Whereby the lack of support from the black community?
I: Lack of support. Uh huh.
W: Well again, during election time, you know, my re-election. I could have
been easily re-elected had the black people went out and voted because,
you know, during the primary I was something like almost 2,000 votes more
than the other candidates which astounded most of them 'cause they had
felt I would be defeated because of you know, an issue--a stand I took
on a controversial hotel issue. But then I showed strong even in the area
where they were expecting me to get defeated. But the black people didn't
go to the polls. And see, and that was my strenght, you know. This is
where I had to rely on my base, and then, you know, I think organized labor
had an effect, you know, had a part in it.
I: Against you?
W: Against me, yes. A lot of the black-this is why I'm making the economic,
uh, it's pretty much, you know, I'd say very important. Because many of
those guys jobs was depending on, you know, they told them that, you
know, Weaver was anti-builders and anti-this. And the only thing I was
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anti was the fact that these builders who were just really littering up
the earth, and no .place to stay. And just building a bunch of slums and
taking off somewhere else, and leaving you to suffer with it. And this I
didn't like. I didn't care whether they was building it over here in the
black community or they was building it over in the beach. And I just
took a stand and they didn't like that. You know, not being informed and
knowing what my real stand and my real stand motive was cost me an election
because, you know, they didn't know.
I: Do you feel that white officials treat you differently from other officials?
W' They do. Yeah. More ways than one. I don't say they treat me in a hostile
And then many times I could go to stuff like League of
Cities, you know, they were real friendly. And they all spoke, and we
talked issues, just like, you know, you and I would sit down and talk any
issues. But then, you know, they'd try to make exceptions. I don't like
to he treated any different. I don't want you to say, well, gee, that's
a black commissioner. Or that's commissioner, the first black of Pompano.
You know, Karl is just a commissioner. He's a guy on the commission just
like I am. And if he's a problem there, you know, we got a problem, not
Karl's problem. And I didn't like the idea of the commissioners always
saying, well, okay, it's in the black community, Karl, what should we do.
Look, that's what should we do, you know.
I: Well, do they consider you a spokesman for the blacks?
W: Yes. Uh huh.
I: What services did you provide for the blacks in your district that they
did not have before you took office?
W: Voting in the voting places in your own district. Because before they'd would
never put a polling place in the black community. And that was held--that
was worked against us, see.
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W: We always had to cross Dixie Highway, and then the most-they didn't
see the pattern of the black vote. They had to either vote early in the
morning or late in the afternoon after they got off of work 'cause-during
the day, you ain't going to hardly get any voters. So late in the
afternoon, Dixie Highway, which is a northwest, uh, a north-s6uth artery.
Then the polling place was located on the east side of that artery which
makes it highly difficult for a person to get across that track and vote.
So we either had a long lines, and we got/that long line and they're already
tired from a hard days work. It discouraged them so they went back home. So
managed to get polling places located within the black community whereby
the people can go right out early in the mornings and vote in the mornings
conveniently. And as when they come back in in the afternoon, they can
vote, see. So that's something that they didn't have which I thought was
a very important thing that they didn't have.
I: Yeah. Mostly-
W: As well as, you know, some of the other things that they're getting now.
I: Would you give me a couple examples of those things?
W: Well, I don't say that they didn't have them exclusively, but--
I: No, better if we could say also.
W: Well, yeah, one community, which is Carver's home, is a black community
which didn't have drinking water. And now they have city drinking water
which kind of guarantees them they won't have to be drinking hepatitis
for breakfast, see. So this was good for them. I think we have better
police protection now than we have had before. It was always a pretty
bad atmosphere between the police community and the black community. And
there was constant friction, and every time, you know, this is always a
point for violence.
I: Uh huh.
FB, 50A Bridges
W: So I think I kind of built somewhat of respect for the black community
from the police department as well as trying to get black people to
respect law and--as they-that they should. You know, and respected
their authority. Although the authority shouldn't abuse it, see.
W: And this is where, you know, this is one of the big problems that we had
in the city. And I was asking for state investigations and I was also
asking for federal investigations.
I: Was there police brutality reports?
W: I had many reports of police brutality, both in the black and white
I: And harassments?
