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FB 63A 1.
Interyiewee: Jerry Taylor
Interviewer: Button Project
11/1/75
Palm Bay
Side One



I:: ...is Jerry Taylor, councilman, Palm Bay, Florida. Address is 732 Randolph,

zip code is 32901, phone number is 1-305-727-0538. Date of interview is

November 1.

I: Ok, question number one is what year did you, did you first register to vote?

T: I registered to vote in 1955.

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

T: That's the year I was eligible in 1955 and I registered uh, I registered 'bout

a couple days after I just became 21.

I: Hmm, that's very good. Did the local registrars ever turn you down when you

applied to register?

T: No they didn't, did not.

I: Ok, number four. Have voter registration drives been held in the district in

which you hold office?

T: Yes.

I: Ok, have they helped any?

T: Yes, they have.

I: Have any organizations helped you with the organiz-with doing this?

T: No more than the uh, North Palm Bay Civic Association.

I: Hmm, ok, when were these ro-voter registration drives held, what years?

T: Between uh, '64 and '65.

I: Have there been any recent ones?

T: Uh, we had one back in '68 I think it was, maybe '69.

I: Was it, was it very effective?

T: Yes, it was very effective.




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I: Are these uh, drives mostly blacks coming into the registrar?

T: Uh, yes, at the time it was.

I: Are they, is this overall, white and black registration drives or just in the

black community?

T: Uh, at this particular time it was just for the black community.

I: Ok. Are there any other things which prevent blacks from registering to vote

in the districts at large?

T: Uh, no it's not.

I: No it's not? Ok, number six, please rate how important you think each of the

following items are in preventing blacks from registering to vote in your area.

As you see, it's very important, fairly important, and non important. Ok, the

first one, economic dependence on whites, ev, pl-ojed by whites.
very,
T: Uh, it's uh, it's verywimportant.

I: Very important? Do you feel that if they work for a white that they don't

vote or that they do?
they'll
T: No, uh, if they work for work for whites, they uh,Athey'll vote.

I: They will?

T: Yes.

I: But if they're working for blacks, that they, they don't seem to vote as often?

T: They don't seem to vote as often, right. Uh, I don't know why this is uh,

maybe it's because uh, they just unconcerned. But uh, if they work for whites

then uh, in some instances if they're working for a white, the white will

let 'em off in time, to, to vote.

I: -to go vote-

T: Especially in the daytime, he will.

I: Ok, do they fear any physical violence from whites by voting?

T: Uh, no.




FB 63A 3.
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I: Is the registration forms, are they complicated?

T: No, the regis-registration forms, they are not complicated, they're, they're not.

I: Ok, how about registration hours, do they interfere at all?

T: Uh, no because sometimes they have uh, special uh, hours set aside for working

people. ou, koJ take most that might uh, remain open from eight,

eight, eight-thirty at night on a Friday night or something Ikk 4i1-oR tSP

r-a-lirksc are- oTY Athy close. They remain open late hours.

I: That's very good. Are the registration hours, are they held often enough,

I mean-

T: Sure, the registration hours are held uh, long enough, but they, )you -' /o0 bkfore4

certain amount of days, about a month Before election day

they close the books up, then they open the Books up again, but they are,

a-7 -__ found out -

I' So in other words, anyone can just go register--

T: They can go-

I: -with no problems.

T: -right, right.

1 Is there an indifference of blacks towards the voting?

T: Uh, now it is, some of 'em seem to think that uh, uh, the voting doesn't

do any good, and all of 'em I come in contact with, I tell 'em that, that

voting does do some good. They, then they get off on the party situation

which is the Republican Party doesn't do right, and Democrat Party doesn't

do right, 'stype of thing so I still tell them uh, that's they privilege

to go out and register and vote, anyway.

I: Ok, section B, the following questions are asked to gather information on the

election campaigns of black elected officials in Florida. Question seven,

were you able to campaign freely?




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T: Uh, yes I was, as a matter of fact uh, about three or four days before elections,

I'll take off my job to, to do it, .. campaign.

I:: That's good. Did you receive any kind of threats?

T: Uh, no uh, only one and I, it wasn't a threat but uh, the guy gave Yv'- Sv.MA

talking' and uh, I talked to him about thirty minutes and finally when I left

he was my friend. He laughed and talked and all of it was forgotten about.

