Title: Daniel Hendrix
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Title: Daniel Hendrix
Series Title: Daniel Hendrix
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FB 68A

Subject: Daniel Hendrix

Interviewer: "Button Project"

Place: West Palm Beach



I: These first few questions are asked to find out how well the

Voting Rights Act of 1965 has helped blacks take part in Florida

politics. What year did you first register to vote?

H: I registered when I was nineteen years old in Georgia, I'm from

Georgia. And that would have been about 1941 T gues.

I: What year were you first eligible to vote?

H: rE^g elen 4orty-o;e.

I: __ c+.botd -le Sawne -hnme. (-H'g -f-oyn GCorwI-.{-hvo.

Did the local registrar ever turn you down when you applied to


H: He didn't turn me down, but it wasn't a matter of going up there

and registering like whites do, jt just so happened that I

anticipated it, and I had my birth certificate with me. And because

I had my birth certificate, he had no alternative but to register


I: It was a requirement of 6lcks ?

H: There, either that or get some other permanent, or prominent black

in the community like for example, at that time there was a

Mr. Scott who headed Guaranteed Life Insurance Company t4L aS

headquarters in Savannah, they'd send me to people such as Mr.

Scott to get a verification that you are a citizen and that you

are of age. These were a lot of subterfuges that they used 4w+h6{ m

FB 68A

in prevent blacks k9 registertpX. Many of them would% go q-
and when they would tell them things like this, they would just

forget about it. But in my case, I knew what to expect, so when

he told me to do that, I said, "I have my birth certificate right

here, and it will prove where I was born, when I was born, that

I am old enough to register." So I was registered.

I: Have voter registration drives been held in the district in

which you hold office?

H: Yes, we've had several. In fact, we're in the midst of one now,

i h I hope will be successful. Of course, the books eee closed
0. rY)CLnal
January 24, I think it was the 24th, and we want to get 4--th-er

An |ac1 kS r rC c v Kycc\ as we possibly can. That's the

problem with, in the black communities. You, you have an awful

lot of trouble getting -4 to register.
4-i e
I: What were some of the organizations that conoiufed Avoter registrationdArivc?
H: Well, the one that has been most active in West Palm Beach has
Gold Coast Lecaue,
been the, what is jv known as the Geal --Pst Vot~rS emmi eteIe

_jSk in Riviera Beach, they have had very active registration drive
by ue CiVC yoeU owt 4tcre I, I'd like to just stick with

w tig h ...at's & W a~ 4 because I know more about all these

registration drives even though we do now have a kind of cooperative

thing here on owb.ry Beach ,as on a registration drive, and we

help them any way we can. }Th \VArio0 fraternities and sororities

participate in those registration drives, but it's really a matter

of:knocking on doors, and getting people to register or you have

to sometimes just go, actually take them to the place where the

organizations have set up for registration in order to get them

to register.

FB 68A

I: When were most of these registration drives held, in what years?

H: Well, in Riviera Beach, I think their most active drive must have

come about four, four or five years ago, about '70, '71. They

had, they were very active, and as a result of that, they, as

you know, at one time, four of the councilmen, four of the five

councilmen of Riviera Beach wa black. But since that time,

they haven't had any real concerted efforts. The ones that we

hold here in West Palm Beach are sort of a continuous things,

we have them two or three times a year-

I: I've heard the ones in Riviera Beach have been rather successful.

How would you rate the ones ha9e -t+- hav t4clkeI ae in J esR- Poi~

H: We have had some that I think you could say were successful, but

as a general rule, they're not too successful. We have about

five places where people can register, we advertise in the local

black paper, and we announce it in the churches, but there is

there is just a certain amount of apathy in the black community

in terms of getting registered. And one of the major problems

is you get them registered and they won't vote. And if they

don't vote in-two years, you know, they're pDred c r Proh ve i \vsh .

We have that problem.

I: Are there any things which prevent blacks from registering?

H: No, we're always) right here in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach

County as a whole, blacks do not have any trouble registering.

I: Well, we have a little checklist here, with this questionnaire,

if you would go down each one and rate 4. how important you think

they are in preventing blacks from registering. You may have

covered a few of them already. And if you'd comment on each

one as you go.

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H: Economic dependence on whites. I don't think that that's a

major factorApreventing blacks from registering to vote because

I don't, I haven't run up on pressure of white employers to

prevent Pt- people from was c I'm going to

say fairly important, okay. Now, fear of physical violence from

whites, that's not important at all, they don't have to fear that.

Complicated registration forms, that's not important because they're

not complicated, they're very simple. Poor registration hours,

that's not -mportant, because we have, we have registrations like

on Saturday, and in various places. Registration not held often

enough, now, that could be a factor.

