The Foundation for The Gator Nation An Equal Opportunity Institution Samuel Proctor Oral History Program College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Program Director : Dr. Paul Ortiz 241 Pugh Hall Technology Coordinator : Deborah Hendrix PO Box 115215 Gainesville, FL 32611 352 392 7168 352 846 1983 Fax The Samuel Proctor O ral History Program (SPOHP) was founded by Dr. Samuel Proctor at the University of Florida in 1967. Its original projects were collections centered around Florida history with the purpose of preserving eyewitness accounts of economic, social, political, re ligious and intellectual life in Florida and the South. In the 45 years since its inception, SPOHP has collected over 5,000 interviews in its archives. Transcribed interviews are available through SPOHP for use by research scholars, students, journalists and other interested groups. Material is frequently used for theses, dissertations, articles, books, documentaries, museum displays, and a variety of other public uses. As standard oral history practice dictates, SPOHP recommends that researchers refer t o both the transcript and audio of an interview when conducting their work. A selection of interviews are available online here through the UF Digital Collections and the UF Smathers Library system. Oral history interview t ranscripts available on the UF D igital Collections may be in draft or final format. SPOHP transcribers create interview transcripts by listen ing to the ori ginal oral history interview recording and typing a verbatim d ocument of it. The transcript is written with careful attention to refl ect original grammar and word choice of each interviewee; s ubjective or editorial changes are not made to their speech. The draft trans cript can also later undergo a later final edit to ensure accuracy in spelling and format I nterviewees can also provide their own spelli ng corrections SPOHP transcribers refer to the Merriam program specific transcribing style guide, accessible For more information about SPOHP, visit http://oral.histor y.ufl.edu or call the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program office at 352 392 7168. October 2013
MFP 0 85 Interviewee: Arthur Marble Interviewer: Marne Weston Date: September 23, 2011 W: This is Marna Weston for the Sam Proctor Oral History Program on September 23, 2011. I am in Indianola, Mississippi in the Indianola Library, and I have the honor of interviewing the honorable Arthur Marble, former mayor of the city of Indianola. Mr. Marble, thank you very much for speaking with me today. M: You're very welcome. You're very welcome. W: Could you tell me the date and place of your birth? M: I was born March 5, 1951 that's making me sixty years old at this time in Gulfport, Mississippi. It's on the Mississippi Gulf coast. W: Were you born in a hospital or home? M: Born in a hospital, Gulfport Memorial Hospital. W: Okay. Who were your mother and father? M: My mother i s Olivia Lockhart Marble. My father is Arthur W. Marble, Senior. My father was born in Athens, Georgia. My mother was born in Marion County, Columbia, Mississippi. I see, my mother was 1925; my father, I think, was 1923. W: Okay. For your dad's folks, who were his mother and father? M: His mother is Annette Marble Elder. She's from Jackson County, Mississippi, Moss Point/Pascagoula area. His father is Cooper Marble, and he was born in Georgia as well. W: Okay. Staying on your dad's side, what do you know about your grandparents' parents? Your grandfathers' mother and father? M: Ooh. [Laughter] That's getting on into it. I don't know very much about my grandfather's mother and father. He was, I guess, part of some skeletons in the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 2 closet. In fact, my cousin and I are looking at that right now, into our family history, because my dad turned eighty nine years old yesterday. W: Oh, that's a blessing. Congratulations. M: Yes, yes. He's the last of his family. We've been trying to gently poke at him and ease at him about skeletons in the closet that dealt with my grandfather on his side of the family. He's very . reluctant to talk about what he might know. He doesn't seem to know a very lot, because I guess, during that time, children just didn't ask about th ose skeletons in the closet. They pretty much left them alone. Consequently, he didn't know. His brothers and sisters didn't know, and all of them were gone. Now, he's the last one. So, we're trying to gently poke at him, see what we can find out. There's a cousin basic things that I know is that his mother was a Ford and he was a Marble. That's all that we know from being told, you know, about that part of the family. We're in the process of looking into it. He had a cousin that he was very close to that w as within the Ford element of his father's family. W: Is that Fort, F o r t, or Ford, F o r d? M: F o r d, Ford. Ford. W: Mm hm. M: They were from Georgia area and South Carolina area. But, like I said, he didn't know very much and he recently died. He wa s a Hill that his mother was a Ford that had married into the Hill family and he ended up a Hill. But he and my dad were very close and he lived in New York City. My dad lives in Buffalo, New York. They stayed in touch over the years and would visit each o ther over the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 3 years, but there, again, wasn't much talk of the family on that side. I don't think either of them knew very much. The last one that I know of within the Ford family and we're in touch with her is Sylvia. I don't even know her connection with in the Ford family, you know? Because I don't know the extensive details about the make up of the Ford family. But her name is Sylvia Lopez and she lives in the Atlanta area. She and I have talked several times, but never had that opportunity to meet face to face and really sit down and talk about the family and share what we each knew. W: Mm hm. I hope you get that opportunity. Your mother's M: It's important to. I've got contact information on her, and the cousin from Buffalo and I that are looking into the family history, you know, intend to do a conference call with her and try and share some things. W: Terrific. Let's talk about your mother's side for a second. Who were her mother and father? M: Her mother was Lilla Daisy Hayes, and Williams was her la st married name. W: Brought a smile to your face when you were telling those names. Is there a reason that brought a chuckle? M: Well, I used to live with my grandparents on my mother's side. I lived with them at two phases of my life, between about eight and nine years old and that's where the chuckle came in. [Laughter] I had to go home and live for a while. My mother, grandmother and I fell out over some peaches on the tree. It was three peaches on the tree that year, and all of my mother's sisters and b rothers were gone, you know, from home, pretty much. That's why I was allowed to stay with