I: Were you handicapped By lack of campaign money?

T: Sure Claughl.

I: Sure-

T: That's a Big, that's a big, that's a big handicap right there. Specially the

poor man's- (laughl.

I: Why did you decide to run for office.

T: See uh, I got tired of the way these (clears throaty excuse me, these politicians

sweet-talked you,, aime for election and then when they get in

office, they'll, they'll forget about you,.yeahR and I'll start-

1: Now you mean the white politicians forget about the blacks or just in general,

everybody forgets?

T: In in general, everybody forgets and -uh, A~, Ji -'~-~s-they'11 come to

you and sweet-talk you maybe, maybe a month or three weeks before the

election. Then after they get into office- got the 'vote Babe, and that's

it, you know. And then after I was very active in the community I was

asked by people, by parents to run and I decided to run, so I ran in 1970,

and '71 and I was defeated by 56 votes and I came right back, right back

again in '72 and I won by 100 and some~WBMvotes 'bout 150, and '74 I

ran for re-election and I p-polled more votes than anybody ever got out of

the city of Palm Bay.

I: Very good. To which political organization do you Belong?




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T: I'm a a Democrat.

I: Democrat? Do you ever receive support-" om the Democratic Party in terms of

money or finance?

T: Uh, no I haven't, no. All my campaign ran strictly on my own, uh, 'cos I

didn't have anybody to give me the money because Csound of a train whistle

in the Background)...

I:: Question 11, what were they two or three most important issues on which you (

campaigned?

T: Ok, my three, two or three most important issues were, water and sewage,

uh, recreation, and a total community _____just one community

for everything, which uh, this we happened to do, we've got the water and

sewage and the-ther c-L We got one of the best recreation

programs in the county and uh, we on our way now to a total community.

I: Ok. Do you think that these issues were the main problems facing blacks

in your community?

T: Uh, yes, they was because uh, as far as recreation, for example, there was

just a few blacks on the recreation program, and after I got elected uh,

to the council, I (clears throat) excuse me, I worked hard for this and uh,

I knew we had Blacks that wanted to participate in recreation and now we have

7 a _____ number of blacks in our recreation program uh, water

sewage, the blacks didn't have uh, sewage so, we attained uh, a grant from

the Federal Government, we got that and uh, the old part of Palm Bay,

didn't have water and sewage, so we got water and sewage as well. That's

what I meant by uh, a total community, oa-cvnrse ms of 6 c._ have

water and sewage, and the old section of Palm Bay did not have water and sewage.

I: So now everybody has water and sewage?

T: Right, water and sewage, right.




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I: Ok, these-next set of questions I'm going to ask you are to determine some

of the conditions which have enabled blacks to win office in Florida. Ok,

question number 12, how were you elected, at large or by district?

T: At large.

I: Ok, how many people were, are in the city?

T: We've got approximately 4,300 registered voters. Uh, registered voters, but

uh, there approximate uh, city about 13,000.

I: 13,000? What percentage of the population in your city is black, a rough

estimate?

T: About two percent.

I: About two percent?

T: Two percent. Not much (laugh).

I: About what percentage of voting age in your city or district are registered

to vote?

T: Uh, we have approximate uh, four percent.

I: Four percent?

T: Four percent, yes.

I: So of the two percent of the city, four percent of those are registered to

vote.

T: Registered to vote-

I: Ok, question 16, about what percent of blacks who are registered to vote,

do you estimate actually voted when you were elected?

T: I estimate about uh, three percent of' em voted
almost
I: Uh huh, so you nhinrx~ s had a very good turnout.

T: Yes, almost.

I: It was a very good turnout.




FB 63A 7,
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T: Right, it was.

I: Do you think you got-well, we know you got many votes from the whites, do

you think they were major?

T: Uh, no within the city of Palm Bay itself, the whites knew, uh, they knew me,

they knew what type of fellow I was, they know what I've meant for the

community, they know what type, type of job I have been doing in the

community and uh, they went out and they supported me. 'Matter of fact, _T2

my first .Sg-dfcar 2oipy -4o run, back in uh, '71, my former schoolteacher

told me say uh, you shouldn't run 'cos you will not be elected. I said

what 'd you mean? He said you don't have enough blacks to put you in office.

