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Title: Interview with Jane Evers (April 19, 2000)
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006992/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Jane Evers (April 19, 2000)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: April 19, 2000
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: 12081
Manatee County (Fla.) -- History.
 Notes
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
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Bibliographic ID: UF00006992
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'Manatee County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: MCBC 7

Table of Contents
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Cover
        Cover
    Abstract
        Abstract
    Interview
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
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University of Florida
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program

MANATEE COUNTY BUSING CRISIS

Interviewer: Ben Houston
Interviewee: Jane Evers
Date of Interview: April 19, 2000










Jane Evers
MCBC 7

Jane Evers details how she found herself in the journalism business on page 1. She describes the
backdrop of Manatee County in 1970 on page 2, with particular attention to the politicized
atmosphere accompanying the first Republican political victories in decades (page 2-3). She also
shares her impressions of school superintendent Jack Davidson (3), the school board members of
1970, school board attorney Kenneth Cleary (7), and later, Manatee County Sheriff Richard
Weitzenfeld (14).

Ms. Evers talks about the newspaper coverage of Manatee County's resistance to busing on page 6,
the reactions to being forced to comply with busing (which she argues is not inherently an anti-
African American attitude) on page 9, and more generally about the racial climate in Manatee on
page 4-5. She admits she was not a fan of Kirk (8), nor was she record particularly noteworthy
impressions of the segregationist leaders in Manatee (10). She reminisces about her contentious
relationship with Duncan Groner, her fellow journalist who helped her cover the Manatee situation
(11-12; see also her concluding anecdote on 26).

Ms. Ever vividly recalls the "carnival atmosphere" pervading the initial suspension order that opened
the week's crisis (12). Her recall of the subsequent week highlights the utter boredom of covering
the events (13-18). She addresses the considerable support that Kirk governed among Manatee
residents (18), and the claims of sensationalism and unfavorable press coverage by Kirk after the
week's events subsided (20-22). She concludes that the Manatee situation had little effect,
ultimately, on the racial climate (23) and thus has little significance for students of Florida and
American history (24).










H: I am here in the office with Ms. Jane Evers who was a reporter for the Bradenton
Herald during the 1970 Manatee County school crisis. Thank you very much for
meeting with me. You are not a native Floridian.

E: No, but I have been here most of my life.

H: When did you move down here?

E: 1956.

H: In the Bradenton area?

E: Actually to Sarasota, and then I moved to Bradenton in 1960.

H: How did you come to work in the newspaper business?

E: I moved down here my sophomore year. I had come from a program they called
an enriched program up in Ohio where I took accelerated programs. Anyway, I
walked into Sarasota High School and I was so far ahead of the kids down there,
it was terrible. My sophomore year, my English teacher had me teach the class a
couple days a week. By the time I got to my junior year, I think I skipped forty-
three days of school, did not get caught. When I went to school, I had a routine
that Monday was restroom, Tuesday was library day, whatever, so I sat myself
down and said, Jane, you are going to get caught doing this. I was just bored. I
was carrying a straight A average, a 3.9, I think. I said, you are going to get
caught. So, they had a program where you went to school in the morning and
worked in the afternoon. I had one more year of English--mandatory--and maybe
one more social studies, so I went into this program. That year, the Sarasota
Herald-Tribune decided to take a student for the first time. I assumed they would
put into the business office or something because I had taken a couple of
[courses] like typing and shorthand, along with all my college prep courses, and
they ended up putting me in the newsroom, actually in those days, in what they
called the society department, the women's department. I just kind of took to it
like a duck to water, never did go onto college. I got quite a few scholarships,
tried to do some of the junior college-type things. I just fell in love with it and
stayed for eighteen or nineteen years. In 1960, they decided to open a Manatee
County bureau, so I came up with my husband at that time and we opened the
Manatee County bureau. He was short a reporter one day and had two meetings
going on and shoved a notebook at me and told me to go cover the WCIND. I
said, what in the dickens is the WCIND? But I went and covered it and never
went back to women's reporting again. He moved on, and I became bureau
chief.

H: What was the WCIND?

E: West Coast Inland Navigation District. They were doing the Intercoastal










MCBC 7 page 2

Waterway. I did not even know what the thing was. And just never went back,
ended up being a bureau chief there. I was with the Herald-Tribune eight or nine
years, and then I was out of reporting, for maybe a year and a half or so when
Lillian [daughter] was born and had owned a business. Then the Bradenton
Herald came, and I went over there for another eight or nine years.

H: Could you sort of set the scene for how Manatee County was in 1970. How was
the power of the county centralized?

E: That is a hard question. As far as how big it was, Bradenton and the urban area
around it, that has a Bradenton address but is not actually within the city limits,
even today where we have 250,000 people, it retains an awful lot of a small-town
feeling. Sarasota thinks they are very cosmopolitan and sophisticated. Bradenton
is more of a small-town type of thing. With 250,000 people, there are a lot of
people out there you do not know, but there are a lot of families who have been
here for a number of generations. It is more like a Midwestern small town. In fact,
I have always said that there are jungle drums. Back in the old days, the ladies
would pass the gossip over the backyard fence while they hung out their laundry.
It gets passed by fax and phone and other things nowadays. But something
happens in Bradenton, and it just spreads all over town. I will go home and say,
hey Bill, you will not believe what I heard today, and he will say, let me tell you
what I heard. Well, we both heard the same thing, and we are on opposite ends
of town. Bradenton has always been a very friendly community, a very warm
community, looks out after its own. If there is anything that happens in the
community that is some sort of a tragedy or something, people come out of the
woodwork to help. It was the same back then, only even more tight-knit, of
course obviously on a smaller scale--We had fewer people. As far as the power,
some of the old family names, they pretty much ran everything. They were the
head of the banks, they were of the chamber of commerce. But good community
relations, good race relations. There were no problems. There really were not. It
was just a nice town to live in.

H: A lot of people have commented that just before all this happened in 1970, there
had been a turnover in the school board and they had just elected a Republican
majority for the first time on the school board. They said that created a politicized
atmosphere. Can you comment on that?