W: And harassments and actions which I felt was unbecoming of.police officers,
and that got to be one heck of a controversy in Pompano for a while.
I: Here's the last of our little check boxes.
I: Okay. Could you please rate how effective you think you have been in each
of the following services in terms of benefiting blacks. Police protection.
W: II'll say somewhat effective because I still--I'm still not satisfied that
we have the type of protection that I love to see.
I: Okay. What about streets and roads? Do you have any problems?
W: I'll say somewhat effective because there's many streets that we had prior
to my election was nothing but dirt. At least now we have tar and gravel,
and we've been able to get street lighting and something. They all go in there.
1: Okay. Are they-are the streets up to par with the white streets or main
W: In general, yes. There are still a lot of areas whereby that the area
FB 50A Bridges
I: Do they have sidewalks on the street?
W: Some--well, I would say school routes have sidewalks. There's still
other areas that doesn't have sidewalks. They could have them, and we
wished that they did.
I: What about housing?
W: Oh, let's see. I better check these off. Our streets and roads, we
put somewhat effective. Housing-I'll say somewhat effective because of
the fact that at least now we have zoning whereby that person can build a
house which they want to, and they are building some houses. It's public
housing are poor. We doesn't have any. Welfare--I'll have to put not
effective because the welfare is terrible. The city constantly refuses
to set up a department of community affairs whereby that they could
advise citizens as to what they were entitled to, how they go about
getting aid and assistance for employed and assisting the elderly and
so forth. And they'll just tax it. Even this year, when the budget,
you know, when I wasn't down there, they turned down hot lunches for
the. old people. And this is something I've always fought for. They cut
it out one year, but, you know, by me being there, I was able to get a
hold of Nan Hutchinson and some of the others who were in the Division of
Family Services to come up and speak on the issue. And then they put it
back in the budget. But this year, you know, with nobody there, the watchdog
and so forth, they cut it out of the budget.
I: So there is a welfare problem.
W: There is definitely a welfare problem in the city of Pompano Beach. And
it really needs something drastically done and fast. Now I'd say that's
one of the most critical areas right now facing Pompano Beach's black
FB 50A Bridges
I: What about employment?
W: This is basically the same. I'll have to say somewhat effective. I won't
say not effective. I'll say somewhat effective for the simple reason that
we were able to get them to adopt affirmative action program through the
city whereby they would put on paper that they would not discriminate or
that they would, you know, give equal opportunity as far as trying to hide.
They did put forth some efforts to try to go out and recruit some blacks
for oettain jobs and so forth, but how it really honestly was, I don't know.
But at least they went through the motions, and so I can't say that they
didn't do it honestly so I'd have to say effective, but they're still no
blacks in the fire department. There's very few in the police department.
And practically none in administrative positions and so forth.
I: Do you think the police, because they're black, their promotions come
slower, from let's say, a white officer?
W: Well, I had one complaint to that effect while I was in office. Now,
whether or not that's, uh, there hasn't been that many black officers down
there. So I mean, you know, it's kind of hard to answer a question like
that. I know Officer Chriswell, who was a member of police force for a
number of years, claimed that, you know, and he did. He had quite an
educational background and the degrees to prove it, and he's never gotten
I: Well, we could say, then, it would be fair that it could use a little more
equalization in the police department.
W: Well, I think the somewhat whitewash of an investigation that the justice
department did that was one of the errors that they did point out--that the
city of Pompano Beach should correct or look into something. That, you know,
it was ridiculous.
1: What about parks and recreation?
FR 50A Bridges
W: Parks and reareation--I'll say that we were somewhat effective because of
the fact that they did put in the budget's monies to develop Apollo Park.
We impwaved Westside Park. We got a recreation program started in the
northwest area which we'd never had before, you know. So there were some
improvements made during the, you know, my administration.
I: What about water, sewage, and garbage in the black area?
W: I'd say that was somewhat effective. One of the complaints that the
black community have often had was the fact that poor garbage pick up.
The fact that there were many areas which were allowed to litter. You
know, like, you know, some people, you know, even in the black community,
they just throw out old refrigerators and garbage around the house. And
didn't put it in proper containers. We felt that the city's--it was the
city's responsibility to enforce the law. The law says that you're not
allowed to litter, and allow your property to be littered like that.
