Title: G. W. Mingo
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Full Text


This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

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of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
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the University of Florida

W:This is February 24, 1995. I am interviewing Dr. G.W. Mingo of

the Upper Bound Program at the University of Florida. The

interviewer is Marna Weston. Dr. Mingo, thank you very much

for doing this interview with me today.

M:You are welcome, Marna.

W:Let us start out with some basic background information. G.W.

Mingo--what does the G.W. stand for?

M:My name is Gwenuel Wilfred Mingo. Most people call me G.W.

because they cannot pronounce my first name, Gwenuel. My

first name is a concoction of names. My aunt was named

Gwendolyn, and one of the grandfathers' was named Granville.

They tried to put the two together to come up with Gwenuel.

Wilfred was my grandfather's middle name. Actually, it was

Wilfreud, but I changed it and made it Wilfred so people

could understand it. So I am called G.W. or just Mingo.

W:What brought you to the University of Florida?

M:In 1971, I was just passing through here on my way to Key West,

Florida. Key West is my hometown, and I had been offered a

position there as assistant principal at one of the high

schools, at the only high school they have as a matter of

fact. I stopped in Tallahassee, which is my wife's

hometown. One of my friends said, "Man, you should go by

Gainesville. They have all kinds of jobs there." I had

never been to Gainesville in my life. So I stopped by

Gainesville. As a matter of fact, I came right up to the

Administration Building, which is Tigert Hall. I got out,

and went up there to see whoever I was going to see.

The first person I saw was in Student Services with Jack Kinzer.

I do not know Jack's official title with Student Affairs,

but we started talking and he found out that I was a former

military person. I found out he was a former military

person. As a matter fact, [he was] a retired general. Our

experiences had been similar in the military, even through

college. He was majoring in agriculture. I was an

agriculture major. We ended up in the field artillery in

the army. He was field artillery. He had gone to some of

the same places in Europe and in the Far East. So we had a

nice, little chat. He referred me to the director of

housing at the time, whose name was Jim Hennessey. I found

out Jim was a retired full colonel, so he had similar

experiences as a field artillery officer. They had need for

African Americans at that time. This was in 1971 right

after the black students had walked out. They were looking

for people to fill positions.

W:Now did you know anything about that black student walkout?

M:I did not know anything about that. Somebody told me it was

all over the news, but I was not paying any attention to it.

So I just came in. They were trying to interview with me

for a couple of days. I told them I had to move on to Key

West because I had this appointment down there. They asked

me to hang on for a while. They told me that they would put

me up in the dormitory. They had some apartments in

Jennings Hall. They put me up for two days. In the

meantime, my wife went out looking for positions. They told

her to check the school board. She went down and checked

the school board, and low and behold, she comes up with a

job. She come and said, "Hey, they offered me a job."

W:What is your wife's name?

M:My wife's name is Cynthia Killings Mingo. Her maiden name was

Killings. She was from Tallahassee.

W:How long have you been married?

M:We have been married thirty-one years. It will be thirty-two

in July.

W:Do you have children?

M:We have two kids. One daughter is twenty-one years old. She

will be graduating from Florida A&M with a degree in


W:What is her name?

M:Her name is Anne Marie. I have a son who is in eleventh grade

at Eastside High School.

W:His name?

M:Gerald. So she gets this job, or has this job offer. It

really was a definite thing because they had completed all

the paperwork. So I am trying to figure out what is going

on around here. After some checking, I think they were

checking out my background to find out who I really was,

they offered me a position here with housing as a counselor

to students. They called it a resident life coordinator at

that time. I was over in Hume Hall as a counselor. The

offer was $6,000. I told them I could not work for $6,000.

I had been making twice that much coming out of the

military. They put it up to $6,500. With the apartment

they were giving me, which had no costs, expenses for the

telephone, utilities, maid service, and all the incidental

things, such as toilet tissue (you did not have to buy that

stuff--we just had to buy food), added to the $6,000, it was

pretty decent. Plus with the fringes, such as being able to

take classes, [it was very good]. That was something I did

not think of initially. I had just obtained my masters

degree while I was in the military, and now I just needed a

job. I was not thinking about the advantages. Since I have

been at the University of Florida, I have been able to pick

up my doctorate. I got that in counselor education. After

being here for a while, and spending almost three years in


W:We are talking about 1974?

M:Yes, 1974. The position with the Upward Bound Program came

open. Hennessey again said, "Mingo, are you interested in

this position?" I did not even know anything about the

position. He said, "Well I think that would be a nice

position. Why do you not apply for it?" So I figure out

what this guy was trying to do. He was trying to get me out

of this position. If I had stayed in housing, I do not

think I would have gone too far anyway because there was no

upward mobility there. He suggested that I apply for the

job as an Upward Bound director. So I did. I got the job.

I have been with this program from April 1974 to the

present time.

W:Now what exactly is Upward Bound?

M:Upward Bound is a college preparatory program for high school

kids from the low income areas. [[Interruption in tape]]

that they have. In the areas of math, science,

[[interruption in tape]] they are prepared than the average

student that is coming from the low income families.

W:Your target area is low income students here in Alachua County?

M:We have Alachua, Levy, and Bradford Counties at the present

time. Initially, when I took over in 1974, it was only

Alachua County with 80 students. We had one or two students

come out of Marion County at that time, but it was mainly

directed toward Alachua County students.

W:When you say Marion County, I am assuming you mean the close

communities like McIntosh.

M:Yes. As a matter of fact, North Marion was a contact school

that we got most of our students from.

W:So in your number of years, twenty years, with the Upward

Program, what is it that has kept you involved in that


M:I really like the Upward Bound Program in that I can see where

I am making a difference in the lives of a lot of students.

We have had students come here with little or no interest,

or motivation in going anywhere. These students have turned

out to be engineers, lawyers, doctors, or dentists. It is a

really good feeling to know that this is happening and I had

something to do with it. I played a little part in there.

I am not going to take all the credit. I know we did

something to help move those kids on.

W:How many students do you think that you have served in your

twenty-odd years with the program?

M:Initially we had about sixty-four students per year. We are up

to eighty per year now. If we do a little quick math, for

the past twenty years, it may be a couple thousand.

W:What happened in the first year of the Upward Bound Program?

What kind of experiences did you have from 1974 to 1975?