E: The first time that the Republicans ran anybody--well, no, they ran one man for
county commission in 1956, a man named Mike Klemmer, and he won. This was
unheard of. This was totally Democratic territory. When you registered to vote
back in those days, which was in the era when I would have registered to vote,
you had to register as a Democrat because it was all over in the Democratic
primary. You know, no sense being a Republican, because you had nobody to
vote for. Then in 1960, the Republicans ran a slight [campaign], I want to say for
eleven offices. It was either eleven offices, and they won ten, or it was twelve










MCBC 7 page 3

that they ran and won eleven. Floored everybody in the county. Took the majority
on the county commission, took the sheriff's office. The one that they did not
take was Hiram Strickland, the property appraiser, which in those days we called
the tax assessor. I am trying to think if they took a majority on the school board in
that election or whether it was the next election. The county was in the process
of changing over into Republican, and very rapidly, but it was probably maybe
almost 50-50. There was a political intrigue at the time because the Republicans
were coming on so quickly, and the old Democrat strongholds were falling, which
was unheard of. But I do not remember exactly when the Republicans took the
majority on the school board. I just do not recall. One of the things that would
have changed the picture drastically was the fact that we switched from an
elected superintendent to an appointed superintendent. J. Hartley Blackburn had
been the school superintendent here for twenty-four years. A little short man,
small man in stature, ran the school system with an iron fist, totally. I am not
saying it was bad. He ran a good ship, but total control over the school system.
Then we decided to go to the appointed-type of thing. It was equally as important
as a switch in the political picture, the change in how the superintendent was
selected.

H: He was replaced by Dr. Jack Davidson. Do you have any opinion on Davidson?
What was your perception of him?

E: As I recall, I liked Jack. I thought he did a good job. See, again, we are going
back so many years to have any real, real strong recollection. I will tell you a
funny story about Jack Davidson. As I mentioned earlier, we owned a business.
It was a flower shop. On Friday, I got an invitation from the chamber of
commerce to attend a reception on Tuesday for the new school superintendent.
Now, I am a reporter still, and I work Saturdays. On Saturday when I went in-I
might have even made a couple of calls on Friday, I do not know-I called a
couple of people and said, who is the new school superintendent? See, this was
back before you had open record laws and Sunshine [Laws, Florida's open
records law] and all this good fun stuff that makes reporters' lives easy now.
Nobody would tell me. They said we have not selected him yet, this runaround
stuff. I said, excuse me, I am not stupid. I have an invitation here. It says to come
meet him on Tuesday. This is Saturday, and you have not picked him yet? I do
not think so. So, I called in one of my political chips through the school
administration. I had done the guy a couple of favors. I called him and said,
okay, payback time, who is the new school superintendent? I do not know, Jane.
I said, of course you know who it is. You are high up enough. The school
superintendent is coming to meet the community on Tuesday. He said honestly,
Jane, I do not know his name. But, he said, I know where he is coming from. I
said okay, give me that. And it was Oak Ridge, Tennessee. So I pulled out my
editor and publisher book, and I call the editor or the publisher of the newspaper
in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and I said, I will swap you stories. I said, did you know
your school superintendent is leaving? He said no. I said, well, he is. I said, give










MCBC 7 page 4

me his name, give me his background. So, he got a story out of it, and in
Sunday's paper, Jane wrote the story of who the new school superintendent
was. They never did figure out how I did it, but I did.

H: That is one of the fun things to do as a reporter?

E: Yes. You pull it off, and that was one of the fun things. Jack was younger. I
thought he did a good job. I do not recall anything too vivid about him. Totally
different management style than Hartley had been. Hartley was very close to the
vest. Hartley ran everything totally. Jack was more open. Also, Jack was hired.
Hartley had four years before having to be re-elected]. He did not answer to the
school board, really. Yes, technically he did, but Jack answered to the school
board because they hired and paid him and signed his contract. It was a different
relationship.

H: Do you remember anything that you found out about Davidson's background in
Oak Ridge? The reason why I ask this is because Oak Ridge was actually the
first town in Tennessee that desegregated its schools, and I do not know if
Davidson might have been involved in that.

E: I do not know.

H: Had he been in Oak Ridge a long time? Because that was 1955, 1 think.

E: I do not recall.

H: You mentioned earlier that you felt that Manatee County had pretty good race
relations. You wrote an article in the Herald that was an analysis of the race
relations that I found very interesting. I was wondering if you could elaborate on
how race relations were in Manatee County before the school crisis itself?

E: No, I do not really recall too much, other than I do not think we had any real
problems that I recall. I remember at one point, there was a sit-in at Woolworths,
or was it the drugstore? But it was not any great big deal. I mean, there was not
any real trouble over it. I just do not recall any real problems. Maybe I am looking
back through rose-colored glasses or something.

H: There were some reports, and not in much detail, that there had been a racial
incident in one of the schools in February of 1970 before the Kirk incident. Do
you recall that?

E: I recall one incident at Manatee High School, but I do not recall what its time
frame was to the Kirk incident, whether it was before, after?

H: Okay, but what do you remember about it?










MCBC 7 page 5

E: A group of black children and white children got in each other's face at Manatee
High School, and they went out and broke it up. I do not think it actually got into a
real fight, or it was any huge big fight. They broke it up, called school off for the
rest of the day. The deputies took all the black children and marched them back
over to the section of town where they lived. I think that was pretty much the end
of it then. If there was more, I do not recall it, but I do remember that.

H: Do you remember any particular black leaders who were influential, especially
around this time of the Kirk incident? If race relations were good, presumably
they had a lot of contact with the white leaders?

E: No. That was still too early. There was not a lot of, for example, say the chamber
of commerce. I am not sure it even had any black members. Of course, now it
does and is very diversified. Things have progressed obviously a long, long way.
The leaders back in those days tended to be your preachers. Then there was a
man named G. D. Rogers. I am not sure whether Mr. Rogers was still alive or
not, and his son Kenny came up as a community leader. There are a couple of
things in town named for Mr. Rogers. It was to a large degree, like schools,
separate-but-equal kind of thing. There was not a lot of intermingling, but there
were not any bad feelings or bad things either. But you probably did not have
any, like, black deputies. That would probably come along later.

H: Does the name Reverend Cornelius Bryant [Manatee County NAACP leader]
mean anything to you?

E: I have heard of Reverend Cornelius Bryant, but I am not sure that I know
anything about him.

H: Reverend Lazier [Manatee County NAACP leader]?

E: Yes, I had forgotten him. I did not know him real well, but he would appear, like
maybe before the county commission on something. Where else would I know
him? Unless he was a Dr. Lazier. Was he just Reverend Lazier? I am not sure.

H: They were both active in the NAACP, from what I understand. Was the NAACP
chapter fairly visible in Manatee County, involved?

E: No, not that I recall. About that time, they might have started getting a little more
active and little more visible. Because, at some point, there was the sit-in at the
lunch counter.

H: Let me ask you, how did you come to be involved? How much coverage were
you involved with, first all the wrangling and the litigation over the schools, which
went back to 1965 with the original Caroline Harvest lawsuit and then dragged on
for many years and then sort of culminated in the 1970 crisis. To what extent










MCBC 7 page 6

were you covering these sorts of stories?