They would enforce that in the white community. We were wanting them to
enforce it in the black community whereby that we could upgrade our
community. And this is something that's till lacking in this community.
You ride around in this community and you'll see people are allowed to
spill piles and piles of litter and trash along the side of the streets.
We should prohibit it. Old junk cars-this was something was allowed to
do. And many of the things that I've fought for while I was in there are
now beginning to appear back on the scenes, see, and which is disheartening.
I: Right. What about health and hospitalization? Did the city commission
have anything to dowith that?
W: No, not really 'cause, see, we have a hospital district which in
our hospital district is set up to handle this under a county fund. The
city has nothing to do with it. And the others are just private hospitals
in the areas so the city doesn't have any--
FR 5QA Bridges
I: What about health clinics?
W: They did, uh, well, they had--they did add on to our fire department's
paramedic program at extra cost to the citizens which I opposed.
W: You know this is an emergency medical service. They could have gotten
the same service through the Broward County medical service at no extra
cost to the taxpayers, and that's what I was looking for. The same service
at no cost.
I:: Why didn't they want the no cost?
W: Well, they wanted to maintain control, and I think this is a--see, under
the Broward County, they would have had to extend that service to areas
such as Christhaven, which is an elderly white neighborhood north of us,
Kendall Green, which is an area that's white, north of us. Even west to
black community, and I think this was more of a hinder than you was these
other two because they have entered into mutual agreement pacts with these
other communities whereby they won't enter into mutual agreement pacts
with the black communities. So I feel that, you know, this is basically
th&ir reason. They didn't want to have to afford these services to the
I: How about education?
W: They have nothing to do with education. I don't know. I should check this
one off first, then maybe health and hospital. I have to put not effective
because we don't have a program under this one.
W: In education, again, the city has nothing to do with it, as far as the
education procedures. Although they have shown willingness and cooperation
to work with the school board in trying to make situations around school
areas, you know, safer. Or one instance of Pompano Beach High School had
FP 5.A Bridges
a problem with water on one of the streets. They did say that, you know,
they'd come in there and grade it, possibly put in some type of a drainage
I: Uh huh.
W: They tried to cooperate as much with school officials as they could as
commissioners. I think even went so far as to give city funds to the
school to go on band trips, which is really illegal, in my opinion. And
I voted against it again, too. 'Cause Avin plays. Some school officials
sent my nephew over to-in one of the groups that solicit the funds, and
I still said no because, you know, again, it was wrong. It's--you're not
to take tax-supported money to support things like that.
I: What about fire protection? Is the fire protection-
W: Fire protection--I'm going to have to put not effective for the simple
reason that we fought, and this is one of the main issues that I rallied
behind and fought for during my campaign was a fire station located west
of Dixie Highway, which I was referring to basically the black community.
But then they went west of Dixie Highway, but they went clear west out into
a white neighborhood. I don't know. It was so far west it's almost not in
1: Could you tell me about how far away that is from the black community
that we are in now?
W: It's roughly around three miles.
I: I didn't see fire hydrants.
W: There is some fire hydrants in the black community. They're located fairly
good. I mean as far as the fire hydrants are concerned. They are here.
But the fire apparatus you need is not here. And you got two railroad
tracks which would prohibit along with 1-95, they would prohibit adequate
service to the black community. And this is one of the things that I
FB 50A Bridges
feel is going to happen in the future. That we're just going to be
trapped in here if a real disaster happens--getting emergency medical
service as well as fire protection in here. And this is your more fire
prone area, too, by the way.
I: Would you say that it looks good in the near future for getting a fire
house or it doesn't look good or-
W: I'd say it doesn't look good for the simple reason that, you know, they
claim that the money is getting tight and there's no question about it.
And before they went so far out west, I thought they just should have
build that fire house on the city of property up near Copence Road,
which would have been much more centrally located. And they'd have been
able to respond to even the areas out south of here, you know, where they
put the fire house.
W: But the way it is now, we won't get one, and they even attempted to cut
out the closest one to us then. So you-so then you going to have one
furthest west that you can get and one furthest east as you can get, and
we sitting in the middle where all the fires are. And no fire protection.