I: Dr. Button wanted to add to that question, removal from rolls se
1- _th;vk YU oiea dl mchston, eO 14 xk
non-voting. If y- u e --R ____ how could you

H: That does, and I really, I really do not, I, that's one state

statute that I'm in, I'm in complete disagreement with. I think

it should be every four years, because people are interested in

more interested in voting on an election year when the president

is being elected, and then they argue with the local government,

this will get people out to the polls. And now this indifference

of blacks to voting, I wue W rate that, I don't think that's

important at all-in preventing them from registering, but there

is an apathy among blacks not to go to the polls, and I can't

understand it.

I: YJ that puzzles you?

H: It does, it actually puzzles me. I think that to a great extent

it's the leadership in the black communities, and the persons

who have the greatest audience in the black community are the

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ministers, and I just do not think that the ministers are

emphasizing it as much as they should, they are not offering

the kind of leadership that I feel is necessary in order for

the blacks to become more iyJO(b e

I: Okay, the next few questions are asked to gather information on
cW a igp 15n. 7
your electionA Were you able to campaign freely, that is, were

you threatened in any way?

H: No, never threatened, I was able to campaign quite freely.

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

H: No, I wasn't, I wasn't hampered by campaign contributions, atWe' eot

(Fssp t I had about three or four ladies who got out there and

really, really drummed up the campaign contributions. My campaign

fund was adequate the first time I ran and also the second time.

Now, many of my contributions came from whites. I had, there
vfe r&
were many whites whoAworking very hard to help and raise campaign

funds, and-miar-ontributions.

I: Why did you decide to run for office? Was it your own decision

or were you selected by a group of ?

H: It was my decision, and when I ran, the school board was partisan,

as you know, in Palm Beach County, it is now non-partisan. I

ran the first time in 1970, and it was partisan. It was a decision

I made on my own. As a teacher at Palm Beach Community College,

I'm exposed to the products of the Palm Beach County school system,

and I was worried, or disturbed at the way they were being prepared

for college. Those4who were mout gr the junior college,

and I just elt there was something that could be done, and

I decided that I would get in there and try and get on the board,

and seer I couldn't make some kind of definitive contribution

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or changes in the product that we put out in Palm Beach County.

I: When the elections were partisan, which party did you run?

H: Democratic.
I: Jid you belong to the Democratic party?

H: I'm a registered Democrat) es.

I: Have you ever received any support, financial or otherwise from

Aeig PMo6^b'c Dernh/h
H: No, I have not.

I: What were the two or three most important issues, you mentioned

the product.of the school system. Was that the issue that you

ran on? What were the two or three most important islueS\

H: ne of the things I advocated was that the school board meetings

should be held at a time where working people could, could be

present. That was like seven o'clock in the afternoon, /s they

are held now. This was changed after I got on the board. I

also stressed the very, I think dfOfy the fact that there

wasa chasm that existed between the community and the school, I

hit hard on that. I hit hard on the fact that we were not teaching

our students to read, that this needs, needed to be emphasized-

much more, and we needed to sort of return to the basics and cut

out some of the frills, and teach the students how to think and

one thing I said over and over again was that we must prepare
FOre&5E e C
our youth to live in a world< fh wet- vi cdirn-itA because we are

constantly changing, and most of them will change jobs at least

three times during their lifetime, so it's a matter of being able

to think and being able to be retrained to do something else if

automation, for example, wipes out the job you're on. And this
has happened, you know, i the past twenty years. These are,

FB 68A

these are some of the key issues that I raised, and one of them

was what I refer to as visibility, that is, being responsive to

the people, being available so that the people have a problem

and they want to call you, answer your phone and talk to them.

Listen, that's what I've practiced since I've been On the school

board, listening to people. People will call me from all parts

of the county, and they will say, I'm calling for a group, and

we decided that we would call you because you seem to, you seem

to really have the ihtere ~ of the people at heart. And I, I

have said many times to my fellow board members that I get more

phone calls than all of them, I do.

I: Well, do you think the issues that you raised in your campaign

were the major issues facing the blacks in your community?

H: I wasn't campaigning as a black candidate. When I made my

announcement, I said very specifically that I'm running for a

seat on the school board, to do what I can for all of the schools

in Palm Beach County, and I feel, I feel that the blacks have been

neglected, and certainly, we do have to fill this void, but we,

my personal feeling is that we, we've got 'to educate al.l of the

children, and once we, once we begin to do this, in the same

way, under the--same conditions, then we won't have so much

black.-white problems.

I: The next few questions now 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 district?

H: I ran from a district, but elected at large.

I: How many people are in your district? I don't know how a&trate-

FB 68A

Af4gtdg that question isSi,1e yOr Ca n ti I- %'

H: Well, we have seven districts in Palm Beach County, and if I

recall correctly, we, we're districted according toAnumber of

registered voters, andAlast time we were districted, districted,

I think that there were something like 26,000 people in each

district. Now, however, since that time, many more people have

registered so we will probably be redistricted again sometimes
soonAaccording to statute.