I said wait, I said Palm Bay is my home, I'm not running only black votes,

I say sure I hope to get them, I say but r'm r -; t re Crc the

city of Palm Bay. And that's what I did and so when I was elected he was

the first person to call me and congratulate me.

I: Do you feel that you, that you really uh, for the city of Palm Bay-

T: Sure.



T: Yeah, A,^ A A ^ right, ctAIc. .

I: Ok, what was the percentage that you won by?

T: Let's see, I pulled uh, uh, about 1197 votes and myn next opponent pulled at about)
or .- 1,000 I thinkV
abmnh maybe 900 or something.

I: Ok, how many opponents did you have when you

ran?

T: Uh, there were together uh, three. One of them was a former commissioner,

and he was running for re-election and I...Beat him.

I; So you beat the incumbent?

T: Right, yes.




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I: And uh, was that the first time you ran?

T: Yeah, the first time I ran uh,...

I: -it was in '72?

T: Yeah, no the first time I ran was in '71, he beat me.

r: He beat you.

T: Right, then in '72 I came back and I heat him. And then in '74 he try to

come back again and I Beat him again. (laugh)

I: Ok, we already asked the next question, ok, section D, this is question 20;

in what ways do you think you have helped Blacks in your district by holding

office?

T: Well, in my district, which I think I've helped Blacks, if&e4- I said earlier,

that uh,...

I: The city in general-

T: c-L4' uh, we got things that we never have gotten before, we've

gotten things that uh, that we needed that the other city officials were

scared to tackle and we just got a hold onto the rope and we just

the rope end-now, We got some uh, we got some things done, we got funds
V i"-u 4- - -VJ-> s-yl( u
to do this with, we got, the streets are not paved bJBAtheanreE-wh,

three, two to three years we hope to have the streets paved but uh, we

just better the road conditions that we had in our community and I'll be

uh, 4C+ c oacc. L, the roads are better than they've ever been

before.

I: Do you think that uh, this is because you're black, that you're helping the

black community or, or de white officials do the same thing?

T: See, uh, in the area, in this community, uh, the whites have uh, looked

over the area.

I: They've Bypassed it?




FB 63A
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T: Bypassed the area, yes. And now in some, in uh, not in Palm Bay, but there's

some areas in general, some cities rather, uh, and they*e G-f(17 Co

funds, and they get those, these funds, and when the funds runs out, oL' /L.eA

always runs out in the black community, before it get to the black community,

? rather. But, uh, with this council that we have we was actually

question about the blacks, say ok, now after you applying for these funds,

would the funds run out, run out before they get to the black community and

uh, we told them no, as a matter of fact the funds would begin in the black

community and that's what, that's what we did.

I: Ok, number 22, please rate how important you think the following items are in

preventing you from doing a better joB for benefitting blacks, ok. This is

like the question before, ok, office has no real authority-

ST: Office you mean ?

I: Does your, the office that you hold, do you have authority to do something

can you get something done?

T: Uh, see what happened, uh, I have to uh, bring it to the attention of the

other councils and then if uh, they if I, T have sev, several ideas that

need to be done we can do them.

I: Ok, are you outvoted by white officials by the other councilmen?

T: Uh, no uh, on some, some aspects, we win some, we lose some, but it's

balanced out.

I: How many councilmen are there?

T: We have uh, four councilmen and the mayor.

I: And, are there any other blacks beside yourself?

T: No, I'm or // one.

I: You're the ONLY ONe )




FB 63A 10.
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T: Right.

I: So that's good that you're not outvoted By -.- ~s

T: No, right, see as it is now we got about a, a, on every issue it be, be about

at least about three or ttwov\'\-_--'_-_.______ and -uh, iuh as I said 'fore,

we win some and we lose- some- but -uHI, I'n not outvoted just Because I"m a

Black councilman.

E: So that you feel they, look at you as just another comnici\man,, not, not

that you're colored?

T: Right, right the councilman does it and also, the c- uh, the citizens of Palm

Bay does it. They don't look at me just because r"m black, say no, say uh,

he's black, say no he's our commissioner, too.

I: So you don't feel that you're prejudiced against 'cos you're black.