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 4 them. But, with the people in the house being my grandfather, my grandmother and myself, I felt that it was one peach each, so I thought that it would be okay to eat my peach when I chose. That was not the case, and I got my behind tore up behind that. [Laughter] W: Over some peaches on the tree. M: Over a peach on the tree. W: A peach. M: I ended up . [Laughter] h olding a grudge with my grandmother for a while over that, and so did my dad. I ended up going home and stay for a while. Well, my grandfather on my father's side died. I ended up staying with them again, I guess when I was about thirteen, fourteen, in 1964. When my paternal grandfather died in Buffalo, New York, my father wanted to move close to where his mother was. We had had a fire in the home that summer, and so that was a perfect transition time for them. My father moved to Buffalo and subsequently, my mother moved up there when he found a job and sent money for them to come, the rest of the family to come up. And I stayed with my grandparents. I had gone to stay with my sister for a while in Chicago ; went to school one day at Calu met High School and . [Laughter] Decided that wasn't for me. W: W hat was your sister's name? M: Jerry Lockhart. Well, Willard at the time; she was married. My mother had two children when she married my father, from a previous marriage. That's why I said her maiden name was Lockhart, but that was her married name. She h ad two children from that marriage: my older sister and my oldest brother.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 5 W: What are their names? M: My mother had us in sets: Jerry Lockhart was my older sister and Benny Lockhart was my oldest brother. Then it was two sisters after that with my father, four years later; they were a year apart. Then, four years later, it was myself and my brother; we're a year apart. Then, four years after that was the last three. My mother had nine children. W: Okay. Well, I don't want to slow your roll, but I'd like to get the names of everybody, so, if you could put them in there for me. M: Right, right, right. The two sisters after my older sister and brother was Lilla Marble and Carrie Marble. Then, four years later, it was myself, Arthur, and a year after that, Darn ell. Then, four years later, it was my sister Linda. A year later, my brother Jerome, and, after that, my baby sister, Nell, who's named after my great grandmother on my mother's side. But that was the nine of us. At any rate, back to the transition, you k now, I stayed with my grandparents after the house burned. I ended up in Chicago and I was staying there temporarily and started school. That didn't work out, so that's how I ended up back in Gulfport, staying with my grandparents, because my folks had mov ed to Buffalo that summer and I didn't want to go there. But, at any rate, I stayed with grandparents until . in 65, 64/65 school year, until the 67/68 school year. I started that school year at my eleventh grade in Gulfport, and th at summer, my brother had come down the brother that's a year younger than me had come down and broken his neck in Gulfport. We were swinging. He dove into some shallow water, or attempted to dive into some sha llow water, and ended up
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 6 breaking his neck. My grandparents would only keep one of us, so I had to go to Buffalo and finish my last two years in high school. That was at South Park High School in Buffalo. W: I didn't get your grandfather's name on your mother's side. M: On my mother's side? Harry Will iams. That was a step grandfather, more or less. Her grandfather was a Lockhart, and . I say he was a Lockhart; I think he was a Lockhart. Let me back off of that; I'm not really sure. I'm not really sure of her father's name. But, at any rate, that wa s from my grandmother's first marriage, and then she remarried Harry Williams. They had, let me see . Benny, Caroline, Sonia, Don, Lucille, they had five children. My mother's brothers and sisters were Benny Williams, Caroline Williams, Sonia Williams, Don Williams, and Lucille Williams. Those were her five siblings. W: These are big families. Did that contribute a lot to closeness and ability to share chores? Were there family reunions and large meals? What are your memories of the closeness of your fa mily? M: Oh, man. What you talking about. [Laughter] Beautiful times. And I am from an extremely large family. We have family reunions every two years. We have to do it every two years because the family's so big, and organizing it is so extensive that, yo u know, you have to give everybody that amount of time to . W: To decompress. M: Yeah, yeah, yeah. More or less. And W: We just saw y'all. [Laughter]
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 7 M: And to reorganize, because every two years, we move it. At the end of a family reunion, we vote w here it's going to be the next time, and it moves around from Atlanta, Cincinnati, Toledo, Ohio, Houston, Gulfport. Next summer, it's going to be in Springfield, Ohio. But the memories, man, oh, I couldn't. I could where do you want me to start? [Laughter] W: Start with the food. I'm good with the food. [Laughter] M: Oh . let me do this while we're at it, that was my grandparents on my mother's side. My great grandparents on my mother's side was . oh, jeez. [Laughter] Benny Rogers and Nell Rogers. W: And where were they from? M: My great grandfather was born and raised in Cuba, and his dad buried him alive. W: For? M: For making a . rather benign statement in terms of a fight with his brother. He said, I'll kill you, you know. And you know kids just, out of anger, say something like that. And they had buried him alive. Put a piece of bamboo in the ground so that he could breath, to let him experience what being dead was like. His brother came and dug him up, and, you know, out of fear, he ran aw ay. That's how he ended up. He came in on a boat. He slipped on a boat and came in through the Port of New Orleans. My great grandmother, her mother was Mary Irving Johnson. Her husband was a Johnson. My great grandmother and she had a brother named Marsha ll were born, one of those skeletons in the closet. W: Okay.