I: You say you ran from the district, did you have to win an election

inside the district, or...?

H: Yes. You see, when I ran the first time, there were four

candidates from my district, lh'ee )hI-te andJ And I
got the largest number of votes, and a man named z, Jay Solomon

got the second highest number. I did not get a majority, m I

had to enter into a run-off with him. Well, I, I won the run-off.

Then I opposed the incumbent, Bert Johnson, who had been on the
school board for eight years, and won quite handsomely,/something
-hckC) twhir+'+eeM CIA1 A4C
likel c~a ea-a ra3e votes. And that-was in 4 g-eneral election
when \iecd,
a4sih over 100,000 people egaeg In fact, I got the highest

number of votes than any other candidate running for the school
board, and, and, most of the candidates were running for other

offices, 6uc) [6 tof'the legislature, the county commission.

I think one county commissioner got more votes than I did, one

state legislator, and Ai0 Qd &r I mean in Palm Beach County.

I: How many people are in your district?
H: It's hard to tell how many people are in my district, I would
imagine that in my district now there is upward of 30,000 registered

FB 68A

voters. Well, now, this is just registered voters. It's

probably twice a many people in my district, including children
and so on, you know.

I: What percentage of that is black?

H: The percentage of the people in my district that are black would
be something likeAfifteen per cent.

I: What percentage of blacks of voting age in your district are

registered to vote ?

H: In my district I, I would imagine, now I can't be sure about

this, I zan talk about it on a county-wide basis, but in my

district, I would imagine that, oh, sixty-seven per cent of the

blacks are registered to vote.

I: What percentage of the blacks who are registered to vote do you

think actually voted in your election?

H: Well, when I ran the first time, in 1970, I think perhaps seventy

to seventy-five per cent of the blacks voted. Now, in 1974 when

I ran, uh, I don't, I don't feel that that, that the percentage

was that high.

I: Do you think you got any votes from whites?

H: I know I did, I could not have been elected because at that time

only about one twelfth of the registered voters were, were black,
soAI beat my opponent, I have fifty something thousand votes

and he had something like forty, maybeA41,000. So you see that

means I had to get a large percentage, I had to, I'm sure I got

a larger percentage of white votes than my opponent did. In, in

both elections, in 1970 and in 1974.

I: What kind of percentage would you guess that that was o0f I le. 0ot

of your totalsVofte

FB 68A

H: Oh, in the first election in 1970, I would, .tf^r I would imagine

that out of the total vote I got, or more than likely, eighty to

eighty-five, well, eighty per cent, I would say, #-va of the vote

was white. In the second election, I would say, uh, sixty per cent.

You see, it was in the, we, we have changed the way we elect the

board members since we are non-partisan. We, we're not on that

first primary ballot, we're on the run-off, and at that time,

1974, there wasn't a very much interest in the run-off because

there were not that many key people, or key officers in it, so

the turn-out was rather small. Ia dey rt by something

like a two to one margin, but the turn-out wasn't 41t /ut
about, I'd say, twenty per cent of the total registered voters

in the county.

I: Um hmm. In your first election campaign, inside your district,

your three opponents, how many of th~e were black?

H: I was the only black.

I: And how about Mr. Johnson, he was a white man, wasn't he?

H: Y/s, Mr Johnson was a white man. I'm the first black who has

been elected to any -5 county wide office in Palm Beach County.

I: Um, that's one of the reasonsAI'd like these tapes for the Oral

History so many of the people we talk to are

history makers as far as that goes. that's

have you, have you ever had to run against a black opponent? Did

you say your second term?

H: No, no. In the second, in the second, my second, um, round was

against a lady, an anti-bussing lady, and she lost, she lost badly.

I: Um hmm. What percentage of the total votes did jWg end up getting


FB 68A

H: In the first campaign, I imagine I got about sixty-five per cent

of the total votes, sixty to sixty-five per cent. Second campaign,

about the same amount.

I: Okay, these next few questions are asked to determine how well

black officials in Florida have been able to benefit those that

they represent. In what ways do you think you've helped blacks

in your district, or in West Palm Beach by holding office?

H: Well, you see, that's not my, that's not my view of things. My

view of things is that I'm a servant of the people. Now, one

of the things that I addressed myself to when I was first elected

was the fact that there was a great disparity among the blacks

in administrative positions. Now, this is one of the things
that I 4ga s myself to, and to a great extent, this has been

rectified. We have five area,* 5tJl4er{i1fien f Ee+,e

I don't think this would be ti-c way if I were not on the school

board. Uh, we have a black women principals, we have more black
principals of high schools in Palm Beach County than we si before

I came on the board and with the, with the hassle, with integration
a'Kd so
SO1 I think that the blacks would have gotten the

shaft much moreso than they have, if I had not been on that board.

