Title: Political mobilization in the rural South
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098072/00001
 Material Information
Title: Political mobilization in the rural South a case study of Gadsden County, Florida
Physical Description: xii, 206 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Parker, Paige Alan, 1947-
Publication Date: 1980
Copyright Date: 1980
Subject: Politics and government -- Gadsden County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Race relations -- Gadsden County (Fla.)   ( lcsh )
Political Science thesis Ph. D   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 197-205.
Statement of Responsibility: by Paige Alan Parker.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098072
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000098514
oclc - 06773330
notis - AAL3961


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Any study that is based primarily on data gathered in the field

relies totally on numerous individuals who choose to cooperate, some-

times at considerable inconvenience to themselves. Especially when the

study seeks to probe dramatic social change, emotions may run high and

individuals may suspect the intentions of the researcher and the uses

to which the information they provide may be put. Under these condi-

tions, the cooperation of the people of Gadsden County in the conduct of

this study was exceptional. Leaders in both the white and black commu-

nities assisted fully in whatever ways they could. The researcher

greatly appreciated this cooperation. The patience and cooperation of

the individual black citizens who were chosen to participate in the

study, again, was commendable. This study would have been impossible

without them.

Appreciation is also due my dissertation chairman, Professor

James W. Button. It was through him that I became aware of Gadsden

County, and it was with his encouragement and assistance that I was

able to organize my thinking that eventually coalesced into this study.

Professor John S. Fitch, III served a vital role in the development

of my theoretical orientation to this study, acting as a sounding

board and offering timely advice.

Not to be forgotten were the interviewers who put in the long

hours, seeking out respondents, calling back numerous times when the

person was not at home, and taking great pains to get the information

correct. They were, alphabetically: Lindsey Anderson, Thad Fortune,

Diane Harrison, Crown McNeil, Patricia Miller, Phyllis Simmons, Barbara

White, and Reginald Yates.

A special thanks goes to my wife, Marilyn, whose weary fingers

cranked out numerous drafts and the final copy and whose sharp eye

caught my frequent errors.




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS . . . . . . . . .. . ii

LIST OF TABLES . . . . . . . .... .... vi

LIST OF FIGURES . . . . . . . . ... . ix

KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS. . . . . . . . . . x

ABSTRACT. . . . . . . . . ... . . xi


Political Mobilization in Rural Society . . . . 1
A Model of Political Mobilization . . . . . 3
Limitations of the Model. ............. 8
Chapter One Notes . . . . . . . . .. 10

TWO METHODOLOGY ....................... 12

Gadsden County As a Case Study. . . . . ... 12
The Data Base . . . . . . . . ... .. 14
Survey Data . . . . . . . . .... 14
Leader Interviews . . . . . . . ... 19
Newspaper Analysis. . . . . . . . ... 20
Some Methodological Questions . . . . . .. 20
Chapter Two Notes . . . . . . . .... 23


Black Political Organizations in the United States. .. 26
CORE and the First Mobilization Period (1963-1966). .. 28
The Second Mobilization Period (1970-1972). . . ... 35
Mobilization in Gretna. . . . . .... . 39
Outsiders in Gadsden County: An Evaluation . . .. 41
Chapter Three Notes . . . . . ....... 47


Black Aspirations and the Federal Government. ... . 52
Governmental Intervention in Gadsden County . . .. 56
Outside Governmental Support in Gadsden County:
An Evaluation ............. . . . 63
Conclusion. . . . . . . . . ... . . 65
Chapter Four Notes. . .. . . . . . . 66


An Overview ................... ... 74
Black Leadership in Quincy. . . . . . . ... 75
Black Leadership in Gretna. . . . . . . ... 86
Black Leadership in Greensboro and Sawdust. . . ... 91
Gadsden County Black Leaders Compared . . . .. 93
Conclusion. . . . . . . . . ... . . 97
Chapter Five Notes. . . . . . . . . .. 101

POLITICAL MOBILIZATION. . . . . . . . ... 103

Political Participation and Political Awareness . .. 106
Physical and Economic Sanctions . . . . ... 111
Organizational Involvement. . . . . . . ... 118
Chapter Six Notes . . . . . . . . ... 128


Relative Deprivation: Theory and Measurement .... 130
Relative Deprivation in Gadsden County. . . . ... 134
Outlook Perception and Relative Deprivation . . .. 138
Group Consciousness and Relative Deprivation. .... 147
Conclusion. . . . . . . . .... ..... 151
Chapter Seven Notes . . . . . . . ... 155

EIGHT CONCLUSION. . . . . . . . . ... ..... 157

Principal Findings. . . . . . . . ... 157
Political Mobilization As a Process . . . ... 162
The Success of Political Mobilization . . . ... 164
Chapter Eight Notes . . . . . . . .... 168


A RANDOM SAMPLE SURVEY. .................. 170


SUBORDINATE RESIDENTS . . . . . . . .... 192

RESIDENTS . . . . . . . . . . . 194

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . . . . . . ... . . 206



2:1 Production of Cigar-Wrapper Tobacco in Florida and
Georgia, 1959-1976 . . . . . . . .... . .14

2:2 Stratified Random Sample Data for Selected Gadsden
County Communities . . . . . . . .... . .18

5:1 General Characteristics of Gadsden County Black Leaders
and Surveyed Residents . . . . . . . ... 76

5:2 General Characteristics of Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL
Factions . . . . . . . . .. . . . 78

5:3 Economic Dependency of Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL
Factions . . . . . . . ... .... . 80

5:4 Ideological Orientation of Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL
Factions . . . . . . . ... .. . . 80

5:5 Political Orientation of Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL
Factions . . . . . . . ... ... . 82

5:6 Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL Factions' Evaluation of
Political Strategies . . . . . . . .... 83

5:7 General Characteristics of Gretna Richardson and
Barkley Factions . . . . . . . . ... ... 89

5:8 Ideological Orientation of Gretna Richardson and
Barkley Factions . . . . . . . . ... ... 90

5:9 Political Orientation of Gretna Richardson and
Barkley Factions . . . . . . . .. .... 90

5:10 Gretna Richardson and Barkley Factions' Evaluation
of Political Strategies. . . . . . . . ... 91

5:11 General Characteristics of Gadsden County Black
Leaders By Community . . . . . . . .. 94

5:12 Quincy and Gretna Black Leaders' Evaluation of
Political Strategies . . . . . . . ... 96

5:13 Ideological Orientation of Quincy and Gretna Black
Leaders. . . . . . . . . ... ...... 97

6:1 Gadsden County Political Participation Scale ...... 107

6:2 Political Participation and Political Awareness By
Gadsden County Black Community. . . . . . . ... 110

6:3 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and General Population
Characteristics for Gadsden County Black Residents. ... 112

6:4 Economic Dependency Frequencies for Gadsden County and
Separate Community Black Residents. . . . . . ... 114

6:5 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Economic Dependency
for Gadsden County and Separate Community Black Residents 115

6:6 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Economic Dependency
for Gadsden County Black Residents, Controlling for
Income and Education. . . . . . . . . ... 116

6:7 Level of Formal and Informal Organizational Involvement
of Gadsden County Black Population By Community . . .. 120

6:8 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Formal Organization
for Gadsden County and Separate Community Black Residents 122

6:9 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Formal Organization
for Gadsden County Black Residents, Controlling for
Income and Education. . . . . . . . . ... 123

6:10 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Informal Organization
for Gadsden County and Separate Community Black Residents 124

6:11 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Informal Organization
for Gadsden County Black Residents, Controlling for
Income and Education. . . . . . . . . ... 126

7:1 Frequencies of Present Deprivation and Past Deprivation
for Gadsden County and Separate Community Black Residents 137

7:2 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Present Deprivation
and Past Deprivation for Gadsden County and Separate
Community Black Residents . . . . . . . ... 138

7:3 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Present Deprivation
and Past Deprivation for Gadsden County Black Residents,
Controlling for Income and Education. . . . . ... 139


7:4 Frequencies of Direction of Change Variables for
Gadsden County Black Residents. . . . . . . .141

7:5 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Outlook Perception
Direction of Change Variables for Gadsden County Black
Residents ..... . . . . . . . . . 143

7:6 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Present Deprivation
and Past Deprivation for Gadsden County Black Residents,
Controlling for Outlook Perception Direction of Change. . 144

7:7 Frequencies of Outlook Perception Magnitude of Change
Variables for Gadsden County Black Residents. . . ... 145

7:8 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Outlook Perception
Magnitude of Change Variables for Gadsden County Black
Residents . . . . . . . . . . . . 147

7:9 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Present Deprivation
and Past Deprivation for Gadsden County Black Residents,
Controlling for Outlook Perception Magnitude of Change. . 148

7;10 Frequencies of White Treatment for Gadsden County and
Separate Community Black Residents. . . . . ... 150

7:11 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and White Treatment for
Gadsden County and Separate Community Black Residents . 151

7:12 Correlations (Kendall's Tau C) Between Political Partici-
pation and Political Awareness and Present Deprivation
and Past Deprivation for Gadsden County Black Residents,
Controlling for White Treatment . . . . . . .. 152




1:1 Model of the Political Mobilization Process. . . . 5

2:1 Map of Gadsden County, Florida . . . . . ... 16

3:1 Black News Articles and Black Share of Gadsden County
Electorate As Indicators of Black Political Activity . 42

5:1 Militant-Conservative Continuum Based On Evaluation
of Political Strategies. . . . . . . . ... 82

7:1 Computations of Measures for Relative Deprivation,
Direction of Change, and Magnitude of Change Variables
from Hadley Cantril's Self-Anchoring, Striving Scale . 133


Civic Interest Group

Congress of Racial Equality

Florida A and M University

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

Negro Businessmen's and Civic League

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Scholarship, Education and Defense Fund

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Voter Education Project










Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate
Council of the University of Florida in Partial
Fulfillment of the Requirements of the
Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Paige Alan Parker

June 1980

Chairman: James W. Button
Major Department: Political Science

Political mobilization is defined as a process through which a

subordinate group acquires and utilizes resources in an effort to chal-

lenge the politically dominant group. A model of rural political mobil-

ization has been constructed and tested, linking the intervention of

outside forces with the development of a local leadership structure and

the activation of the subordinate population in an effort to alter the

political status quo.

Gadsden County, Florida, a rural, predominantly black county in

the northern panhandle region of the state, was chosen due to its avail-

ability and because of the dramatic increases in black political activi-

ties occurring there since the early 1960's. Primary data were col-

lected through a survey of 199 Black residents selected in a stratified

random sample of four communities (Quincy, Gretna, Greensboro, and Saw-

dust) and interviews with 23 black leaders in the selected communities

chosen by a snowballing reputational method. Additional data were drawn

from individuals with first-hand knowledge of events occurring in Gads-

den County since 1963 and from a systematic review of both local and

regional newspapers. Survey expenses were paid for by a dissertation

improvement grant from the National Science Foundation.

The study identified two periods of political mobilization: 1963

to 1966 and 1970 to 1972. Both political mobilization periods were as-

sociated with the intervention of outside forces. Outside organiza-

tional forces were of primary importance during the 1963-1966 period,

serving to directly challenge existing racial norms and to recruit and

organize local black leaders for action. During the 1970-1972 period,

outside organizational forces were present only after political mobili-

zation was already underway and played more of a subsidiary role. Out-

side governmental support provided an avenue of appeal beyond the white

dominated local government and protection for economically vulnerable

black leaders fearful of white sanctions.

While unity among local black leaders was not found to be essen-

tial to political mobilization, the emergence of a more militant leader-

ship was identified as necessary. The expansion of local black politi-

cal organization was also associated with political mobilization.

Black residents of the county became mobilized when they were a

part of a communications network through which militant leaders could

reach them. Especially important in this regard was the black church.

Also facilitating mobilization were economic independence from local

whites and the identification of personal troubles with perceived poor

treatment by whites.

The study, while incapable of definitive conclusions, suggests

that political mobilization is not solely an urban phenomenon but, under

given circumstances, is possible in traditional, rural areas.



Political Mobilization in Rural Society

The expanding political awareness of heretofore passive members of

society and their subsequent attempts to exert influence on the politi-

cal system are generally associated with the breakdown of traditional

society and, especially, urbanization.l The process by which people

become available for new patterns of socialization as old social,

economic, and psychological commitments are eroded has been termed

"social mobilization."2 Integral to the social mobilization process is

the exposure to modern life through the mass media, change of residence,

urbanization, occupational change, literacy, income change, and so on.

Social change thus results in political change. As the politically

revelant strata of the population grow, pressure builds on government

to increase in scope and size, providing the services that the socially

mobilized population demands. The picture developed is one of a static

countryside and a teeming city, contrasted in political orientation by

passivity and ferment.3

While the foundations of social mobilization theory may be basi-

cally sound, the linkage between social change and political awareness

and participation requires closer examination. Magali Sarfatti Larson

and Arlene Eisen Bergman found that urban migration in Peru resulted in

either individual adaptation or resignation, depending on the age and
motivation of the immigrant, and not collective political action. And


even when newly urbanized individuals become politically involved, as

Wayne Cornelius found in Mexico City, their concern may be more with the

distribution of existing government benefits rather than demands for new

programs or the selection of the decision makers.

If the social changes associated with urbanization do not always

produce political activity, then the lack of urbanization does not nec-

essarily mean political inertia. F. LaMond Tullis found what he termed

"intense peasant movements" in rural Peru, generated by an increased

ability of peasants to comprehend a changing world coupled with resist-

ance to change by traditional elites.

Within the American South, a setting analogous to many of the
world's developing areas, increased political awareness and demands by

blacks have been particularly evident in many traditional, rural loca-

tions. The southern black has long endured a subordinate role. V. 0.

Key's acclaimed 1949 work on southern politics identified the overwhelm-

ing importance the race issue played in regional politics as the politi-

cally and economically dominant whites sought to enforce passivity on
the blacks. Yet, if the number of blacks elected to public office is

an indication, small towns (not large cities) have been the place where

the greatest number of black elected officials have emerged in recent

years. In 1974, 63 percent of blacks elected to city council positions

came from cities of less than 5,000 inhabitants while more than one-half
of all black mayors (54%) were elected in towns of less than 1,000. In

contrast, the violent urban protests of the late 1960's were not the

work of recent black immigrants but of the large numbers of young blacks

entirely brought up and educated in northern and western countries.10

Apparently, the dislocations envisioned by social mobilization

theory are neither necessary nor sufficient to account for heightened


political awareness and mobilized political behavior by individuals who

were previously nonparticipants in the political system. If social mo-

bilization theory is flawed in predicting politicization, perhaps the

fault lies in relying entirely upon social change to explain political

phenomenon. Clearer insight into the specific factors that stimulate

individuals toward political activity may be gleaned by examining the

political forces at work. Thus, the present study seeks to focus on

the ingredients of political mobilization rather than social mobiliza-

tion. A traditional, rural setting has been selected to provide an

environment uncluttered by the social changes enumerated by social mo-

bilization theory.

A Model of Political Mobilization

Political mobilization is considered to be a process involving the

interaction of a number of related variables which yield a mobilized

response. Specifically, political mobilization is defined as a process

by which one group acquires and/or uses resources in conflict with an-

other group.11 The group-based nature of the conflict focuses attention

on collective attempts to alter existing realities. Resources include

anything that can be brought to bear in the power struggle. Leadership

may be a resource as can organization, education, numbers, and money.

Psychological states, including degree of commitment, hope, anger, and

unity, may be resources. Basically, any property of the individual or

group that can be employed in the power struggle may be considered a
resource. Political mobilization, as a process, is temporal. Periods

of political mobilization may be sustained or may lapse, resulting in

demobilization. Scope and intensity of the political mobilization proc-

ess are also relevant. While intensity is difficult to gauge in a

retrospective study, scope may be dealt with on two levels: leader and

group. The mobilization of leadership resources may not arouse the bulk

of group members. Similarly, the group may mobilize spontaneously with-

out leadership, at least initially. Moreover, the extent of involvement

of potential group members in the political mobilization effort is also

a variable.