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 8 M: Type things. Mary's husband worked in the saw mills and traveled, and she had run into difficult times, trying to take care of her children and hadn't heard from him in several years. He had b een down in Florida, working in sawmills, and she, consequently, had two children, trying to survive with the relationship with the guy that owned the dry goods store, white guy. So, when her husband got home, you know, stuff hit the fan. And he wouldn't l et them eat at the table with them, and they would pass some scraps to them under the table. She told her father, you know, in terms of seeking help. He took them into his home and raised them and sent them to school. W: This is the white father? M: Mm hm W: What was his name? M: His name was Tom Barnes. That was in Marion County, Columbia, Mississippi. W: Approximately what year was this? M: This was . somewhere in the late nineteenth century, like 1895, somewhere in there. She was born 1889. I'm not sure what year her brother was born in, but . W: So, this white businessman that had the affair owned the children? Owned up to the resp onsibility and raised them and educated them, prior to 1900, in Mississippi? M: Right. W: Were there any consequences, socially, to this arrangement?
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 9 M: Yeah, yeah, yeah. He . but he was a strong charactered man. His wife was very good to them. W: The white wife. M: Right. W: Okay. M: Consequently, her name was Jeanette Barnes. There are about six Jeanettes in my family because my great grandmother's brother had thirteen children twelve or thirteen children and she only had one. My great grandmother we nt to, it was a school in Marion County, Columbia, Mississippi, called Columbia Training School. She was trained as a midwife. Every time my brother's wife would have children, she'd go and she'd midwife the children. You know, some of their children some of her nieces and grand nieces and nephews W: It's good to have a professional in the family. M: Yeah. But she was good, but the Jeanette Barnes and my great grandmother had a very close relationship, and they would do things together and W: Hold on. The mistress and the wife worked together jointly for the benefit of the children and to keep M: No, no . the step daughter and the wife. My great grandmother was a step daughter, and the wife had a very close relationship. My great great grandmother cou ld call on her, you know, and she would provide money to her to go and to do for her brother. You know? W: Okay.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 10 M: That's how, you know, the affection came for the name Jeanette and the tribute to the name, Jeanette. There were about six Jeanettes in my f amily. Same thing with my mother, Olivia. There are a number of Olivias in the family because she was the one that pretty much got these family reunion things going, back in the 70s. Yeah, 70s. W: That's amazing. Since we've come full circle: back to the food. [Laughter] What kind of stuff did they make? M: Oh . [Laughter] Man. All kinds of cakes; caramel cakes, red velvet cakes, pineapple cakes. Gumbo is a real delicacy within my family. W: With the rice or just gumbo? M: Nobody messes with the gumbo. With the rice. W: We had a discussion about that. I had some gumbo, supposedly, the other day, but it didn't have rice, so I was told that's stew. [Laughter] Just trying to get the local flavor, you understand. I was missing the rice. M: [Laughter] You gotta have rice, gotta have rice. W: That's what I said. M: Oh, and fish is a mainstay; seafood's a mainstay in my family, being on the Gulf coast. I had an uncle on my father's side, one of his . I can't think, was it a cousin of his, was one of the few black people in Biloxi, Mississippi that had a shrimp boat. W: What was the name of the uncle and the cousin? M: I can't, I can't . well, it was a cousin, not an uncle It was a cousin I believe of my father's, that had the shrimp boat But I c an't think of his name right off. But
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 11 I remember going to visit, might have been Joe Lee. He had a cousin named Joe Lee that lived in Biloxi, and I don't even remember the last name. But just that, that first and middle name combination is what really stic ks to me. I don't know what ever happened to him. They moved to New Orleans, and we used to go over there sometimes from Gulfport. But I don't know whatever happened. He had a son named Joe Lee, too, that was with my oldest brother. They were about the sam e age. I remember when Gulfport High School played Biloxi High School, it was the black schools, you know, at that time, integrated the schools weren't integrated; they were segregated. Joe Lee and my brother, you know, would talk trash to each other about who's going to win the game and all this. I remember those things vividly. W: Were those games big community events? Did the black community in Gulfport and Biloxi come out? M: Man, yes. What you talking about. Sports, period was big. Still is. Still is. W: What would a typical game night be like? M: Typical game night would be, number one, getting out of school and looking forward to going to the game; getting all that, taking care of your chores and what have you, grabbing a bite to eat, and then e verybody going to the game. My dad would take us to the game. My brother played football and played in the band, too. He would be the only band member that had a football uniform on. [Laughter] You know? So. Drums was his thing. At any rate, he and my cous in, Joe Lee, would be circling around each other from across the field and stuff. [Laughter] But it was fun. Big part of the family sitting on the other side of the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 12 field, part of the family sitting on . you know, the home side of the field. But, then after the game was a real big time. Going by in Gulfport, there was a place called Ivory's We'd go by there and get ice cream, and usually they'd have a school dance or something like that afterwards. My dad we were young at the time; my