E: I do not know when I went over to the Bradenton Herald. Lillian was born in
1965, so I think I went to the Bradenton Herald in 1967. I went over because it
was what we used to call a beat. The beat that was opened was the school
board beat, so I went over as the school board reporter. Starting in 1967, I think
is when I would have started covering school-related whatever, and I covered [it]
for several years. I did other things, but that was my main thing. Back in those
days, you could not be a total specialist on a small-town paper. Then the lady
who covered county government got sick, and I got moved up. That was kind of
considered a little more prestigious, and I moved over to county government.
1965 and 1966, I think, are the two years that I was out of reporting. It was
somewhere in that time frame.

H: Well, when you did start to cover the school board, what reminiscing do you have
about how they worked and what issues they were dealing with at that time?

E: I do not have any real clear recollection on anything. I mean, money was always
the problem. The community was growing fast and needed new schools and that
kind of thing. I do not have any real sharp recollection on what I even wrote
during those years.

H: Let me ask you if you have any particular recollections of the school board
members who would later be involved with the Kirk involvement? Mrs. Betty
Rushmore was one, Ted Griffin, Dr. Thomas Sprenger.

E: Was Bob Kessler on there?

H: No, I do not think so.

E: Bender?

H: No, it was Griffin, Springer, Rushmore, and I will come up with the other one.

E: Because I am not even going to remember the board members at the time.

H: Do you have any recollections of those people as school board members and
people?

E: Yes. I had not thought about Betty Rushmore in years and years. I had not
thought about Ted Griffin in years and years and years.

H: That is what I am here for.

E: Tom Sprenger, I stayed close friends with him over the years. He just retired not










MCBC 7 page 7

too long ago. Tom and his wife Justine, I stayed up with. Who were the other
two?

H: Rushmore, Griffin, Sprenger. Sprenger was a doctor, right?

E: Hm-mm [yes], an orthopedic.

H: What are your recollections of Betty Rushmore, for example, how she ran the
school board?

E: I do not have any real clear recollections on her. I can picture her in my head, but
I have not thought about Betty Rushmore in thirty years.

H: What about Sprenger, since you kept more in touch with him?

E: Good leader, strong, not afraid to take a stand, nice guy, good sense of humor.
Like I said, we stayed in touch with Tom and Justine through all the years. Used
him professionally a few times, but just stayed in touch. They used to have a
condo right next to where we had one at the beach. Anyway, Tom Sprenger was
a heck of a nice guy, and he tried to do a really good job.

H: Ted Griffin?

E: Ted was not as forceful, as much out front as Tom was. Again, I have not
thought about Ted Griffin in thirty years. I have no clue whether he is even still
alive or not, or Betty Rushmore. I do not remember.

H: I think they are dead.

E: I kind of think so, too.

H: Any impressions of Ken Cleary, the lawyer for the school board?

E: You know, I had forgotten that Ken was lawyer of the school board because Ken
served as lawyer for the county commission during the Republican era with
Bibey and Crist and Klemmer and all. Yes, and I have stayed up with Ken. My
path has not crossed with Ken for quite some time. For example, when my
husband ran for election last time, Ken sent money. You know, we stayed
somewhat in touch. Ken was very bright, very personable. A good lawyer. Level-
headed. See, this was during the time when you had a Republican school board
and a Republican county commission, and it was still kind of a Democratic
county. In fact, everyone thought that was kind of a fluke. Everybody was looking
for those two boards to fall flat on their face, pull some horrible goof, you know,
and Ken kept everything on a pretty even keel.










MCBC 7 page 8

H: A lot of people say that Ken Cleary had sort of an undue influence over the
school board. Did you ever pick up on that in covering it?

E: I do not think that is quite fair. I think they were relying very heavily on Ken
because they were like clay pigeons. The paper was a Democratic paper.
Everybody was laying in wait. So, I think that they probably erred on the side of
caution. I do not think it was a conscious effort on Ken's part or on their part,
either one, for him to have more influence than maybe some might think
necessary. I think it was just because they were sitting there taking potshots, and
I think they were not doing anything without the advice of the attorney. I think
Ken probably did, in the background because, see, Ken was very big in the
Republican party and getting the party going here. I think Ken probably did play a
part behind scenes and strategizing things and that kind of thing. I am sure he
probably did.

H: Did you consider yourself a Claude Kirk supporter before this situation?
I:
E: Not really. I was like so many other people in Florida. I could not figure out where
Claude Kirk was coming from about half the time because half the time I do not
think Claude Kirk knew where he was coming from. I would have still been
registered a Democrat. I did not change over until after that. Do you have any
idea who Claude Kirk ran against?

H: He was challenged by the mayor of Miami at the time, Robert King High.

E: Okay, no, I was a Robert King High supporter. How did I meet Robert King High?
He did something that impressed me very much at one point. My husband did
not like him, but I liked Robert King High. He had principles. Claude Kirk, you
read up [on him]. You know, he did all these off the wall things. Showed up with
Madame X [his girlfriend and later wife]. He was amusing, and I think the press
kind of liked him because he made things lively. They were used to having
dignified people who did dignified things in the governor's mansion, and here
comes this guy out of nowhere and starts doing things like Madame X-type stuff.
No, I was never really a Claude Kirk admirer or supporter, but I was not
adamantly against him. It just was one of those things that was [not] too
important to me.

H: Let us go back, then, to your coverage of the school board and lead up to the
events of 1970. You probably recall that there was a lot of controversy. There
was a lot of litigation going on over the circumstances of the desegregation. A lot
of people were angry because they felt that countywide or districtwide, there was
desegregation that occurred, and yet Judge Krentzmen down in Tampa kept
pushing it because some schools remained all white. Do you remember
coverage of that in the school board meetings?










MCBC 7 page 9

E: Not a lot of it. I really do not. But I think Bradenton and Manatee County thought
they were doing a pretty good job at the time. We were getting the job done
without any hard feelings, without any riots. We really were. I think they felt that
while there might have been a few schools that, say, remained white, it was
because back in those days, these people had grown up with the neighborhood
schools. They did not know anything, the parents. If the neighborhood school is
clear out in northwest Bradenton and the closest black child is ten miles away,
they did not think they were doing anything wrong. So I do not recall any real
hard feelings. See, this was before people came up with brainstorms like bussing
and things like that. I think that Manatee County felt that it had taken down the
barriers, and where it was natural for a school to mix, that was fine. A good
example would probably be Ballard Elementary. On that side in those days, it
was all-white. On this side within a few blocks, it was all black. But here sat
Ballard, so it would be natural for some of these black children to go over there.
And no one was jumping up and down angry, upset, about it, as I recall. But
then, you are right. The judge was Krentzmen. See, I had forgotten that, too.
Thirty years does a lot to your old brain, you know, when you have gone off in
two other careers in the meantime. He just kept pushing it and pushing it. I think
you are right on that. One more thing, one more thing, one more thing. But I think
the community thought that they were doing the right thing. I really do.