A model of the political mobilization process is presented in Fig-

ure 2:1. Apparent in this model is a sequential ordering of the politi-

cal mobilization process according to stage. The first stage is opera-

tive under conditions where little deviation from traditional patterns

of behavior has occurred in a locality for some time. This would be

most likely in a rural setting where a nudge from outside may be neces-

sary to initiate political mobilization. Of course, rural areas are not

completely removed from events in the larger society. Even the most re-

mote community has some access to the information transmitted by the

communications network composed of print and electronic media. Communi-

cation by word of mouth or by residents who have traveled outside the

immediate area is also possible. However, more direct forms of inter-

vention in the rural community's pattern of life may be required. Ac-

tivists, educated in the more modern centers and ready to challenge

prevailing norms, may serve as a catalyst for rural political mobiliza-

tion.13 In addition, the larger political system may lend legitimacy

to demands and serve to protect those who would deviate from local

norms.14 In the political mobilization model these outside forces are

labeled "Outside Organizational Support" and "Outside Governmental Sup-

port." The primary role of these outside support forces is proposed to

be in developing and protecting an emerging local subordinate leadership

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structure, willing to challenge the local status quo. These outside

forces also interact on each other, with outside groups lobbying for

sympathetic policies from the larger political system and the outside

government varying in receptiveness to the goals of the change-oriented
groups. Outside organizational support is examined in chapter three,

while outside governmental support is considered in chapter four.

The second stage of the model concerns leadership mobilization.

For the local subordinate group to effectively press their demands for

change, local leadership and organization must be developed. Specifi-

cally, a united local leadership devoted to status change must emerge

along with an organizational capability through which strategies can be

devised and actions coordinated. Stimulation for this development may

come from outside but unless it takes root, political mobilization can-

not be expected to proceed. While a mobilized local leadership may be

expected to exhibit a mobilized response in its own right, it may also

seek to incorporate the larger subordinate community in the effort

towards change. The development of leadership resources is considered

in chapter five.

The third stage of the political mobilization model involves the

activation of the subordinate community. Involvement of the subordinate

community in the mobilization process is contingent on both physical

ability and psychological willingness. Considerable controversy has

developed over whether psychological factors are relevant to the politi-

cal mobilization process. Chief among the critics is Charles Tilly who


Despite the many recent attempts to psychologize the
study of revolution by introducing ideas of anxiety,
alienation, rising expectations, and the like, .
the factors which hold up under close scrutiny are,
on the whole, political ones.1


The argument is that change is borne out of a basic power struggle where

the controlling factors are the coalition strength of the challengers

and the ability of the dominant group to impose negative sanctions.18

While the power position of the challengers is certainly crucial to

their chances of success, the exclusion of psychological factors from

the mobilization equation begs the question of the legitimacy of the

status quo. Group perception of the existing arrangements must be in-

cluded in any consideration of political mobilization. Mobilization

may depend on numbers, allies, organization, etc., but some predisposi-

tion to challenge must also be present. Therefore, the political mobi-

lization model includes both physical and psychological resources.

The importance of physical barriers in the attempts of leaders to

reach and recruit members of the larger subordinate population is evi-

dent. Individuals who fear for their personal safety or their economic

livelihood may be less available for recruitment in the mobilization

effort. Furthermore, there must be some mechanism through which the

leaders can reach their potential followers. A communications network,

either formal or informal, would be the key. The present model envi-

sions organizations as playing the communications role, although other

forms such as control over print or electronic media may serve the same

purpose. The physical resources of the subordinate group in the politi-

cal mobilization process are considered in chapter six.

Psychological resources of a subordinate population are varied.

Certainly, there must be a basic discontent with the existing arrange-

ments before the subordinate population could be motivated to mount a

challenge. Discontent may be aggravated by leaders seeking a basic

status change for their group. Also necessary would be some element of

group identification. A potential group may never coagulate unless some

element of group consciousness is developed and promoted. Finally, the

group may never become swept up in the mobilization effort if there is

no hope for success. While an expectancy of success may depend upon the

power position of the subordinate group to the dominant group, it need

not be totally dependent on the actual distribution of physical re-

sources. It may be foolish to challenge existing arrangements but peo-

ple may have unrealistic expectations. The political mobilization model

does not attempt to predict success, just the essential ingredients to

political mobilization. Psychological resources of the subordinate

group are discussed in chapter seven.

The end result of the political mobilization process is some sort

of mobilized response by the leaders, by the subordinate community, or

by both. The exact nature of this response will depend on particular

local conditions and will be affected by the cultural and historic means

of resolving conflict. Certainly, some degree of increased political

awareness on the part of the mobilized population would be expected as

well as some sort of politically oriented activity.

The Limitations of the Model

The model of political mobilization presented in this study has

been derived mainly from the existing literature on political change and

subordinate-dominant group relations. None of the ingredients are orig-

inal; each will be discussed in detail under the appropriate chapter.

The original contribution of this study is limited to the delimitation

of an overall model of political mobilization where previously identi-

fied variables have been linked in an overall process.

The political mobilization model focuses solely upon the subordi-

nate group seeking to change the existing arrangements in a local set-

ting. Excluded from consideration is the dominant group and its efforts

to suppress any attempted change or to adapt to new conditions. Fur-

thermore, the model considers only mobilization, ignoring demobilization

as a process. Insight into how people become swept up in a change-ori-

ented effort is clearly relevant to a world in flux. The questions of

dominant group reaction and demobilization are also relevant but are

outside the scope of this study.

A third limitation of the model lies in its limited applicability

to traditional, rural localities where the subordinate group has been

effectively excluded from the political realm. The concept of political

mobilization certainly has a much wider explanatory range. The narrow

focus of political mobilization presented here must be seen as an at-

tempt to develop a special theory which may be empirically investigated

in other settings and later consolidated in a more general theory.20


1. Gabriel A. Almond and G. Bingham Powell, Jr., Comparative Politics:
A Developmental Approach (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1966),
p. 94; Karl W. Deutsch, "Social Mobilization and Political Develop-
ment," American Political Science Review 55 (September 1961):495;
Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New
Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 47; Daniel
Lerner, The Passing of Traditional Society: Modernizing the Middle
East (Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press, 1958), p. 61

2. Deutsch, pp. 494-495

3. Huntington, p. 47

4. Magali Sarfatti Larson and Arlene Eisen Bergman, Social Stratifica-
tion in Peru (Berkeley, California: Institute of International
Studies, 1969), pp. 218-219, 247

5. Wayne A. Cornelius, "Urbanization and Political Demand Making:
Political Participation Among the Migrant Poor in Latin American
Cities," American Political Science Review 68 (September 1974):1145

6. F. LaMond Tullis, Lord and Peasant in Peru: A Paradigm of Political
and Social Change (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University
Press, 1970), pp. 224-225

7. Ira Sharkansky, The United States: The Study of a Developing
Country (New York: David McKay Company, 1975), pp. 36-37

8. V. O. Key, Jr., Southern Politics in State and Nation (New York:
Vintage Books, 1949), p. 5

9. David Campbell and Joe R. Feagin, "Black Politics in the South: A
Descriptive Analysis," Journal of Politics 37 (February 1975):129,

10. David 0. Sears and John B. McConahay, The Politics of Violence:
The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riots (Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1973), pp. 197-199

11. Walter Korpi, "Conflict, Power and Relative Deprivation," American
Political Science Review 68 (December 1974):1572

12. Hubert M. Blalock, Jr., Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations
(New York: Capricorn Books, 1967), p. 113; Korpi, p. 1572; Anthony
Oberschall, Social Conflict and Social Movements (Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, 1973), p. 28

Chapter One Notes-continued

13. Myron Weiner, "Political Participation: Crisis of the
Political Process," Crisis and Sequence in Political Development
(Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1971), pp.
170-172; Tullis, p. 40

14. Lucius J. Barker and Jesse J. McCorry, Jr., Black Americans and
the Political System (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Winthrop Pub-
lishers, 1976), pp. 19-21; Thomas R. Dye, The Politics of Equality
(Indianapolis, Indiana: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1971), p. 34

15. Subordinate, as used here, describes the traditional power status
of the challenging group. In the present study subordinate and
black are used interchangeably, with subordinate employed in the-
oretical discussions and black used in discussions of Gadsden

16. Hanes Walton, Jr., Black Politics: A Theoretical and Structural
Analysis (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972), p. 31

17. Charles Tilly, "Does Modernization Breed Revolution?" Comparative
Politics 3 (April 1973):447

18. Ibid., p. 441

19. Robin M. Williams, Jr., "Relative Deprivation Versus Power Struggle?
'Tension' and 'Structural' Explanations of Collective Conflict,"
Cornell Journal of Social Relations 11 (Spring 1976):32

20. Robert K. Merton, On Theoretical Sociology: Five Essays, Old and
New (New York: The Free Press, 1967), pp. 51-52


Gadsden County As a Case Study

The basic approach employed here is that of the case study. The

case study method has the particular strength of allowing the researcher

to examine the richness of the subject in detail. However, a single

case study cannot constitute the basis for a valid generalization.

Nonetheless, a case study can make an important contribution to the es-

tablishment of general propositions tied to more general theory.1 As

such, new hypotheses can be generated and old hypotheses can be sharp-

ened or refined. In addition, by breaking the single case into separate

research sites, internal comparisons are possible. When communities in

close proximity vary, the ability to isolate the factors associated

with the variance is enhanced, as "background" distortions are mini-


Gadsden County, the setting for this study, is located in the pan-

handle region of Northern Florida just west of Tallahassee. It is ap-

proximately 60 percent black. Less than one-half (47%) of the residents

live in towns of 2,000 people or more. Until recently black participa-

tion in political affairs had been minimal, except for a brief period

during the First Reconstruction when several local black men were
elected to the state legislature. As late as 1950, only 1 percent of

eligible black voters in the county were registered; by 1960 the figure

had risen to only 3 percent. Yet by 1970 the percent registered had


reached 42, compared to a fairly steady white registration of between 61

and 64 percent. Most of the increase occurred between 1964 and 1966

when the county's electorate went from 14 to 40 percent black. This

initial visible surge in black political participation came at a time

when the types of social changes envisioned by social mobilization the-

ory were not apparent. Although the economic base of the county, shade

tobacco, was to undergo a substantial decline in the late 1960's, the

political changes preceded this major economic and social dislocation.

Table 2:1 presents the production of shade tobacco in the Florida and

Georgia region by acre between 1959 and 1976, the bulk of which was

grown in Gadsden County.5

Even in times of prosperity the wealth generated by the tobacco in-

dustry was never evenly distributed. Nearly three-quarters of Gadsden
County's black families earned less than $3,000 in 1960. In the mid-

1960's, the county ranked in the bottom 10 percent of United States

counties in the extent of poverty, severity of poverty, family re-

sources, educational achievement, functional literacy, and sufficiency
of housing. Despite the low wages and the seasonal nature of shade to-

bacco production, the crop did provide a means of livelihood for many

people. However, by 1976, 27 percent of the blacks in the county's la-

bor force were unemployed.8

As a rural locality with a traditional plantation economy and a

largely subordinate black population, Gadsden County offers a setting

for studying political mobilization untainted by the dislocations iden-

tified by social mobilization theory. Although such dislocations have

occurred subsequently, political changes were initiated before their

impact was felt. Therefore, the political factors associated with po-

litical mobilization can be more clearly seen.

Table 2:1

Production of Cigar-Wrapper Tobacco
in Florida and Georgia

Year Acres Year Acres

1959 5,630 1968 5,020
1960 6,060 1969 4,974
1961 5,589 1970 3,486
1962 5,213 1971 2,970
1963 5,138 1972 3,107
1964 6,047 1973 2,644
1965 6,278 1974 1,858
1966 5,802 1975 1,110
1967 5,054 1976 344

The Data Base

Data for this study were drawn from three main sources: 1) a

stratified random sample of subordinate residents in four selected Gads-

den County, Florida, communities; 2) interviews with subordinate leaders

in the several communities; and 3) a comprehensive examination of the

principal newspaper in the county, the weekly Gadsden County Times, from

1958 through 1978. Additional sources of information came from pub-

lished statistical abstracts including the United States Census, region-

al newspapers, particularly the Tallahassee Democrat, and interviews

with individuals who have an intimate knowledge of events that have

transpired in the county.

Survey Data

A stratified random sample based on households was conducted be-

tween September and December 1977. No complete listing of Gadsden

County residents was available so random selection was by households

with schedules for determining which adult occupant (18 years or older)

would be interviewed. Survey expenses were paid by the National Sci-

ence Foundation through the "Grants for Improving Doctoral Dissertation


Research in the Social Sciences" program.10 Financial restrictions lim-

ited the number of interviews to about 200. These were allocated to

four selected Gadsden County communities: Quincy, Gretna, Greensboro,

and Sawdust (Figure 2:1).

Several considerations governed community selection. First, as the

total number of survey interviews was limited, the concentration on a

few communities was considered more practical than a random selection

based on the entire county. Communities provided easy identification of

black households due to segregated residence patterns. The one unincor-

porated area included in the study required an extensive mapping effort

in order to locate dwellings. Assessment of race occupancy in this case

was difficult.

Second, prior knowledge of subordinate political activity gleaned

from newspaper accounts served as a basis of community selection.

Quincy, the county seat and the site of the most visible black political

activity, was a logical choice, as was Gretna, where black residents had

successfully captured control of the town's government. Greensboro,

located proximate to both Quincy and Gretna, represented a community

with virtually no reported black political activity. Sawdust could not

be considered a community in the formal sense. A small, unincorporated,

predominantly black community named Sawdust lay within the area sur-

veyed but the boundaries conformed to an enumerated census district,

ED-24. It was chosen due to its location between the other incorporated

communities, thus representing the political orientation of the county's

purely rural black population. All four communities lay within an area

of 13 miles by 6 miles. The proximate location of these communities to

each other serves to reduce the "background" variables that could dis-

tort comparison.

Figure 2:1

Map of Gadsden County, Florida

Third, these communities formed an intervillage system, having a

direct relationship to each other in terms of social, cultural, eco-

nomic, and political activity.11 If the diffusion of the political mo-

bilization process in the county was to be charted, some interaction

between communities had to be assumed. Quincy must be considered the

hub of manufacturing and commercial activity for the surrounding commu-

nities with 18 establishments employing 10 or more employees. Greens-

boro had only two such establishments while Gretna and Sawdust had

The communities of Gretna, Greensboro, and Sawdust were oversampled

in order to provide a sufficient number of responses for comparison

(Table 2:2). By the same token, Quincy, with the largest subordinate

population, was undersampled. Even so, the number of interviews con-

ducted in Quincy far exceeded those from the other communities. When

aggregated, a weighting formula was employed to correct for the dispro-

portionate sampling. The aggregated whole, while labeled "Gadsden

County," in truth represented only about 25 percent of the county's

black residents. Calculations for weighting were based on the 1970 Cen-

sus and were probably in error by the time of the 1977 survey. Since

published census data failed to provide a breakdown according to age for

the smaller communities, weighting was based on total black population

rather than adult population. More current information on small commu-

nities and unincorporated areas was unobtainable, leaving the researcher

no alternative but to base decisions on the population data available.

Interviews were conducted by eight blacks, both male and female,

most of whom were in their early 20's. Seven lived in Tallahassee,

Florida; one was a Quincy resident. Two days of training preceded their

Table 2:2

Stratified Random Sample Data for
Selected Gadsden County Communities

Size of Actual Number Weighted Surveys
Black Community of Surveys in Gadsden County
(1970 Census) Completed (1977) Total

Quincy 4,304 83 148
Gretna 720 51 23
Greensboro 239 27 8
Sawdust 597 38 19

5,860 199 198

assignments. Black interviewers were employed as a guard against a pos-

sible reluctance of the largely impoverished black population to be

fully candid when questioned by a white. In a region long dominated by

whites a tendency to mask true feeling would have been a problem. At-

tempts to conduct a few of the survey interviews by the researcher con-

firmed this fear. Several interviewers were assigned to each community,

thus minimizing interviewer bias as a source of error. Most interviews

were conducted in the month of September, although the last interviews

from Sawdust and Greensboro were not completed until December. Full

cooperation was given by county and community officials. A copy of the

survey instrument with one of the six respondent-selection keys used is

found in Appendix A.