And, and I'm very wil ul, I don't pull any;punches, but I don't

work just to see that blacks are promoted, I try to work to see

that those people who are qualified within the district are

promoted, and that, that's what I advocate.

(Break in tape)

I: Do you feel there's anything that has prevented you from doing a

better job on the school board, especially in regard to benefitting


FB 68A

T I've-
H: That's a hard one to answer, f won some and % lost some. I've

won, I've lost some that I thought were very important, when I

say won some, I mean, by that I mean that I have won some victories

that were for people that would have benefitted blacks, and I

won some that, that were not just for blacks, but for the people
as a whole. 4 what I felt was a goodly system, which naturally

would have benefitted blacks. But I don't think that the overall,

looking at the overall picture that I have been prevented from

making my views knownand getting some of my views put into, uh,

put into operation, or put into practice.

I: As far as preventing you from doing a better job, would you go

down this list and rate these things, comment on each one of
these, as far as how important they've qe, if they're important

at all in preventing you from doing a better job?

H: Now.this first one, the office has no real authority. The authority

really rests, in not in one individual, but in the school board

sitting as a board. So I would say that the, that's not, that's

not important. Outvoted by white officials, well this has

happened sometimes, so I'd list this as fairly important. Not

enough revenue available, now, that's very important. Unfamiliar

with administrative duties, well, you see, 4B board members

you are not supposed to be involved in administrative duties,
Ah A
yet you should be familiar with them.A reing in the teaching

profession myself, and having studied administration and supervision

I do know something about it. Having been, I've never been a

principal, but I have been an assistant principal, so I've had

some administrative experience. So this, this would not be

important. Lack of cooperation from whites, no, that's not important,

FB 68A

I've had good cooperation from whites. Lack of cooperation from
blacks, now that has been a problem, so I'd put that fairly

important. .
I: IBack citizens, or -byelected officials?

H: Black citizens. Do you mean, you, you're referring to officials


I: No, I think that it's probably referring to citizens.

H: Lack of cooperation from state officials, no. That's very

important because I've had some, I've had some) o$M e aiu4on3

with the gm& met that I, I was, I 4e very strongly about,

and I felt as an elected official who was elected on a county-

wide basis, that some little things that T_ was saying to

him were important for, not just one segment of the community,
but for the whole community I. I think that's, that's

been very important, now, no+ in terms of the state board of, I vm~e41

like Commissioner Tv--yt very sam repoir with Commissioner

T-r I, I know him even better than I do Commissioner
Christan. But the, the governor, I've had, I've had some problems.
I: What were the issues bebvjen vOu an lh .?

H: Well, one of them was the appointment, I was on his advisory
committee when he had an evaluating committee. The appointment

of a particular school board member. Now, I felt that my input

to the governor should have been very important, because I was

serving on the board, you see. And I don't, I don't address myself

to an issue if do 0not ha\ e something very very substantial

to back up my views, 4A i There used to be in Palm Beach

County, a power structure that controlled who ran for the school

board, or who won the election for the school board, and, and he

FB 68A

was appointing a person who, who's father was the leader of

that power structure This I learned by,

from whites I didn't learn it from blacks. This was

brought to my attention even before the man named even came in,

you see. And the way in which it was done, we met as a committee

and we were told by the chairman of the committee that we should

not, we must submit three names. Well, the committee, we had

four names. The committee decided to send one name and the

.chairman of the committee said that "I know the governor's

going to send it back." Well, he did send it back and by the

time we met again, another name had appeared, and I really don't

think that....

I: That it was the man Iao4 Lb o V +,lkc 4d boA-?

H: It was a man, yes, it was a man that was appointed. And I, I

think that the, I think that the government should-have been more

receptive to my views because I was serving on the school board,

I was serving on the committee, in fact, I was the only black

on the committee, and I don't think that he gave-me credit for

for knowing as much as did about the background of the Palm

Beach County school system, you know. And, too I think it was

a lot of shenanigans, you know what I mean when I say shenanigans,

a lot of, a lot of trickery, a lot ofg a3t a3?y, a lot of


I: Backscratching?

H: That's right, that's good. Political backscratching. I haven't

gotten over it yet, I, I still think it was a very, very unwise

move on the part of the government.

I: Could you tell me more about that power structure that you mentioned

FB 68A

that got, seems to control elections aC OJld -or ?

H: Well, at one time, and I learned this from more than one source,

at one time, if you wanted to run for the school board in Palm

Beach County, you had to ask a certain man.

I: What, what kind of power did he have, I mean, was it economic

or political?