H: So you felt that the opposition to the bussing could be legitimately against
bussing and not necessarily anti-African-American?

E: Oh definitely. I do not think it had anything to do with whether those kids were, in
those days, the proper [term] was Negro. I do not think it had anything to do with
that. I think it had to do with dragging kids from one end of the town to the other.
That is exactly what I think it had to do with. I think it had to do with breaking up
the sense of community inside that school, whether you are taking kids out and
putting them clear across town or bringing kids in from clear across town. Your
PTA does not work right. I mean, nothing works right because you have lost that
sense of neighborhood community spirit inside the school. I think that was more
the concern of the parents here locally. I am sure it did not have anything to do
with the color of anybody's skin. It was the disruption of the neighborhood
schools is what they were upset about.

H: Did you have children that were in the school system at this time?

E: Billy, my stepson, was born in 1960, so he would have been in the public school
system. He would have been at Bayshore, but I cannot recall any negative effect
on him.

H: He did not have to ride a bus?

E: No. Then Lillian was born in 1965, and Cindy was born in 1969, so they were not










MCBC 7 page 10

in school.

H: And their schools at Bayshore, for example, were integrated?

E: No black children anywhere around Bayshore, not in any direction. There might
be some now, but back in those days, for miles in any direction there were not
any.

H: Even after the bussing?

E: I do not recall whether they brought kids into Bayshore or they did not.

H: Does the name Fred Baity mean anything to you? He was in charge of the
Freedom of Choice Committee that was combating the bussing situation. There
were also other groups such as the SONS, the Save Our Neighborhood Schools,
that sort of sprang up.

E: I am sure I dealt with Mr. Baity many a time back in those days, but I do not
recall him.

H: How about Maurice Fleming?

E: He used to write a lot of letters to the editor.

H: I have heard that about him.

E: Yes. That is all I know about Maurice Fleming. Some conservative group...

H: Citizens' Councils?

E: Was he with Jimmy Harrison and the citizens' council?

H: Yes.

E: Okay. I am not sure I ever met the man.

H: Did the Citizens' Council have much of a presence in Manatee County?

E: No, it was almost, I started to say laughable but maybe that is going a little bit too
far. No, it was just...

H: Out on the side, basically?

E: Yes. Bradenton was very mainstream. You had Jimmy Harrison and the Citizens'
Council a little bit over on the right, I guess, but the majority of the people here










MCBC 7 page 11

were just middle-of-the-road people.

H: There was this week where Claude Kirk had intervened in the Manatee County
school situation. I notice that most of the bylines in the Bradenton Herald were
done by Duncan Groner, but your name does appear here and there. How
extensively were you involved in covering this whole situation? I mean, it was a
school board matter.

E: Let me explain Duncan Groner to you, okay?

H: Please.

E: You are young. I do not know whether you might have ever heard of a fellow
named Jack Anderson. They called him a muckraker. He wrote a Washington D.
C. column, Borderline Ethical. Duncan Groner for a number of years had worked
with Jack Anderson, so he was that type of reporter. Duncan was not any spring
chicken. How he went all the way from reporting with Jack Anderson to the
Bradenton Herald, I was never quite sure. He and I had several discussions
during this time because that was my beat. I covered it day in and day out. I
covered the stuff that was boring. You know, I sat through the meetings. But he
kept pushing himself in, and that is what you were seeing. He would take another
angle or whatever.

H: What sort of angle?

E: I would be covering what was going on that morning at the standoff, and I would
get back and here is Duncan writing something else. I had several discussions
with the managing editor, I am sure, at the time and several discussions with
Duncan. This was smelling blood for him and he could not stay away, so he kept
pushing into my business. I was not real thrilled at the time. I really was not. I will
tell you who else was obnoxious at the time, was the national press. Obnoxious.
They were, again, like a feeding frenzy. I remember one day-and the old school
board building is where the new one is right across the street here now-we were
all standing there. We had been told that the governor was finally going to come
out and make a statement. He had been locked in the superintendent's office for
a couple days at this point or something. So, the whole national press was there.
Myself and a couple of others, you know, we had been covering this thing
through thick and thin, through all the boring stuff. We are standing there waiting,
and suppose he is supposed to come out at, say, 10:00 or something. The door
cracked and this guy, I want to say from ABC...I better not say which network. It
has been so many years, but it was one of the networks. With this great big
camera on his shoulder pushes me, I mean, almost knocks me down standing
there with my notepad. Well, he was too big for me to argue with, really, but I
thought, you son of a gun, you come to town, you know. So, do not get mad, get
even. So, when the door cracked, whoever came out was one of the aides or










MCBC 7 page 12

someone. He was not the governor. By this time, he was behind me, so I
stepped back, in these high heels that were about that high and they were about
that big around, and stepped on that poor man's foot and just gave him a little
sweet smile and walked away. No, that was just Duncan smelling a big story and
trying to horn in continuously. We fought that whole week over it.

H: Did you feel that his sort of muckraking background intruded on how he
portrayed the events? Did you detect that sort of bias when you read his
columns?

E: He was just that kind of reporter, period, whether it was on this event or anything.
He was always looking for the negative in everything. He was just sure that
everybody was doing horrible things. He fancied himself one of the finest
investigative reporters before there was such a thing called an investigative
reporter. It was just his personality.

H: Just to walk you through the events of that week, I would like to get all your
memories that you can dredge up in regards to that. We can start with, it was
Sunday night, April 5, that there was a meeting with the board, Davidson, and
some aides were there, I think. Lieutenant Governor Osborne came down and
read the executive order that suspended them initially. This was at the
administration building, from what I understand. Now, that is a good starting
point, but before that, as I understand, the board had gone to Tallahassee to
meet with Governor Kirk. Do you remember anything about that?