M:I did not have any major problems with coming right into the

Upward Bound Program. I had the ability to pick up stuff

quickly, especially anything that is dealing with

supervising, motivating, or managing people or things. This

was part of my military experience. I came here with

experiences that were much greater than anything I have ever

had at the University of Florida. To this present day, the

experiences I had have not even come close to what I had in

the military. It is a shame that the University of Florida

has not even tapped in to some of this potential and ability

that I had to perform. They are playing a game which is a

game of just not utilizing their resources. As a result,

they are missing out on a lot of opportunities that they can

tap out of me and probably some other people that are around

here. It was not a difficult task of getting a real quick

grasp on Upward Bound and moving it. Most people when they

came to Upward Bound within that year or two that really did

not know that I was a part of that thought, "This guy has

been around for a long time." That is just the way I was

able to pick up on it, and just move with it. As a matter

of fact, the first month that I was in office, we had what

we call a sight visit. They came in to sight. Prior to me

getting the position, the sight visit was going on.

W:Now when you say they, who was doing the sight visit?

M:The Department of Education. So they were checking out this

place. I found out later that we were about to lose this

program because of some things that were not going on. I

came in during the middle of this thing. The guy that was

doing the sight visit looked at me and said, "I know this

guy is just getting on board, but he knows a lot about what

is happening." That is just how fast I was able to pick up

on what was going on. I read the regulations and I knew

basically what was going on. From my ability to command

units, have operations, and all this kind of stuff, this was

a piece of cake for me.

W:So the military experience helped?

M:The military experience was a big help. I was able to come in

in a short period of time and get the thing running. I

cleared up a whole lot of mess that was taking place in

here. I just cut out the crap and got down to the business

of running a good, solid program. I think in the years that

I have been here, this program can stand up against any in

the nation. I do not have any doubt or any ifs, ands, or

buts about our ability to perform and prepare these kids for

success in life.

W:Now when you say that the University of Florida has

underutilized the potential model not only of yourself, but

also of others, can you point out some specific examples

where you feel that the administration [overlooked things]?

First, who are you speaking of when you say the

administration? Are there particular individuals?

M:I can give you specific names of individuals. I have had a

continuous run-in with several people around this place.

They are no longer in the chain of command right now. They

have subsequently gone on. We are talking about people like

Charles Sidman, from my own college. This guy never

utilized me to the full potential because he was always a

put down. There is something about some people around here.

They either do not like the individual, or they do not like

the program.

W:What was his position?

M:He was the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A

person like this undoubtedly does not like me as a person,

or he does not like the program. There is no way that

anybody with any kind of sense would not value this program.

Here was a program that could give the University of

Florida a lot of publicity in serving minority students.

[It is] a federally funded program that is functioning very

well. They did not even recognize the program. They did

not even say, "Hey, let us put this in our bulletin. Let us

say something about it every now and then. Also, let us pat

this guy on the back who is in charge of it to recognize him

for it." I asked for money also because I wanted to be

compensated for what I was doing. I think I was doing an

excellent job. They were receiving all of this grant money,

almost a quarter of a million dollars that I am bringing in

here, and they do not even appreciate that. They were using

the indirect cost money to their benefit. None of that was

coming back to the project. They did in fact, after

convincing for a long time, assume part of the

responsibility for paying my salary.

W:When you say they, who do you mean?

M:The college. This is something they should have done. They

should have assumed 100 percent of the salary of the

director and made that director feel a part of the college,

as opposed to alienating the director, which was me.

W:What kind of actions took place that made you feel alienated?

M:Specifically when I requested salary increases for what I was

doing. That is when the part really came out. I did a

study comparing what I do with directors at similar colleges

here in the state of Florida as well as outside the state.

I picked selected colleges in North Carolina, the state of

Michigan, south Florida, Miami, Florida A&M, Florida State,

and all these places. It was comparing what I do to what

they do.

W:Upward Bound Programs just like this one?

M:Yes. Here I find I have more responsibilities. I have the

Ph.D that most of them did not have. I have experiences on

the job. I was making less money than they were making. So

I am just showing them this with a comparative chart and

studies I have done to try to get some satisfaction. I get

none. The thing that I get from them is now that you have

reached a pinnacle in your career, you need to move on, look

for greener pastures, look for different venues, and contact

your people around the state to see if they can assist you

in getting another job. They are telling me to get my butt

out of here.

W:You mentioned you have some letters.

M:I do have some letters to that effect. It is a letter coming

from Charles Sidman. That is why I had that problem with

him, and not only Sidman operated that way. There are some

other people operating that way too. I mentioned a couple

of those. This is one of the things Sidman said, "You must

be willing to change venue to accept new challenges."

W:Pardon me, this is a letter?

M:From Charles Sidman dated June 22, 1984.

W:And this is on the stationary of the College of Liberal Arts

and Sciences, Office of the Dean.

M:Yes. Telling me, "You must be willing to change venue and

accept new challenges. You must move into somewhat

different kinds of positions. These observations are made

for your ultimate benefit in terms of your sense of reward

that will come from the life that you live. Give serious

thought in the next month to make contacts outside of this

University." You know, this is something that I really

objected to. I would have rathered him try to help me move

up in the University rather than out of the University.

This is clearly an attempt to just discredit, throw out,

alienate, or whatever he was trying to do here.

W:It appears that some of those phrases are highlighted as well.

M:Yes, they are highlighted.

W:The ones about leaving the University, for example.

M:So here I am. I know I have been a positive influence to the

University of Florida. They have not found anything that

has been a liability here. I have been an asset. I have

brought in money. I have run a top-notch, first rate

program. I have made a name for myself nationally in terms

of our project and our parental involvement. It would seem

like they would want to keep someone around like me. Here

they are pushing me out. I know if they attempted to push

me out, they probably pushed a whole lot of others out of

here, and they have left. I was not planning to go

anywhere. My basic thing is that you are just going to have

to fire me for doing a good job. I will not be moving

because someone decides that he thinks I should move on, or

look for a new venue somewhere else. I had a face to face

conference with him. I did not even respond to the letter.

I had a direct meeting with him. I asked him about the

letter. I was sincerely concerned about the fact that I am

being pushed out of here. He said, "Well you need to find

greener pastures." I said to him, "Where are the greenest

pastures in the state of Florida? I think it is at the

University of Florida. If there are any green pastures in

the state of Florida's educational system, it is right here

at the University of Florida. I would rather you help me

move up in here? Do you have a job for me in the college to

move up, rather than booting me out?" He had nothing to say

about this.

W:So your impetus was to stay at the University of Florida?