oldest sister and brother were in high school, and the other two were, like, in junior high, two girls in between, my brother and myself and the oldest two I should say that, the oldest set. But, any rate . you know. My dad was the kind of person, you know, he'd carry us to the games and supervise us after the games. Had to, at that time. There were . dangers to African Americans that everybody know about during that time. Gulfport, Mississippi was no different. The only thing about there, blacks were pretty organiz ed in terms of the Mason. Masonic groups really were organized on the Gulf coast and challenged the Ku Klux Klan and white suprema cist groups. You know, told political/government officials, the police, that it would be trouble if the others came. W: So no t just political and jobs, but paramilitary protection if necessary? M: Oh, I remember a lot of nights my dad going out of the house with his pistol stuck down in his pants, front of his pants, and the rifle over his shoulder, and telling my mom, you know he didn't make it back; take care of his kids But . the professional people were real leaders. You had Dr. Felix Dunn, Dr. J.O. Tate. Dr. Dunn was . a family practitioner Dr. Tate was a dentist, black dentist. You had Mr. Mason, Dr. Mason, was an educator. He was in Biloxi area. But all of the Mississippi Gulf coast, you have small towns. It's made up of small towns that
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 13 sort of run together like one big municipality, like boroughs in the state of New York, in New York City. These municipalities are separate and independent but yet had connectivity. W: News would travel. M: Yes. I remember challenges to Negroes going on a beach and swimming. As a kid, I grew up in the 50s and that was an issue early on. You know? But, when I got to be nine, ten, I mean, we went to a beach at will. That's nine years old; that should have been around 1960. So, at times, when Woolworth's and other facilities were being challenged, in Greensboro, South Carolina, and, say, Tallahassee, and Jackson, Mississippi, G ulfport was progressing a little bit . differently. You know? On some things that I know of. I remember, the issue came up about the Wollsworth's [Woolworth's] W: February 1960, Greensboro? M: Yeah. So, you know, I think that really, it told everybody there, you know, hey, if they can do it, we can do it, too. And, you know, things were happening at that time that I can distinctly recall. I had some experiences as a kid, too. This guy stopped my brother and I were coming home from the store on night; my mother had sent us to the s tore for a can of powder milk We were walking along the street, on a sidewalk, and this guy's about to a pickup truck, these two guys. They had a rubber hand and they had stuck it closed and then slammed it in the tru ck door, and it had blood all over it, stuff like that. Well, it frightened my brother. You know? It didn't frighten me, and then, too, I was oldest. I was always taught to protect. That was family rule. The oldest was in charge; the oldest
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 14 protect. You kn ow? I had the can of powder milk, and when the guy, you know, stopped, he'd say, well, nigger, aren't you going to run, too? I didn't say anything to him. So, he came up to me, I guess, to make me run, and I let him have that can of powder milk upside the head. All I remember was blood shooting everywhere, and I had reason to run then. [Laughter] I was jumping back fences. You know, they were after me. I knew the neighborhood, so I had the distinct advantage. You know, stuff like that, people had to take a stand. We were being taught, at the time, to take a stand and not, necessarily, threaten your life, but certainly to not take what had been going on. You know? It was other things during that time, but, like I said, I remember going to the beaches during t hat time, at will. It was just four years later, after that, that his brother broke his neck. That was on the beach on Gulfport and the Gulf of Mexico. W: Yeah. I'd like to come back to 1960 and that progression of your education, but I want to go back to make sure I don't forget some things. What kind of chores did you have, you and your brothers and sisters, when you were growing up? M: Number one, my parents worked. My dad worked two and sometimes three jobs to support the family. My mother worked long hours pressing clothes. That was their work arena, so to speak. My older sister took on responsibilities. She took on ironing and stuff that helped support the family, and her responsibility was to look after us. So, my mother is deceased now my father is still living; my mother is deceased. My oldest sister was like a second mom, and still is, you know? The second mom in the family. She was the one at home that gave the orders to the others and saw after the others, and set the rules and standards and enf orced
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 15 them. When we disobeyed her, you know, my dad, soon as he'd get home, she gave him a report of what was going on. My dad was the kind of person, you know, you go to run, he'd grab you by the ankle with one hand. [Laughter] And he was taking the belt off with the other hand. [Laughter] So, you get one of those once, I tell you. You didn't want another one. He was a big guy. Just like I'm big, he was a big guy. He worked one of his jobs was working as a Longshoreman on the pier, and they worked with hun dred pound sacks of fertilizer. They used to talk about how everybody carried one; my dad carried two. He used to say, well, it's easy to balance yourself when you got two. Well, with one, you're always bent over like this. You know? But he had strength. T rust me, he had strength. Mostly, in Gulfport, some of the high school kids would they had segregated Longshoreman's unions, and still do. The blacks were in control of their own Longshoreman's union and they had the biggest one. So, the pay was great. You could work two days on the pier, unloading boats, and make what some people made guys were lucky, they spreaded it around. You were lucky if you got three days on the pier, which was a good, good income at that time. And even to this day, they kept up in terms of taking care of the workers real well. My dad would work one, sometimes two days on the pier. It was a good week when he'd work two days. He'd work . he cooked at the VA hospital, and sometimes he would work at Sears during Christmas holidays. You know, I understood he worked three jobs, sometimes. But those were the three primary jobs that I remember him working. But . I don't know.