H: Economic. Economic and political. And this is one of the things

that I think has really been eliminated to a great extent. If

it had not been, I could never have been elected. But I, I ran

a grass-roots campaign, and these are the kind of campaigns I

believe in, a campaign that is geared for the people, and I, it

is my feeling that elected officials are elected to serve the

people, and the only way they can serve the people is to be in

touch with the people, and I think that I am much more in touch

with the, with the people who have children in Palm Beach County

with the senior citizens in Palm Beach County who are interested

in the educational processes, with labor who is definitely interested,

and with the teachers and the teacher organizations who are

definitely, than any other bbard member. Even at that time. There-

fore, I, I figured that the governor was, was playing politics

when he made that appointment. I still feel that way, and I've

told him that. Lack of cooperation from federal officials, that's

not important. I don't think that we have had that. Whenever

we have applied for federal funds for various, uh, categories,

if the applicationswere right, you know, we haven't had any

trouble securing....

I: Has criticism or lack of support from the black community hindered

you in holding office? That is, do some blacks not cooperate

FB 68A

beIie e
with you because they/ you're a token in government and have no

real authority?

H: No, they, that's one of the things they can't say, they can't

say that I am a token, because I do not conduct myself that way,

I, I speak out quite freely on issues that are of concern to

the black community, on issues that are of concern to the total

community. There are times when I have to address myself to

issues that are of major concern to the black community, and

I don't mind doing it. And I don't, I don't mind, uh, addressing

myself to issues with the black community itself should be more

concerned with, either. So they can't call me a token, an

lUy1gl Towl a- takan is.or +Q c nif m ,r vOhka er vOQ woaVtv ) WOoJ
y0u VkJA ( +- 4; fV+ )4'.
I: Do you feel that white officials ever treat you differently from

other officials?

H: No. No, that's the one thing that I that I think is unique.

Elected officials, regardless of the party affiliation, do, I

have smefle, that they treat me the same as they do any other

elected official. And this, this has been somewhat of a surprise

to me.

I: This next question, I don't know how applicable it will be to

you as a school board member, but what services have you provided

blacks in your district that they didn't have before you took


H: Well, you see, this is not applicable to me because whatever,

whatever services I am able to initiate benefits not just my district,

but the total school system.

I: Your area of concern is education, right, because the next, the

next question we have asks again, to rate how effective you feel

FB 68A

you've been in things like police protection, streetsand roads,

housing, welfare, employment, parks and recreation, water, sewage,

garbage, health and hospitals, education, and fire protection.

H: Well, I was an activist before I ran for the school board, y -

activism, I mean this; that I am involved in, in many areas. I

do, of course, many of those things concern me. I'm president

of the Gold Coast Voter's League, which addresses itself to such

things as sewage, such things as the drainage system, such

things as street light, street lighting, such things as stop
+o t-he fTac-
lights in those areas. We've had to address ourselvesAthat we

needed a stop light on Seventh and Australian, right there, and

also on Palm-Beach Lakes Boulevard and Seventh Street, you seeyu seD e

this is a black community back in here predominantly, and almost

ono I -r F ec-, and when we go out to Palm Beach Lakes Boulevard

before that light was there, you might have to wait ten minutes

before you could get across.- Well, I'm interested in the total

picture of the community, so, not just education, I just happen

to be 'a school board member, but I'm on several committees, I

am on the executive committee of the Science Executive Board of

the Science Planetarium Museum of Palm Beach County, in fact,

I'm .i \JiCe president I'm on the board

of directors of United Way, I'm on the board of directors of At

Urban yepa, I'm on several boards that I would say span the

concerns of the total community. That's the kind of person

I am.

I: As a school board member, though, can you affect much besides


H: Being a school board, being an elected official, but....

FB 68A

I: But in your job as an, an elected school board member, I mean,

the school board itself, does it affect much change outside of


H: No, the school board itself does not affect much change outside

of e6 Uc iOO b 0c

I: I understand your other interestsA I was just wondering about

the school board itself.

H: Well the school board itself is primarily concerned with the

educational processes. And that is what it is designed to

concentrate on.

I: How effective do you feel that you've been?

H: As a school board member?

I: As a school board member yeah.

H: I think it's effective as any school board member that has

served since I have been in this oyec- o-f C country. And more

effective than many.

I: Havejou gotten federal funds jyi r ixl(G t ?

H: The school system has and does recieve federal funds, yes.

I: Could you list some of the more important grants, and arnouKtS?

H: Well, now, to keep up with the amounts is a very hard thing to do

because, you see, you get an agenda where grants or proposals

are presented and you approve it and then it's submitted to the

federal government, they approve it or disapprove it.A I would

say that we get something like maybe $41 000Io ,0 00 ,

a year that comes into the school system through federal grants.

I: Have you been able to see that blacks are hired fairly?