I: That's another good come back for that. Maybe even a good question. I
guess the obvious one is why? 'Cause it's the black community? They feel
they can get away with it or-
W: Well, there was one statement made by the fire chief. I think 'cause I
read it, and the fire chief said, you know, once you locate a fire department
in the black community that you are subject to political pressures of the
black community and so forth, which I doubt very seriously. There isn't
any black political pressures. I'd love the black people to get involved
politically, aid I think they could really see a change made. But that's
hogwash. I: think he's just, you know, that's just pretty much a racist
FB 50A Bridges
type group of people, and !they just don't intend to have any blacks in it.
And I don't think they would have felt safe to have a total white operation
in the black community. It's as simple as that.
I: Well, you'd think they'd had a black fire department in the black community.
W: They could very well have one if they'd give them the money to do it
because I'm sure there's blacks who could easily quality and try and, you
know, do it. But for some reason or another, blacks can't even pass their
examinations. And a lot of them were college trained and so forthwho
took it intentionally and couldn't pass it so.
End of Side 1-FB 50A
FR 50A Bridges
Page 27-Beginning of Side 2
W: Well by surprised because I just couldn't imagine that anything like
that could even happen.
I: Do you think that possibly the applications or the tests that they give
could be different between the blacks and the whites?
W: I don't have any knowledge as to whether or not they were using double
standards or two different types, you know, type tests, but I do know
that there's many people who took the test and was unable to pass who
r thought should have been able to really pass the test. I would have
loved to go in there and asked the, you know, personnel director as to
what are the questions--what are some of the questions, and what type of
information that he is looking for, the qualification he was looking for
in a person to serve on the fire department. But I never did go that far.
I had so many other problems that I felt that it was-
I: Have you gotten any federal funds for your district?
W: Yes, we've gotten quite a few federal funds. Mainly revenue sharing funds.
We have gotten an EPA grant to build a transmission line which amounted to
something like about three million dollars. We've gotten, uh, we've
authorized the county to utilize the city as a party in application for
a block grant which you would apply to the city, and you get monies for
that. Then I've gotten quite a bit of federal and state monies in the way
of parks and recreation, and beach erosion. I think the city's gotten its
share of federal and state money.
I: Did this help the black community? Did money come in?
W: It helped the black community some. I don't say it helped them tremendously
because actually, this is one of the complaints that we had with the
justice departments-that the revenue shared monies that were being received
by the city was spent to unequalize the services rendered to the black
community and the white community because every budget, every fund that
FB 50A Bridges
was earmarked was a project that was in the white community. There was
none in the black. And se, uh, and we set out to prove it, and nobody has
disproved us yet. And the federal government hasn't said anything. I
think they're giving the city directions and plenty of time to comply or
to give some kind of excuse for not complying so.
I: Have you as an elected official been able to bring industrial retail stores
into the area?
V: Industrial retail stores?
I: Industrial or retail stores.
I: Is that appliable to--
W: No, because industrial I got out of the community because of the fact
that they were in one stifling. I think--I can't personally claim credit
for any industry nor retail stores come into the community. I do feel that
many of them come in the community since my election mainly because of the
attitude of the people in the community. And they felt that, you know, it
was profitable to go into that community. But per se to say that I went
out and solicited and got John X industry to come and locate within the
black community, no, I didn't.
I: Have you been able to see that blacks were hired fairly in local government
while you were in office?
W: Well, we tried. You know I tried to get to do that. Now whether or not--
and I think them that were hired were hired fairly. They're trying. It's
kind of hard. They get a lot of them down there who consider themselves,
I guess, die hards and--but they're changing slowly.
I: Okay. Just a couple more questions here. Has the federal revenue sharing
helped your district-your district right here in the black community?
W: Yes, it's helped it. Like I said, we've gotten, through federal revenue
K 50A. Side Two
bd Page 29
sharing money at no cost to the tax payers, uh, school sidewalks
which we didn't have any Before and the kids had to walk to school
in the middle of the street along with all the trucks and cars and
everything else. And we've gotten some street improvements through
federal revenue sharing -money I think, I'm not:sure. Yeah,
right, (chucklel, I have to think. about things cause sometime, you
know, they usually do a road improvement it's always through special
assessments, you know, the property owner pays 100% of
assessments so you really ain't giving them nothing.