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 16 W: Well, those were his jobs. What about your chores? You and your brothers and sisters? M: Oh, oh. My brothers and sisters, oh, our chores. Ooh. Raking the yard, washing clothes, washing dishes, you name it. We took turns. When your turn came up, that was it, you know? Wasn't any fussing. W: You had a week to do it? M: My sister didn't fuss. No, you migh t have two, three days to do it. You might not see that again for a while, for a week, with as many of us as there was in the family. Now, one thing that we did do quite often that came around seemed like too often was washing clothes. I remember, early on we didn't have a washing machine. It was rubbing clothes on the rub board, and your knuckles would get so itchy from rubbing clothes on the rub board, you know? And, with nine people, you can imagine, you use some clothes. W: Did you cook the water in t he big, black pot? How'd you heat the water? M: Yep. I still have one of those big, black pots, to this day. But those are cherished items. [Laughter] W: Yeah. I did plenty of that. How about your earliest education? What is your first memory of going to school, being taught, being educated, and where did that take place? M: Okay. I attended Gulfport Elementary School, Gaston Point Elementary School in West Gulfport. Gaston Point is an area of Gulfport in the far w est, right next to Long Beach. But, at a ny rate, early on, they had three grades that were in that small school: first, second, and third grade. Then, you went to 33rd Avenue High
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 17 School in Central Gulfport. It was a segregated African American school, started at the fourth grade and went throug h twelfth. Actually, it was a well . the fourth through the seventh grade, I think, was in that old 33rd building. The actual 33rd Avenue High School was the newest high school in Gulfpor t when they desegregated schools in 1964. Well, it was supposed t o start in 1964, I say that. They, you know, finagled and finagled and ended up didn't really integrate the schools until 1967. They decided to shut the black high schools down, as opposed to allowing the whites to go there. Like I said, it was the newest high school in Gulfport, and they end up selling to Manpower for a dollar you know, transferring it, basically, and I guess setting up alternative to you know, like they have alternative schools now. You know, some kids aren't really geared for college. T hey channel them into these alternative schools to get a trade, more or less. But manpower, that school was turned into the Manpower Center for those purposes. That's good, in one sense, but it kills a lot of history in another sense. That's what I tell th em here in Indianola. Really, to be thankful and grateful that the predominantly white school ended up closing here and they formed the academies to keep out blacks. But black high school is still in existence I attended a function this summer with, they had an all school reunion. All of the classes contributed and participated in an all school reunion. Our school has being doing that since the early 90s in Gulfport. Every three years, they have an all school reunion. All of the classes throughout: tha t school existed from, like, 1921 to 1969 was their last year, my graduating year. I told you, in 67, 68 school year, at the end of my junior year, I went to Buffalo and finished high
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 18 school. But I've never heard from the school in Buffalo in terms of attending the class reunion. I've always attended with my actual classmates that I was with in Gulfport, you know? W: Couple of quick elementary school questions, then we'll move on from there. Do you remember your elementary school principal, and who was your favorite teacher and why? M: The . principal was Miss Tate. Not the wife of the dentist I was telling you about earlier; that was Miss Mildred Tate. She was a teacher later on in the sixth grade, when they built a new elementary school in Gaston Point area. I attended that school for sixth grade. But they had torn down the old three room school with the three grades in it. My first grade teacher was . actually, my god sister. My mother had a very good friend, Thelma and she was pregnan t with her daughter, which was my classmate. Elaine was my classmate throughout hig h school and everything. I was born in March; she was born that August. Between times, the time that I was born and my mother went back to work I should say, between the tim e my mother went back to work and the time that Elaine was born, Thelma kept me. You know, because my mother, they were real good friends. So, she became my godmother. Her oldest daughter, Ruby, was my first grade teacher. Ruby was a lot older than us. You know? I remember her going off to school at Dillard and I rode with them to take her school in Dillard in New Orleans. That was my first memory of ever going to New Orleans. M: Oh, we were real young. But, any rate, she finished school and came back and b ecame our first grade teacher. You can imagine, her sister is in the class. We cut up sideways.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 19 [Laughter] Spitballs, whole nine yards. [Laughter] Man, oh, boy, those were some fun times. You know. She had us first grade. Then, Miss Tate had us second and third grade. She taught both classes. From there, we went to 33rd in the fourth grade and I had this teacher that, oh, traumatized me. [Laughter] W: Really? How so? M: I . I read slow, you know. Come to think, now, I had astigmatism in my left eye, m y family and I found out later on in life. W: Your eye was shaped like this instead of like this? M: I'm not sure, but my vision is, like, 20/30 in my left eye, and that left lenses is a very corrective lenses But, any rate, I read slow. I read like I r eally talk. Some people can speed read, and I had this friend, Jerry Huey, in sixth grade, and we used to compete. That made me better. Jerry came to Gaston Point Elementary School in sixth grade, under Miss Mildred Tate's class. Miss Mildred Tate was the person, she was one of those godsend angels, you know, that came to teach school. I remember Ruby, I remember Miss Annie Mae Tate that was her name very well. One thing I did, when I got to being an adult, early on, was, I went back and said thank you to m y teachers. You know? Because teachers touch every individual from every walk of life that you can think of. They're, in most cases, underappreciated. I spoke to some kids at a private school here last week or week before last. Today is Friday; it was a we ek ago, last Friday. I'm talking to them, motivating them; they can be anything they want to be and stay in school; the time, now, is to make choices. Right choices, not wrong choices. Y'all listen, listen up. Don't be nodding off there. [Laughter] Time is to make right