Selection of households to be sampled varied from community to com-

munity. In Quincy, the city inspector was asked to indicate which sec-

tions of town contained the black residents. A city directory listing

residences by street was then consulted and households randomly select-

ed. In Gretna, a city map locating dwellings was available. Town offi-

cials were able to delineate the sections of town containing black

residents. In Greensboro, no city map could be obtained. An aerial

photo of the town allowed streets to be mapped and town officials in-

dicated the black sections. A "windshield survey" then completed the

most difficult problem in household determination and selection. Unlike

the other communities, housing in Sawdust was not segregated with all

black residents living in close proximity. Locating no reliable map of

dwellings, an extensive windshield survey was taken of the area. Most

dwellings could be easily identified as to the race of the occupant by

observation. Some error in this regard, however, was unavoidable so

white households had to be replaced in the sample by black households.

Actually, this occurred infrequently. In all, 199 interviews were com-

pleted in the four communities.

Leader Interviews

The principal means of determining leadership was through the ran-

dom sample questionnaire. Respondents were asked to name the three most

important black leaders in the community. Every effort was made to in-

terview individuals receiving more than two nominations. A check on

this determination process was made by combing newspaper articles that

mentioned black political activity for names, by asking each leader in-

terviewed to name other leaders in the community, and by asking white

leaders in the community who the black leaders were. If this selection

process has a bias, it is in selecting those individuals who have re-

ceived the greatest publicity, ignoring those who tend to work in more

subtle ways. In all, 23 black leaders were interviewed with the bulk

residing in Quincy (11) and Gretna (9), only two in Greensboro, and

none in the Sawdust area. The remaining leader was a Havana resident

but was included because of the level of involvement in Quincy-based

black political activity. Leadership interviews were conducted by the

researcher and lasted anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. See Appendix

B for the black leader interview instrument.

Newspaper Analysis

The back files of the Gadsden County Times provided an historical

chronology of events and identification of principal actors. Although

the county's weekly paper was biased in its news coverage of events in

the black community (until 1970 black community news was segregated on a

separate page), major events were reported and accuracy could be checked

with regional papers such as the Tallahassee Democrat. All articles

from 1958 to 1978 dealing with black-white conflict or black group or-

ganizational and political activity were noted on 3 by 5 cards. This

file provided a finger-tip current affairs source of information, al-

lowing the researcher to conduct the interviews with black and white

leaders with some background and knowledge.

Some Methodological Questions

Time lag is a serious problem in political science research. The

dynamic events which this study is attempting to examine occurred in the

mid-1960's and the early 1970's. The actual research was not completed

until the end of 1977. More than a decade had elapsed from when active

assertion of subordinate political demands was initiated to the study of

the process behind this change. Area residents responded according to

their attitudes and status at the time of the interview but difficulty

arises when comparing these responses to attitudes held a decade before.

Judgment may tend to be retrospective. The approach taken has been to

demonstrate that political mobilization has occurred, hypothesize the


kinds of variables associated with such mobilization and the individuals

most likely to be affected, and test these hypotheses with data gathered

from those who lived through the period. A critical assumption is that

those affected have retained measurable characteristics. The best study

would have gathered data before, during, and after a mobilization per-

iod. While this kind of data would be invaluable, it simply did not


The time-lag problem also cropped up when conducting elite inter-

views. Frequently, the researcher, primed with data from the newspaper

file and other sources, would arrive at the interview with a clearer

view of the chronology of events than the interviewee. Gaps in memory

were also apparent. By directing questions toward particular events and

occasionally supplying a missing detail, the danger of "leading" the in-

terviewee was present. However, the issue in leadership interviews was

not whether the individual could remember a particular event but what

could be remembered. The typical experience was for the respondent to

"open-up" as the interview progressed and the respondent dusted the cob-

webs off his memory.

A second methodological problem associated with this study was the

connection between elite and individual behavior in the separate commu-

nities. A basic proposition in this study is that the nature and extent

of elite orientation and organization influenced the actions of the

larger black population. Yet, the connection between these two levels

of analysis cannot be directly demonstrated. Comparatively, it can be

shown that those communities with the most developed leadership struc-

ture and political mobilization contain a greater percentage of people

affected by political mobilization. However valid this generalization


may be, it lacks the firm statistical support that can be provided when

dealing with data generated by the survey instrument alone. Confidence

in this generalization can only come with supportive data from similar


Third, the basically ordinal nature of the data generated by the

research instruments, both survey and elite, limits the types of statis-

tical analysis that can be performed. The statistical measures that

have been relied upon are Kendall's Tau B and C. (Kendall's Tau B is

for square tables while Kendall's Tau C is appropriate for rectangular
tables.)3 Gamma, most often employed as a statistical measure in stud-

ies based on ordinal data, has been avoided as it tends to yield inflated

correlation coefficients, especially if data are arranged in a "curvi-

linear" pattern with one corner of the table containing zeros. For this

reason the more conservative Kendall's Tau measures were used.

The main problem associated with the ordinal data was the limited

ability to apply controls due to a limited N. Only with the overall

Gadsden County sample were controls applied and then only one control

could be applied at a time. To do otherwise would confront the problem

of empty cells, the lack of a sufficient variety of responses on which

calculations could be performed. Controls on the separate community

data were impossible for this reason.


1. Arend Lijphart, "Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method,"
American Political Science Review 65 (September 1971):691

2. Robert T. Holt and John E. Turner, eds., "The Methodology of
Comparative Research," The Methodology of Comparative Research
(New York: The Free Press, 1970), pp. 5-13

3. Joe M. Richardson, The Negro in the Reconstruction of Florida
(Tallahassee, Florida: Florida State University Press, 1965),
p. 188; Randal J. Stanley, History of Gadsden County (Quincy,
Florida: Gadsden County Times Press, 1948), p. 121

4. Percent of eligible voters registered is calculated by dividing the
number of black adults over 21 years of age into the number of
blacks registered. Data on black registration were obtained from
the Office of the Gadsden County Supervisor of Elections. The num-
ber of black adults was based on census data: U.S., Department of
Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census, United States Census of Popu-
lation: 1950, vol. 2, Characteristics of the Population, pt. 10,
Florida, p. 84; U.S., Department of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the
Census, United States Census of Population: 1960, vol. 1, Charac-
teristics of the Population, pt. 11, Florida, p. 93; U.S., Depart-
ment of Commerce, U.S. Bureau of the Census, United States Census
of Population: 1970, vol. 1, Characteristics of the Population,
pt. 11, sec. 1, Florida, p. 161

5. Miles Kenan Womack, Jr., Gadsden: A Florida County in Word and
Picture (Quincy, Florida: Gadsden County Historical Commission,
1976), p. 114

6. Wilbur Smith and Associates, Gadsden County, Florida: Compre-
hensive Plan (Columbia, South Carolina: Wilbur Smith and Associ-
ates, 1973), p. 23

7. Office of Economic Opportunity, Gadsden County Community Profile
(Washington, D.C.: Office of Economic Opportunity Information
Center, 1966), p. 23

8. Center for Rural Development, People and Jobs for Gadsden County
(Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida, Institute of Food
and Agriculture Science, 1977), p. 5

9. Charles H. Backstrom and Gerald D. Hursch, Survey Research (Chicago:
Northwestern University Press, 1963), pp. 50-59

10. National Science Foundation Grant No. soc77-15799

11. Tullis, p. 72n


Chapter Two Notes-continued

12. Florida Department of Commerce, Division of Economic Development,
Economic Profile, Quincy, Gadsden County, Florida (Tallahassee,
Florida: 1974), pp. 1-2

13. Norman H. Nie et al., SPSS: Statistical Package for the Social
Sciences, 2nd ed. (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1975), p. 227-228


The editor of the Gadsden County Times in the summer of 1964 summed

up the situation succinctly: "What bothers me is the fact that so many

of our colored citizens are now listening to these out-of-town and out-

of-state alleged civil rights workers and evidently do not want our help

anymore." Before the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sent its field

representatives to Gadsden County in late 1963, only 376 blacks were

registered to vote, barely 3 percent of those eligible.2 Within the

next three years, the number of blacks registered totaled 40 percent of

the county's 10,575 voters. Until CORE arrived, Gadsden County per-

sisted in its traditional routine with blacks holding a clearly subordi-

nate position with little or no direct political influence. Whatever

the efforts of local leaders to organize and to assist in the subsequent

voter registration drives on the predisposition of Gadsden County blacks

to assert their political rights, the impact of CORE and the other civil

rights organizations that followed was of critical importance.

The presence of outside groups or individuals can serve to demon-

strate that traditional patterns of behavior can be altered, and thus

provide a catalyst for action. Although the more abstract goals of the

outsiders often differ from the more concrete, redistributive goals of
the local subordinate groups, the outsiders provide organizational and

tactical expertise plus demonstrate that local authority may be success-

fully challenged causing a "power deflation," the realization that old

dominant-subordinate power relations have been altered. According to

Patricia Due, the first CORE field secretary to organize in Gadsden

County, "CORE gave the community and some of the people in it the in-

centive to try."5

The catalytic role of outside organizations has been evident in

other contexts. Greene County, Alabama, despite a predominantly black

population, was unable to produce a black voting majority and elect

blacks to public office until outside support was forthcoming from the

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the National Demo-

cratic Party of Alabama. Seventy percent of the blacks questioned in

that rural county felt that few people would have registered without the

help of the SCLC.6 In Crystal City, Texas, Mexican-Americans were able

to mobilize their number for electoral victory twice with the aid of

outside groups. First, in 1963, with the help of the Teamsters Union

and the Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations and

later, in 1969-1970, assisted by the Mexican American Youth Organiza-

tion. Peasants of the valleys of La Convencion and Lares near Cuzco,

Peru, organized into a federation and seized nearby lands in 1962 with
the help of Hugo Blanco, a young revolutionary from Lima. The promi-

nence of outsiders in these situations suggests the necessary relation-

ships between outside organizational involvement and political mobiliza-

tion in traditional rural areas.

Black Political Organization in the United States

Blacks did not organize on a national basis in the United States

until early in the Twentieth Century. There had been slave insurrec-

tions before the War Between the States; some blacks, notably Fredrick

Douglass, had been active in the Abolitionist Movement; blacks were

eventually allowed to fight on the Union side; and many blacks had held

political office during the Reconstruction Period. Yet black political

fortunes were largely a matter of white interest guided by conscience

and political advantage rather than reasoned persuasion. In 1900

Booker T. Washington, the noted scientist of the Tuskegee Institute,

founded the National Negro Business League, dedicated to the ideal that

blacks could gain influence and independence in American life through
commercial achievement. The National Association for the Advancement

of Colored People (NAACP) was organized in 1909 and headed by W. E. B.

De Bois. Although considered militant for the times, the tactics

adopted by the NAACP were basically legislative and legal.0 The Urban

League, founded in 1910, was not as protest minded as the NAACP, seeking

to ease the transition of Southern rural blacks into urban life by nego-

tiating with whites over employment opportunities and conditions.1

Essentially elitest, composed of academics, professionals and bus-

inessmen, these organizations were limited in their political appeals.

Most blacks, confined to the traditional rural South, were untouched by

these attempts to organize for political action. Mass participation in

organized protest activity by blacks did not come until the Supreme

Court solidly disapproved the legal enforcement of segregation in Brown

v. Board of Education (1954). The NAACP limited its response to filing
desegregation suits throughout the South to force compliance. How-

ever, the resistance of state governments in the face of the federal

mandate led to increased militancy among blacks. The 1955 Montgomery

bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King, Jr., was an example. The SCLC,

organized in 1957 and presided over by King, sought to overturn segre-

gation by active defiance of Jim Crow laws throughout the South. Such

"direct action" was not an innovation of the SCLC. CORE used direct

action to desegregate private services in the North at its founding in
1942. CORE and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

organized college-age students to challenge traditional race relations.

The Freedom Rides, sponsored by a coalition of CORE, SNCC, and SCLC dur-

ing the summer of 1961, sought to test Jim Crow laws in transportation

and service facilities in the Deep South, provoking unchecked violence,
arrests, and jail terms for the protestors.4 King focused national at-

tention on the civil rights struggle with the SCLC campaign to end dis-

crimination in Birmingham in 1963. SNCC demonstrators sat at segre-

gated restaurants across the South. CORE conducted campaigns in

Plaquemine, Louisiana, Meridian, Mississippi, and Tallahassee, Florida.

CORE and the First Mobilization
Period (1963-1966)

Gadsden County was a backwater of the civil rights movement for

years. The 1954 Brown school desegration case provoked no mention in

the county weekly, the Gadsden County Times. A local White Citizen's

Council was formed in 1956 which denounced integration as a violation of
the word of God and the NAACP as a tool of the Communist Party, but

there was no sign of change in the traditional pattern of local race re-

lations. Throughout the 1950's few blacks were registered to vote and

the schools remained totally segregated.

Even intensive civil rights protests in Tallahassee, only 26 miles

from the heart of Gadsden County, had no immediate substantive impact.

Inspired by the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and 1956, blacks in Tal-

lahassee began a similar boycott in 1956 and 1957. Led by the Reverend

C. K. Steel, the boycott was only partially successful.16 However,

Tallahassee was becoming increasingly a focal point for black protest

activity. Patricia Stephens, a student at Florida A and M University

(FAMU), heard of a CORE workshop in Palm Beach, Florida, in September

1959. After being instructed in nonviolent direct action tactics and

participating in a sit-in demonstration at a Miami department store

lunch counter, Stephens returned to the all-black FAMU campus in Talla-

hassee and organized a CORE chapter. Some initial direct action efforts

at a Trailways Bus terminal proved unsuccessful but in the winter of

1960 a major campaign was launched against department store lunch coun-

ters that refused to serve blacks. After several arrests, Stephens

urged students from both FAMU and the white Florida State University to

"fill the jails," sparking a mass demonstration of nearly a thousand

people and a tear gas barrage from police. Arrested in the demonstra-

tion, Stephens refused to pay the fine imposed for disturbing the peace

and unlawful assembly and staged CORE's first "jail-in," lasting 60

days. Due to the interracial nature of the Tallahassee campaign and

the publicity generated by the jail-in, Stephens and the other students

who had served time were sent on a national speaking tour by CORE upon

their release.17

In 1962 the Kennedy Administration moved to redirect the civil

rights movement from direct confrontation to voter registration. The

sometimes violent reaction of white southerners towards change resulted

in highly publicized incidents. Many whites were involved in the pro-

test activity as well, making the civil rights issue national in scope.

In addition, racial problems in the United States were widely reported

in the international press. With the United States seeking to present

itself as the model of liberalism and democracy, the racial troubles

at home were a serious blemish.8 Seeking to cool off the situation,

the Kennedy Administration secured grants from a number of private

foundations which were then assigned to the biracial Southern Regional

Council and used in the Voter Education Project (VEP). All major civil

rights groups were to cooperate in the effort scheduled to last from

1962 to 1964 but in reality the VEP did little coordinating. Although

several joint efforts were attempted, most civil rights groups staked

out an area and began their own campaign. Leaders of the registration

effort believed that they had been promised complete support by the

Justice Department officials in light of the resistance expected in

their efforts. CORE asked Patricia Stephens Due (now married to a young

lawyer working for the VEP out of Atlanta) to serve as the field secre-

tary in Northern Florida. From fall 1963 through 1964, she worked the

Big Bend region of the state, principally in Leon, Liberty, Madison,

and Gadsden counties.19

To call Patricia Due an outsider in Gadsden County would be techni-

cally incorrect. She was in fact a native in the county, having been

born there and having spent several years in the county's public

schools. She had lived most of her life, however, in Dade County in the

southern tip of the state. Yet her many relatives and family acquaint-

ances in Gadsden County gave her credibility in the black community.