M:Exactly. Why would I leave here because someone else wants me

to move out. See, this man has had a history of not really

supporting African Americans at this university or in this

college. It is documented. You can look at the number of

African Americans that have come in under his

administration. You look at the number who were here and

how many he brought in. It is very low. Then you are going

to start to push out other people. This is why we have not

had good minority programs because there is no continuity of

effort. You find somebody who comes in and does the job,

then you push them out. You bring somebody brand new. You

are starting over from ground zero again. You have no

continuity of effort. I was not about to move. I am not

the kind of person that you can push around, scare, or

intimidate. You cannot intimidate me. I said, "If you want

to fire me, just fire me. You are going to fire me because

I have done a good job. You are not going to fire me

because I have messed up." They have also tried to do that

type of thing, to try to find something so they can trump up

some charges on you. If I did not know better, if I did not

have the stamina or the kind of insight that I had, they

would have run me away from here a long time ago.

It goes back to my military experience too. I am a Vietnam

veteran. Really, they are going to have to do a whole lot

more than what they are doing to shake me. Nobody is

shooting any bullets at me. Nobody mortaring me. Nobody is

really causing me to really run for my life here. This is a

lot of talk and a lot of other kind of pressures. They are

going to have to do more than that. Mingo is not going to

run and hide because somebody is talking about something.

They have not utilized me. Right now I am in a box. I am

in a box. I would call this economic segregation. They

have me in an economic mine right now. They are not paying

me what I am worth. They are not going to allow me to move

out of this position into other positions. So I am really

stuck right here now. I am not satisfied. I am going to

play the game for a while. I think I have a few more years

to play the game, and then I will move on to something else.

But the idea of forcing me out, I am just not going to hear

that at all.

W:What is it that makes you stay?

M:What I am doing for these kids here. That is what I making me

stay. It is not so much what I am doing for the University

of Florida or what they are paying me to do. I see that I

have helped a whole lot of kids. Within a two year period,

there are some things that I could personally benefit from.

I could benefit from it right now if I just leave. I can

retire right now with almost twenty-eight years of service

with the state. That is only because I have done something

to boost up the time, like purchase my military time to up

my time for retirement. You have to be looking at those

kinds of things when you are around a place like this. What

are they going to do for you? They are not going to do

anything for you, so you have to do something for yourself.

In the meantime, I am staying around just to increase my

salary. If I can increase it a little more, so that I can

retire in the next two years, at least I will get out of

here with a decent retirement benefit. But it is mainly the


That is mainly what I am here for. I really love Upward Bound.

I love what is happening. To bring these low income kids

[is great]. Most of them have no skills. Some of these

guys are out there making more money than I am making. That

is good too. They are really contributing to society. It

really makes me feel good to know that I have been a part of


W:What is the most positive experience that you have had or your

best memory from working with the Upward Bound Program here

at the University of Florida?

M:All of my memories are very good when working with Upward

Bound. The bad part comes when I have to work with the

administration. When I have to work with the part of the

administration that tells me [[please finish thought]]. I

wrote them a letter telling them that these programs might

be cut by the federal government, especially when Reagan was

in. Reagan was going to cut all of these programs out. I

sent a letter saying, "There is a possibility that these

programs will be cut. What are your contingencies? What

are your plans if they are cut?"

W:You have kept meticulous notes over the years. Do you have a

copy of that letter?

M:Yes, I have copies. I have a chronology of letters that I have

tried to make people very aware of what was going on.

W:This is a very impressive chronology. What year does this

start in--these notes?

M:We start back here in 1980.

W:Is that the first letter, December 17, 1980?

M:No. May 21, 1980.

W:And this is a letter from you.

M:From me to Dr. Sidman. [It says], "I would like to inform you

that the special services grant has not been funded for the

year 1980-1981. Even though I am highly optimistic, there

is a possibility that they may not be funded." I needed to

meet with them to discuss any contingency plans that they

might have in the event we do not get funded. So Sidman

does not even respond back to my letter.

W:This letter was cc'd to President Marston [Robert Q. Marston,

president, University of Florida, 1974-1984].

M:To Vice President Bryan [Robert Armistead Bryan, interim

president, 1989-1990], and Dean Shaw [Harry Shaw, associate

dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences].

W:Dean Shaw, Vice President Bryan, and Dean Shaw. Could you

describe them? Who is President Marston?

M:I do not know what number president he was. Back in the 1980s,

he was the man in charge here. Under him, he had Vice

President Bryan. Harry Shaw was the dean of the College of

Liberal Arts and Sciences. [He] was my immediate

supervisor. That is why I carbon copied him. I got a

response back from Robert A. Bryan.

W:February 11, 1983.

M:Yes. I have a copy of Mingo's memorandum. He goes on to say,

"The special services summer program has to end some time.

It cannot go on forever. There was a philosophical and

moral justification for the programs initiation and its

continuance through the 1970s, but it cannot continue

forever to be justified on the original philosophical and

moral grounds. Time moves on. Society changes. Social

illness can and are being cured. What was needed in the

1960s may be irrelevant in the 1980s." Therefore, he is

arguing against the University assuming any fiscal

responsibilities for the program if not funded by the

federal government. He goes on to say, "Let me know if you

think my logic is faulty or my vision is limited." I did

not even respond to this. He definitely had faulty logic

and his vision was definitely limited.

W:How did you feel on February 11, 1983 when you have the vice

president of the University of Florida tell you that Upward

Bound is irrelevant?

M:Mainly what he was talking about was the Student Support

Services Program. This is the part that deal with the

college students.

W:This is not Upward Bound. It was separate?

M:It was separate.

W:Could you explain the difference between Student Support

Services and Upward Bound?

M:The student support part was dealing with the college students

here on campus. We were helping them make that transition

from high school to the University of Florida so that they

could be successful and just move on through the system.

The University of Florida had a mix up about what Upward

Bound was and what student support services was. The

student support services was dealing with the students who

were actually enrolled at the University of Florida. Here

we had the possibility of us losing that program, helping

these kids to make that adjustment here. This letter was

saying we cannot do this. During the 1960s and 1970s it was

okay, but in the 1980s we need to drop this thing. They

were confused. The limited vision and logic was really

messed up. They had no idea what they were talking about.

That letter told me that the University of Florida, coming

from the top shed, says they are not going to support any

kind of black anything here. That is what they were telling

me. If they are not going to support those students, they

are definitely not going to support me. So I just felt that

what I needed to do was make some arrangements in the event

that they do not support it, and I would do something else.

I was prepared to actually leave here and do whatever I had

to do to support my family. We were fortunate in that we

did get the grant. I always kept that in the back of my

mind--the University of Florida is not serious about black

issues or black people. I think that is why they have a

problem right now with blacks at the University of Florida.