H: That's one of the things that I've addressed myself to, I think

I, I ct-bG nyrei that particular issue earlier in our

FB 68A

conversation, yeah. I think that being black and being on the

board,Aquite often I have had to call the boards' attention to the

fact that here we were not promoting blacks, and this was the,

one of the reasons why we were having many of the problems we were

having in the schools, and I, I did see some very definitive

changes in the recommendations coming from the superintendent

even before we went to the appointed superintendent, the elected

superintendent, the last elected superintendent served for two

years Wkij1. Jlq; on the board fegan to change his attitude

in that respect.

I: Revenue sharing, that doesn't affect yjg*eheC SChool5

H: No, revenue sharing does not affect the school board directly,

revenue sharing comes into the counties and the municipalities.

I: Have there been any black protests, sit-ins, boycotts, or riots

in your city in the last ten years?

H: Oh, yeah. We've had....

I: Whht were some of the issues?

H: We've had riots at some of our schools, the issues involved are
\ hen
racial in nature, untilAit gets to the point of being a riot. You

might have to bus students, for example, we have to bus students

from Delray Beach to Boca Raton, black students. Well, the, the

much of the Boca Raton population would like to see Boca Raton

be a white oasis. And they, this, this exemplifies itself in

their attitude, at home, therefore, its going to exemplify itself

in the-attitude of their children at school. And the Delray Beach

students who are black resent having to be bussedA And especially

having to be bussed somewhere where they don't want, where they

are not wanted you see. So this has created some problems. We

FB 68A

had, we had demonstration when they were closing down all of
the black high schools. Every high school that was all black
was phased out. And the, the reason is simply that the black
high schools were not equipped as well as the others'. It was,
it was a logical thing to do, but it was, it was not a fair
thing to do. And then the black high schools were situated
right in the heart of black community. Two have become junior
high schools,all whites are bussed in, /lacks are bussed up.
But this created a problem for a while. I think it has Iivej ~rovi
a long wayf, and people are accepting, both black and white, the
fact that we had, we were under a court order to do something,
and we had to do it the best way we possibly could. And I think
that eventually people will begin to accept it and I think that
they are accepting.
I: What are some of the effects you saw in _those
riotsasg- vT o.ym cm wer- 1ere. <,
H: Well I didn't, I think, I think perhaps they served in a constructive
manner because they, they made the people themselves realize that
it was necessary for them to sit down and talk, Avid 9 4i --C YgC

egyA the parents) u E it made the parents become more involved
in the school community,Awhen I say the school community, maybe
I should say the school center. Blacks and whites got together
and sometimes it was not as quiet as it could have been but
they learned that they had to talk to each other because their
children were the ones that were involved, so in a way, I think
that some constructive things came out of the riots.
I: The next few questions are asked to enable the assessment of
black politics in Florida in general. O )1,eOfi clM G0v'emYOr

At w ba 4e A Mc { 6seifio i'

FB 68A zI

riefly, what is your opinion of Governor Askew? hat do you Ci
/he beevi -f&9orobt6c_ 'Y) 4h1 h4c anJ
/policy towards blacks in Florida o Ko-f ?
H: I think overall his attitude has been favorable, however I do
not think that the governor has, I don't think that the governor

listens very closely to what black elected officials have to say.
Now, $Z44 he4Adone some things that some people figure another
governor would not have done. I don't look at it that way. I
figure that he has made-some appointments that were, uh, let's
say that were, were not expected at that particular time, but I

do'-not think that it's just Askew, I think it is the time in
which he lived, and regardless of who was governor up there, that
some of these things would have been done, some of the appointments
yem would avecne he braggs about he appointed black ljdC *
~~OV C$bOP(~ &7ould havo bcohi he braggs about he appointed black ________S


FB 68A 2Z



H: So I personally do not give Governor Askew an exceptional amount

of credit for these things regardless. I think that the times

dictate that these things must be done. And I definitely do

not feel that he listens to the black elected officials enough.

But I tell you one thing, when he needs help he'll call on you.

Now -Li-e always served on some committee. In fact, I had to

pull this....I have an organization, and I mean when I'm running

for office, you've got to have an organization, you've got to

have an organization that is well-defined, that is on the ball

that understands something about politics, that understands

something about the people in the community, and his organization

was,"in Palm Beach County, was in, in disarray three weeks before

the general election in 1974, and they came and asked me if I

would bring my old group in and help, and we did, and I think that

we were instrumental in helping him carry Palm Beach County. I

don't think he ftiiokS Cboud ivCjs Illhe fh ao ,

Maybe he does, he, k ow i -41 eVwnI ofcourse he knows it now,

because I had to write him a letter where I pointed this out to

him, because there was some other things that were happening in

Palm Beach County.

I: So your relationship with him has been pretty much geared down

exactly what he means.

H: That's right. It's been one of, one of where I have done all

I can for him, anytimeihe calls upon me, you know, anytime his

supporters call upon me, but I haven't seen nothing in return in

FB 68A

terms of my input to him, you know what I mean?