I': Has there been any Black protests, sit-ins, boycotts, or riots in
the city in the last ten years?
W~ Oh my gosh yes.
I, (Laughterl. Could you tell me maybe a couple of the major ones and
what were the issues, and after thing settled did it help the blacks?
W. Uh, One was my year in, the first year in elected, uh, the issue was
again police brutality, which is the same thing with the major issue
in, uh, in the previous riot which claimed national, which I didn't
think.they should have ever gotten coverage even in the local news-
paper. Uh, one of the policemens shot and killed a guy, a black guy
here at a local bar and they rioted behind that and they claimed
during the riot that the city was not providing recreation, they wasn't
providing street light, and they wasn't giving 'em police protection
and that they were being harassed and Beaten by the policemens, uh,
they didn't have fire protection, and mainly some of them just, pretty
VB.5QA Side Two
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.uch the usual gripes that you here in a black community, which many
of them I think was. founded.
I. And did the, uh, did, after the riots did the effects...
WF .Tlh, the riots had some effect, uh, it kinda woke up a little bit of
the white community to the fact that, you know, sooner or later we
won't Be able to survive unless'n something is done over there in
order to try to make the conditions livable for them people, you know,
that theydon't Become so hostile, see. Cause there were many white
owned and merchants who had stores and businesses in the black community
who was pretty much forced out behind those riots and so they were
the target of fire bombings and harrassments and boycotts and this
I} So it did have some effect and it helped.
W. Definte, no question about it. I don't say it helped, but it had an
I, Kinda waking process.
W. Yes, it had awakening, no question about it. And them that did stay
and relocated they, they built much more decent type business esta-
blishments. I think they kind of treated people more like human beings
,more so than somebody:out there that they, they make me a dollar off
of, and so forth.
1: Okay, what is your opinion of Governor Ruben Askew? .And, well, does,
do you think that he has favorable attitude, policy.towards blacks
B. 50QA Side Two
bd Page 31
W. I tell ya, I got kinda of turned off of him, and uh, I don't even
read about him, no, you know, uh, lately. Other than I did kinda
read about, you' know, what he was doing in this Pitts and uh...
I: Lee case.
It ...and Lee case. But uh, I feel that Governor Ruben Askew let me
down, uh, and many other people in this state when he dispelled to
do anything for the Black communities. I: don't see anything his
administration has done to help better the situation of the black
community. In fact now' I think it's worse, my own opinion.
I: What is your opinion of other state officials or state representatives?
W Well, mainly for me are the ones in Broward County and I think they
1 ((Chuckler. ___._ ___ Okay do you think.that winning and holding
office in Florida has Been worth the effort? Or would you rather
comment anymore on the other state officials or...
l, No, I uh, r don't want to comment on any other state official other
than what I've already commented on, but they can be expanded upon.
Uih, now what was the second question, excuse me?
I: Do you think that winning and holding office in Florida has been worth
Wt. yes, I say it was worth the efforts although I would never do it again.
I'think it was worth the efforts by the simple reason it taught me
that a democracy is not what we taught in fifth grade that, this is
how-our government work, and this is how-it should work, you know,
FB .50A- Side Two
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and I just, you know,, I'm still getting over that and uh, you know,
Because, you know, I:was a believer in the free enterprise system,
I took the courses, I love it, I figure that, you know, this is what,
you know, our country was all about. But then I got an inside look
at least 1' felt the inside look, the piece that I saw I didn't like.
And so, I say if this the way our government has to work and the
way our free enterprise system really is all about, then I don't
know. I don't want communism I don't think, I don't know that much
about them other than what I've read and what I've seen and I've seen
other countries that, you know, their system of government don't
seem to Be producing that much. I think, this is the best type system
that I know-of, Bit I don't, I just don't feel like you should say
that this is the utopia when you know' that it's not no where near being
what you say, it is.
I- Okay, these questions are asked to complete an.overall group profile
of black elected officials in Florida. No individual answers will
Be reported. TU, could you tell me the type of office that you held?