How can you get them involved until you really start being

sincere, and you start training the faculty and other black

support people here who are supposed to be helping these

kids. You make them feel good and treat them right, and

then they can help you with the students. The environment

is not right for black faculty and staff. Maybe it is right

for some black faculty and staff. I think some black

faculty and staff probably are satisfied. They are

comfortable in their situations. If they would really just

take a good look at some of the stuff that they are doing,

they would see that some of us are really getting screwed

around here while they are sitting back comfortable. That

is part of the strategy too. You take care of a few of

them. You make them feel good, and they are going to be the

gatekeepers for the rest of you. They are going to be the

spokesman for all the black folk here. You know these kinds

of games.

W:Is Upward Bound primarily a program that deals with African


M:It is right now only because those are the only students who

are really applying for them. It is for all students.

Student Support Services is for all students. There is

nothing in there that says this is an African American

thing. Those are the students who have taken advantage of

it. We have a diverse staff. They do not come and see all

black folk. They find Hispanics in there teaching. They

find African Americans. They find your caucasian groups.

We try to keep a balance of staff in there, so that when

they come in they just do not see one group. For some

reason, most of the African American students have taken

advantage of it. [[end of side a]].

W:...a long conference table approximately ten feet long. Just

the two of us in the room which has a large window

overlooking the College of Fine Arts. This is basically a

library repository of old University of Florida newspapers

and articles. We have a somewhat adequately stocked library

with the works of Shakespeare, Plato, and books on

philosophy, chemistry, and psychology. Thank you again Dr.

Mingo for participating in the interview. I would like to

talk to you a little bit about what happened in terms of

your experiences at the University of Florida after 1974 and

1975. What were the highlights that occurred on campus?

How did you interact with the environment? We had the

bicentennial in 1976. In 1980, we had a change from the

Democratic administration of Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan.

Start anywhere.

M:I do not really get too hyped up about any of the Democrats or

Republicans that come into office because there are certain

basic things that they will have to do for the country.

There are going to be some moves or attempts to make some

radical, bold movements such as Reagan tried to do. There

are also going to be people out there to fight them. One of

the things that I was involved in was a fight for Ronald

Reagan--to fight him to keep these programs in existence.

We did an excellent job. When Reagan first came into

office, the Trio Program were definitely on his cut list.

W:Now what are the Trio Programs?

M:The Trio Programs are Upward Bound, Student Support Services,

and the talent search. They have some other ones that have

been added. Trio is a misnomer right now. The Ron McNare

Program. The Educational Opportunity Incentive. There are

about five of them now instead of three.

W:And Upward Bound is one of them?

M:Upward Bound is one of those programs. He was out to cut them

all. We had to do a job of convincing the community grass

roots that there was definitely a need for it. We had

letter writing campaigns, a telephone blitz, and visits to

Congress--the whole works. It was part of the effort to

fight Ronald Reagan.

W:Were you organized in local churches?

M:We did the whole community. We had this whole community

organized with a letter writing campaign. When I am talking

about the whole community, I am not talking about totally,

but there are some grass root people and people that are

really closely connected with the Upward Bound Program.

[It] was mainly the parents of the students and all those

other people associated with them.

W:Any particular personalities that you would like to note?

M:There are none from the University of Florida persay that

really stood out. They are mainly local parents and

students. That is where the grass roots are. We went down

to that level. These people really appealed to them. The

number of phone calls going into Congress, and the number of

letters [[please finish thought]]. It was a constant

battle. Initially we had a twelve day way with Reagan.

This thing was coordinated on a nationwide basis, not only

the project here at the University of Florida. It was all

of the projects throughout the state of Florida, Georgia,

and all over the nation. We were bombarding and fighting

this guy to convince him and show him that this program has

really made a difference. There are former students who had

gone through this program and are now prominent people.

They are paying taxes now. They were able to get up and

speak before their congressional people telling them the

benefits of this program.

W:So you actually went to Congress?

M:Yes. As a matter of fact, I had the opportunity to actually

testify before the appropriations committee in Washington.

Senator Chiles [Lawton Chiles, governor, Florida, 1991-

present] was a chairperson for the appropriation committee.

I spoke in behalf of all Trio Programs nationwide about the

need to continue funding of these programs.

W:Was this is 1980 or 1981?

M:I have forgotten. I will probably come back to that.

W:Early in the Reagan era?

M:Yes, early in the Reagan era. It was more than likely around

1983 or 1984. I did get to talk with Chiles on two

occasions. That really helped to turn the tide because

coming from Florida and actually knowing Senator Chiles was

a plus. Senator Chiles at that time had one of my

classmates as his aide. We headed into his office. As you

know most of the congressional people depend on their aides

to provide them with information to make decisions on

whether they are going to vote yea or nay on things. I knew

Bob Harris from Florida A&M. We ran track together. I was

able to help all these programs nationwide by convincing

Chiles of a need to support these programs, which he did.

W:What is Mr. Harris doing now?

M:I think he is working for Senator Glenn out of Ohio now.

W:John Glenn?


W:So back in the 1980s, I was real active in the lobbying effort,

which I am somewhat today too. I still go to Washington. I

talk to the congressional delegation here. I know Cliff

Stearns real well. I know Karen Thurman. I know Corrinne

Brown very well. As a matter of fact Corrinne Brown used to

work in the Student Support Services Program. She was a

counselor here at the University of Florida. When I came

in, she was one of my counselors. Knowing these people in

Washington is a big help. I know Alcee Hastings [D-FL] real

well. I know Carrie Meek real well. Those are some of the

people. Others I know real well too. Dante Fascell [D-19th

District] is from my district in Key West. I can go into

their offices and I can say something. I am not saying I

can influence them to the point that they are going to vote

for everything I requests or give me what I am asking for

all the time. It is a good feeling to know that you can go

in an office and they say, "Hey Mingo, how are you doing?"

W:Now in your lobbying capacity, you are affiliated with two


M:I am really not a lobbyist. The University has their own

lobbyist. I am just a citizen. That is my right to go

there and ask my congressional delegation for certain


W:So an ex officio lobbyist or a de facto lobbyist.


W:You are involved in two organizations--FAEOP and SAEOP. What

do those stand for?

M:FAEOP is the Florida Association of Educational Opportunity

Personnel. I am just stepping down from the office of

president. I was president for the last four years for this

organization. I was really the leader for all the state of

Florida programs, Upward Bound, Student Support Services,

talent search, and Educational Opportunity Incentives.