I: What is your opinion of some other state officials% and state

representatives. KTiLow) yo ru en hov' l? Mr. Charlington,

I imagine you worked pretty closely with him.

H: Yes, I, I worked, I worked, even though I was running, and at the

same time this helped me to be able to help his campaign as I

moved around. Some of the others, like when the Attorney General

Shevin ran, he met with a group of us, Dick Stone, for example~

had lunch with a group of us, and in fact, my campaign manager,

right here in Palm Beach County was contacted by Stone's

people, and:we.";lentsupport to his campaign here, But, you)

[a / /\ en but you don't, I think they forget these things

once theyAelected. Now, Chiles is up for re-election. I got a

letter, I was recently elected chairman of the school board of

Palm Beach County. The first black in the county, in the state

to become the chairman of the school board in the state of Florida,

and I got a letter from Chiles, congratulating me, But now Chiles
wants something from meA ou see what I mean? I haven't heard

from him before now.

I: You, you mean you actually have the type of organization that

national and state-wide officials come to, come to,pay comments

to at election time?

H: Well, you see, you see, nobody believed that in 1970, that a black

man could win a seat on the school board because it is voted on

county wide. Even, even the editor of the Post, who was Gregory

Fall at that time told me I didn't have a chance. And I told

him I felt that I did have a chance, and I proved that I had a

chance, and I have had tremendous support county wide.

FB 68A

Therefore, when these people get ready to run, they figure that

Dan Hendrix can influence people, you know, 5o that's when they

that's when they get in touch with Dan Hendrix kou know. But

otherwise, then they forget him. Now, I'm not that kind of, I'm

not that kind of elected official. I, I think that I must serve

those people who worked for me, who helped me, those who voted

for me, and those who did not vote for me. But I certainly do not

forget those people who contributed to my election in a very

definite way, by getting out, helping me, and things like that.

I have, I, I worked at the junior college, and as such, I've

come in contact with many youth, many of the younger group of

people. And really and truly, they were, to some extent, the

backbone of my, of my support in the white community.

I: Did you get a lot of help from Palm Beach students,. Palm Beach

Community College students?

H: Yes, I do, I do.

I: What do you teach there?

H: I'm a math teacher. And one, and another thing that helps me is

that I'~ sponsor of the junior college chapter of a national honor

scholastic fraternity, which is known as Phi Theta Kappa. This

puts me in very close contact with a couple of hundred students

besides the students I teath, you see. And since I have been

sponsor, we have attended every national convention, we hosted the

first state-wide convention, in fact, we're hosting the one next

year, and we're very pleased to be able to host the state Phi

Theta Kappa convention in the bicentennial year.

I: Um hmm. Do you feel like your, the students play a prominent

part in your election campaigns?

FB 68A

H: I don't feel like it, I, they do. They, they actually do. Or in

anything I'm trying to do) I can get those students to play a

very prominent role.

I: What effect has running for and holding office had on you personally

and you're family?

H: Well, I'll be very honest with you, it takes you away from your

family a lot, it, it puts a lot of pressure on you in terms of

your health, you have very little time to do the things that you

would really like to do, you can't even hardly have a hobby )-bea

kiMqxaf as busy as I amo I usually -have me a garden back there
in my back yard. I haven't had time to even begin the garden

this year. I had one year before last, one last year, this year,

it's all grass back there, I haven't even had time to get out

there and work on it. So it has taken away much of the things

that I enjoy doing, you know, personally, and it has taken me

away from my family quite a bit, I have, uh, two small children,

a little girl, dight, and a little boy four and a half, and I don't

get a chance to spend as much time with them as I should or as

I wouila like to because of the, the pressing problems that have

been connected with the school board since I've been on it. It's

been just a series of crises.

I: -8, !\AJei X seev, Iik(t A quite a few questions, but I'd like
to ask you about the crises YOU jus+ l t{ boled JA bh VC bccrnonte
< -441-os c rpCs? S
H: All right, the very, the very first one was when I came on the
school board, they had not come up with a suitable plan for

desegregation. Well, when, when we presented a plan to J-oay E o+n

tQVV4s/ he said that the plan was not acceptable and that we
had to come up with an acceptable plan withi'nh two weeks. This

FB 68A

'SJips a crisis. We had school board meetings a~4-9hey were packed
with people who were objecting to what we had to do. You, you,

we have had, we have had riots in three or four of our schools

since I have been on the board. These are, these are crisis

situations. We have just had a a very, I think, disturbing

situation with the Lake Worth High School situation. One of

the board members suggested that we combine the junior high

and the high school to get the high school off the double session,

and bus the junior high schools to what is going to be, beginning

in 1977, no, in 1976, next year, beginning in 1976, a middle
i4, you eC-
school in Boynton. WellA people were up in arms about this, so

you hold hearings and you've got people blasting and screaming

and saying what they are not going to do, what you shouldn't do,

and it's just been wringing me since I've been on the board.