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 20 choices. You know? Set some goals, good goals, achievable goals. Strive to reach those goals with everything that you've got, because in this day and age, every step of the way that you can get is going to help you the rest of your life. Tha t's the best advice that I can give you. But I did this interview in terms of helping children. I bend over backwards to help the children, to do anything that I can to help the children any time that I can. You know, it's about Stacy talked to me about th e fact that this was going to be used as an educational tool. W: Dr. Stacy White from Mississippi Valley. M: Right. That's why I agreed to do that, and that's why I asked you, was there going to be a book or something. Just find out, basically, how it's going to be used. I spent, basically, thirty years of my life in public service; more than that, really. Just a bout everything I've done has been public service. But, primarily, ten years of military and twenty years with the city of Indianola. You know, all that I consider having been to do everything that I could to help my fellow man, to help adults. Now, you kn ow, it disappointed me in the last election, when they voted for the previous mayor. Primarily because he had people on cotton trips with some images going back, of us going back to a time that we're trying to get past. Black folks fell for that. But I hol d myself responsible for the loss, primarily, because I hadn't intended to run again and I waited and got talked to it at the last minute to run again, which, you know, people start dedicating themselves or making commitments long before that election. So, consequently, I have to hold myself responsible for the loss. I can't just really pawn it all off on adults. But, by the same token, we need, as a people, need to wake up, because it's . every
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 21 other race of people that you know of, on the face of this earth, can put aside differences. They can come together and act and move and perform as one. We have a difficult time doing that as a people and, consequently, I was kind of disappointed with the African American adults of voting age. My thing now is to do everything I can for the children. I've given more than my share to the adults. You know, for over thirty years plus. I feel that, between other peoples' children and my own, I owe them everything that I can give. W: I'd definitely like to talk about y our military service and your service in Indianola, I just want to wrap up your education. I didn't realize, until you just mentioned it, that you were the opposition and were the incumbent mayor in the race with now mayor Rosenthal. I had not seen that co nnection until right now. So, which I'll probably have some questions about that, if you don't mind, because that's an interesting dynamic, to be able to introduce two people who were in a Democratic primary against each other, an incumbent and now a new v ision, and even find out if maybe you'd consider running again. But, after elementary school, did you go to a middle school or was it a combined high school/middle school together? M: It was combined high school/middle school. W: Okay, and the name of th at school was? M: 33rd. W: 33rd. Okay, and how do you see your high school career? Were you involved in extra curricular ? Did you exercise leadership in any particular clubs or organizations? Could you characterize your high school experience, please?
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 22 M: Well, it's going to be kind of split, because there were some events and things in Gulfport. Then, I told you I finished my last two years in Buffalo, New York, and there was a difference. Considering the fact that I had asthma, you know, when I was ve ry young, and continued to have asthma on up into high school, it limited my sports. I played sports, but it was limited, because I had suffered. In the fall is when an asthma victim really the pollens and everything in the air, and also in the spring. But it kind of limited sports. I played football, but I didn't really get into it like I really wanted to until I hit about the eleventh grade. I was on the starting team at Gulfport High. Then, just when I got good and comfortable with it, we left Gulfport. I had transferred from Gulfport from 33rd to Gulfport High, when they started integrating the schools. They left at . it wasn't really a choice. If you lived in a certain zone, you went to a particular school. The blacks did. But not the whites. They d idn't . put the whites into that black school. They built a new school. And closed down 33rd in 69. W: Was that the full name of the school? 33rd Street School? M: 33rd Avenue High School. W: 33rd Avenue High School, okay. M: But, anyway rate, I played football and basketball at both, at 33rd and at Gulfport High. I didn't get to play basketball at Gulfport High, because left there in October and they hadn't started the basketball season yet. But those were my two primary sports that I enjoyed a nd excelled at. Then, we went to Buffalo. Well, Buffalo is smoggy, extremely cold. W: Had a friend that just moved up there.