E: No, I do not. I do know it was a Sunday, late afternoon. I did not know how I was
going to manage to get a couple of minutes to myself, but I was. My mother had
gotten Bill a subscription to Playboy for Christmas. The new issue had just come
in. I fixed a cold drink, grabbed the Playboy, went out the backdoor and got in
the chaise lounge, was going to sit there in the sun. It was late afternoon, I want
to say maybe 4:00 or something like that. And read and get a little sun for a few
minutes. Now, with three kids, I do not know how I was going to do that, but I
was. The phone rang, and it was one of my good contacts at the school board
and said, Jane, you need to get up here. There is something big going down. I
got out of my shorts and into to my dress and went up, and that is what was
going down. You know, I did not remember this thing about Osborne reading the
thing. Thirty years, you know, I should remember that. One thing I do remember
about it, because I have thought about it in the years since. The atmosphere that
night, at first, was like it was a big joke, ha ha ha. A circus atmosphere,
everybody kidding about, not taking anything seriously at all. I mean, I would
have thought, thinking back, that if the governor came in and suspended the
entire board, that is something to take seriously. But they were not. Everybody
was laughing and joking. It was a carnival atmosphere.

H: Do you think they were expecting to be suspended?










MCBC 7 page 13

E: I do not know.

H: So, presumably, you went around trying to meet with people to get some
reactions...

E: I am sure I did.

H: ...on what was going on. Did that carnival atmosphere, sort of, prevail?

E: I do not know how long it went on.

H: Was there ever, sort of, a regrouping?

E: At some point, it flipped over and became a serious thing, but I do not know what
the time interval was there. But when it initially happened, it was a ha ha kind of
thing.

H: The next morning, Governor Kirk himself comes down and opens the offices at
7:35 as the new superintendent of Bradenton. Were you there covering that,
presumably?

E: Was I there at 7:30 in the morning? I do not know.

H: But that day?

E: Oh yes, during the day obviously. He closed the doors and locked the doors of
the superintendent's office, and he stayed in there. I do not know whether he
came out in the middle of the night when we all went home or what.

H: Well, some people said that he was strolling around, meeting with the employees
and chatting with them.

E: The first several days, I do not recall any of that. I remember being camped out,
sitting on the stairwell. Everybody else had gone to lunch. This was about,
maybe, the second or third day, and it was starting to get a little boring, standing
around all day long, waiting for this guy to come out or say something or do
something or whatever. I remember one day, maybe the third or fourth day,
something like that, there was not anybody else around. I remember just sitting
on the old wooden stairwell just outside the door, holding a vigil. I was the only
one there. But I do not recall him coming out of that office. I really do not. Now, I
can be wrong. But everybody stood around for hours.

H: Well, you said those first couple of days were pretty boring. There was not
anything to do?










MCBC 7 page 14

E: What can you write? Governor Kirk remains barricaded in... you know?

H: Do you remember talking to any of the staff?

E: No.

H: I know you said you had a good relationship with Colonel Phillip Doyle, or even
Bill Bashaw, the other assistant superintendent.

E: I had good relations with him. I am sure I might have talked to him during that
time. I just do not recall. If I did, I would have written about anything that they told
me. But I do not recall.

H: So it was pretty boring, basically.

E: It was, and then after several days, he did come out with Sheriff [of Manatee
County Richard] Weitzenfeld ready with him, and the press all around him. I
remember going across the school administration lawn. Where did he go from
there? I do not remember. Reporters hollering questions and Weitzenfeld
thinking he was Secret Service or something, you know, enjoying every minute of
it. I do not recall the end of that scene in my head, but at some point, he did
come out of the office.

H: What are your impressions of Sheriff Weitzenfeld?

E: Do not even get me started.

H: That good, huh? A brief synopsis, then.

E: He was appointed. He was retired military. Actually, he did not like me any better
than I liked him, so it was fair. He threatened to put me in jail one day because I
refused to divulge my source. I told him if he had to rely on a twenty-something-
year-old girl reporter for his investigations, he needed to get some new
detectives. Some smart answer, you know. No love lost there at all. In fact, I
think I asked him some smartass question that day, going across the lawn. He
had some big gun strapped on his hip or something, and I said something about
packing a gun or something, I do not know. Weitzenfeld and I were not buddy-
buddies.

H: What did you make of his relationship with Kirk? Was he enjoying the press that
he was getting?

E: Oh, he was a big cheese. I mean, we had ABC and CBS and NBC. Oh, he was
strutting around like a peacock. He thought he was hot stuff.










MCBC 7 page 15

H: And he enjoyed covering Governor Kirk so closely in the situation.

E: I do not know whether he worked with Governor Kirk so closely. I think he was
just thrust into a spotlight being in that place at that time.

H: Were you involved in covering any of the hearings in Judge Krentzmen's court?

E: No, I do not recall ever going. I would have remembered going to the federal
courthouse. I do not remember ever covering any of that, no.

H: Did you have any contact with Governor Kirk's aides at all?

E: I do not remember.

H: One of them, the educational consultant or the man in charge, was Dr. William
Maloy. There was also Lloyd Hagaman.

E: Okay, now, Lloyd Hagaman is local.

H: You know, someone had told me that he was in North Carolina, but then
someone else told me that he was back in Bradenton.

E: Well, a lot of Bradenton people have places in North Carolina. Lloyd was in
charge of the PAL [Police Athletic League] program [in Manatee County]. Did I
hear that Lloyd retired not long ago? You can track him down through the
sheriff's office. In fact, he might be in the phone book.

H: So, were you closer to him since he was a local boy?

E: See, I knew him. This Maloy, that name is not ringing any bell at all. Now at the
time, I might have interviewed him or attended a press conference. But no, no
memory is there at all with him.

H: So, go ahead and speak about Lloyd Hagaman.

E: I had forgotten that he was even involved in that. I really had.

H: Did he talk to you at all since you had that connection?

E: I am sure he did. I mean, he was someone that I knew here. But what we talked
about, what we said, whether I wrote anything that he said, I do not recall.

H: Robert Dooley Hoffman was another aide.

E: Hm-mm [no].










MCBC 7 page 16

H: Robert Warner.

E: Hm-mm [no].

H: Do you remember them being a presence? Were they out and around while you
were waiting for the Governor, or were they barricaded in as well?

E: I do not recall them being out and mingling with employees or reporters or
anything. I do not recall it. I am not saying it did not happen. I just do not recall it.

H: Just to sort of take you back, some of the basic chronology, Monday, Kirk took
over Davidson's office. Tuesday, Krentzmen ordered a hearing in Tampa, which
Kirk missed because he had to go to Tallahassee to open the legislature and
give the state of the state legislature address. It was on Tuesday that a
restraining order was served in Bradenton to Hagaman because Kirk was not
there. Is that ringing any bells?

E: Hm-mm [no].

H: What happened then was that the Kirk suspension order had been turned over
because they said there was no legal force behind it. Wednesday, April 8,
Davidson was actually ordered to take back control of the schools by Judge
Krentzmen. I think that would have been at nighttime. Would you have been
covering that?