Dorothy Jones Coward, a friend of her mother's, provided an initial

place to stay. Later, a house was provided for the CORE workers, mainly

current or former college students from Tallahassee and the University

of Florida in Gainesville, by the Good Sheppard, a local black charity

Initially, the CORE effort consisted of two people, Patricia Due

and Judy Benniger Brown, a graduate student from the University of

Florida. During the summer of 1964, however, the number of CORE workers
working on voter registration swelled to nearly two dozen.21 The pres-

ence of these outsiders and their efforts to alter traditional practices

within the county provoked a reaction by local whites that sometimes

turned violent. Shots were fired into the house being occupied by CORE

workers. No one was hurt but complaints to local law enforcement offi-
cials resulted in no arrests.22 The FBI did investigate the incident

three days later but other than the temporary presence of federal offi-
cers, no federal protection was forthcoming.2 In other incidents reg-

istration workers suffered beatings;24 trespass charges were filed
against workers attempting to talk to blacks on tobacco farms; police

followed Patricia Due and were conspicuous at registration rallies copy-

ing down license numbers from cars.2 In December 1964, CORE's offices

in downtown Quincy were the target of an arson attempt. Again no ar-
rests resulted from the incident.2

Prior to the arrival of CORE, the most visible black interest group

in the county was the Quincy Negro Businessmen and Civic League, com-

posed mainly of accommodationist-style leaders. The political activi-

ties of this organization were generally limited to petitioning local

governmental authorities with specific grievances of the black commu-

nity.28 A local chapter of the NAACP also existed in Quincy but was

largely dormant. One of the goals of the CORE effort was to mobilize

local blacks into political action of their own. With the stimulation

of CORE, the local NAACP chapter became rejuvenated. A group of black

leaders in Quincy began building the organization by recruiting poten-

tial leaders. Often this proved difficult as many blacks were still

fearful of economic retaliation in the face of open political activity.

Some teachers who joined the NAACP, for instance, requested that their

membership cards not be sent directly to their addresses but delivered
in a more discreet manner. New organizations were established as

well. A local CORE chapter, consisting mostly of younger blacks, was

formed to aid the efforts of the outside CORE workers. Also, an auxil-

iary adult organization, the Civic Interest Group (CIG), organized in

support of the CORE voter registration and education effort. CORE and

CIG members helped canvass the county, explaining registration and elec-

tion procedures to blacks who had no experience with either. CIG mem-

bers, in addition, conducted civic education classes for elderly resi-

dents, petitioned the Quincy city commission for a patrol car for the

city's black policeman, and invited speakers, such as Atlanta Senator
Leroy Johnson, to address the group.3

All local black political organizations eventually cooperated with

the CORE effort to varying degrees. As membership in these local groups

tended to overlap, the diversity of groups allowed local black leaders

to lend the level of support that suited their personal preference.

Representatives of CORE were present in Gadsden County in some way

until 1968. Although direct action campaigns were conducted against

eating establishments, the main focus of the organization through the

1964 Presidential election was voter registration. In Gadsden County,
according to Patricia Due, voter registration was direct action. Mrs.

Due left the project at the end of 1964 to be with her husband in

Atlanta and was replaced by Spiver Gordon, a veteran of CORE's Louisiana

campaign. With VEP funds nearly exhausted, the Gadsden County campaign

depended mainly on community support for its continued activities. A

reduced staff maintained the North Florida Project through the winter of

1965, and although additional funding from CORE's Scholarship, Educa-

tion, and Defense Fund (SEDF) kept the effort alive through the summer

of 1966, the emphasis on voter registration declined. In 1966 Gordon
returned to Louisiana.

The emphasis of CORE activity throughout the South was then begin-

ning to shift from massive registration campaigns to the exploitation of

legal avenues made possible by recent civil rights legislation and the

War on Poverty. Following the termination of the VEP in 1965, John and

Patricia Due moved back to Northern Florida to establish a law practice.

Reflecting a growing split within the civil rights movement, the Legal

Defense Fund of the NAACP ceased its legal support of CORE projects.

With no lawyer in Northern Florida willing to handle civil rights cases,

John Due was sent to the region on a straight salary of $6,000 a year,
paid by SEDF.33 Operating out of Quincy, John Due attempted to take ad-

vantage of the "maximum feasible participation of the poor" provision of

the Economic Opportunity Act. When a Gadsden County Community Action

Agency was created in 1965 to distribute surplus food to the county's

poor, controversy erupted over how many blacks would serve on the execu-

tive board and who would select them. By petitioning the Office of Eco-

nomic Opportunity, John Due was able to get the number of members on the

executive board increased from 15 to 27, increasing black participation.

In addition, nomination of individuals serving on the board was thrown

open to community-based organizations including the CIG, thus undercut-
ting local white control.3

Other activities initiated included an attempt to organize area

black farmers into committees that would serve to advise the Department

of Agriculture on policy making. John Due envisioned these committees

as the basis of a self-help cooperative movement. The project fell

through, however, as the number of independent black farmers in Gadsden

County were limited and those that did exist often chose to rent their
land to tobacco corporations rather than farm it themselves. Several

law suits were filed including one challenging corporal punishment in

the county's schools and another charging racial discrimination in the

treatment of prisoners in the county stockade.36 However, the income

generated by these activities was insufficient to support a growing

family. John Due found organizing in Gadsden County difficult. By 1968

support from SEDF had terminated and John and Patricia Due moved their

three children to Miami, Florida, terminating the direct presence of

outside organizers in Gadsden County.

CORE provided the impetus for black political action in Gadsden

County. After CORE arrived, local black political organizations were

formed and others revitalized. Local black leaders appreciated the as-

sistance. According to a black school principal in Quincy, "CORE gave
us the big push that started us on our way."37 A black barber in Quincy
said, "I was not inspired by CORE, but they made me more aware." Co-

inciding with or subsequent to CORE, Gadsden County blacks registered to

vote, many local blacks joined political organizations, and a number of

blacks qualified for political office for the first time since Recon-

struction. Some increases in political participation might have oc-

curred anyway, given the high salience of racial issues in the mid-
1960's. But CORE must be seen as a catalyst to this process in the

context of Gadsden County, helping to break the old pattern of passive


The Second Mobilization Period

Following CORE's departure, local organizational activity went into

a state of decline. The local CORE chapter became inactive when its
40 41
president moved to Miami. The CIG ceased to function. The Quincy

chapter of the NAACP continued but the number of active members declined
to five or six. Yet this lull in organizational activity between 1968

and 1970 did not mean that blacks in Gadsden County were satisfied.

Signs of growing frustrations were evident in the bombing of an electri-
cal substation in Quincy in the spring of 1970. A number of other

bombs were found at various locations in Quincy during the months of

June and July, including the courthouse and a local farm tractor
dealer. However, substantive black political activity did not become

evident until a mass black riot erupted spontaneously in Quincy on a

Saturday night in October 1970. The riot occurred against the back-

ground of growing frustrations resulting from a deteriorating economy

and the lack of substantive change despite the increase in expectations
generated by CORE's earlier activities.45 The riot itself was sparked

by the shooting of a crippled black man in a bar by a black Quincy

policeman. The situation was brought under control after about two and

one-half hours of rioting during which storefront windows were broken
in the downtown area and some looting took place.6 In the aftermath

outside groups and individuals once again entered Gadsden County.

One of the most immediate effects of the riot was the revitaliza-

tion of the Quincy-based chapter of the NAACP. In the weeks following

the riot the NAACP announced plans for a new voter registration effort

plus demanded that more blacks be hired by local businesses and govern-

ments and that access to voter registration books be facilitated.47
ments and that access to voter registration books be facilitated. An

organizing grant was received from the national NAACP and membership in

the local organization expanded to over 700.48 The Black Americans,

composed mainly of school-age blacks, was also formed to assist in pro-
test activities.

The Gadsden County NAACP was supported in its activities by other

outside groups. Principal among these was the SCLC. SCLC officials,

including the Reverend James Orange, a field representative from

Atlanta, and the Reverend R. N. Gooden from Tallahassee, were active in

the county in February 1971. These outside leaders provided expertise

on how to mobilize and organize protest demonstrations, including two

mass marches in Quincy, a march from Quincy to Tallahassee, and the

picketing and boycotting of Quincy stores not employing blacks. Accord-

ing to Rev. Gooden, the SCLC leaders met with local leaders late into

the night, discussing organizing skills and tactics.50

The major activity during this period was the mass marches through

the streets of Quincy in support of the demands being made by the black

community. Even with the intense CORE activity of previous years, Gads-

den County had never experienced such organized mass protest. A demon-

stration in support of the 1965 Voter Rights Act was staged in August

1965 with eventually about 80 marchers taking part.51 However, the

march that the SCLC helped organize on February 8th had some 600 partic-

ipants. Chanting "soul power," the marchers made their way to the

courthouse steps where they were addressed by their leaders. "We want

to serve notice on the power structure of Gadsden County," said Rev.

Steel, a civil rights activist from Tallahassee, "that unless brother-

hood, justice and democracy come here, there will not be one stone left

upon another."52 The second march on the following day attracted some

350 marchers.53

The organized protest activity in Quincy seemed to have a conta-

gious effect throughout the county. On February 10th, black junior high

students in nearby Havana initiated a march to protest school assign-

ments due to integration. Sheriff's deputies broke up the demonstration

with tear gas. In reaction Havana blacks formed the Black Citizen's

Council and boycotted local stores to force increased hiring of
blacks. Two weeks later a black man was shot during an argument in

Midway, a rural community between Quincy and Tallahassee. Twenty-one

arrests were made when local blacks began throwing rocks through the

windows of the store where the shooting occurred. Several hundred more

protesting blacks gathered outside the county jail in Quincy where those

arrested were brought.55 That same day, a 10-year-old black child was

killed when he tried to race a train to the crossing on his bicycle in

Gretna. A protest involving 50 blacks grew out of what was felt to be

an inexcusable delay on the part of the ambulance crew in getting the

then still breathing child to a hospital.56

Within this volatile context, voter registration again began to

climb. The NAACP went house to house throughout the county, spoke at

churches, and provided transportation to the Registrar's Office in

Quincy.57 Black voter registration jumped by over one-third in the

year following the Quincy riot and subsequent demonstrations. To sup-

port the voter registration drive, Julian Bond, the Georgia state legis-

lator, and John Lewis, director of the Atlanta-based Voter Education

Project, spoke in Quincy on August 30th. In his speech Bond reminded

local blacks that while violence and intimidation might have been used

in the past to prevent blacks from voting, "no one is going to put a gun

to your heads to make you vote.58

The reaction of local white leaders to the mobilized black popula-

tion was cautious conciliation. Law and order was demanded by the

Quincy city commission in controlling the riot but orders were given to

the police not to shoot anyone. "We didn't want people hurt," said the

hardware store owner who was the mayor at the time. "That would only
cause publicity and bring CBS from Atlanta down our throats."59 Discus-

sions were initiated with local black leaders and a biracial group, the

Greater Quincy Human Relations Commission composed of eight whites and

eight blacks, was formed to help promote interracial communications. To

aid in the formation of the group, the director of the Florida Commis-

sion on Human Relations and a sociology professor from Florida A and M

University were invited to the county.60 Some symbolic changes occurred

immediately. The Gadsden County Times eliminated its segregated black

news section from its weekly edition and substituted the word "black"

for the previously used "Negro." Substantive changes were apparent

also. A major demand of the black community, the hiring of more blacks

in local businesses and in government, was met. "I hired a black clerk

in my store," said a clothing store owner. "The riot shocked the com-

munity into thinking that blacks had to participate more.61 Blacks

were hired by most Quincy businesses, including the two major banks, at
positions above the common laborer.62 According to a black teacher,

"Most any place downtown will hire a black with a high school education

and is able to meet the public."63 Demands that registration books be

located in a public building and hours be lengthened were also met.64

Despite an electorate that was 50 percent black in 1972, attempts

to gain electoral office in Quincy and on the county level were met with

frustration. Six black candidates made a frontal assault on the white

controlled county government in the 1972 Democratic primary by filing

for the offices of Supervisor of Elections, Superintendent of Schools,

School Board Commissioner, and County Commissioner.5 Only one candi-

date, Alfredia Lee, was able to force a run-off where she received only

35 percent of the vote.66 An attempt in 1974 by Witt Campbell to win a

position on the county school board was similarly unsuccessful although

he made the best showing of a black candidate in a Gadsden County at-

large election with 45 percent of the vote.67 James Palmer's 1974 at-

tempt to gain a seat on the Quincy city commission could manage only 30
percent of the votes.6

Mobilization in Gretna

While Quincy was the center of most of the political activity that

engulfed Gadsden County in the 1970's, other fundamental political

changes were taking place six miles to the west. Gretna must be seen,

in large part, as resonating the events in Quincy. Following the Quincy

riot in the fall of 1970, black boycotts of two Gretna stores resulted

from alleged mistreatment of blacks. In one instance a black child was

said to have been struck by the father of a white child following a

scuffle between the youths. The other involved the beating of a black

man, described as mentally unstable but harmless, after he had been

found in the bedroom of a white woman. The boycott drove both store

owners from business in Gretna, demonstrating the potential of local

blacks for united political action.69 Gretna had experienced dramatic

increases in voter registration during the 1960's parallel to the rest

of the county. Yet despite a population 80 percent black in 1970,

blacks had never held or even run for public office in the town. The

government of this rural town of under 900 people was strictly small

scale. Elected officials included the mayor, five councilmen, and a

town clerk. The primary reason for incorporation back in the late

1940's was to take advantage of the cigarette tax available to munici-
palities. These revenues helped pay for a town water system.7

Despite whites' claim to the contrary, blacks maintained that the
existence of a town government was kept secret from blacks. At issue

was the requirement of separate registration for town elections in ad-

dition to the standard registration for county, state and national elec-

tions. Gretna's registration books were kept in a store owned by a

white and no blacks were listed. In January 1971, a member of the NAACP

who resided in Gretna attempted to attend a meeting of the town council

but was asked to leave. Reporting the incident to the next meeting of

the NAACP in Quincy, a committee was formed to investigate the matter.

Upon discovery of the separate registration requirement, an appeal was

made to the Florida House Committee on Elections to have the books moved

to the town hall. The NAACP then spearheaded a massive effort to get

Gretna blacks on the town books by canvassing the town in a door-to-door

effort. Before the books closed prior to the December 1971 election,
176 black voters registered, giving blacks a two-to-one majority. In

meetings sponsored by the NAACP, Gretna blacks decided to contest for

the two town council positions that were available plus that of town

clerk. The original feeling was that whites should retain control of

the mayor's office, at least initially. However, Earnest 0. Barkley,

who had organized an SCLC chapter in Gretna instead of following the

NAACP lead, decided to seek the office of mayor in his own initiative.

Once that decision was made, the NAACP threw its support behind his

candidacy. On election day the NAACP in cooperation with Gretna blacks

launched a "get out the vote campaign" by stationing people at every

street corner to remind people to vote and by providing rides to the

polls.73 Black candidates were successful in all contests and when the

three remaining council seats became available in the following Decem-
ber, they were captured by blacks as well.74 Thus within the period of

a year, Gretna had gone from an all-white town government to one that

was totally black.

Outsiders in Gadsden County:
An Evaluation

If visible flurries of political activity can be taken as evidence

of political mobilization in progress, two distinct and major periods of

black political mobilization in Gadsden County are apparent. While both

periods coincided with the presence of outside groups, the sequential

order of outside organizational involvement varied.

The first period of political mobilization began in late 1963 and

lasted until 1966. Figure 3:1 demonstrates a dramatic increase in the

black share of the county's electorate from 5 to 40 percent in this

period. The ballooning of the number of black civic and political news

stories appearing on the front page of the Gadsden County Times is also

readily apparent during this period (Figure 3:1). The Gadsden County

Times published stories concerning political and civic activities of

local blacks only occasionally prior to 1964. In 1964 the number of

such stories shot to 15 and did not begin to approach the pre-1964

levels until after 1966.

The sequential order of the political mobilization process as de-

scribed in Figure 1:1 on page 5 is followed during this first period.

CORE's decision to enter the county stimulated increased activity by

*Number of political and civic news articles concerning blacks in the weekly Gadsden County
Times, Quincy, Florida, 1958-1977

**Black share of total Gadsden County registered voters, 1958-1976

Figure 3:1
Black News Articles and Black Share of Gadsden County Electorate
As Indicators of Black Political Activity


local black leaders and the creation and expansion of local black polit-

ical organizations. A local CORE chapter was organized to harness the

energy of Gadsden County's black youth; a supportive organization, the

Civic Interest Group (CIG), was founded to include adult members of the

community; and the local chapter of the NAACP was rejuvenated and ex-

panded. The involvement of larger numbers of Gadsden County's black

residents came last. The lag between the increase in news stories on

black political activity and the rise in black voter registration is

evidence of the time sequence in the political mobilization process.