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 23 M: It was different issues with the asthma, and my asthma got worse. My mother sent me to this allergist, and we spent a year goi ng through tests and what allergies I had and everything not a year, spent several months. Then, a year after that were the treatments of the allergies. But, by the time I got in the twelfth grade, I played football practically a full year, my twelfth grad e year at South Park High School, and played a full year of basketball. And I worked after school at the Erie County Library in South Buffalo. W: What did you do at the library? M: Well, they had me there to sort of I was a big kid, you know, to sort of . W: Bouncer? Library bouncer? [Laughter] M: Yeah. More or less, because I had the respect. When I first went to Buffalo, I had to prove myself, you know? There's always the bully kid, tough kid, in the neighborhood that's going to challenge you and find out what grit you're made of, you know? We were on the basketball court at the park, right in the neighborhood that I lived in apartment complex and we were playing basketball. The guy came in, he just took the ball from this one kid, and started shoo ting it. The guy said, hey, man, come on; you know, give me the ball back. He said, take it. So . I played that real well. One thing I did have, and he, too, was my fears. My grandfather taught us that, you know, fears were good to have. Heed to your f ears. Your fears can make you prepare for anything that can come at you. You, you know, just have to tell yourself, be ready for it. You listen to those fears and be ready for anything to come at you. But that particular day, this guy took that ball. I had fears about Buffalo, because my brother had told me the one that
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 24 came down, broke his neck he had been up there for a year or so, and told me about this guy that was bullying, that'd pull a gun on him So, that day, I had a shaving razor. You know, one of these old kind of shaving razors you sharpen. Those things are sharp. I had it in my back pocket. This guy that had taken the ball was shooting, and he shot the ball. Well, I went and got the ball, and I just started, you know, dribbling. He said, hey, ma n, what's on your mind? I had that ball. I said, you want it back? He said, yeah. I said, take it. You bad, take it. So, it was on then. Everybody, it had everybody's attention. Everybody started gathering around, because they smelled what was coming on. T his guy pulled a knife out, a switchblade knife; one of the blades that pop out. I said, oh, man, that's nothing. I said, look at this, and I pulled that razor out. [Laughter] And I let him look at it for a second, and I went phew, phew, like Zorro did on his leather coat, and it literally cut a Z in his coat. He said, man, you cut my coat. I said, your ass is next. [Laughter] So . man, let's put the stuff away. Let's put the stuff away. I said, yeah, what do you want to do? He said, let's box, let's bo x. So I said, okay. So, that was one of my athletic fortes, especially with Muhammad Ali everybody wanted to be Muhammad Ali at that time. I jabbed him in the face about three times. [Laughter] And then I hit him with a good right, right upside the head. H e said, man, forget boxing. Let's wrestle. [Laughter] W: Well, at least he was a real competitor. I mean, he wasn't just going to lay down. M: He was trying to find his forte with me, you know. When we started wrestling, I grabbed him, a handful of his s hirt, like that. And I grabbed a handful of his crotch and I just picked him up like that and I slammed him on the ground.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 25 W: So he lost the wrestling, too. M: He said, man, look, I had enough. [Laughter] He said, I had enough. But my brother coming later. You wrestle my brother, he on the wrestling team at the high school. [Laughter] I said, yeah, I know your brother. I said, I'll be happy to. So, in the meantime, this other guy named Tyree one of his friends oh, man, I wrestle, too. I said, well, co me on. I grabbed him, I threw him on the ground. [Laughter] He said, man . [Laughter] I want none of you. So the other guy's brother came and we matched off, and neither one of us could get each other on the ground. So, that drew a stalemate and, from that day on, I had everybody's attention. The lady at the library had heard about it. That's why she hired me at the library. [Laughter] Everybody walked in the library, man, that's that dude that threw James' butt all around the park. [Laughter] W: That' s a smart librarian. M: [Laughter] W: Did you distinguish yourself in any leadership organizations or student government or anything else in high school? M: Yes. I was on the debate team, I did well with that. I had planned on going to law school and on e of my English teachers had suggested that. W: What was their name? M: No, it was a he. W: Okay. M: Polis His name was Mr. Pollizi. He had encouraged me to be a part of that, and then there was . there was a Junior Achievement organization in Buffalo. I
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 26 joined that. Our company exceeded everybody else in sales. I was president of the company, and that wo n me a trip to Atlantic City with Junior Achievement I got a chance to meet some kids from all over the country. I met Whitney Houston's sister, I think it was, her sister cousin. It might have been her sister. But had memorable experience, lifetime, memo rable experiences with Junior Achievement. Mr. Polis really poked at me and pulled at me and brought out the best in me, and it was this other guy's name, I can't think of his name. He was a chemistry teacher at South Park High School. Man, I came this clo se to dropping out of his school. W: Wow. M: I did not want to be in school in Buffalo. I hated Buffalo, I hated having to be on edge all of the time with the dangers and everything out there with the kids. That fear factor kept me under too much stress and tension, you know. I didn't want to be there and be under that, because it wasn't that way at home, you know? Consequently, I had gotten a D on a chemistry test, and after that, I just threw my hands up and just said, well, the heck with it. That chemi stry teacher was a Polish guy, and he caught me by the ear and he said, come here. He said, by golly, I know you can do better, and I'm going to make you do better. He said, I'm going to hit you just where it hurt. He said, I'm going to hit you in the pock et. He said, I know you work after school and I'm keeping you after school. [Laughter] So you can't make no money. He said, you did good on my very first test and I know you can do it. He said, and I'm not going to let you fall to the wayside. He kept me a fter school and we went over things and, after that, I had a newfound