Whenever we had a meeting in Washington or anywhere in the

southeast region, I would be the representative. Now we

have SAEOP, which is the Southeastern Association of

Educational Opportunity Personnel for the eight state

regions. It includes Kentucky, North Carolina, South

Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and

Tennessee. I think I listed all of them. I was on the

board for SAEOP. As the president of Florida, I would

attend meetings twice a year with these other eight

presidents of the state. We would strategize and make plans

for our regional meetings for anyway that we could support

the national organization, which is the National Council of

Educational Opportunity Associations. The National Council

of Educational Opportunity Associations is sort of like our

watchdog in Washington. They will let us know what is

happening, when we need to be vigilant, when we need to

strike, when we need to put the pressure on, and this type

of thing. We have a national meeting once a year. It is

usually going to be in Washington or some other place

throughout the nation. These people are very, very

effective. They were the ones that were responsible for

organizing and arranging the meeting that I had with Chiles

before the appropriations committee. As I said, they are

based in Washington and very effective. They are the


W:Within the context of working within these different lobbying

agencies that you subscribe to as a private citizen, have

you had any instances of running into official Florida

lobbyist or Florida administrative personnel?

M:Yes, as a matter of fact, the last year I was in Washington

(1994), I ran into President Lombardi [John Lombardi,

president, University of Florida, 1990-present]. As a

matter of fact, I had a meeting with Karen Thurman. When I

was just about finished, she said, "You know President

Lombardi will be here next. He is scheduled to come in

next." I said, "Do you mind if I just wait here? I will

just welcome him to your office." As he came in the office,

I said, "President Lombardi, it is a pleasure to have you

here. Welcome to Karen Thurmond's office." We had a big

chat about that one. As a matter of fact, that turned out

to be a good meeting or occasion to meet with the president

at Karen Thurmond's office. That same night they had Gator

night. All of the alumni from the D.C. area were meeting at

one of the buildings in the capital area. I was invited out

there, and I got a chance to meet some of the people working

in the federal government. They were surprised to see me

there. They thought I was traveling with President Lombardi

because I was doing my thing, just being the official

Florida host. It was an interesting experience.

Every now and then I will run across people from Florida who are

making the same type of visits. There are a lot of people

that are lobbying for various types of causes there. You

have got the dairy industry. The teachers are there. As a

matter of fact, whenever the educational organization is

there, if we find out what is on their agenda, we say we are

really supporting the effort there because it is about

education. Another one like Head Start. Most people would

think that Head Start, Upward Bound, and Student Support

Services are separated, but the money comes from the same

department. So when we are talking about Upward Bound, we

can also mention Head Start. What we have found out is that

a lot of these kids who are former Head Start kids are

coming into the Upward Bound Program. The reason Head Start

is successful is that they had somebody at the end of this

thing to really push them through to get them into college.

It has been the Upward Bound Program. What we have found

from just cursory studies is that there is a definite

connection between Upward Bound and Head Start.

The government should recognize that you just cannot serve them

on the front end during those initial years because they are

not going to get through. You need to get them initially

during the elementary, pick them up somewhere in the middle,

and push them through at the end. We have been part of that

conduit that has been set up. This year we are celebrating

our thirtieth year of the Upward Bound Program in the

nation. [It is] one of the most successful programs that

the government has ever come up with. I do not think that

they realize that. At least some people have not realized

that. It is so successful we now have a congressman from

Louisiana who is a former Upward Bound student, Cleo Fields.

W:Cleo Fields?

M:Cleo Fields is an Upward Bound student. Albert Winn out of

Maryland was a former Student Support Services student.

Henry Bonea from Texas. There are probably some others in

there too. If they would just look back and say, "Hey, I

was associated with that program, they will find out they

are the beneficiaries of governmental programs. Now they

are in the top rungs of our government. So we know the

program works.

W:When you mentioned your work on behalf of these programs, you

talked about members of the United States House of

Representatives. You mentioned Governor Chiles. What type

of relationship have you been able to develop with the

senators of the state of Florida over the years, for example

former Governor Graham, now Senator Graham [Robert (Bob)

Graham, senator, 1987-present], and Senator Connie Mack


M:When I go to Washington, whether I am scheduled to go to their

offices or not, I go by there. I sign in on their books

anyway. If I do not even see them, I sign in and let them

know I was there. If I get the opportunity to say something

to them, I go in and say something to them. I always try to

maintain a relationship with the senators and any

representatives coming out of our district. I make sure I

get into their office. With Senator Graham, I have been in

his office he really should know me real well, but they have

got so many other people that I do not know him that well to

make that impact on him. I have been in that office a whole

bunch of times. Connie Mack has also been helpful to us

when we were fighting for our grant. His aides have been

very helpful to me. If anybody knows me, Congressman

Stearns really knows me. I have a real good relationship

with him. If I am going to support any Republicans (I am

definitely a Democrat), Stearns does not have any problem.

I support him and I tell the parents to support him. When

we were down and out, we could count on this guy. I think

he is more concerned about the kind of stuff that we do, in

spite of some other things you hear on radio and t.v. When

it comes down to supporting programs like Upward Bound, he

has been very supportive.

W:Where do you see the Upward Bound Program going over the next

thirty years?

M:If we can get the schools or the states to do what they are

supposed to be doing, we probably will not have a need for

it. I do not think they want to take on the challenge of

doing what they are supposed to be doing. The state

legislature is going to have to start putting money into

education instead of building jails. Just put the money

into education, and you would cut down on so many people

going into the jails. It is kind of hard to say where this

thing is going to go. I believe the federal government is

going to have to be involved with this process for some time

to come now.

W:As of yesterday, or a couple of days ago I believe, President

Clinton announced a review of the affirmative action

programs with the federal government. As we watched the

news with the Republican Contract With American, they seemed

to have identified Affirmative Action as something that

might have passed its time. They see cutbacks in those

areas as necessary to balance the federal budget. What

types of pressures do you think that these types of policies

will bring toward educating today children?

M:There is always a need for Affirmative Action because I just do

not believe that people are going to do what is right. You

are going to have some kind of program to make sure that you

treat people fairly, you give everybody an opportunity to

get a piece of the American pie. There is a great need for

Affirmative Action. If it were not for Affirmative Action,

I do not believe I would be at the University of Florida

right now. You might as well recognize that it has been a

good thing. I think the University of Florida has

benefitted from me being here, from you being here, and

others who have come here. It could not have been a one

person type show here with one ethnic group here. That is

not good for the country. I think there is a need for

Affirmative Action. I do not think Affirmative Action means

something for black folk. It should be something positive

that is something that is self directed, structured,

organized, moving in a direction that is going to benefit

the whole nation. That is what we are talking about. We

are going to affirm that we are doing what we are supposed

to be doing so that we can realize the full potential of all

the people. That is what Affirmative Action should be

about. Affirmative Action, as I know it right now, without

it, we will still be back in the 1960s just trying to get

those colored signs off the water fountains.