After 1966, CORE shifted its focus to community organization and

was far less concerned with stimulating mass political activity. News

articles concerning black political activities declined. The organiza-

tions created and activated by CORE's presence lapsed in activity fol-

lowing CORE's departure in early 1968. Voter registration levels for

blacks stabilized near 40 percent.

The second political mobilization period was spurred by the Quincy

riot of October 1970. Representatives of outside organizations again

converged on the county, but with their role altered. CORE provided the

stimulation necessary to mobilize local blacks in challenging their sub-

ordinate group status. CORE's influence was reflected by the scope of

political activity coinciding with its presence. SCLC field representa-

tives from Atlanta and Tallahassee helped organize marches, boycotts,

and demonstrations in Quincy in the early months of 1971. However, an

active, local leadership was already active prior to SCLC's arrival.

The Quincy chapter of the NAACP, one of the few black organizations to

still exist, was well organized with an expanding membership.

The high level of political activity by Gadsden blacks is evident

by the number of black political articles in the county press. From two

articles in 1969, the number of political and civic news articles ap-

pearing on the front page of the weekly Gadsden County Times rose to 18

in 1970 and 19 in 1971 (Figure 3:1). A voter registration drive con-

ducted by an invigorated NAACP in 1971 brought the black share of the

county electorate to 50 percent. The increase in the size of the black

electorate in the 1970-1972 mobilization period was only 58 percent of

that of the 1963-1966 period.75 The generally impoverished nature of

Gadsden County with low educational levels among blacks may place a

mounting cost on the attempt to recruit increasing numbers in the poli-

tical mobilization process. The erosion of black registered voters

after 1972 may indicate the difficulty of sustaining a high level of

political involvement within a marginal population.

While outside organizations played an important role in the second

mobilization period, the sequential order predicted by the model of po-

litical mobilization76 was not followed. The initiating event was in-

ternal in nature, a riot sparked by a nonpolitical incident. When out-

siders arrived in Gadsden County early in 1971, local leaders were al-

ready mobilized. The ordering of the stages had been disrupted by the

preceding events. CORE's earlier presence had activated a local leader-

ship and stirred the population. Although both leader and group politi-

cal activity declined following CORE's departure, the local environment

had been altered with a partially successful challenge of the local

racial status quo undertaken. In addition, a major economic dislocation

had occurred. The Quincy riot was basically a leaderless event although

it stimulated local black leaders to action. This mobilized local lead-

ership then began to organize and press for change by recruiting large

numbers of the black community into the mobilization effort. Outside


groups played a supporting role in this effort but were not the initia-

ting factor. Once political mobilization has occurred in a traditional

area, outside organizations may no longer be required for further mobi-


The order of events in the Gretna political mobilization more

closely followed that established during the first mobilization period.

Mobilization in Gretna was spurred by events occurring in Quincy, six

miles to the east. Although Gretna residents had registered to vote

during the 1963-1966 period and some had joined the Quincy-based NAACP

in 1971, they initially possessed no independent organization. However,

Gretna blacks had been active in two boycotts against town merchants.

Within this context, the Quincy-based NAACP served as an outside organi-

zation in Gretna, recruiting leaders and organizing activities.

Political mobilization in northern Florida tended to occur first in

the more urban centers, spreading eventually to the rural periphery.

But this spread was not automatic. Tallahassee, less than 20 miles to

the east of Quincy, experienced at least two periods of mobilization,

one in 1956-1957 when a bus boycott was attempted and another in 1960

when Patricia Due led a drive to desegregate lunch counters. Despite

the turmoil provoked by these events, Gadsden County was at least vis-

ibly untouched. Only when organizers came directly into Gadsden County

during the first mobilization period, 1963-1966, was mobilization evi-

dent. The greatest initial impact was felt in Quincy, although blacks

registered to vote throughout the county. During the second mobiliza-

tion period, 1970-1972, Quincy again became the center of organized

activity. Once mobilized, the Quincy-based leadership of the NAACP

helped stimulate organization and registration efforts in smaller


Following 1972, broad-based black political activity became less

visible. The NAACP retained its organizational presence but active

membership declined. Activities designed to incorporate large numbers

of the black community in united efforts to challenge the racial status

quo were replaced by law suits. Black leaders won public office in

Gretna and in Quincy as a result of court mandated district elections.

Lack of leadership unity and the inability to mobilize the black vote on

the county level helped prevent an attempt to win county office in the

1972 democratic primary. These factors were again apparent in 1974.

The data did not permit an evaluation of black and white electoral mo-

bilization. In 1972, blacks comprised 51.9 percent of the eligible

Gadsden County electorate.77 If voting followed racial cleavages, black

candidates would have had to mobilize their numbers more efficiently

than white candidates. The bulge in black political and civic news

articles during 1974 and 1975 reflects the leader-dominant activity of

legal redress as well as electoral news (Figure 3:1).

"It takes one of us outside to unify," said Rev. Gordon from Tal-

lahassee, one of the SCLC leaders who supported the second black mobili-

zation in 1971. "Once we are gone, the leaders start to fragment and go

their own way."78
their own way.


1. J. Love Hutchinson, "Bits and Pieces by Hutch," Gadsden County
Times, 20 August 1964 (All Gadsden County Times citations are
page one unless otherwise noted.)

2. Although 140 blacks were registered in 1950, a purge in 1952 re-
duced their number to six. The number of black registered voters
remained under ten until 1960. Election data for Gadsden County
were compiled from the Gadsden County Times, Office of the Florida
Secretary of State, and Office of the Gadsden County Supervisor
of Elections.

3. Samuel P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies (New
Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1968), p. 302

4. Chalmers Johnson, Revolutionary Change (Boston: Little, Brown
and Company, 1966), pp. 27-33

5. Interview with Patricia Due, Miami, Florida, 12, 13 December 1977

6. Milton Lee Boykin, "The Emergence of a Black Majority: An Analysis
of Political Participation in Greene County, Alabama" (Ph.D. dis-
sertation, University of Alabama, 1972), p. 231

7. John Staples Shockley, Chicano Revolt in a Texas Town (South Bend,
Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1974), pp. 25-27, 114-115

8. Hugo Blanco, Land or Death: The Peasant Struggle in Peru (New York:
Pathfinder Press, 1972); Howard Handelman, Struggle in the Andes:
Peasant Political Mobilization in Peru (Austin, Texas: University
of Texas Press, 1975), pp. 73-75

9. Kenneth B. Clark, "The Civil Rights Movement: Momentum and Organi-
zation," Daedalus 95 (Winter 1966):245; Gunnar Myrdal, An American
Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy (New York:
Pantheon Books, 1944, 1962, 1972), p. 815

10. Clark, pp. 242-245; Myrdal, pp. 830-836

11. Clark, pp. 245-246

12. Alfred R. Kelly and Winfred A. Harbinson, The American Constitution:
Its Origins and Development (New York: W. W. Norton and Company,
1963), p. 386

13. August Meier and Elliot Rudwick, CORE: A Study in the Civil Rights
Movement, 1942-1968 (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois
Press, 1975), pp. 135-145; Marvin Rich, "The Congress of Racial
Equality and Its Strategy," The Annals 357 (January 1965):113-118

Chapter Three Notes-continued

14. Pat Watters and Reese Cleghorn, Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The
Arrival of Negroes in Southern Politics (New York: Harcourt, Brace
and World, 1967), pp. 27-28

15. Gadsden County Times, 13 September 1956; Gadsden County Times, 27
December 1956; Gadsden County Times, 28 March 1957; Gadsden County
Times, 11 April 1957

16. Lewis M. Killian and Charles U. Smith, "Negro Protest Leaders in a
Southern Community," Social Forces 38 (March 1960):253-257; Meier
and Rudwick, p. 92; Watters and Cleghorn, p. 72

17. Patricia Due, interview; Meier and Rudwick, pp. 99, 106-107

18. Clark, p. 241

19. Interview with John Due, Miami, Florida, 12, 13 December 1977; Meier
and Rudwick, pp. 175-176; Watters and Cleghorn, pp. 45-49

20. Patricia Due, interview

21. Telephone interview with Judy Benniger Brown, Palatka, Florida, 26
July 1978

22. Patricia Due, interview; Tallahassee Democrat, 26 June 1965, p. 2

23. Ibid.

24. Gadsden County Times, 18 August 1964; Gadsden County Times, 19
August 1965

25. Tallahassee Democrat, 17 August 1964, sec. 2, p. 9

26. Patricia Due, interview; "Negroes Meet Subtle Antipathy in Quincy,
Fla., Voter Campaign," New York Times, 18 May 1964, p. 25

27. Gadsden County Times, 10 December 1964

28. Interview with Robert Bryant, Quincy, Florida, 19 November 1977;
Gadsden County Times, 16 July 1959

29. Interview with Vivian Kelly, Quincy, Florida, 19 November 1977

30. Interview with Dorothy Jones Cowart, St. Hebron, Florida, 21
December 1977

31. Patricia Due, interview

32. Meier and Rudwick, pp. 354-356

Chapter Three Notes-continued

33. John Due, interview; Meier and Rudwick, pp. 337-339

34. John Due, interview; Gadsden County Times, 22 July 1965; Gadsden
County Times, 2 September 1965; Gadsden County Times, 9 September
1965; Tallahassee Democrat, 26 June 1965, p. 2

35. John Due, interview

36. John Due, interview; Legal report from John Due to Carl Rachlin, 19
May 1967; Gadsden County Times, 13 January 1966

37. Interview with Clarence Bryant, Quincy, Florida, 18 November 1977

38. Interview with Franklin Jones, Quincy, Florida, 17 November 1977

39. Norman H. Nie, Sidney Verba, and John R. Petrocik, The Changing
American Voter (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University
Press, 1976), p. 99

40. Kelly, interview

41. Interview with Witt Campbell, Quincy, Florida, 19 December 1977;
Cowart, interview

42. Jones, interview

43. Gadsden County Times, 20 May 1970

44. Gadsden County Times, 28 May 1970; Gadsden County Times, 4 June
1970; Gadsden County Times, 30 July 1970

45. Clarence Bryant, interview; Robert Bryant, interview; Interview with
Carl Daniels, Quincy, Florida, 19 November 1977; Interview with
John Hutley, Quincy, Florida, 20 December 1977; Jones, interview

46. Gadsden County Times, 15 October 1970; Tallahassee Democrat, 11
October 1970, p. 1; Tallahassee Democrat, 12 October 1970, sec. 2,
p. 11

47. Cowart, interview; Gadsden County Times, 10 December 1970

48. Cowart, interview; Jones, interview; Kelly, interview

49. Clarence Bryant, interview

50. Telephone interview with Reverend R. N. Gooden, Tallahassee,
Florida, 30 December 1977

51. Gadsden County Times, 5 August 1965

Chapter Three Notes-continued

52. Gadsden County Times, 11 February 1971; Tallahassee Democrat, 9
February 1971, sec. 2, p. 11

53. Tallahassee Democrat, 10 February 1971, sec. 2, p. 9

54. Interview with Catherine James, Havana, Florida, 22 December 1977;
Tallahassee Democrat, 10 February 1971, sec. 2, p. 9

55. Gadsden County Times, 4 March 1971; Tallahassee Democrat, 28
February 1971, pp. 1, 14

56. Interview with Claudel Bethea, Gretna, Florida, 20 December 1977;
Dudley Clendinen, "Dead End on a Tobacco Road," The Floridian
(Sunday supplement to the) St. Petersburg Times, 28 March 1971,
p. 17

57. Campbell, interview; Interview with Theodore Lane, Greensboro,
Florida, 20 December 1977

58. Gadsden County Times, 2 September 1971; Tallahassee Democrat, 31
August 1971, p. 11

59. Gadsden County Times, 15 October 1970; Gadsden County Times, 22
October 1970; Interview with Lamar Munroe, Quincy, Florida, 23
March 1978

60. Clarence Bryant, interview; Gadsden County Times, 29 October 1970

61. Interview with Howard Fletcher, Quincy, Florida, 23 March 1978

62. Interview with Melvin Barber, Quincy, Florida, 18 November 1977;
Robert Bryant, interview; Cowart, interview; Daniels, interview;
Hutley, interview; Lane, interview

63. Barber, interview

64. Gadsden County Times, 18 February 1971

65. Gadsden County Times, 27 July 1972

66. Gadsden County Times, 5 October 1972

67. Gadsden County Times, 12 September 1974

68. Gadsden County Times, 28 March 1974

69. Interview with Earnest 0. Barkley, Jr., Gretna, Florida, 26 July
1975; Interview with Earnest 0. Barkley, Jr., Tallahassee, Florida,
29 December 1977; Interview with Caludell Bethea, Gretna, Florida,
26 July 1975; Bethea, interview, 20 December 1977; Interview with
Walter Watson, Jr., Gretna, Florida, 15 August 1976

Chapter Three Notes-continued

70. Watson, interview

71. Interview with Gus Richardson, Gretna, 26 July 1975; Interview with
Rosalyn Smith, Gretna, Florida, 26 July 1975; Watson, interview

72. Bethea, interview, 20 December 1977; Gadsden County Times, 2
December 1971; Hutley, interview; Interview with Kent Spriggs,
Tallahassee, Florida, 30 December 1977

73. Barkley, interview, 26 July 1975; Barkley, interview, 29 December
1977; Bethea, interview, 20 December 1977; Campbell, interview;
Hutley, interview

74. Gadsden County Times, 9 December 1971; Gadsden County Times, 7
December 1972; Tallahassee Democrat, 8 December 1971, p. 30

75. 3,860 Gadsden County blacks registered to vote between 1963 and
1966 while 2,247 registered in the 1970-1973 period.

76. Figure 1:1, p. 5

77. U.S., Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, United States
Census of Population: 1970, vol. 1, Characteristics of the Popula-
tion, pt. 11, sec. 1, Florida, p. 161

78. Gooden, interview


The orientation of more inclusive levels of government must be

taken into consideration. If the goal of the local subordinate group is

to alter the basic distribution of resources, such efforts are likely to

be resisted by the local dominant group. Without support from outside

government, the activities of any group seeking an alteration in the

traditional distribution of resources in a given locality may be subject

to sanction. Even with a basic supportive attitude by outside govern-

ment, political mobilization may be difficult with the local distribu-

tion of resources favoring the dominant group. An appeal to outside

government can help redress this balance. In the American context, the

orientation of the federal government has had considerable impact on

black aspirations.

Black Aspirations and the Federal Government

V. 0. Key, Jr. demonstrated in 1949 that the entire nature of poli-

tics in the southern region of the United States revolves around the

status of the black man. Generally, the greater his number, the

greater has been the effort on the part of the economically superior and

politically dominant whites to maintain him in a subordinate position.

Where electoral politics are fairly conducted, blacks can overcome a lot

of white resistance to their demands when they comprise a voting major-
ity. Within the context of the larger political system, however, the

distinctly minority status of the black poses a serious handicap on his

ability to pressure for change. The result has been that blacks have

been dependent on the attitude of the white-dominanted national govern-

ment for any gains realized.

The gains realized by blacks as a result of the War Between the

States were the consequence of abolitionist pressure and political ad-

vantage sought by the Republican Party. The motivation of the Aboli-

tionist, of course, was that slavery was a fundamental violation of

Christian teachings and of basic human rights enumerated in the Declara-

tion of Independence. Yet, the majority of opinion in the Northern

States was probably less than favorable to the cause of black equality.

By 1866 only five Northern States allowed blacks to vote, and despite

the ideals expressed in the Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln

personally favored a gradual emancipation. As for the Republican

Party, the votes of southern blacks were an absolute necessity. With

the repeal of the three-fifths clause of the Constitution, the number of

Congressional seats allocated to the Southern States would be increased

by 13. If these seats along with the customary allocation were cap-

tured by the Democrats in the South, then the Republican Party might

find itself in the minority. Extensive black suffrage coupled with re-

strictions placed on white participation insured Republican control of

the federal government.