T: No, no, no I'm not, matter of fact, uh, uh, this city here is surprising,

because, several times I've heard people say-well they got Ku Klux Klan

in the Palm Bay, 'know, and I say well, that's nothing' you got Ku Klux Klan,

everywhere, you know? And uh, we get here, we have a nice time. When I,

when I first governed the council, you know being the first black ever

elected, I felt a little shy, you know, as a matter of fact any black

person would that go, and they be the first black ever go and they do
shi
the type of job or something you know, they feel a littler, But after

then, I opened up and I feel fine, just like E-cel e-mr',c,.cr5str .

I: Ok, is there not enough revenue available for you to help the people?

T: Uh, no that we definitely need, we need revenues in the city itself. We

can't afford to get all the needs that we need in the city. Excuse me, but,

I just hope and uh, through some ea. -_ kwt the state or the

federal government or somebody will give us some more subsidies to uh,

do some things that we need, better things that we need.




FB 63A
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I: Were you unfamiliar with the administrative duties when you first started to

take office?

T: Uh, no, I had to learn them.

I: Ok. Ok, was-, ok, you've already stated that you had cooperation from whites

in general-

T: Uh huh.

I: Ok, did you lack cooperation from the blacks, from the. black community?

T: What did you say?

I: Did you lack cooperation, did they help you at all?

T: Yes, they did, they helped me, uh huh.

I: Ok, did you have any problems with state officials?

T: Uh, no I didn't have any problem with state officials, as a matter of fact,

Senator Lawton Chiles and also Representative Bill Nelson, they kind of

encouraged me to run because when Senator Chiles walked the state, I had

the privilege of, privilege of walking in Melbourne with him. And I had

the privilege of helping Representative Bill Nelson campaign as well and uh,

and I'm pretty well know throughout the state and now" I'm known in Washington

with some of our representatives in Washington as well.

I: That was the next question, cooperation from federal officials, that's very

good, ok. What is, what if anything has prevented you from doing a better

job, especially in regard to benefitting blacks in the city?

T: Well, one of things is that as far as travel expenses with the city have,

there are lots of meetings that I like to attend and being a poor commissioner

myself, you know I just can't, ? I) R-;C n A I just can't take

off and go myself and then the city have just a certain amount set up for

travelling and then there, I'm losing out on other black officials, meetings

that they're having and uh, we have enough funding to do this that I can hang

around there with those.




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I: Ok, question 23, in a sense you've already answered this, but I'd just like to

go over it again here. Has criticism or lack of support from the black community

hindered you in holding office?

T: Well, see uh, sometime in the black community where they black fellow is elected

they think you should change the world, in one day. Uh, we just can't do this

and then when, when we doesn't do this they brand us as Uncle Tom, and I tell

em quick uh, black people are just beginning to get involved in politics, and

we have to learn to crawl before we can walk and we just can't do everything

that they want us to do because this, we, we working for the entire city

where were ar-, uh, uh, was elected.

I: Ok. Do you feel that the criticism has prevented you from doing a better job?

T: Uh, no I feel the criticism hay-has helped me because uh, uh, anytime somebody

criticize me, I look and see what I'm doing If they say I'm not doing anything

I look around and then I: say I am doing something and I just uh _

for a better job.

I: Do you feel that white official treat you differently from the other

officials?

T: Uh, no, uh, I don't feel this way,, in some cities they might will, but in

Palm Bay, we get along just like a family. Matter of fact, I said before,

it really surprised and I'm glad of this, to see how the minds of people

have changed and uh, we go up for, have a legal citizens meeting once a month,

executive board meeting, and we get along fine. There's never been a

hassel because I'm black, they're white or nothing.

I: Do you consider yourself a spokesman for the blacks?

T: Sure, right, I consider myself a spokesman for the blacks because uh, I try

to keep them informed of what happens and then uh, I KXXEK get some input

from them and I give them input.




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I: Do you feel that if you were not there, they would not have a spokesman?

T: Well, if, put it this way-

I: Say another white was in your place.

T: Ok, if I wasn't there, I don't think that they would, because before I got

there we had other officials, white officials and uh they didn't, didn't do

as much.

I: Question 25; what services have you provided in your city that they did not

have before you took office, and please give examples.

2 T: Ok, as I said before we had the water and sew-sewage we

nev-never had that before and we got more streetlights now than, we've ever
THOSE WERE THE TWO MAIN
have before and uh, taHGK XKaSXS-1 things that we didn't have before.