E: If it was happening, I was covering it.

H: You were pulling some long days there. You do not remember Davidson coming
back and reclaiming his office?

E: I remember being up in the school board meeting room at night. Was it that
night? Was it the original night? Because it all started happening, I want to say,
maybe 5:00, 6:00.

H: Sunday night, yes.

E: Was I there two times at night? Because the school board met during the day.
They met in the morning. For me to have been there in the dark, whether I was
there two nights or not, I do not know.

H: Certainly, you were very bored during the non-action going on. What were other
people doing? Did the staff seem like they had something to do? Were they just
sort of milling around, confused?

E: I think, as far as staff, life went on pretty much as normal. Accounts payable was










MCBC 7 page 17

paying the bills, and payroll was doing whatever they did behind all those doors
in that old building. I do not recall any great disruption.

H: It was Wednesday night, then, after Davidson had taken back his role, that he
had to give the office up to Maloy and Hagaman again because Claude Kirk re-
suspended them in further defiance. Then, Thursday, April 9, was sort of in some
ways pinnacle to the whole situation where the confrontations between the
marshals occurred trying to serve the governor and his aides in the office. Were
you there when that confrontation took place?

E: I am sure I was. I was there for the duration, but it is not bringing back any vivid
memories.

H: There are a lot of differing recollections of what exactly happened, so anything
that you can remember would be important. Some people say that the marshals
came to serve, and they met for a brief time with the aides and Weitzenfeld and
the sheriff's deputies. This is according to the newspaper accounts. After that
initial meeting, the aides withdrew into the superintendent's office and barricaded
themselves, and then there was this confrontation with the marshals trying to get
through the door in order to finish their job. Do you remember anything of this?

E: No, I do not, and I would have been there.

H: Do you remember seeing the marshals?

E: I remember the marshals being around. Does that have, do you suppose, some
connection to my recollection of trooping across the lawn with Weitzenfeld with
his big gun on, which I had never seen him carry a gun before. That is why I
asked the question of him. Was that part of that confrontation? I do not recall
where they went. Did they get in the car? Did they go back in the office? I do not
recall. I just remember doing it, you know, in a whole herd of reporters screaming
questions kind of thing. That is all I remember.

H: How much police presence was there, exactly? Weitzenfeld had his deputies
attending as well.

E: I do not recall an overwhelming police presence.

H: Florida Highway patrolmen?

E: I do not recall them being there. That is not saying they were not sitting right
there.

H: You might remember at this time that with the showdown between the marshals,
it later came out that there had been a quote, something to the effect that Kirk










MCBC 7 page 18

was attributed to saying that he would be willing to use force to combat force in
maintaining his position in the administration building. Do you remember the
hubbub over that?

E: No.

H: The next day, Friday, the marshals were able to serve notice, and it was Friday
night that Kirk gradually slipped out of the building. Do you remember any of the
details about what actually happened with his withdrawal?

E: That is what I think I remember going across the lawn with all the reporters
screaming questions and Weitzenfeld. I think that was the end of it. That is what
I think it was. I think that is when he left.

H: Did you know that he was giving up, or were you just trying to get him to answer
questions while he was there in front of you?

E: I do not remember.

H: Do you remember at this time, Krentzmen had levied the contempt of court fine
on him, so Kirk was being fined heavily each day that he was not complying with
the judge's orders.

E: I do not recall.

H: That weekend, Governor Kirk issued a statement claiming victory in how he had
handled the entire situation. Do you remember, any recollections of how that
played out or your response to that?

E: I am sure I would have covered it.

H: It was a television address, so you might not.

E: I am sure you would have to go back and look, but I would think that if he said
something like that my first inclination would be to get local reaction to it kind of
thing and write the story from a local perspective. But I do not recall.

H: What is your assessment of people's support or non-support for this situation?

E: I feel you had your group of, for lack of a better word, cheerleaders, that the
governor had come riding in on his white horse and, you know, is going to save
our children from being dragged all over town. A lot of people were not paying
too much attention to it. When he went away, as I remember, we calmly went
about our business and got on with getting the schools desegregated. There was
probably a little furor for a couple days, and then something else made the news










MCBC 7 page 19

and Kirk went off into history. I do not recall it being any major thing. People in
town, of course, were talking about the governor is here barricaded in the
superintendent's office, the school board is suspended, and it is all over the
national press. So, you were paying some attention to it. I am not saying people
were ignoring it, but it was not any great [deal]. People were not rallying around.
Some of your more vocal people probably were at the time, but I do not
remember it being [totally disruptive]

H: I understand there were some pretty energetic protests and marches by African-
Americans, protesting the situation. Did that add to the whole atmosphere?

E: I do not even remember any marches, and I am not saying they did not happen,
again. Thirty years is just a long time, you know.

H: Did you continue to deal with the school board, even when, technically speaking,
they were out of office?

E: I am sure we all did. You know, had contact with Tom or whatever. I mean, if I
would have seen Tom Sprenger, I would have said, have you heard anything,
Tom? Has he told anybody when he is coming out of the office? What happens
from this point on? I was a reporter. I would have been asking questions if I saw
a board member, but whether I actually did or did not or whether they all went
home and stayed there until the thing was over, I do not remember.

H: I know that at least some of the board members and Mr. Cleary were involved in
trying to work with the Florida legislature, trying to have something with which to
combat Kirk. Do you remember any of the details of that?

E: [No].
H: Some people have suggested that this whole situation was in large part a clash
of egos between Governor Kirk and Judge Krentzmen? Would you agree or
disagree with that statement?

E: I do not know. I never saw Judge Krentzmen in my life and know nothing about
his relationship with Claude Kirk. I do not know.

H: Did you sort of pick up with your reporter's nose any sense of behind the scenes
involvement with the justice department and the Nixon administration?

E: No. If there was any, I was not aware of it.

H: I want to talk a little bit about the whole public relations and the press in this
situation. A lot of people in Bradenton, apparently from the newspaper accounts,
were dismayed because they felt that the national news coverage was skewing
events, that Bradenton was being portrayed as being anti-desegregation when,










MCBC 7 page 20

in fact, they were just anti-bussing. Can you comment on that a little?