To enforce the equal treatment of blacks, the Republican Congress

passed three amendments to the Constitution (Thirteen through Fifteen),

a number of civil rights bills, and enforcement legislation. However,

the will to insure enforcement of these commitments soon lagged with

the Southern black suffering the consequences. The Compromise of 1877


traded Southern support of Rutherford Hayes for a reduction in federal

intervention in Southern affairs. With the black man a symbol of sec-

tional strife, many Northern Liberals came to believe that perhaps

blacks had been pushed prematurely into equality. Meanwhile the nation

was caught in an imperialist mood. If the subjugation of foreign non-

white populations in the Philippines was deemed permissible, then how

could equal treatment of blacks in the South be pursued with zeal? The

doctrine of white supremacy achieved respectability throughout the coun-

try.0 Within this context, the United States Supreme Court proceeded

to dismantle the elaborate Reconstruction legislation designed to pro-

tect the black.11 In the wake Southern state governments erected a num-

ber of formidable barriers to black suffrage, including a cumulative

poll tax, literacy and understanding tests administered by local regis-

trars, and even the "grandfather clause" that waived requirements for

those whose grandfathers had been eligible to vote prior to 1867.12

Renewed federal government interest in black aspirations awaited

the wholesale migration of rural blacks into urban centers during the
World Wars of the Twentieth Century.3 The big city machines were the

first to take advantage of the large number of blacks, now separated
from the traditional life styles of their forefathers.4 But the impact

of these new voters was not lost on the major political parties. Even

though a minority, blacks could provide the balance needed to swing an

election. Voting blacks had generally allied themselves with the Repub-

lican Party, the party of emancipation and reconstruction. In 1928

Republican Herbert Hoover received about 80 percent of the black vote.5

With Republicans attempting to make inroads among voters in the South,

a switch of black voters toward the Democratic Party began. By 1936 the

majority of blacks were voting for the Democrats. The Democratic

Party preference of black voters continued and increased through the

decades following Roosevelt's New Deal.17

However, supportive preisdential action until the 1960's was lim-

ited. Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Commission

to prevent discrimination in employment by industries holding contracts

with the federal government but only after numerous black organizations

threatened a massive march on Washington. But with World War II and re-

sistance from Southern legislators, civil rights declined in impor-

tance.8 The administration of Harry Truman again attempted to focus

attention on the concerns of blacks by creating the Civil Rights Commis-

sion and by beginning the effort to abolish discrimination and segrega-

tion in the armed services. The Republican administration of Dwight

Eisenhower put forth no innovative measures. Instead, existing policies

at the national level were maintained while interference with the dis-
criminatory practices of state governments was avoided.9 The primary

source of black support during this period came from the Supreme Court.

The major blow to segregation came in the 1954 case, Brown v. Board of

Education. Stating that segregation was inherently unequal, the Court

ruled that state laws enforcing segregation violated the equal protec-
tion clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.2

The subsequent increase in black militancy and rise of race as a

national issue put pressure on the federal government to respond. Civil

rights legislation passed in 1957 and amended in 1960 was significant

largely in that it was passed at all. Opposition by Southern legisla-

tors had served to prevent the consideration of such legislation. By

1964 civil rights had become the predominant domestic issue in the
country. Before his death in November 1963, President John Kennedy

had begun to take an increasingly stronger stand on the question of

civil rights. Under Lyndon Johnson, the effort for substantive civil

rights legislation was redoubled. Legislation proposed by Kennedy was

expanded to make it a comprehensive document that gave the Attorney

General the power to counter discrimination by state law or in public

facilities as well as private facilities engaged in interstate commerce.

Employment discrimination was to be prohibited in companies holding fed-

eral contracts. In addition, the law prohibited voting registrars from
applying different standards to white and black applicants.22 Supported

by a quarter of a million demonstrators during the 1963 March on Wash-

ington, the Congress finally passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Fol-

lowing the 1964 election in which blacks overwhelmingly supported the

Democrat Johnson over the Republican Barry Goldwater, the Voting Rights

Act of 1965 was passed. The 1965 Act allowed the Justice Department to

send federal registrars to counties where evidence of persistent dis-

crimination was found. By eliminating local registrars, Southern blacks

began to register in mass, approaching and even exceeding the regional
registration rate for all eligible voters. Black increases were mir-

rored by increases in the white vote as well.24

Governmental Intervention
in Gadsden County

Direct intervention by outside government was evident in Gadsden

County as blacks became politically mobilized. The federal government

has played the major role, although intervention by agents of the state

government has been evident to a more limited degree.

State intervention was particularly visible in efforts to improve

access to the registration books. Although there is no evidence that

the county Supervisor of Elections ever refused to register a black,

the location of the books in the offices of the Gadsden County Times,

plus the restricted registration hours, were long standing complaints

of the black community. CORE workers in 1964 demanded that registra-

tion hours be expanded from six hours on Monday to a daily basis. Addi-

tional complaints were filed with the Florida Secretary of State that a

partisan climate existed in the Gadsden County Times business office

where registration was conducted, that preference was given to whites
seeking to register, and that blacks received discourteous treatment.2

However, no action was taken on these charges at that time. Winter of

1971 witnessed another major effort by Gadsden County blacks to deal

with this issue. Two marches in the city of Quincy plus a vigil outside

the county courthouse failed to get the election books moved to a public

building, although county officials did agree to expand registration to

five and one-half days a week. Only after a delegation from the SCLC-

led march from Quincy to Tallahassee met with Governor Reubin Askew was

space found in a courthouse annex and the books transferred. Gadsden

County officials denied that state pressure was a factor in the deci-

sion, but march participants insisted otherwise.26 Representatives from

the state helped establish the Human Relations Commission following the

Quincy riot. The Askew administration also sought to inject dollars

into the black controlled town of Gretna, particularly in the distribu-

tion of CETA funds.27 The transfer of the Gretna registration books

from a private business to a public building, resulting in the registra-

tion of blacks for the first time, was also facilitated by state govern-

ment intervention.

Federal government intervention has also been evident in regard to

election procedures. No federal registrars were sent to Gadsden County

after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. By that time

blacks were already registering in large numbers. But the announcement

of a voter purge in January 1966 led to suspicions in the black commu-

nity that the purpose was discriminatory in intent. Concurrent with the

CORE voter registration drive, Supervisor of Elections J. Love Hutchin-

son initiated the first purge of the county's registration books since

1952. CORE Field Secretary Gordon charged that the move was racially

motivated and wired a complaint to the Justice Department. The purge

had resulted in over 1,000 blacks being removed from the voter books

upon failing to return their purge cards. Consequently, black voter

registration declined an initial 23 percent. However, over 2,000 whites

were dropped from the voter rolls as well during the purge. An investi-

gation by two agents from the Civil Rights Division of the Justice De-

partment in March 1966 failed to uncover any systematic discrimination

against blacks.28

The federal courts have been the most active arena for direct fed-

eral involvement. Appeal to the federal courts, specifically the Fifth

District Court of Appeals in New Orleans, has been an explicit tactic of

civil rights attorneys practicing the Gadsden County. Believing that

neither the judges nor the juries in state courts were friendly toward

civil rights cases, John Due made a conscious effort to stay out of

state court. If a case was slated to be tried in a state court, he

would petition to have it removed to the federal courts. And among the

federal courts, the Fifth District Court was seen as far more sympa-

thetic than the more local Federal District Court for Northern Florida,

especially when Harold Carswell was presiding. Besides the more liberal

philosophy existing in the higher federal court, there was an additional


reason to seek a ruling there. Since local and state judges are elected

rather than appointed, they may find it difficult to buck local senti-

ment in cases challenging traditional racial matters. In such instances,

according to John Due, it was better to blame unfavorable rulings on the
federal courts than to put local judges on the spot.29 Kent Spriggs has

handled the Gadsden County civil rights cases since opening his Talla-

hassee practice in 1971. Spriggs concurred with Due's opinion by term-

ing the local district court as "mediocre." When preparing a case, he

considered how it would look on appeal to the Fifth District Court rather

than relying on a favorable ruling in the Federal District Court.3

The federal courts were instrumental in the election of the first

blacks to the city commission in Quincy. Prior to 1975, city elections

were conducted on an at-large basis, although candidates had to reside

in one of the city's five districts. With blacks still in the minority

among registered voters, black candidates could not muster a majority of

the vote. Black electoral success at the county level was equally un-

successful.31 Suits filed by Henry McGill, Witt Campbell, and James

Palmer in the winter of 1974 challenged the at-large method of election

in both the county commission and school board and the city of Quincy'on

the grounds that it systematically denied black representation. Both

suits against the county were dismissed on the grounds that the at-

large election system was not intended to be discriminatory as it was

adopted at a time when state laws effectively disenfranchised blacks.32

Thw Quincy suit, filed by Palmer, was upheld by United States Court

Judge Middlebrooks in Tallahassee. Judge Middlebrooks ordered the city

to redraw its district boundaries to reflect a more equitable distribu-

tion of population. In addition, new elections were ordered with the

requirement that candidates be elected on a district basis.33 Judge

Middlebrooks then retired and Judge Norman Roettger was assigned the task

of enforcing the order. A request by the city of Quincy for a stay of

execution on the order pending appeal was denied by the chief judge of

the district court in Pensacola and the Fifth District Court of Appeals

in New Orleans. Two predominantly black districts were then created and

in the elections held in the spring of 1975 both were captured by black
candidates. The case is still open to appeal but with blacks on the

city commission, no effort has been made by the city to proceed in that

Perhaps the area where federal presence has had its greatest impact

has been the county's school system. A dual system, despite the 1954

Brown decision, continued unchanged in Gadsden County until the mid-

1960's. In response to the 1964 Civil Rights Act the county opted for a

"freedom of choice" plan where students could apply to attend any school

in the county. The dual system was to be maintained but blacks could

attend the white schools if they so desired. In the fall of 1965, 91

black children applied to previously all-white schools while no whites

made similar applications to all-black schools.36 By 1968 the Depart-

ment of Health, Education, and Welfare, increasingly dissatisfied with

the county's efforts at desegregation, threatened to withhold federal
funds unless an acceptable desegregation plan was forthcoming. Suit

was eventually brought by the Justice Department in the summer of 1970

under Title IV of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to force desegregation. The

plan accepted by Judge Middlebrooks divided the county into five zones

with those students residing in each zone being assigned to the same

school. The dismantling of the dual school system was furthered by the

reassignment of faculty on a white-black ratio of 50-50.38

Further appeal to federal court followed what blacks in Gadsden

County felt were discriminatory hiring and promotional practices in the

county school administration and an attempt to resegregate the schools

internally through ability grouping. In 1973 suits were brought by Witt

Campbell and Robert Love, blacks employed by the school system, alleging

that the 1970 desegregation had resulted in discriminatory demotion and

the advancement of whites at their expense. Campbell also charged that

the failure of the county to grant him a principal assignment comparable

to the one he held prior to desegregation was due largely to his civil
rights activities.39 Campbell initially won part of his suit but was

not awarded back pay or attorney fees. Both Campbell and the county

appealed with the Fifth District Court of Appeals upholding Campbell's
claims. The Love suit ruling issued by Winston E. Arnow, Chief Judge

of the United States District Court for Northern Florida, originally

sided with the Gadsden County School Board, stating that no discrimina-

tion was evident. The Fifth District Court of Appeals reversed the

Arnow decision and remanded it back to his court for rehearing.41 Since

1970, the 81 percent of the new teachers hired by the system were white.

In addition, of the 12 vacancies occurring among principals since 1968,

10 were filled by whites. Black school faculty were being held at the

50 percent level and black principals had actually declined from 50 per-

cent to 35 percent. Arnow declared that the 1970 order that mandated a

50-50 ratio was not intended to be rigid. In an 80 percent black school

system Arnow decided that black applicants had been arbitrarily denied
employment because of race.42 In a suit brought by the mother of a

third-grade black student, Judge Arnow found that ability grouping as

applied to elementary schools in Gadsden County had resulted in


resegregation with white students concentrated in the upper sections and

black students in the lower sections of each grade. He ordered a halt

to the practice except to the extent it may be necessary for nondiscrim-

inatory reasons that certain students attend special classes for part of
the school day.44 The school board appealed the ability grouping deci-

sion but the Fifth District Court of Appeals upheld the Arnow ruling in

May 1978.45

Additional appeals to federal court have been made over the issues

of jury selection and private discrimination. The issue in the 1972

jury discrimination suit brought against county officials was the arbi-

trary exclusion of blacks from jury duty. The county argued that blacks

were in fact not fully represented on juries due to deficiencies in

qualifications, including the inability to follow instructions, the in-

capacity to make objective judgments, and the harboring of racial preju-

dice.4 Federal District Court ruled against the county and ordered
that jury selection be made on a random basis.47 Late in 1976, a suit

was filed in district court charging that a Quincy doctor maintained

racially segregated waiting rooms. The case, which is still pending, is

a class action suit seeking to obtain nominal damages for all black


The impact of the federal courts has been recognized by Gadsden

County's black leaders. Despite the feeling that federal legal inter-

vention may aggravate racial tensions, the predominant attitude among

these leaders is that individual and group advancement has resulted.

"If they can get out of the law suit," said one black teacher living in

Quincy, "they will go back to where they were."49 According to a black

Quincy businessman, "It lets the next one know what he can do."50

Attitudes among the white leaders are more varied. "Court decisions

have done more to influence the situation than anything," said a repre-

sentative to the Florida House. "The results have been primarily posi-

tive."51 Other white leaders are more ambivalent. "The judiciary comes

into places where they don't know what's going on," said a Quincy bus-

inessman. "Some actions are justified, some are not."52 Others are

more hostile. "They have aggravated the situation through school regu-

lations and integration," said another businessman. "They put the city

on a ward system which resulted in an unqualified black being elected to

the city commission."53

Outside Governmental Support in Gadsden
County: An Evaluation

Despite the widespread sense of betrayal of the national government

by those involved in the Civil Rights Movement, the support of outside

government, particularly the federal courts, has been a major factor in

the ability of Gadsden County blacks to press for change. The federal

system of government in the United States allowed the exclusion of

blacks from the political process in the South, particularly following

the Compromise of 1877 which greatly diminished national governmental

presence. Only with the reintroduction of national government support

for blacks intent on altering the political balance in the various lo-

calities in the South was there substantial progress. While the 1954

Brown decision did little to affect the immediate condition of Southern

blacks, it provided hope.55 A major thrust of the Civil Rights Movement

was to generate political support for national legislation that would

secure political rights for black Americans.

In Gadsden County outside government involvement cannot be clearly

associated with either of the two mobilization periods identified above.


Instead, such involvement formed a general background within which local

events transpired. More specifically, the federal courts integrated

juries, and schools allowed blacks to be represented on the Quincy city

commission, and protected the job security and advancement of black

county school system personnel. Administrative action by the Office of

Economic Opportunity allowed local blacks more political clout by ex-

panding the black membership of the community action agency and by lib-

eralizing its nominating procedure. The state government facilitated

access to voter registration in Quincy and Gretna as well as helped

mediate black/white differences following the Quincy riot. Both federal

and state funds have been channeled into Gretna following black political

control. In general, outside government provided a supportive resource

that could be called upon to overcome local white resistance and help

redress local power imbalance.

Of course, it is difficult to asses the exact contribution of out-

side governmental involvement. However, the ability of blacks to chal-

lenge the local system certainly would have been hampered in the face

of outside government indifference and nearly impossible with determined

opposition from that quarter. Gadsden County black leaders were cog-

nizant of this dependence. When asked whether they agreed or disagreed

with the statement, "The government in Washington should let local peo-

ple work out their race problems and not get involved," 61 percent

strongly disagreed while another 26 percent disagreed slightly. Of the

23 leaders interviewed, only three (13%) agreed with the statement and

then only slightly. Two-thirds of the Gadsden County black leaders

questioned could name some specific action by the national government

they thought had led to improved local race relations. Nearly 40 per-

cent could name some specific state governmental action.


Before CORE, SCLC, and the federal government intervened in Gads-

den County, little or no substantive political activity by blacks was

visible. Only with the stimulus of direct intervention by outside

forces was substantive political activity in evidence. The outside

groups appear to have provided the nudge needed to break the rigidity

of tradition in local race relations which defined blacks as nonpartic-

ipants in political affairs. Outside governmental activity was sup-

portive, serving to prod local white officials into taking actions they

personally resisted and protecting blacks from possible retaliation,

particularly through legal redress.