We had uh the sewage and also and also uh, and also uhi uh, streetlights.

I:; phone rings) -you wanna' get that, I'll shut it off? Like I said, it's

gonna' be edited so you don't have to worry too much. Question 26, this

is another one of those rating _. Please rate how you,
think you
how effective youphave been in each of the following service areas. They'

all might apply, or none, none of them may, so just reply or make a comment

if you feel like it, police protection.

T: V1 i police protection I think I've been somewhat effective, uh,
/ I
and now pr-,in'Cplc~ & re /C CLt A Ucw u__ election time, type thing

but before this came up I think I was somewhat effective with the e__-oM. Q-A
me -
department because uh, some type of -CF- people calledAand

I refer them to the police department and I also told them how to go about

various things.

I: Streets and roads...?

T: Streets and roads are, we working with streets now but uh, we had roads

before, but uh, the roads now is in better condition than they ever been

before in the city of Palm Bay.




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I: So you feel you were very effective?

T: Right.

I: Ok, housing.

T: Uh, the housing, I haven't been too effective yet because uh, speaking of

these black communities around here, the areas we live in, people live on very

low income and some is on welfare, this type of thing. We have very few

people up there with highly skilled jobs and the housing condition now is

somewhat poor in that area. That's why we hope to get some funds or
straighten
something to helphthis area out.

I: Welfare?

T: Uh, yes, welfare's a big hinderance too in that area and that's uh while

7 uh, I think this type of thing because uh,

we need better housing, we need better facilities and things from

the state.

I: So you're not effective in this area? You haven't been able to do anything?

T: Uh, not too much no,....

I: Employment?

T: Employment, I have been very effective, very effective in this uh, now

before, I was on city council, we had uh, one black fellow on it, that

worked for the city of Palm Bay and since the time I got, was elected

he was at the retirement age so he retired and so now we have uh, quite

a number of blacks working for the city of Plam Bay, we have uh, two

black policemen, uh one left the city because he got a better paying

job, and one got fired on account of his record. And uh,

in the fire department we had one black fellow in the fire department

but uh, he was in the service and he decided to go back in the service

because he was going back in ci+ a higher rank.




FB 63A 15.
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I: Parks and recreation?

T: Uh, park and recreation, uh we have quite a number of blacks in the recreation

department, we got quite a few blacks working with the parks and recreation.

I: Water sewage and garbage?

T: Uh, water sewage and garbage, we got blacks working in those uh, they've been

very effective in that too, and uh, we've got blacks w'rL i, 1kor dc4rncm

I: Ok, have you been effective with health and hospitals in this area?

T: Uh, no, I have not.

I: Are there, is there a hospital in Palm Bay?

T: Uh, not in Palm Bay, there's one in Melbourne.

I: Ok, have you been effective with education?

T: Uh, yes, with education, I've been pushing with this, I worked very

closely with the schoolboard officials and now and uh, Stone Middle School

down in Melbourne we have a, what you call a, by working with them, we have

a community school. And people from Palm Bay, as well as Melbourne, attend

the school and the school is very well affected.

I: Fire protection, is fire protection very safe?

T: Uh, yes, the fire protection in the city of Palm Bay is very safe and I

work close with them and I think it's uh, very effective.

I: Question 27, have you gotten federal funds for your city?

T: Uh, yes, we've got federal funds for our cities, about three months ago,

I made a trip to Washington D.C. to talk with some, some officials,

which is Senator Lawton Chiles and Senator Richard Stone and Congressman

Lou Frey and uh, we got $91,000, it's appropriated, we haven't got it

yet, but I'm pretty sure that we'll get it this year and then that will

make a start, and then if this money's used wisely, next year we will

get more and it's running, I think it was, about a five-year period.




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And we'll be getting more and more each year. That's about as L uS-1 4- cr

amount of money as we get.

I: Are there any other black leaders that have helped to get these funds?

T: Uh, yes we have Mr. u. P. Gibbs and also Mr. Palmer and Mr. George

Gaines. They gave some good insight on what to do.