W:What are your hopes and dreams for the kids in the Upward Bound


M:I hope that they do not have to go through the crap that I have

gone through just to be a citizen of this United States, and

just to realize your full potential to be a full blown

citizen of this United States so that people will not be

judging you by the color of your skin but as Martin said, by

the content of your character. That is what I hope--that

the Upward Bound students will not go through what I have

gone through. I hope that they can realize their full

potential and have a better life and greater opportunities.

I can see some of them right now. They are having some

great opportunities. Some of them are not taking advantage

of them, but the opportunities are there. There are much

more opportunities than I had coming out of high school. As

a matter of fact, I just accidentally got into college.

There were no plans for me to go to college in the first


W:Where did you go to college?

M:I went to college at Florida A&M. If it were not for Mr. J.B.

Green, my agricultural instructor in Tampa, Florida, I would

not have been anywhere. There were no plans for me to go to

the army, and no plans for me to work anywhere. I was just

going to hang out. I was not thinking about it. I did not

make any plans to take any classes that would prepare me for

college. My mother had said if this boy can just complete

high school. I will be glad if he can just get out of high

school. She had never completed high school, so that would

have been an accomplishment for her son. Someone else said,

"Boy you have potential. You should go to college." So

here I am thinking, "Yeah, I should go to college, but how

am I going to go to college?" I did not have any money, so

I thought I would get me a catalog from Florida A&M and see

what it was about. It was $190. That was all I needed.

That was all I thought I needed. That was all I could read

in the book. They had the tuition costs, the housing, etc.

There were other costs in there. There were books, fees,

and other stuff. I did not know nothing about that. So I

just had about $250 I earned during the summer shining shoes

and cleaning yards.

So I go up to Tallahassee. I get up there and for one thing, it

is cold in Tallahassee. I go up there not prepared for the

weather with no topcoat and one little cheap gray suit that

I had. My shoes had holes in them. It was cold. I said,

"Boy, I have got to do something quick." They made us get

in the ROTC. I used to have on ROTC stuff all the time.

They thought I was gung ho. I did not like the ROTC. At

least they had a topcoat, hat, and decent shoes. I was

wearing that for the most part. I will back up a little


I did not have enough money to start out at Florida A&M. What I

did was pay the basic $90 tuition. You could take as many

courses as you want. I was able to pay for the dormitory.

I paid for that first semester, or whatever we were on. I

did not have any money for books, and I did not have any

money for food. The housing and the food were tied

together. You had to pay the two of them. I convinced them

that I did not have it, and if they would just let me in the

dormitory, I would try to pay them up next time. Just let

me pay the next time around next term. They did let me in

there. I arranged for meals from students who did not like

to get up to eat breakfast. I found out who they were, so I

would use their meal card. I found somebody who did not

want to eat lunch. Everybody wanted to eat the last meal.

So that is how I ate during that first term. I also used

peoples' books during the first time around. As I said, I

was wearing the ROTC stuff all the time. They thought I was

gung ho. I was a military man.

I got through that first term, and I missed the honor roll by

two-tenths of a point. I said, "Man, I can do college

work." In spite of all the difficulty I had, I said, "I can

do college work." Then it turned on. I had a job in

agriculture at the dairy. This was a good experience. I

have never been around cows in my life, coming from Key

West, even though I graduated from high school in Middleton

and through the agriculture thing. All we did was deal with

chickens. We had the chicken and the egg, stuff like that.

But a big 'ol cow? Here I am working in the dairy.

Talking about somebody scared then. I could not put on like

I was so scared. Every now and then, I would get a little

close to this cow, but I was scared to death. I worked

there during the first year getting up at 5:00 a.m. going

down to milk these cows, and at 5:00 p.m. So you had to

milk these cows twice a day.

W:How much did it pay?

M:$50 a month.

W:$50 a month for milking cows at 5:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

M:This was work study. This is how much I knew about what was

going on. They said, "You got a work study. You can get

$50 a month." I thought I was going to get that $50 when I

got to A&M. They said, "No, you have got to work first." I

had to work that first month. Then I started getting my

$50. Then I started buying stuff that I needed. I bought a

book, and some of the basic essential things. As I said, I

was able to make it that first term. I just missed the

honor roll. I said, "Hey, I can do this work."

W:You said you lived in the dorms. What dorm did you live in?

M:When I first got there, I was in Gibbs Hall.

W:Who was that named after?

M:It was named after Jonathan Gibbs, one of the vice presidents

of FAMU. Also, he was the attorney general way back there

(I think). After that first term, the next term I made the

honor roll.

W:At that time, Florida A&M was an all black university.

M:An all black university. We had a law school there, which they

subsequently took away. They should put it back. They took

a lot of things away, like agriculture. They cut that down.

They sent a lot of that stuff to the University of Florida.

They sent stuff over to FSU. I think what they were trying

to do was dismantle the school.

W:When you say they took the law school away, and they shipped

the agricultural programs away, what do you mean?

M:Well, they just disbanded the law school. It was no longer at

FAMU. They just took it. This was part of the dismantling


W:Did they dismantle the building?

M:No, it was located in the library. So the building was still

there where it was located.

W:But the accreditation was taken?

M:All of that yes. It was gone.

W:So where did black students go to law school?

M:Well, you know this is probably how this thing with Virgil

Hawkins happened. Here they are. They take that away. I

believe this was during the time that Virgil was trying to

get into law school somewhere. So he was going to try to

get into the University of Florida. I can see the fight

that they had. They did not want him to get in here. I do

not even know if FSU had a law school at that time. That is

where this law school actually went--into FSU.

W:So the FAMU Law School became the FSU Law School?

M:I think that is the way it goes. I am not sure on that. I do

not know whether FSU had a school at that time. If they had

one, there were two in Tallahassee, one for blacks and one

for whites.

W:Approximately what year was this?

M:This was in 1958. 1958, 1959, or 1960--somewhere in that

range. I went to A&M in 1958. The law school was there.

Jesse McCrary, a prominent lawyer and judge today, is one of

the products of that school. Alcee Hastings and all these

people. I think Leanda Shaw. Some of those people. There

are some prominent people. Althena Joiner out of Tampa, and

several people became lawyers.

We were talking about my first year at A&M. After that, things

turned good. I started feeling real good about myself. I

started saving some of my $50. I started picking up little

odd jobs, and finding ways to make ends meet. Eventually, I

graduated from Florida A&M with a B.S. in agriculture and a

commission in the United States Army. I was commissioned as

a second lieutenant in the field artillery. I went to Fort

Sill [Lawton, Oklahoma]. I participated in the artillery

officers advanced school.

W:Following a brief interruption, we will continue our interview.

We were at Fort Sill.

M:After I left Fort Sill, Oklahoma, my next duty station was in

Germany. I spent three years with a one,

five, five millimeter Howitzer unit.