E: I think that is accurate, as we talked earlier. This whole thing, as far as
Bradenton was concerned, for the vast majority-yes, you got people on the
fringe on both sides-was not about the color of anybody's skin. It was the fact
that they did not want their children put on a bus at 6:35 in the morning, hauled
clear across town north county somewhere in a strange neighborhood, and they
did not want kids from that strange neighborhood, and they were concerned
about those kids. They did not think it was fair to those kids either to be put on a
bus at 6:30 in the morning or something and dragged clear across town over
here. That was the point. It was the method. It had nothing to do with
desegregation, nothing. It was the method that was being forced that the people
did not like. If they could have come up with some other magic potion to
accomplish perfect desegregation without disrupting all these kids, no one in
Bradenton would have had a problem with it. Or, again, the vast majority would
not have had a problem with it. It was just total disruption of thousands of
children on both sides that they did not agree with. As I mentioned earlier, they
did not agree with the destruction of the community neighborhood schools with
your strong PTA. Because that is what happened. When these kids got taken
clear over there, parents did not follow them into the PTA and work to raise
funds to buy playground equipment or whatever. It just did not happen, so you
did not have that tightknit community and the help and the assistance of the
parents in the schools. That was a very disruptive factor. That is where they were
coming from.

H: Do you think that the school board could have handled this differently, in terms of
the press and the public relations?

E: That is a question for Solomon. You know, whatever situation you find yourself
in, you are doing the best you can. When you get that old 20/20 hindsight, well,
maybe if we had done this or maybe if we had done that. I think they were trying
to do the best they could. I really do. They were all conscientious people. Good
people, good citizens. They were trying to do a job, and if it did not turn out quite
right.

H: What did you think of how Governor Kirk handled the press and the publicity
arising from this incident?

E: How do you answer that? I think it was more a big publicity stunt for Governor
Kirk. He loved the limelight. He loved being flamboyant. He loved doing things
that people did not expect. I mean, nobody expected the governor to fly in here
on a Sunday night and suspend the school board, the superintendent, and take
over the schools and barricade himself in the office. I think, surely, he knew
going into it that he could not win it. I mean, what was he going to do? Spend the
rest of his four-year term sitting in this old red brick building over here on










MCBC 7 page 21

Manatee Avenue? I mean, excuse me. What was going to be gained by it, other
than publicity? Grandstanding. That is where I think he was coming from.

H: What is interesting is that Governor Kirk accused the press of not giving fair
coverage to his handling of the crisis and the events.

E: For crying out loud, the guy sat barricaded in an office, did not talk to us the
whole time. What were we supposed to do? No. If during that time he would
have had a press conference, I do not care if it was a prepared statement, I do
not care how he does it, the press would have more than willing to present his
views or his quotes. The guy stayed barricaded in the office.

H: You do not remember any sort of press connection with him?

E: I remember when he came out with Weitzenfeld and the marshals there, the
same day that I am talking about going across the lawn. But that was one of
those things, you have seen it with the president and he is on his way to the
helicopter across the White House lawn. The press is [shouting], Mr. President, if
you talk to the prime minister of Israel, and the others, Mr. President, what about
such [and such]. It was one of those kind of scenes. No, if he did not like the way
the press handled his side of the story, he never bothered to tell his side of the
story. It is just that simple.

H: So, you did not feel there was any interaction between the press and the Kirk
administration, either through Kirk directly or through his aides.

E: If there was, it was not very much. It certainly was not an open-door policy kind
of thing.

H: A lot of people have felt that the coverage of this incident in the newspapers and
even national magazines like Time and Newsweek was somewhat
sensationalized.

E: It was a flamboyant event. Just in itself, it was a flamboyant event.

H: So, it lent itself to sensationalism. Do you think that the sensationalism might
have arisen in part from the fact that there was not that much to report on?

E: That might help a little bit, too. It was a dull news day. A little bit ago, you were
saying about a quote from Kirk supposedly, about willing to use force. The
thought that went through my head when you said that, because I never heard
that, it sounded to me like some reporter at some point got some little picayune
thing and maybe pulled it out of context a little bit or something. Then all of a
sudden, you have this governor willing to use force! I thought that quote might
have been a little bit of a...and it may have been totally true. But the thought










MCBC 7 page 22

went through my head when you said, it sounded to me like some bored reporter
picked one thing and hung their hat on it to create a story for the day. The minute
you mention something like the word force...

H: That grabs some attention.

E: Yes. I may be being unfair. That may be exactly what he said and maybe exactly
the way he said it, that I will use force if, you know. It also may not have been. It
may have been the prodigy of a slow news day.

H: That perhaps might give credence to the fact that Kirk felt that he was
misrepresented by the press, even though perhaps he did not actively involve
himself in trying to present his case.

E: If you do not tell your side of the story, the press cannot tell your side of the story
for you. It is just that simple. Most reporters are honest, decent, credible. But you
got some of them out there running around loose. The worst thing that ever
happened to this country was Woodward and Bernstein [journalists from the
Washington Post who broke the Watergate story], the worst thing that ever
happened to journalism. Every snotnosed kid out of J-school [journalism school]
is going to be Woodward and Bernstein. They do not understand that they are
going to spend many, many hours covering boring meetings, sitting there hour
after hour discussing blah. They are all going to go and bring down a president,
or bring down a mayor or bring down a governor, do the great expose, and it is
not that way. I had some exciting times as a news reporter, I mean, really get
your adrenaline flowing, because I have covered everything. But I spent many a
day sitting through county commission meetings doing crossword puzzles just to
keep my sanity. So that there is some degree of that, too. You got good
reporters. You got some who are not so good, are not so professional, maybe, is
the word.

H: Comment a little on the Bradenton Heralds reaction to this whole situation. What
was sort of the climate at the newspaper while this was going on with Governor
Kirk? The editorials were consistently pretty stern against Kirk.

E: Because in the newspaper's editorials, I think they viewed it that even if he is the
governor, it does not give you license to break the law and to do things like
barricade yourself in the school superintendent's office. In fact, I think they kind
of almost felt that he was setting a bad example. But editorial policy at the paper
never affected what I did, never.

H: Sure.

E: It was probably [John] Hamner [editor of the Herald], at the time, could write
whatever we wanted to in his office. I always tried very hard to do nothing but the










MCBC 7 page 23

facts, you know, not let any personal leak in, not any slanting any which way.
People would say, Jane, you are such a good writer. I would say, no, I am not a
good writer. I am a good reporter. That is what I was. I was not a flamboyant
writer. That was not what I was there for. I was there to take that event, whatever
it was, and put it down on paper so the people over here can see what
happened.

H: Do you think the fact that the publisher was Democrat had much to do with...?

E: No. I do not think as much. It did not help anything because the Bradenton
Herald was still holding out being a Democratic paper in a community that was
rapidly becoming a Republican community. They found themselves out of step
on more than one occasion, but I do not think that actively had...no. It certainly
did not have anything to do with what appeared on the news pages.

H: Did Manatee County support Kirk in his next election after this?