I: Ok, question 28, have you as an elected official been able to bring industry

or retail stores into your area?
c k
T: Uh, I been on the, we did it as a team, we worked with oWr

came in here about four years ago and they've been expanding

ever since. And Pepperige Farim, have about 350 people,

uh, Pepperige Farm, it's a great company, they're, they've already bought

land in our Industrial Park. They 'sposed to came in this year, but you

know, as economy dropped, they kinda' hanging off a little while but they

will be here approxiJ-c-eL next year. Now Harris, uh, Harris Semi-

conductors out here, we have uh, 5-, about 5,000 personnel. They've been

a great assess to our community.

I: Are they hiring a lot of blacks?

T: Yes, they're hiring lots of blacks, yes, they are.

I: Ok, have you been able to see that blacks are hired fairly in local

government?

T: Uh, that's been my main issue uh, to try to get them to hire blacks.

Now in some companies they'll frown on this, you know, and then some of them

will hire you, for example _f_____-_i _, Harris, for example, they used

to hire Blacks time for to get, to get a contract. You know Ov-&Li -tl ,

the government official come down and say, well, we got X number of blacks

and then once they, they get the contracts a.ed .-tL they turn the

blacks off, Now uh, on the other hand, you have, you




FB 63A
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probably have some blacks about six or eight years,

on the, on the other hand you got whites been out there for about 20, 25

years, this type of thing and uh, when they lay off blacks, they lay them

off in whole dozens, two dozen, this type of thing and then the time for

a contract again they come back and they have them, but uh, after talking

with someHREXH of them out there, uh they seem to be Iedc c o( p6-f

St this town. Matter of fact, I jumped on my uh, company I was employed

by about six months ago, n-v ca r \ the same. thing, and now they are,

they are doing better.

I: What company are you employed by?

T: Pan American World Airways at Cape Canaveral.

I: Has Federal Revenue Sharing helped you in your city?

T: Uh, yes, they helped in our city to the extent, not jobs, but to, in order

to get some equipment that we needed to work with desperately. Because we

didn't have some equipment that we needed, uh, we couldn't get it and

so we got this Federal Funding, we got it, this equipment with this.

I: Ok, question 31, have there been any black protests, sit-ins, boycotts,

or riots in your city in the last ten years?

T: Uh, not in the City of Palm Bay, no we haven't and uh, I've been trying to

keep peace and harmony in the city by working with the police department and

working with the uh, uh, recreation department, also with the fire department,

and at this rate, and working with the peoples in the stores and at this

rate, we've uh, been able to keep peace and harmony within the City of

Palm Bay.

I: Are the policemen fair?

T: Yes, the policemen are fair, yes. But I: heard they -had some guy there, kinda'

rough but uh, when I hear this I get with the fellow myself and check him out

thoroughly, you know, that type of thing and see how everything going.




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I: Section E; the following questions are asked to enable an assessment of black

politics in Florida, in general. Question 32, briefly, what is your opinion

of governor Ruebin Askew?

T: Actually my opinion of Governor Ruebin Askew, I think he's one of the best
4r- r- 4-saoLir-cA A-k-
governors that Florida has ever had. He has uh, been aeteuqdi im- blacks

with a lenience towards them and uh I think that every black politician

in 4t-c-td- will uh, say this about Governor Askew.

I; What is your opinion of other state officials, state representatives.

T: Well, uh, my opinion of others, some of 'em is fair and some are not too

good, uh...
you mean
I: You mean in general, towards blacks orAtowards your city?

T: Oh no, uh, towards our, towards blacks. Now uh-

I: Could you explain it?

T: Yes, I think uh,uh, I think Shevin, Shevin is fair, uh, uh, I think Graham,

Senator Graham, I think he's fair, and then uh, Smathers, I think Smathers

he's on shakey ground and uh, although he's a young fellow, but uh, I don't

think he's leaning towards, towards blacks.

I: You think he's, more or less, only comes to the black side when he has too.

T: Yes, right, when he wants something

I: Do you think that winning and holding office in Florida has been worth

the effort?

T: Uh, yes, I do because Florida as I say, Florida's a good state and we have

some good peoples in Florida and cc--- black elected official

uh, I think they're proud of uh, that they are are, is elected because uh,

it's the growing thing in Florida.

I: Are there any negative aspects of holding an office?

T: No, I don't think so.




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I: Would you run again?

T: Sure, wte--ftr-4A time comes, if I can get the money (laugh).

I: Do you think that you would seek higher office at any time.