W:What unit was that?

M:It is the second of the thirty-second, seventh artillery.

After leaving Germany, I went directly to Vietnam. I spent

one year with the second of the thirty-second artillery,

which is an eight inch, one-seven-five unit. My main

responsibility of duty there was as a S-3. I was in charge

of the intelligence operation of the unit, and the air

observers, and gathering information for the unit.

W:Where were you deployed at Vietnam?

M:Two places. I was mainly in the Cuchi. Cuchi is down around

the third corp area, and west of Saigon. It is between the

Cambodian border. I was with the twenty-fifth infantry

division, which is Tropic Lightning out of Hawaii. That was

the main base. We were supporting them with the field

artillery. Anytime the infantry went out and they needed

heavy artillery, it was our job to support them.

W:What was the second place besides Cuchi?

M:Tainan. Tainan is right on the border of Cambodia. My job as

S-3 was gathering intelligence and keeping those kinds of

operations going. I am not a pilot, but I knew how to fly

the L-19 Bird dog. It was a two-seater. It is like the

Cessnas that you have up here.

W:I saw the movie Bat 21 with Danny Glover. He was a bird dog,

that is what they called the plane that he was in. What

exactly are the operations of bird dog?

M:We were air observers. Our job was to spot enemy actions or

support our units on the ground from the air. We would call

in this artillery. We knew where our guns were, and we

would call in artillery to support guys on the ground.

W:How long were you there?

M:One year. [[end of tape]].

W:I am with G.W. Mingo. We were talking about his experiences in


M:Everyone in Vietnam was in some type of action. There were no

lines set up where this was the front line or this was the

rear action. You were always into something. As a field

artillery officer, our job was not to go out and beat the

bush down. We were always out there prowling on a search

and destroy type mission. We were stationed in an area with

these guns. We could hit anything within the range of that

operation that might be being conducted by the infantry.

Even though we were not on the line or out there doing that

search and destroy thing, we were in the battle area. They

would rather knock out our guns, so that we could not

support those guys out in the fields. So you would get

mortared. In the case of me with the aircraft, we were

always being shot at. Just imagine any aircraft and

somebody on the ground. Now I have got a gun. They can

shoot up there at any time they wanted to. I guess we were

lucky in that they did not have missiles that were shooting

at [us]. I think they had the capability of doing it.

W:When you say they, do you mean the North Vietnamese?

M:The North Vietnamese, Vietcong, or whatever you want to call

it. It was not too uncommon for us to have bullet holes in

the aircraft. Most people familiar with aircraft will know

that your gas tanks are in your wings. You have self

sealing type gas tanks. [[interruption in tape]]. You did

not get a bullet in there unless they shot a phosphorous

type round or something at you. That would knock you out.

Getting shot at was just something that one gets accustomed

to. If you are fighting in Vietnam, you are in the

battlefield unless you are back at a post-op or somewhere

off on a ship. There were some secure areas. I think most

of the field artillery units that I knew were out close to

or in a position where you could get mortared.

W:So you were constantly in jeopardy.

M:Oh yes. I did not take anything for granted. Even though we

could go for days and days and nothing would happen. All of

a sudden, boom. You got mortar incoming, and you got to be

on your p's and q's. If you have intelligence that has a

unit in the area you better be watching out for certain

types of things. You would be on your p's and q's.

W:Do you stay in contact today with many of the men and women

that you met in Vietnam?

M:Not really.

W:Is it just that you fell out with each other?

M:When I left Vietnam, that was not something that I was proud of

that I had done. I do not have any fond memories or all

this kind of stuff. I just never tried to find anybody. I

had an experience, and I think that is why I got out of the

military. A friend of mine and I were ROTC instructors at

Lincoln University in Missouri. That was after I got out of

Vietnam. His name was Captain James Russ. The military

assigned us as instructors at Lincoln University in

Missouri. He was planning on getting out of the military

and going to work on his masters and this type of thing. He

decided that he would stay in the military and do that. So

he get orders for Vietnam. Then he is really deciding

whether he should stay or go. He had already been over

once. So he goes back again. They promote him to major.

They were not going to promote him to major until he got to

Vietnam. So he goes and gets promoted to major. He does

not come back. He gets shot down a month or so before he

was supposed to come back. He was shot down in a


His wife called me and asked me if I would go pick up the body

out of California and escort it back to Florida. So I go

and escort the body back to Florida, and stay with the

family for a week to make sure that all the arrangements are

taken care of, the whole works. I was thinking, "That could

be me there. Russ was saying I should get out of this thing

now. I do not know whether I want to go back over there."

They held up his promotion until he got over there. So here

they were doing the same thing to me. I had orders to back

to Vietnam. I am thinking, "Maybe I can wait until December

when I finish my masters." I was working on my masters. I

wanted to know where I was going to go in Vietnam. Then I

wanted to know about my promotion. I was due for major too.

I did not get any of that. I did not get any answers. I

went to Washington and the whole works. Here I am now

escorting this guys body back to Florida. I said, "Man we

were following the same kind of path. They did the same

thing to this guy." I decided that after I settled

everything with the family, I would give this thing one more

try. I would go back to Washington and see what I could

find out. I go back there and nobody could do anything. So

I decided I was done. I gave them my commission. I

resigned from the military.

W:When did you resign your commission?

M:I resigned in 1970. I just gave up in 1970.

W:Any regrets?

M:No. I have no regrets. The only regret I have is that I do

not have the pension. I wish I could have stayed there for

twenty and gotten that military pension. Then again, I

might have been like my buddy Russ. Whenever I go to the

Vietnam Memorial, I find Russ' name. Somebody could be

finding my name on the wall. The same kinds of things that

were happening to him were happening to me. I said, "Boy, I

do not want to come back in this box." You could not open

the casket. He was shot down, and burnt beyond recognition.

I just decided I would get out of the military. Since I

was working on my masters at the same time, I just got out

and told them I would leave because I wanted to work on my

masters. After I leave my masters, I would probably come

back. Those were my intentions. I left the military with

the intention of completing my masters and then coming back

in. After I completed my masters, I got a job. Things were

not bad. I was not making the kind of money I was making in

the military, but it still was not bad. I figured I would

make it.

I ended up coming back to Florida and started getting involved in

little things. [I was] doing just as well as I probably

could have done in the military. I would have made more

money in the military. I definitely would have made more

money. I probably would have gotten pretty high in the

ranking too, but that is a chance kind of thing. I might

not have come back. I do not really regret it because some

of the guys that stayed in, got out, retired, and got their

little pension going do not have things that I have. I have

connections with people in the community. I have the

doctorate. I am making a little bit of money. I have

properties. I have certain things. I have all most as much

as they have. I wish I had that cash flow. If I had that

cash flow, I would be doing a whole lot better than what I

am doing now. That is the only thing that I really miss.