W. .h, city commissioner.
I- What was the first elected?
I': When were you first elected?
Wi: In 1973.
1: Do you remember the' month?
FR 5QA. Side Two
Nb Page 33
I:- When did you first take office?
I' February '73?
W It was in February '737 later that month, but I' think I: was elected
on the twenty-third and we took office about a week later.
I Oh, you know sometimes there's a lag of a few months.
W Yeah, no there wasn't.
I': Uh, number of times that you ran for the office.
I? Okay, your age in oneof these categories, 18-29, 30-49...
W: 30 to 42.
I: 3C0 to 4% occupation before election?
W- Self employed child care center.
I; And what was your father's occupation?
I. He was a carpenter, laBorer, any where he could work to make a
dollar to feed the kids.
I' Is this your school?
W- This is my school.
I. It's really nice.
W Thank you.
I:5 They're gonna love that on the tape. Education, high school, completed
I' Completed college?
F&. 5.0A Side Two
bd Page 34
I- Okay, uh, salary relieved from your elected position when you
were a city commissioner.
W. Salary relieved, uh, seemed like it was $5,010, something like that.
1: Were you active in the civil rights movements of the sixties to '66.
W. Um, somewhat in college we did some protesting about, you know, sit-
ins on resturaunts and carried picket signs up in Daytona on Morrisons
and one weekend up to Daytona, not to Daytona, but uh, St. Augustine
there, but uh, .that's aEout the extent. I was more less interested
in trying to get the people registered to vote, now I took an active
part in that because I'.felt that this is really where the key was,
and r still feel.that's where the key is.
I Do you belong to the NAACP or the SCLC?
W: No, no.
I: Never have?
W: Yes ,I have belonged to the NAACP.
1. Would you tell sme when?
W Probably in the sixties. Probably all in the sixties because I, you
know, once I become, you know, active I, that was about the only or-
ganization I think you could, you know, send them two dollars and you
can become a year member. So I did that.
I: Uh, do you belong to a.church?
W: es, -I dol
I W.iich church?
F. 50A Side Two
hd Page 35
W Bethelamy Church, it's an African Methodist Episcopal.church.
I: Are you an official in your church?
W. Steward, yes, IAin a steward boy, steward.
I: I' don't know what that is.
W W-ell, it's a representative body of the church.
I' Oh, okay- thank you. Are there any other.community organization
activities that you are involved in?
'. Well, actively not at the moment because, you know, I just ceased
all activities until I get my facalties hack together and, uh, feel
like, you know, I can make some worthwhile contribution to the
community, uh, but uh, I have in the past, you know, belonged to
Kiwanias, uh, Jaycees, I' belonged to North.Broward Community Action
Committee which is a committee compiled of both Blacks and whites
who are trying to solve problems, which was an outgrowth of a riot.
tIh, I: Belonged to the Northwest Community Organization Council which
was a group organized by myself and another guy, pat Larken in order
to give me support at City Kall that I needed, you know, in order to
as a sounding Board from the community so that I wouldn't have to be
a spokesman from the community as well as trying to be commissioner,
which was a hardship for me to try to do is to separate the two and
not.Be a spokesmen for the community and be a commissioner at the same
time. I was forced on both ends to do them Both. Forced by the
commission.as to 6e a spokesman for the community as well as by the
commission was Being a spokesman for the community.
B& 504Q Side Two
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I: What effects did running and holding office have on your family
and on yourself?
EW It had a, I don't say a dramatic experience, hut uh, it has, uh,
it had an effect to the point where one point my wife was almost
a nervous wreck from recieving calls and abuses and things on the
telephones that, uh, which she actually knew nothing about, you
know, and uh, for that reason I think..that I wouldn't even, you
know consider -making a...
I': Another election
W: ...another attempt.
I: What aBout on yourself?
W: Uh, even on my children, they even to the point in school, one, on
one instance, I'have a son Keith who plays football, and he's an
outstanding football player.
I: Yeah, I saw his tropheys.
W Now he in one game, now-without a doubt was the outstanding player,
then the officials said that we couldn't give it to your son because
if we'd have give it to your son, you know, he would have, you know,
they'd have thought, you know, he was being favored. But, you know,
and that hurt him, you know, and it hurt me too. Because, you know,
here I've denied him something of Thich he should be entitled to.