E: I do not remember. They might have because by that time, it was really switching
Republican, and these were all outsiders. These were Midwesterners flowing in
from Michigan, you know, that vote Republican come hell-or-high-water. Their
granddaddy voted Republican, and they do not care who is running on the
Republican ticket. So, we might have gone for Kirk the next election. Bob Sweat,
the supervisor of elections, could tell you that. I do not recall, but it would have
been a blind thing, not because of the way [Kirk] handled this. It would be
because they vote Republican, boom, down the line.

H: Yes, I should have brought it. Did you feel that race relations were affected by
the whole standoff with Governor Kirk? Could you see a difference after?

E: I do not think so. I mean, no community back in those days, because, you see, it
had not been that many years at all since things were changed. I remember
distinctly the two water fountains at the courthouse. I distinctly remember it.
There was a little white basin about this big around, and it said Colored, and it
was not cooled. Then there was the stainless steel, aluminum whatever, next to
it that said White Only, that was nice and cool when you took a drink out of it.
There had been a lot of changed. The race relations, they were not bad, but it
was separate. Not sounding prejudiced or anything, but back in those days, and
we are talking not too many years before this whole situation, black men walking
down my street in west Bradenton. If a police officer happened to go down the
street, he would have stopped him and questioned him. It was separate. There
was no friction. It was not friction. But the maids came and worked west
Bradenton, and they left and went back over to the east side. This whole thing, to
understand it, I think you have to know what led up to it. We were slowly making
progress. The symbol of the water fountains, it was gone. We had done it all
without having major problems of any kind, and I think we would have probably










MCBC 7 page 24

succeeded in going through with the desegregation all the way without any
problems of any kind, except for this flamboyant act of the governor. But I do not
recall any changes afterwards in any way because he came down and did this.
The courts told us the next step we had to do, and we did it. Again, this was not
a racial issue. It just was not. It was disrupting the children's lives in schooling
and neighborhoods. That was the issue. It was not just the white parents. A lot of
the black parents were not thrilled about having their kids dragged miles away.
The whole method was not a popular method. The bussing was not a popular
method with anybody. There might have been a few more militant people who
said, well, whatever it takes to reach our goal, yes, we will put our children
through this, whatever. I do not even remember hearing that sentiment, but I am
sure there were some. No, Bradenton's race relations had always been [good].

H: How did the black people who were against bussing, how did they manifest their
protest? I mean, how did you become aware of that?

E: I do not recall anything as far as any formal-type thing and I cannot tell you
anybody specifically whom I talked to back then, but there were parents who
were concerned that their children, instead of walking two blocks to school at
8:00 in the morning, were going to get put on a bus at 6:30 in the morning and
dragged clear across the county.

H: What significance do you think this situation has for Florida history and for even
American history in the 20/20 hindsight that everybody is fond of using?

E: Great social historical importance? None. Claude Kirk came down here, created
a big sensation, put everything in an uproar, did not change a thing. Bradenton
was the same town when he left as it was when he got here. The judge still
issued the same order. The bussing went on. It did not change a thing. So, in the
big picture of history, it was a grandstand play by Governor Kirk that did not
accomplish anything and did not change anything.

H: Worth a footnote, huh?

E: An asterisk.

H: There were a lot of comparisons at this time comparing Governor Kirk to Orval
Faubus, George Wallace, Ross Barnett [segregationist governors and
demagogues of Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi, respectively]?

E: I think the others were more committed segregationists. They grew up in that
society. That is how they grew up. That is what they knew. They thought they
were doing the right thing. George Wallace, Faubus, they grew up in a society
that they were trying to protect their way of life as they knew it. However
misguided they were, they were segregationists. I do not think Claude Kirk was a










MCBC 7 page 25

segregationist. I really do not. I think he was more being flamboyant. Maybe he
thought he was playing the great white leader role by coming down here and
doing what, I do not know. No, I do not think he was coming from the same place
they were. Now, that is just me. I just do not think so.

H: Do you have any of your notes from your coverage of this?

E: Are you kidding?

H: Did you pitch them?

E: As soon as the notebook is done, it is gone and you go on to the next one.

H: It was worth a try.

E: Yes. No, out of all the how many thousands stories do you suppose I wrote in
almost twenty years?

H: It would probably take a couple file cabinets, I would imagine. Yes.

E: Hm-mm [yes]. In fact, I probably did not even have any clippings. In our drawers
somewhere at home, there might be a clipping of something here or there that
survived but not for this reason. Now, we did get the Associated Press state
award for the coverage of this. I understand that there is still a plaque of some
kind hanging up at the Bradenton Herald, but if I ever saw it, I guess I would
have seen it at the time. I have not seen it in years, but someone told me that
several years ago. Oh, the Bradenton Herald, I saw where you won the
Associated Press award. I said, oh Lord, I had forgotten that. That is ancient
history. That is twenty something years old.

H: Was that for your coverage or for Duncan Groner's coverage?

E: Actually, Duncan and I both got it, as I recall.

H: Were you pleased that you had gotten that award, or were you dismayed that
you had to share it with him?

E: I was not thrilled to share it with him. Do not get me started on Duncan. But no,
he did provide some of the coverage, and I provided the other part. At twenty
something years old, an Associated Press award was not too shabby.

H: You said that Duncan Groner is not alive? Do you know where he moved from
here?

E: No. I lost total track of him. He was not one of my favorite people. Duncan










MCBC 7 page 26

Groner was hard to like. He truly was. As a person, he was hard to like. Tell you
a funny story. He smoked, but he smoked other people's cigarettes. There was a
little gal reporter. She was older than I was, but she was tiny, is maybe how I
should say it. Named Betty Trovenger. He would go past Betty's desk, and he
never just took one. He would take two. Put one behind his ear and light one up.
He hit [up; that is, stole from] Betty more than he hit me, but he would come by
my desk and, like I said, never took just one. It was always at least two,
sometimes one behind the ear, one in the shirt pocket and one in the mouth. So,
Betty and I got together, and she went out and bought some rolling papers. We
bought cayenne pepper, we emptied the pencil sharpener, and I forget what else
we put in it, but those were the two main ingredients, and we rolled a couple
packs of cigarettes and put them on our desk. Duncan came through, and he
happened to hit my desk. I am typing away, writing a story, and I just kind of
looked over. One behind the ear, and he started down the hallway and lit it up,
and he about died. He about died. He choked. He never hit up Betty and I for
cigarettes again. We taught him.

H: On that note, unless you have any concluding memories on personalities or
events, this will conclude the interview. Thank you very much.

E: Okay.

[End of Interview.]





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