W:You mentioned the Vietnam War Memorial. I think that is

interesting. My father is also a Vietnam veteran. He was

in the 82nd on the brag. He and I never talk about what


M:I do not like to talk about Vietnam either. I do not go to any

Vietnam movies. This is the most I have talked about

Vietnam in a long time. I do not really like to talk about

it. Your father probably had more hairy experiences than I

had. As an 82nd airborne, this guy was out pounding the

bushes. That was not my thing. I do not think the

experiences I had were worthwhile. I do not enjoy talking

about it. It was an unpopular war. In a sense it pisses me

off. When I got back from Vietnam, I thought things might

be a little different in how they treat people. I do not

feel like people respect me for who I am, not that I am

supposed to be set up on a pedestal because I have gone to

Vietnam and fought a war. The kind of discrimination and

attitudes that people have towards blacks, like you have not

done anything for your country, really bothers me. It

really bothers me. I do not necessarily like to get up here

and tell people I have been over there. Some people say,

"Oh he has done nothing for his country." Some people have

done more than some of these people who are saying what they

have done. They have got some frauds up there. They are

talking about how they have had the Vietnam experience and

they have not had anything.

I do not think I have been to any movie related to the Vietnam

War at all. Not one. Every now and then I will watch

something on television, especially if I see something in

the area that I was serving in. Every now and then Cuche

and Tainan will come up. I remember one time I was telling

my son, "Yeah, I was right in that area right there. You

see that boy?" I point out stuff to him. I do not have any

great joy over that.

W:Would you like to go back one day and see the places they


M:Yes. Vietnam is a pretty place. From what I could tell of the

terrain and stuff that I have seen, it is a pretty place. I

would not mind going back. I am not going to make any major

effort to go back over there though. I have seen it. If I

go anywhere, I am going over to Africa. That is where I

need to go and see my own country.

W:Do you speak any Vietnamese or did you learn any while you were


M:The only thing that I learned was dau we. That means captain.

I did not want to learn any Vietnamese. I did not want to

be around the Vietnamese. Not that I hated the people.

That was not my war. That really was not something that I

was trying to do. I did not want to learn anything. I did

not trust them. I was protecting myself. I think a lot of

our people got killed because they were too trusting and too

naive. I did not take any chances, even though being up in

that aircraft was a chancy thing. That was really

dangerous. Some of the things we did in the aircraft were

dangerous. I know I did not have any great desire to learn

Vietnamese at all. When I was in Germany, I learned German.

I can hold a pretty decent conversation in German.

W:Let us move to a higher note and get away from Vietnam. You

mentioned once to me that you had visited Spain. What was

your travel in Europe like?

M:When I was stationed in Germany for three years, every weekend

my wife and I would travel somewhere in Europe. We were not

going to be like the ugly Americans over there and try to

make the United States happen in Germany, or trying to look

for the stuff. We went out every weekend. We took a train

or a bus. When we got our car, we traveled all around in

our car every weekend. Austria was one country that was

really close to where we were. We would go into Austria.

Then we took about a thirty day trip throughout. We went to

Switzerland, Italy, and Milan. We hit the Riviera, Nice,

Cannes, and the area all around the Pyrenees. We went down

into Spain and hit Barcelona, Sevilla, Roda, and Madrid. We

went everywhere. We went to Roda and crossed over into

North Africa at Morocco. We spent about three days over

there. We came back and were going to go into Portugal. I

said, "No we better get our tail out of here and get back up

into France." We wanted to spend some time in Paris. So we

came up the eastern side of Spain along the Portugal border.

W:The western side?

M:The western side going up into France. We came through

Marseilles and some other places up in there. We got into

Paris and spent about three days there. We had a real good

time. We went out through Luxembourg. We just had a good

time visiting. That was part of our thing. We wanted to

see as much of Europe as we could possibly see while we were

over there for three years.

W:What three years were those?

M:There was 1963 through 1966.

W:How did your family get started? You and your wife met where?

M:My wife and I met at Florida A&M. Her family is from

Tallahassee. We just happened to meet through a Methodist

student organization.

W:What year was that?

M:That was in 1962.

W:What was it that attracted you to her?

M:She was a nice, young lady. This is what was happening. I was

running track. I ran cross country track at Florida A&M.

We would run our cross country track meets in relation to

the football games that they had. So she was a cheerleader.

So we were running track. We were traveling with the

football teams, and we would run our cross country meets

prior to the events. As we would start to run, the end of

that meet would come into that stadium. They had this thing

running like a marathon. It was really neat. I had the

opportunity to run with the football team, the cheerleaders,

and the track team. I got a chance to meet with them. We

were part of the Methodist Student Organization too. That

is how I got tied up. I also used to play the steel drums.

At all the football games, we had the stadium rocking.

[[break in tape]].

Back in the 1960s, if anybody can remember, when we had these

steel drums going, the stands would really be rocking. A

couple of us guys from south Florida who had the Bohemian

kind of connections had that rhythm and could play that

stuff. That was part of my little thing. My wife got to

know me by that thing too. By way of information, I am a

Bohemian extraction from Key West. My mother and father's

people are from the Bahamas. So that side came out of

Nassau, and my father's side came out of Eleuthera. That is

about it.

W:Would you like to mention any of the members of your family?

M:My great grandfather from Eleuthera was Frank Mingo. One of

his sons was Reynold Mingo. That was my grandfather. My

father's name is Reynold Mingo Jr. On my mother's side of

the family, Justina Hamilton came out of Nassau. Her

husband, Wilfred Strong was born in St. Sebastian of Cat

Island. From that marriage came my grandmother Zerlina.

W:Who was her husband?

M:She actually was married twice. Her first husband was Frank

Sawyer. From that marriage came my mother and my Uncle

Frank, who is deceased now. She married again to Namond

Reckley. They had a daughter named Gwendolyn who died of

lock jaw. Gwendolyn is part of where my name came from. My

father's mother's name was Irma Curtis. Her mother was

Elizabeth Dean out of Nassau.

W:Is there anything else you would like to add to conclude the

interview Dr. Mingo?

M:I enjoyed the interview. Hopefully, it will be of some benefit

to somebody in the future. I hope that the University of

Florida will start doing what they can do to make this a

great university. It will never be a great university if

they do not utilize the resources that they have. You

cannot be wasting stuff.

W:Thank you very much, Dr. Mingo, of the Upward Bound Program at

the University of Florida. This concludes our interview.

Thank you once again.

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