T: Uh, sure, this is my ambition now to seek a higher office uh, uh, perhaps

a mayor job, seat, and then from there to county commissioner and then on

up to representative, this type of thing, gone up to, some day I hope to

go to Washington.

I: How old are you?

T: I'm 40.

I: Still young, you still have time.

T: I could (laugh)

I: Section F; these questions are asked to compile an overall group profile of

black elected officials in Florida. Question 34, what type of office do you

hold, or have you held, is this the only office you've had?

T: This is the only one I've had.

I: Councilman?

T: Councilman, right.

I: Ok, date that was first elected was in '72?

T: '72

I: November of '72?

T: November of '72, right.

I: And the date you took office?

T: Uh, Nov, about November 6, '72.

I: Right away?

T: Right away, right.

I: Ok, question 34, number of times you ran for office?

T: Uh, three times.




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I: Three times, and you're going to run again?

T: Right I'll run again, sure.

I: Ok, and your age is 40.

T: 40 years of age.

I: Your occupation before the election?
before I was elected.
T: Uh, at the time before the election I was uh, uh custodian faxxhkkx_

I: And now you work for-

T: I work for Pan American now I'm as a --rd____ helper.

I: Ok, what was your father's occupation?

T: He's a laborer.

I: And the, your education?

T: I have a highschool education and uh, I've taken a few hours at Brevard

Community College, and I'm going to further that at the first of the year.

I: What's the salary you've received?

T: On the council?

I: Yes.

T: Uh, council that's 2500 a year.

I: 2500 a year?

T: Yes.

I: Were you active in the Civil Rights movement of 1960 and 66?

T: No more than right here in local, in Brevard County.

I: What capacity did you hold here?

T: Uh, going from door to door and knocking to get people to register to vote.

I: What church do you belong to?

T: I'm a member of the Baptist Church on Florida Avenue in Palm

Bay. I'm a deacon there and on Trustee Board, I'm a member of the choir and

also Sunday school teacher.




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I: Hmm, very active in your church. Ok, are there any other community organizations

or activities that you are involved in, besides the church?

T: Uh, yes I'm a Master Mason 318, 318 and uh, I'm on

Representative Bill Nelson's Advisory Committee, I'm on the Advisory Committee

for the Board of Community Education, it, that's adult training, adult

education, also on the Advisory Committee for Vocational Training for the

school.

I: In these other organizations are there other blacks involved too, or mostly

whites.

T: Mostly whites, mostly whites, now on this, uh, vocational training, there are

two more blacks on there.

I: Does your community have many other black off-black people that are highly

motivated like yourself?

T: Uh, yes occasionally, when I've taken, you know I've taken part in it sometime

we have some tendency to sit back and relax where I'm never relaxed, I'm always

trying to dig up something you know, the best, the best for the community.



I: Do you consider yourself as the black leader in this community?

T: Yes, I feel I am.

I: Ok, what effects have running for office, running and holding office had

on you personally and your family?

T: Well, they uh, they get tired but they uh, so far there haven't been no

conflicts or anything because uh, when I come from work I say I'll see you

after awhile, this kind of thing, I might see them three or four hours later,

sometimes six hours later but they uh, they know I'm going out on a good

cause trying to help people.

I: They're proud of you?




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T: Right they're proud of me, right because of before, the city

on the sanitation we had a company out of Melbourne and

uh, we decided to do it ourselves and to create jobs for our people, the

people in Palm Bay, and then uh, we went on the blank, and I had to lose

about nine days of my job myself to come in and work to get this garbage

and put it on a good track and so I used to leave home uh, 4 'o clock

in the morning get back at 10 'o clock at night and uh, seven days a week

and uh,

I: Good. Do you know any other black elected officials in this area who have

been in office since 1974?

T: Uh, yes Mr. l~;ju Montgomery, he been in he's in Melbourne. He's

in Melbourne, he's been in there I think it's or aboj- eight six years

now.

I: Any others?

T: Uh, excuse me Mr. Montgomery rather, he was in there, in there before '74

and I'm I'm the only black in this area that elected since '64, '74.

I: Ok, are there any general comments that you would like to make regarding this

interview?

T: Uh, yes I would like to, the statement that I would like to make that

any black official, especially if he's running for office, he's just going

to have to forget about the black vote and get out there and get the voters-

I: -Voters in general?