The presence of the federal government has been apparent in other

United States case studies of subordinate mobilization. Texas Chicanos

in Crystal City and Zavala County were able to gain political control

through an organized mobilization of the population in 1963 and again

in 1969. Federal governmental support was evident during this period

through civil rights enforcement, arbitration, and financial assistance

to Chicano controlled governmental units.56 Federal legal intervention

into Greene County, Alabama, in 1969 enforced fair elections and the sub-

sequent black political control.57

Of course, there was considerable effort on the part of local

blacks in Gadsden County in achieving whatever was accomplished. Local

leaders had to arise to take command if real progress was to be made.

Organizations had to be created or rejuvenated to serve as vehicles for

change. And the bulk of the people had to be recruited into the effort

to enforce changes in the traditional patterns of race relations. The

process of mobilization may be initiated by outsiders to some degree,

but the locals must take up the standard if it is to proceed.


1. V. 0. Key, Jr., Southern Politics in State and Nation (New York:
Vintage Books, 1949), p. 5

2. Hubert M. Blalock, Jr., Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Rela-
tions (New York: Capricorn Books, 1967), p. 179; William R. Keech,
The Impact of Negro Voting: The Role of the Vote in the Quest for
Equality (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968), pp. 100-102; Key, Southern
Politics, p. 101

3. Keech, p. 101

4. Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern
Democracy (New York: Pantheon Books, 1944, 1962, 1972), p. 740

5. Ibid.

6. C. Van Woodward, The Burden of Southern History (New York: Vintage
Books, 1960), p. 91

7. Ibid., p. 72

8. C. Van Woodward, Origins of the New South, 1877-1913 (Baton Rouge,
Louisiana: Louisiana State University Press, 1951), pp. 25-46

9. "Reconstruction and Disfranchisement," The Atlantic Monthly 88
(October 1901):433; C. Van Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow,
2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 70

10. Woodward, The Strange Career, pp. 72-74

11. Alfred H. Kelly and Winfred A. Harbinson, The American Constitution:
Its Origins and Development (New York: W. W. Norton and Company,
1963), pp. 458-461, 491-493; Key, Southern Politics, pp. 537-539

12. Hugh Douglas Price, The Negro and Southern Politics: A Chapter of
Florida History (New York: New York University Press, 1957), pp.

13. Philip M. Hauser, "Demographic Factors in the Integration of the
Negro," Daedalus 94 (Fall 1965):850-852

14. Lucius Barker and Jesse J. McCorry, Jr., Black Americans and the
Political System (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Winthrop Publishers,
1976), p. 100

15. Pat Watters and Reese Cleghorn, Climbing Jacob's Ladder: The
Arrival of Negroes in Southern Politics (New York: Harcourt, Brace
and World, 1967), p. 11

Chapter Four Notes-continued

16. Angus Campbell et al., The American Voter, an abridgement (New
York: John Wiley and Sons, 1964), pp. 92-93; Norman H. Nie,
Sidney Verba, and John R. Petrocik, The Changing American Voter
(Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1976), p. 226

17. V. 0. Key, Jr., The Responsible Electorate: Rationality in Presi-
dential Voting 1936-1960 (New York: Vintage Books, 1968), pp. 68,

18. Barker and McCorry, pp. 31-33

19. Harold C. Fleming, "The Federal Executive and Civil Rights: 1961-
1965," Daedalus 94 (Fall 1965):924

20. Kelly and Harbinson, pp. 933-935

21. Gerald M. Pomper, Voters' Choice: Varieties of American Electoral
Behavior (New York: Harper and Row, 1975), pp. 120-121

22. Fleming, p. 938; Neil R. McMillen, "Black Enfranchisement in
Mississippi: Federal Enforcement and Black Protest in the 1960s,"
Journal of Southern History 48 (August 1977):356-359; Rose, pp.
56-57; Frederick M. Wirt, Politics of Southern Equality: Law and
Social Change in a Mississippi County (Chicago: Aldine Publishing
Co., 1970), pp. 67-69

23. McMillen, p. 971

24. Watters and Cleghorn, pp. 376-377

25. Gadsden County Times, 6 August 1964; Gadsden County Times, 10
September- 1964

26. Gadsden County Times, 18 February 1971; Interview with Reverend R.
N. Gooden, Tallahassee, Florida, 30 December 1977; Tallahassee
Democrat, 12 February 1971, sec. 2, p. 11; Tallahassee Democrat,
13 February 1971, p. 2

27. Telephone interview with Carl Anderson, Washington, D.C., 6
December 1977

28. Gadsden County Times, 17 March 1966; Gadsden County Times, 24 March
1966; Tallahassee Democrat, 10 March 1966, sec. 2, p. 15

29. Interview with John Due, Miami, Florida, 13 December 1977

30. Interview with Kent Spriggs, Tallahassee, Florida, 30 December 1977

31. Gadsden County Times, 4 April 1965; Gadsden County Times, 31 March
1966; Gadsden County Times, 5 May 1966; Gadsden County Times, 26
May 1966

Chapter Four Notes-continued

32. Gadsden County Times, 10 January 1974; Henry W. McGill v. Gadsden
County Commission 535 F.2d 277 (1976)

33. Gadsden County Times, 25 July 1974

34. Gadsden County Times, 13 February 1975; Gadsden County Times, 20
February 1975; Gadsden County Times, 13 March 1975; Gadsden County
Times, 27 March 1975

35. Interview with Clarence Bryant, Quincy, Florida, 18 November 1977

36. Gadsden County Times, 24 June 1965; Gadsden County Times, 26 July
1965; Gadsden County Times, 22 July 1965

37. Gadsden County Times, 1 August 1968; Gadsden County Times, 26
September 1968

38. Spriggs, interview, 30 December 1977

39. Interview with Witt Campbell, Quincy, Florida, 19 December 1977

40. Witt Campbell v. Gadsden County District School Board 534 F.2d 650
(5th Cir. 1976)

41. United States v. Gadsden County School District 359 F.2d 1369
(5th Cir. 1976)

42. Greg Dauber, "Gadsden Schools are Under Orders to Change Their
Hiring Practices," Tallahassee Democrat, 13 June 1976, sec. C,
pp. 1, 3

43. Spriggs, interview, 30 December 1977

44. Dauber, pp. 1, 3

45. Gadsden County Times, 18 May 1978; United States v. Gadsden County
School District 572 F.2d 1049 (1978)

46. Gadsden County Times, 20 January 1972; Gadsden County Times, 20
April 1972

47. Gadsden County Times, 28 December 1972

48. Spriggs, interview, 30 December 1977; Interview with Kent Spriggs,
26 July 1978; Tallahassee Democrat, 11 August 1976, sec. 2, p. 1

49. Interview with Vivian Kelly, Quincy, Florida, 19 November 1977

50. Interview with L. R. Evens, Quincy, Florida, 17 November 1977

51. Interview with James Thompson, Quincy, Florida, 23 March 1978

Chapter Four Notes-continued

52. Interview with Lamar Munroe, Jr., Quincy, Florida, 23 March 1978

53. Interview with Howard Fletcher, Quincy, Florida, 23 March 1978

54. Interview with Patricia Due, 12, 13 December 1977

55. Evert C. Ladd, Jr., Negro Political Leadership in the South (Ithaca,
New York: Cornell University Press, 1966), p. 21

56. John Staples Shockley, Chicano Revolt in a Texas Town (South Bend,
Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 1974)

57. Milton Lee Boykin, "The Emergence of a Black Majority: An Analysis
of Political Participation in Greene County, Alabama" (Ph.D. dis-
sertation, University of Alabama, 1972), pp. 23-25


The emergence of a politicized community elite and viable political

organization are necessary resources in the mobilization process. Ac-

cording to Anthony Oberschall, "Although riots and precipitating inci-

dents can be leaderless, a continuous movement of protest that seeks to

obtain wide reforms or revolution presupposes both leaders and consid-

erable organization."l One of the major tasks of outsiders is to seek

out local individuals who have the motivation and leadership potential

necessary to continue the fight for change once the outsiders have
moved along. Urban centers may be capable of incubating their own

change-oriented leadership as a relatively large minority community and

the relative autonomy of the city provide protection against possible

dominant group sanctions. Once developed, this leadership can filter

out into the hinderland to cultivate local leadership that may be pro-

hibited from self-generation by a more hostile environment. Where the

risks of protest are greatest, outsiders may be necessary to overcome

this initial resistance to mobilization. Yet the burden of sustained

mobilization must fall on the local leaders. And political mobiliza-

tion requires political organization. Strategies must be devised, coor-

dinated, and implemented. "Change comes from power and power comes from

organization," said Saul Alinsky. "Power and organization are one and

the same."


Actually, subordinate group leaders will exist before outsiders ar-

rive. When Gunnar Myrdal investigated race relations in the rural South

in the early 1940's. the predominant leadership type was the "accommoda-
tionist. The accommodating minority leader developed a patron-client

tie with an influential member of the dominant group in which small

favors and personal protection were exchanged for support of the exist-

ing social order. Although selected by the dominant group to help keep

his own people in a subordinate state, the accommodationist was accepted

as a leader by his community because of his access to scarce resources

(jobs, loans, housing) controlled by the dominant group. This type of

leader closely resembles the "peripheral" leader identified by Kurt

Lewin. Because of his desire for the status conferred by the dominant

group, this leader will not identify with the core of his own group but

instead will move toward a more peripheral position, closer to the dom-

inant group although never part of it. He functions mainly as a safety

valve, exerting his limited influence to obtain small favors and con-

cessions from the dominant group but doing nothing to endanger his pri-

vileged position.

More recent research on subordinate leadership suggests that the

pure accommodationist has been replaced by a greater diversity of lead-

ership types. The greatest apparent change is that subordinate leaders,

at least in the urban centers, have a much stronger community base of

support than the old accommodationist. However, substantial variation

is evident among leaders with the principal differences centering on

goals and tactics. Three styles of minority political leadership have

been identified.8

On one end of the spectrum is the conservative leader. The con-

servative tends to be a prominent member of his community, active in

business and civic affairs. While representing the demands of the mi-

nority community, the conservative seeks "welfare" goals, tangible im-

provements for individuals or the community in terms of better services,

living conditions, or positions. "Status" goals, in contrast, stress

the overall relationship of dominant and subordinate groups to each

other. Equal treatment and integration would be typical status goals.9

Although the welfare-status goal distinction tends to break down on

closer analysis (i.e., is paving a street a welfare goal--a limited tan-

gible benefit, or a status goal--equal treatment of the minority commu-

nity?), the conservative is more apt to seek limited, specific gains.

Conservatives also shy away from confrontive tactics, trying to press

demands through channels deemed legitimate by the dominant group. The

conservative does not seek to mobilize the masses but to bargain with

the dominant group elite, utilizing the contacts and goodwill built up

over time. As an individual of high status, the conservative find con-

frontation distasteful and unnecessarily antagonistic to the dominant

group. With the most to lose, conservatives seek the most gradual, less

threatening means.

At the other end of the spectrum is the militant leader. The mil-

itant seeks basic alterations in the structure of society, exclusively

championing status goals. Militants have an idealized conception of how

society should be and are impatient at the rate of progress. The tac-

tics adopted tend to be confrontive in nature: boycotts, marches, pick-

eting, sit-ins, mass protest meetings. The belief is that substantive

change can be made only if the masses can be mobilized to press their

demands. Stressing mass action and involving an ideological appeal,

militants are seen as dangerous by both subordinate conservatives and

members of the dominant group. Thus militants are most liable to sanc-

tions and tend to be economically independent of the dominant group.

Generally, militants are younger than conservatives.

A third leadership style is that of the moderate. The moderate

occupies the center of the spectrum between the conservative and the

militant. He seeks both status and welfare goals, depending on the is-

sue and his evaluation of what is best for the community. The moderate

trusts neither the private negotiations of the conservative nor the

direct-action tactics of the militant. Not afraid to be critical of

the dominant community and its leaders, the moderate nevertheless will

attempt to keep lines of communication open. The moderate may lend

support toward militants but will shun direct involvement. Electoral

means are preferred by the moderate. By channeling the vote, the mod-

erate can reward or punish dominant group politicians, but this tactic

requires sustained and sophisticated political involvement by a fairly

large percent of the subordinate group and, of course, organization.

A diversity of leadership types is taken by some as evidence of

subordinate group political development.0 Such diversity is considered

functional as it provides a variety of avenues by which the subordinate

community can press its claims.1 Competition between leaders may in-

crease pressure to achieve results.12 However, at least in the initial

phase of political mobilization, the replacement of conservative leaders

by those more willing to activate the masses and confront the existing

system may be required. In fact, political mobilization by the subordi-

nate group may be dependent on the emergence of militant style leaders.

The 1957 bus boycott movement in Tallahassee, Florida, witnessed the

displacement of more traditional leaders by those bent toward achieving

substantive change.3 Particularly in small, rural communities, at

least a partial displacement of conservatives by more militant leaders

may be critical. Leadership unity may be an additional requirement.

Without some consensus among leaders as to the goals sought and the tac-

tics employed, the mobilization effort may be crippled by disunity. The

emergence of a unified, change-oriented leadership is an essential re-

source in the political mobilization process.

Turning to Gadsden County, three propositions developed in the pre-

ceding discussion will be examined concerning the relationship between

leadership and political mobilization: 1) community political mobiliza-

tion is associated with the displacement of conservative subordinate

group leaders by those of a more militant bent; 2) political mobiliza-

tion is associated with the presence of political organization within

the subordinate community; and 3) the greater the unity among subordi-

nate leaders, the higher the degree of political mobilization.

An Overview

Black leaders in Gadsden County were identified through multiple

sources: newspaper files were consulted; a survey of four communities

requested respondents to name those leaders who had the "most say" in

what happened in the community; leaders identified by previous means

were asked to identify other leaders; and a limited selection of domi-

nant group elites were asked to identify the leaders of the black com-

munity. In total, 23 subordinate leaders were interviewed.

Quincy had 11 resident leaders. One leader residing in Havana, a

community not included in the study, was grouped with the Quincy lead-

ership because of her close association with Quincy-based political or-

ganizations and activities. Nine leaders were interviewed in Gretna

and two in Greensboro. An unincorporated rural area included in the

study failed to exhibit an independent subordinate leadership structure.

Three of the leaders interviewed were women. Nine were employees of

the county school system, although one had retired. Eight were busi-

nessmen. Others included two laborers, a policeman, a town administra-

tor, a college instructor, and a supervisor for the county road depart-


Compared to survey respondents, Gadsden County's black leadership

possessed definite elite characteristics (see Table 5:1). Gadsden

leaders were older, longer term residents, and considerably higher edu-

cated than the general population. The leaders were more willing to

mention problems when asked and far more cognizant of race as a problem.

The most striking difference between the survey population and the com-

munity leaders was their organizational membership. On the average,

most Gadsden County residents belonged to only one organization, usually

a church. Leaders demonstrated considerable organizational activity,

with over six organizational memberships each.

Black Leadership in Quincy

Quincy was the center for the CORE mobilization effort in Gadsden

County as well as the site of many of the major events that occurred

during the two mobilization periods. It is here where a change-oriented

leadership would be expected to emerge. The Quincy subordinate leader-

ship that existed before CORE's arrival was organized into the Negro

Businessmen and Civic League (NBCL). Its membership included mostly

small businessmen and a few prominent educators. Political activities

were limited to occasional meetings with the Quincy city commission to

press for limited and specific welfare goals. With CORE, the NBCL was

Table 5:1

General Characteristics of Gadsden County
Black Leaders and Surveyed Residents

Variable Survey Elite
(Wt.N=198) (N=23)

Age 45.6 49.1
Resident (years) 25.2 34.5
Education (years) 8.6 14.6
Total problems mentioned 2.6 3.3
Race problems mentioned 0.1 1.1
Organizational memberships 0.9 6.6

not displaced but rival organizations, the Civic Interest Group (CIG)

and a local CORE chapter, were formed to coordinate local actions with

the outside CORE presence. During the first mobilization period (1963-

1966), CORE had a membership of several hundred. The NBCL was more of

an elitest organization with only a handful of members.

By combining the members of the allied CIG and CORE organizations,

the black leadership of Quincy can be divided into two dominant fac-

tions. None of the leaders identified with the other communities stud-

ied were members of either the NBCL or the CIG-CORE factions. Within

the Quincy leadership, only one individual was associated with both

factions. Since he was more closely associated with the CIG-CORE acti-

vities, he was assigned to that group. Two Quincy leaders could not be

assigned to either group, leaving six CIG-CORE and four NBCL members

for analysis.