I: These last few questions are asked to compile an overall group

profile of black elected officials in Florida, and again, no

individual answers will be recorded. Um, what date, I know you

hold us, the county-wide school board office, what date were
you first elected?

H: I was elected in the general election in November, I don't-kt-e

the exact date, possibly the second, of 1970, 1970, but you know
j" The -F/Y-s +
the dateA what, eipfei -tr Tuesday in November, right, in 1970.

I: The date you took office for that period?

H: Well, at that time, we weresupposed to take office two weeks

after the general election, however, we did not, because our

commissioners did not arrive on time, it was about three weeks

before we took office.

I: And, number of times run for office?

FB 68A










Camc #-o





I have run for an office twice.

Um, your.age?

I'm a-F. i y- re.

Your occupation?

I'm an instructor of mathematics at Palm Beach Junior College.

And what was your father's occupation?

My father was a farmer. I was born on the farm. in Georgia.

And what's the extent of your education?

I have a master's degree in mathematics, a bachelor's degree in

industrial education and mathematics, and I,'ve done, oh, several,

I've studied at several institutions,,f h gar- beyond

the master's degree. When I came to Florida, I had, I held a life

TS6 certificate, that is called in Georgia, which is equivalent c

to the rank 1A in Florida. But of course, they, they don't tt
Wyf that, in fact they didn't have such a certificate 1PVi 'A)heCv J

ai Florida, and they don't give me credit for that rankipa.hnd as

of now ,irn Flo(ida.

What's the salary that you recieve from your elected position?

We don't get a salary in Palm Beach County.AkH:We are nonpaid, right,

no salary. O

Were you active in the civil rights movement *n 4* 1960's -jto '

Not as active as I have been since then, because at that time, I

was working very hard to try and get my master's degree. And I

spent a year in school at the University of Ohio, under the

National Science Foundation, in the summers I was attending school,

so, my participation really active participation was not what

I would, would, was not what it would have been if I had not been

pursuing my education moreso.

FB 68A

fo of
I: Then you didn't belongANAACP fwen?

H: Oh, I am a member of the NAACP, I have been a member for years.

I: When you were a student at the University of Ohio, was there much

black aciVi / r' ?

H: No, it wasn't. I was, I was in the University of Ohio back in

the year of '59, '60. There was not very much activity in terms

of civil rights there. Perhaps it wasn't needed because I, I

didn't encounter any, any predjudices, in terms of the students

that I associated with. I encountered some with the professors,

Sand`ou still do anywhere you go, all over the country you
encounter some. If you'-re black.

I: Okay. What church do you belong to?

H: I am a member of PgliT church. I'm chairman

of the trustee board of that church nr I'm, I'm really involved

in-community activities from the church to some of the others

that I mentioned, like the United Way, and some OF -hesC 4at I-

ei oned) many more than I should be involved in. In fact, I've got to
get out of some of them. I'm on too many boards.

I: Okay, well, the next question is, are you an official in the

church, and you just mentioned that you were. Are there other

community organizations or activities that you're involved in?

You just mevtivned about four or five of them.

H: II mentioned earlier that I was president of the Gold Coast Voters

League of Palm Beach County, I am treasurer of the Florida
a mCiber o-
State Voters League, uh, I'm4~oA the board of directors of the

United Way, I'm a member of the boafd of directors of the Urban

League, I'm a member of the executive council of the Boy Scout

Council. I can't even remember all of them.

FB 68A

I: I've never, I've never heard 0f h klc suE 45- -per,
Okay, one, one final question. Do you think that winning and

holding office in Florida has been worth your effort?

H: Yes, I do. It's been rewarding, it's been taxing, familOwise
it's been taxing, health1'wise too, but it has been rewarding
SS )4tie-
and I think all of the problems that I've had, andAproblems that

I face now, are, I really think it's worth it. And I think more
people should ge+ involved. I encourage my students to become

involved in the, in the political structure of our country because

it is my sincere belief that we can make the next 200 years

much better than the past 200 years were. And the only way we

will do it is that the masses of the people realize that they do
have a voice in government, and that voice is their ballot,-

and they should be concerned with electing people who will be
dedicated to serving the people, and not special interests.

I: Then you feel the ballot in ulibc has been gained very recently for

A% VAA Iblack people in most parts of the country VI)L11C .,1) _";l?
H: It is, it has been a valuable weapon, a viable weapon, and I think
that it will become even moreso as blacks become better educated

to the fact that they can make the difference, in many, many

elections all over this country, blacks hold the ballots of

power, and I think that they must learn to use this, and to

use it effectively. This is one of the things that I'd like to

see happen. We hold the ballots of power in Palm Beach County.

If we could get them registered, and to the polls.


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