T: Voters in general, because uh, in no city uh- in Florida can you win just

on the black votes alone, because we live together in a city where you
your
have to work for m~ family and I have to work for mine so uh, we going

to have to go out there and work together to uh, to get the votes and this

thing that in the past we uh, I just want the black vote and I'm going to




FB 63A 23.
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work for the blacks, this type of thing is gone, we got to get out there

because you're living in the city you've got to get there and work for

the people and if he get out there and work for the people and get the

people behind him he will be elected.

I: How do you think you can motivate the black people in general to want to

change things to want to become part of the community as one?

T: Uh, now number one, I think if they have uh, the main thing they have is

jobs and then they'll, they'll see where they're jobs are concerned and

then I think that'll be one of the biggesmotivaters right there. And before

I was talking to a young man from Viet Nam, and he's back and he hadn't worked

in two years, this type of thing, you know, he say uh, why in the hell should

I have gone in the service C
back here and there's no work or nothing, he hadn't worked in maybe three

years or better this type of thing but I think if they had some type of

jobs to go to, then there fore I think they'd be motivated right there

Because uh, because uh, you catch a guy on the street if he not doing a

darn thing, excuse me, if he not doing a thing he care less about registering

to vote.

I: That's true, but wouldn't you feel that if, if uh, everything is going

against him that maybe he'll feel that if he votes for a black or for

somebody who talks like they're going to help the blacks that he can

change it by voting?

T: Uh, sure, but uh, I know I found out this several years about some fellows

I work with they saying well they reflecting about the white

politician out doing this and the white politician out doing that, I say

uh, have you considered the black fellows and they say well say, what

can we do? I told them to go out and uh, check and uh you know, get the

right type of fellow, you get a guy who who been involved in the. community




FB 63A 24.
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and various activities, a guy who is respected in the community and get

behind the fellow and start talking it up, and then uh, this can happen,

a fellow can be elected this way. But uh, I wouldn't want nobody to re-

present me who was a rC-ejS] 4pc. fellow and somebody got all types of

records and that type of thing and then if he get elected, he get into

the So-k- -and all. Tear up city hall, this type of thing

destroy the city, we, we, we can't stand this.

I: Your city is growing fast.

T: Yes, my city is about one of the fastest growing cities in the state, but

what happened this economy you know in the last couple of years, slowed
all cities
oaxnity down.

I: Is that because directly related to Cape Canaveral, you think?

T: Uh, yes the Cape, after the Cape start cutting' back, and then uh, people

start holding onto their monies, this type of thing and then uh, everything

just held off for a while. But uh, about the firslof the year I'm looking

for building and things to zoom right back again in the city.

I: Why did your city start to get a city manager? Why did you get one?

T: See, Before we had a city administrator and uh, the lady picked

she was,_.. n campaign, she campaign on city managing government, but

the city administrator that we had before, he uh, was a you know, Dracula,

this type of thing, and then we finally had to uh, ask him to leave. Now

one night they wanted to get rid of him and I didn't know about it 'til

I got to the commissioners meeting they say it was some things that he had

done, and I, of course, I voted against it, because I wanted to find out

the facts, and then after I found out the facts and uh, he did this again

and we asked him to, to leave_

I: Your community in general, seems to be very fair, hut how about the outlining

areas? Are they as fair toward blacks s-
/




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T: Uh, sure they are, outlining area's fair now uh, Melbourne, which has the

largest number of blacks, uh, they have a black commissioner, they have

uh, black policeman, they have uh, black detective, black sergeant,

this type of thing and they have black people working for the city and

uh, this type of thing.

I: Is: there any thing in particular that you hope this research project will

he able to do for the Blacks in general in this state of Florida?

T: I hope to be uh, this survey in general will help us to create more jobs

uh, better housing, and also uh, uh, a better that we can uh, get together

know our elected officials better and Tm quite sure. with a survey like

this being made in the uh, distribution' throughout, I'm pretty sure that

something will come out of this survey uh- beneficial to our entire state.

I: Do you think that it will help the blacks, because of this type of survey.

T: Uh, sure, I'm pretty sure it will because uh, if- -h "ov i o1- Ai u.. 1'A

that I had the opportunity to uh, have a person come in to make a survey

like this.

I:: Ok, thank-you very much sir.

T: Thank-you been nice chattin' with you.




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