The proposition to be tested is that the mobilization process in

Quincy was associated with the emergence of a new, more militant,

change-oriented leadership. If NBCL members represent the more tradi-

tional black elite in the community, then the CIG-CORE faction should

be recognizably different in orientation. Specifically, they should be

younger, more militant in their orientation, and independent of the

dominant group, making them less liable to sanctions.

Several methodological problems must be identified at this point.

First, comparison between these groups suffers from an extremely low N.

Some of the older leaders of the community associated with the NBCL have

died, a major problem in studies seeking to examine events more than a

decade distant. Findings must be based on the handful of respondents

available. Second, no random selection assumption can be made. Black

elites interviewed were specifically chosen for their leadership status

and a great deal of confidence can be put in the assertion that the most

important leaders have been included. Statistical tests based on sig-

nificance have no meaning here except to illustrate the magnitude of

difference existing between groups. Third, the assumption here is that

there will be specific differences between the groups, but since the in-

terviews were conducted some ten years after the fact, NBCL leaders may

have adapted to the times, exhibiting greater militancy in a less re-

pressive environment, while the commitment of the CIG-CORE group mem-

bers may have mellowed. Myrdal suggested that even the most accommoda-

ting leader may harbor protest passions.14 John Due, during his assoc-

iation with the Voter Education Project, observed several older black

leaders who had "Uncle Tommed" enough and were ready to demand change.15

In short, distinctions that might have been sharp in 1964 may have been

eroded with time.

General characteristics portray no major differences between the

CIG-CORE and NBCL groups (see Table 5:2). On the average both groups

are composed of long term residents of the community. While the CIG-

CORE group were younger and more highly educated, the differences were

Table 5:2

General Characteristics of Quincy CIG-CORE
and NBCL Factions

Variable CIG-CORE* NBCL*

Years of community
residence 39.4 39.3
Age 51.8 55.5
Years of education 17.3 15.8

Total problems mentioned 3.5 3.8
Race problems mentioned 1.7 2.0

Organizations 8.0 10.8
Organizational leadership 2.3 4.8

*Scores are group means

not substantial, with less than a four-year gap in mean age and less

than two years in education. Both CIG-CORE and NBCL members mentioned

approximately the same number of problems in the community and identi-

fied an equal number of problems that were racial in nature. The great-

est difference between the groups was associated with organizational

membership where NBCL members tended to belong to an average of three

more organizations each. NBCL members also had over twice the number of

leadership positions compared to CIG-CORE members.

Striking differences in organizational membership become apparent

when occupation is considered. The Quincy black elite was composed en-

tirely of small businessmen and educators. Several served as ministers

but that was not their principal occupation. Considering the fact that

the Gadsden County School Board and top school administrative positions

were controlled by members of the dominant group, educators would seem

unlikely candidates for activist leadership. However, the CIG-CORE

group was almost entirely composed of individuals dependent on the

county school system for employment (see Table 5:3). In contrast, the

NBCL group was dominated by those who were at least more visibly inde-

pendent of the dominant group as proprietors of small businesses. Of

course, hidden dependency may exist in terms of loans and credit. Yet,

this finding runs counter to the theoretical expectation that those most

economically vulnerable will be least likely to undertake a direct chal-

lenge of the system.16 The explanation lies in the risk reducing pro-

tection provided by outside government, particularly the federal courts.

Numerous successful law suits have been filed against the county school

board on behalf of black employees, providing a degree of protection

against arbitrary economic retaliation by whites.

The real question, however, is whether CIG-CORE leaders have a dis-

tinctive change-oriented outlook compared to NBCL members. In order to

determine the basic ideological orientation of group members, a scale

based on questions similar to those used by the SRC were employed.17

Basically, the questions probed the respondent's support of national

governmental intervention in welfare (health care and schools), econ-

omics (regulation of business and full employment), and race. Those who

supported national government intervention were coded liberal, while

those opposed were coded conservative. None of the black leader re-

spondents scored in the most conservative one-third of the overall

scale. Within the range of scores obtained, the bulk of Quincy black

leadership fell into the liberal and moderate-liberal ranges. When

dichotomized into CIG-CORE and NBCL groups and compared, the tendency is

for CIG-CORE leaders to group toward the more liberal range, while NBCL

leaders cluster in the moderately liberal range (see Table 5:4).

Another measure of basic orientation is the evaluation each sub-

ordinate leader had of various tactics employed to induce change.


Table 5:3

Economic Dependency of Quincy CIG-CORE
and NBCL Factions


(Educators) 5 1

(Businessment) 1 3

Table 5:4

Ideological Orientation of Quincy
CIG-CORE and NBCL Factions

1st 2nd 3rd 4th*

CIG-CORE 4 0 1 1

NBCL 0 2 2 0

*Quarters based on the range of
observed values with the first
quarter representing the most
liberal scores

Although nearly all black leaders in Quincy participated to some extent

in the CORE-sponsored voter education and registration campaign, pro-

voking considerable hostility by segments of the dominant community,

CIG-CORE members were more intimately involved. The expectation would

be for CIG-CORE members to be more willing to adopt confrontative tac-

tics than members of the older NBCL which operated within a rigid sub-

ordinate-dominant group social structure. To test the proposition,

leaders were asked whether they thought a variety of political tactics

were very effective, somewhat effective, or not effective. Conservative

leaders would be expected to prefer tactics that would not greatly


offend the dominant group: presenting petitions, private meetings with

dominant group elites, and attendance of public meetings. Militants

would be expected to reject such tactics, opting instead for tactics

that would confront the existing arrangement in a dramatic way: court

actions, economic boycotts, and protest marches. By combining the re-

sponses, members of the subordinate elite were arranged on an ordinal

continuum according to their degree of conservativeness or militancy

(see Figure 5:1). Thus, a pure conservative would find petitions, pri-

vate meetings, and public meetings to be very effective while court

action, boycotts, and marches would be seen as not effective. A pure

militant would exhibit a mirrored opposite set of responses. Moderates

would fall between the two.

When applied to the Quincy black leadership, no individual fell in

either the pure conservative or pure militant end of the scale. How-

ever, a clear distinction between the CIG-CORE and NBCL factions emerged

(see Table 5:5). Using the median value of the scale as a division

point, five of the six CIG-CORE members scored on the militant side,

while three of the four NBCL members scored on the conservative side.

Considered separately, however, the tactics present a curious pattern

(see Table 5:6). The three tactics associated with conservative orien-

tation (petitions, private meetings) distinguish the CIG-CORE and NBCL

factions as predicted. Yet little or no relationship is apparent be-

tween each militant tactic (courts, boycotts, and marches) and leader-

ship faction. CIG-CORE members obviously reject the conservative tac-

tics but are split on confrontative tactics. On other tactics CIG-CORE

leaders expressed a moderately greater preference for the vote, possibly

because of their direct efforts in the registration effort. But this


I - -- -- -- - I - - - --- -- I

Courts Petitions
Boycotts Private Meetings
Marches Public Meetings

Figure 5:1

Militant-Conservative Continuum Based On
Evaluation of Political Strategies

Table 5:5

Political Orientation of Quincy
CIG-CORE and NBCL Factions


Militant 5 1

Conservative 1 3

finding is a bit misleading as no Quincy black leader considered the

vote to be ineffective. An overwhelming preference for both outside

political support and federal grants is apparent among NBCL leaders.

Evidently, these two tactics are associated in the minds of the more

conservative leaders. As one NBCL member stated, "When the state

comes in to support you, the county people have got to support you to

get the money."8

The most striking finding is the marked effectiveness attributed to

violence by the generally more conservative NBCL faction. The Quincy

riot of October 1970 was a spontaneous event that caught the black lead-

ership of Quincy unprepared. In its wake the leadership rallied to

press their demands for change. All black leaders questioned expressed

a personal disdain for violence, yet they varied as to their evaluations

Table 5:6

Quincy CIG-CORE and NBCL Factions' Evaluation
of Political Strategies*


Petition -.44
Private Meetings -.30
Public Meetings -.60

Courts .08
Boycotts .00
Marches .24

Vote .33
Black Public Official -.08
Outside Political Support -.39
Outside Governmental Grants -.94

Riot -.44

*Positive scores indicate a more effective
evaluation of the strategy by the CIG-CORE
faction while negative scores are evidence
of effective evaluation by the NBCL faction

of its effectiveness. Said one CIG-CORE supporter, "Nothing good ever

came from anything like that."19 Others, however, were quick to see the

bargaining advantage of an agitated population. "You can't get cooper-

ation until you get their attention," said a NBCL leader. "The riot

called them to the table and gave us a chance to tell them what we
wanted.20 The riot and subsequent political activity it generated were

responsible for some major alterations in subordinate-dominant group re-

lations. "Some businesses started opening up for black employees," said

another NBCL member. "They started making changes, although slowly."21

The more favorable evaluation of rioting as a tactic by NBCL members may

be due to their ability to exploit the situation. With the riot as a

vivid expression of underlying discontent in the black community,


conservative leaders could gain access to nervous white leaders trying

to cope with violence.

The Quincy riot, of course, was the stimulus for the second mobili-

zation period in Gadsden County (1970-1972). By 1970 the organizations

that had been active during the first mobilization period in Quincy

became dormant. The NAACP, which had been active earlier, persisted

mainly as a small leadership clique. Following the riot, the NAACP be-

came a mass organization, recruiting throughout the county and attaining

a membership of several hundred. All Quincy black leaders were members

of the NAACP and dominated the leadership structure of the organization.

With the NAACP, the Quincy black leadership achieved some degree of

unity. A general consensus among the leaders was evident in responses

given to an inquiry as to the best and worst possible race relations.

Most Quincy leaders saw the best possible race relations in the commu-

nity in terms of true integration based on attitudinal changes and the

elimination of race barriers. "Everybody ought to be treated fairly
regardless of race, creed, or color," said a small businessman.2 An-

other common theme was the attainment of parity with whites in politi-

cal influence. "If our political picture was better other things

would be better in proportion," said a mortician. We should have 50

percent of our elected officials black and 50 percent white, not a one-

sided affair on either side."23

If attitudinal changes and the achievement of parity of political

influence were the desired goals, Quincy black leaders concurred on

what they rejected as well. The worst possible race relations, accord-

ing to a school principal, would be "to go back to the 'good old days,'

the way it was in the 1940's and 24Another leader was more
the way it was in the 1940's and 1950's. Another leader was more

explicit: "Back when a boy could not go into a store or was the last

one waited on; sitting in the back of the bus; getting off the side-

walk when confronting whites; going around to the back door of white

homes."25 The Quincy black leadership also agreed as to the trend in

race relations. Seventy-five percent said that relations had improved

while 25 percent said they had remained static. None of Quincy's black

leaders questioned believed that race relations had worsened.

Broad agreement among the community's elite is apparent also in

the political strategies of court action and voting. None of the Quincy

leaders thought that either tactic was ineffective and a clear majority

rated them as very effective.26 The NAACP has been deeply involved with

both. The NAACP was the vehicle through which voter registration

drives were conducted following the Quincy riot which boosted the per-

cent black of the county electorate to slightly over 50 percent in 1972,

the high water mark. And, of course, it was the NAACP that took the

initiative in Gretna to investigate the town's election system, educate

Gretna residents as to their rights, register those residents, and or-

ganize them so they could assume control of the town's government.

Black political organizations in Quincy have experienced intermit-

tent vitality. With the stimulation of outsiders or dramatic events,

they have blossomed in activity and membership. As stimulation grew

distant, the organizations lapsed in membership and activity withered.

Ever since the arrival of CORE in 1963, however, political organizations

in Quincy have drawn their activists from the same pool of leaders. Or-

ganizations that developed in response to CORE did not displace the

older leadership but converted some of the older leaders to a more ac-

tivist orientation and recruited new individuals into leadership

positions. The basic NAACP leadership grew from both the older NBCL

membership and the CIG-CORE members. Additional organizations have re-

flected this pattern. A Voter's League, established in recent years to

educate voters and encourage them to vote, had a limited membership

drawn from individuals who had been active in the other organizations.

Neither the CIG-CORE nor the NBCL cliques dominated the membership of

the Voter's League which had yet to develop into an organization capable

of channeling the vote of the subordinate population toward a particular

candidate. The Voter's League also suffered from a lack of persistent

organizational vitality. Without continuing organization through which

specific goals can be articulated and strategies developed, black lead-

ers in Quincy are left to individualistic actions or are more easily

co-opted by members of the dominant group.

Black Leadership in Gretna

Gretna was not an incorporated town until the late 1970's when

dominant group elites sought a charter to take advantage of the state

cigarette tax refunded to communities in order to finance a water sys-
tem. The black population began to swell in the 1960's, after tobacco

failed as a major cash crop and excess black laborers left the farms.

Prior to CORE's campaign of the mid-1960's, no black political organi-

zations existed in Gretna. While some residents were involved in the

CORE-generated first mobilization period, the organizational center of

activity was in Quincy, six miles away. Similarly, Gretna had no inde-

pendent black organization when the second mobilization period in the

county was inaugurated by the Quincy riot. Several Gretna residents

became involved in the reactivated NAACP. When a group of Gretna resi-

dents attempted to attend a meeting of the town council in 1971, they

were asked to leave. After reporting the incident at the next NAACP

meeting, a committee was appointed to investigate the matter. Upon

learning the legal requirements for registering for town elections, the

NAACP sponsored a massive effort to educate, register and organize

Gretna residents. With an overwhelming advantage in numbers, black

candidates were swept into office in the December 1971 election and com-

pleted their take over of the town government when the remaining offices

were captured the following year, completely displacing the whites.

Although the NAACP was responsible for initiating community mobili-

zation in Gretna, it provoked the formation of a rival organization.

Earnest Barkley, a state hospital employee in nearby Chattahoochee and a

trained educator, chose not to follow the NAACP lead and sought a char-

ter for a SCLC chapter for Gretna. The original NAACP strategy was to

challenge the whites for only a share in the town's leadership, leaving

the office of mayor in white hands for the time being. However, Barkley

filed for the office of mayor and then asked and received support from

the NAACP. Soon after black control of the town government had been

achieved, the SCLC chapter lapsed dormant. In a real political sense

blacks became the new dominant group, replacing the whites. In effect,

the town's government became the ongoing organization in the community

for the new dominant elite.

Factional disputes were soon evident in Gretna, but unlike Quincy

they were based more on personalities rather than organizations. The

main split developed around those who supported and opposed Barkley.

There is some possibility that the root of the conflict may be traced

back to the original NAACP-SCLC split. However, the main outlines of

the dispute seems to rest on familial considerations. Most of those


associated with the Barkley faction seem to be related. The intensity

of the dispute stems from Barkley's removal from office in 1974 because

of misappropriation of town funds. After suspending Barkley from his

position, Florida Governor Reubin Askew appointed Gus Richardson, a

councilman, to serve as mayor. Those associated with Richardson be-

lieved that Barkley had discredited the town's image and that their man

had done the hard work necessary in obtaining federal funds needed for

civic improvements. The Barkley people felt that Richardson had just

carried through on projects Barkley had initiated and that the Richard-

son group had shown no initiative. Richardson's defeat by Barkley in

the 1977 mayor's race further intensified the differences.28

Over half of Gretna's leaders were small businessmen with the re-

mainder employed by the county school system, the Quincy police depart-

ment, Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, and the Town of Gretna.

All but one of the nine leaders interviewed had either run for a town

office or were employed by the town. Three leaders were identifiable as

Barkley supporters and four belonged to the Richardson group. While any

statistical analysis based on such a low N is dangerous, the centrality

of the individuals makes comparison interesting. As Table 5:7 indi-

cates, the general characteristics measured show no major differences

between the Barkley and Richardson factions. Although the Richardson

faction tends to be slightly older and a bit less educated, both fac-

tions named a similar number of community problems and neither inde-

pendently mentioned race as a problem. The Barkley group tended to have

more organizational memberships and have held more offices in those or-

ganizations than the Richardson people.

The ideological orientation of the Richardson group tended to be

more liberal than the Barkley group. Actually, none of the Gretna

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