Cause that's a Big part of his, you know, could have, you know, could
have had some effect on him, But, you know, he's, he Bounced back
beautiful from Because we tried to play it off, play it down. And
F&L 5A. Side TWo
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there's a couple of, -my oldest son who had a run in with one of
his teachers- wo because of the fact that, he said, you know, you
think, you're Carl Weaver's son, or something, you know, the commissioner's
son, you know, heat's always, apparently he must didn't like my style
one commission because that's what he referred to that, you know,
that I was down there trying to run city hall and this kind of stuff,
and he. better not come in his class trying to do that, which he felt
that, you know, he didn't have no reason to say that. And there's
me, I just, I don't know, it's done a lot to me. Cause it, from
number one, I'was a kind of a, much like a blind believer in anything
you said about America that, you know, this is what we stood for and
that, you know, we were people who were, was the champions of democracy
and justice and then I found out what justice was like and what all
was involved in trying to get justice and, Because I got quite involved
in prison reform and this kind of thing too while I was in there and
from what I can read even in the papers now-that, you know, I just
don't, I don't have very good taste for it because I would have rather
stayed ignorant to the fact then just believe in, I think I'd been
more willing to kind of go along with some of it, but right now it's
hard for somebody to convince me that, you know, this is the truth
and this is what you're trying to say and what you don't. You know
yod-always have to kind of, you know, you're wondering whether or
not what their real -motive as to why they're doing a thing because
really on many instances I even refused to interview with people, you
FBSQA. Side Two
bd Page 38
know, particularly just before the last election because I would
suspect, I was suspicious of one guy who was asking me a lot of
questions as to -my procedure as to what I went through and how
successful in Being elected and come to find out that I felt that
many of the procedures and the thing that I did in that successful
election when I' ran this time, those ways were blocked, and I got,
I don't say that that was the absolute truth, but then I: was suspicious
and I think.much of that effect came from knowing how politics
operate and the system operates, and I was, you know, I just refused
to. But me, know-I don't care, you know, I just, you know I know
that I don't intend to run again and I; hope I'm not doing anything
to hinder any other black..official or white official or anybody from
ever wanting to serve and, you know, and do a job, you know, for
the American people. I have no intention of become a, somebody to
overthrow the government, but I still don't want to be one to become
a part of those officials anyway.
1' Okay, do you know any other black officials around this area?
Wt Uh, Silvia Portier who is in Deerfield.Beach is a commissioner there.
She's the first black, no she's not the first black. She's the first
black.woman to be elected to that commission and uh, she was successful
the year I lost. But she had been running quite a time too.
1 Whiat about down south at all?
W, South, John Sanders is down in, uh,-..
I- HIe says hello also By the way. I was him last night.
F& 50A Side Two
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W I: can't think.of anybody, Boise Waiter, who's no longer a city
official, he was one at one time.
I: What's his name?
: Boise Waiters.
I. Aid where was he from?
W. He was from Kallendale.
I, _Boise Waiters?
W: Yeah, uh, Dania, excuse me, John is from Hallendale. Yeah, he was
from Dania, right next door to here.
I; Okay, thank you that's all. TMere's just one more thing. There's
an oral project at the University of Florida called Oral History,
and we're thinking about having these tapes transcribed if you'd
Be interested in it. And what we're gonna do is we're gonna send
a copy of this as it is, have somebody just take it right off the
tape and send it down to you, and you'll be able to read it, your
W Hopefully. (Chucklel.
IT And then...
W Little snurs and all?
I' Teah, chucklee. And they'll uh, we'll send-it down and then you
can okay it or not okay it depending on it. Uh, would you be interested
in having that done?
I1 PSd be interested in helping anyway that I: can in order to help any-
body understand the system.
Fl 50A. Side Two
bd Page 40
I: Okay so...
W.t What's it all about,..
I: What is this:, after it's documented we put in the library and, you
know, people will be able to read it for research in ten, twenty
years, and we'll see how it goes.
I. Thank you Mr. Carl .eaver.
WK Alright thank you very much.
END OF TAPE