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 27 attitude about school. You know, he taught me that any foot dragging was only going to hurt myself; I wasn't going to hurt myself, I was only going to hurt myself. He made me think diffe rently. If there was one teacher that I didn't say thank you to and need to, it was him. W: What was his name? You said he was Polish M: I can't he was a Polish guy, but when I had went back to the school, he had retired, and I couldn't find him. He had passed away, I think, because I couldn't find him. That, or moved away, you know, from Buffalo, because I couldn't find him. It was a Polish name, something. PotosÂ’ or something you know, potassium, it was something like that, that started with a P. Like I said, he was Polish, but a very caring man, very caring man. Students need that. I was telling you about Miss Mildred Tate? Miss Mildred Tate was the kind of per son, man, there could be fifty N egroes fighting with knives in the middle of the room. She could walk in the middle of all of them and not get a scratch on her. They're going to respect her that way, and she could tell all of them, put those knives down, and they'd do it right away. She was that kind of person, that caliber of person. Carried that much respect and got that much respect. She was one of those teachers that were memorable, you know, you go back to and say thank you, and give a h ug. I graduated from USM, University of Southern Mississippi, with her daughter, her oldest daughter. She was graduating late, I was graduating late. But, to continue on with that education thing, I left high school, graduated high school in Buffalo in 196 9 and was anxious and eager to get back south. I got accepted at Grambling State University I went down to Grambling tried to play
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 28 football and worked I hadn't played, consistently, enough football to get a scholarship. W: Did you get Coach Robinson's a ttention at all? M: Yeah, I got Coach Robinson's attention. W: What was it like to meet Eddie Robinson? I mean, arguably, one of the greatest football minds ever. M: Yeah, yeah. He definitely was that. There, again, another one of those individuals that knew how to get the best out of individuals. When he spoke, you listened. You know? He . I think, really would have liked to have given me a chance a better chance at football than I had, but he had so many people that was on scholarship and everythin g, and politics and scholarships, and even playing players is a lot of politics. That's where I really had some of my first experiences with politics, is who got what, who played, who didn't, that type of thing. My primary goal for being there was to get a n education. My mother made that clear, you know, and every time she'd call, she made it clear. But I was working, playing football, and going to school, too trying to play football and going to school. Eventually, I dropped the football, because the educa tion thing was primary. Still, it was tough, working and going to school, because I was carrying, like, eighteen hours and working as much as thirty hours a week, sometimes, on work study. But, at any rate, I ended up I went to school 69 70 school year, fall of 70 and fall of 71 at Grambling I ended up just dropping out. I went back fall of 71 and got a fourth semester to complete two years of school, because I had dropped out after three semesters. Everybody was saying,
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 29 well, if you ju st had a full two years of school well, I said, okay, I can fix that. You know, I went back and got another semester in fall of 71 and then I dropped out of school, you know, trying to work, trying to get something, save up money and go back to school. I eventually did that. I did that and I got a wife and I got a kid all that the same time, and that's why I tell a kid, stay in school. Don't, you got an opportunity, just keep going. Keep your nose to the grinding stone and see it through. Something I le arned in my fraternity W: What fraternity is that? M: Omega. I pledged Omega in spring 75 at USM. I'll get to that later. But, any rate . it was some memorable experiences. Nothing outstanding at Grambling but I appreciated the experience at an HBU. That was something, I think, all students black students need to experience. But, after I got married and I was out of school for two years, I saved some money, I went back to school at the University of Southern Mississippi. I thought I was going to get there just walking in and play football, and I found out that you have five years' eligibility from the time you leave high school. You transfer schools, you have to wait a year. So, that put me out of eligibility to play ball at USM. So, I marched fr om there right to the ROTC office and signed up Air Force ROTC. One of my things was wanting to fly. I loved the thought of flying airplanes, and I had talked to a recruiter before going to USM and almost signed up to go to the Air Force during Vietnam. Yo u know? Just when I first came out of Grambling W: That would have been 72, 73. M: Probably late 71, early 72.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 30 W: Okay. So, it was still going, it hadn't quite de escalated yet. M: Right, right. Right. As it was, when I signed up, it was still considered Vietnam Era veteran, because, you know, I was eligible to go. But I ended up going to boot camp and came back and, you know, you have military history classes and stuff your last two years and they pay you your last two years. W: Your boot camp where? M: Boot Camp at Vandenberg Air Force Base out in California. That was an experience, too. W: Were you commissioned? M: Yes. Upon graduation, I was commissioned, second lieutenant. I had qualified for pilot's school you know, high score on the pilot aptitude, flying aspect of it. I had that astigmatism, and they want people with 20/20 vision, so I couldn't do that. They wouldn't let me have that. So, they offered me navigator training. I went to navigator school at Ma ther Air Force Base upon graduating, and I'll get to that. But, at any rate, left. After I had left Grambling worked two years, went back to school at USM. That was an experience. I was working, working a couple of jobs . in addition to ROTC and going to school. ROTC paid my tuition. The work, working twenty five, thirty hours a week, I had my wife with taking care of the household and everything. I worked at a potato chip company, a candy company, at first. W: What was the name of the company? M: Ri ce's Potato Chips. They distributed potato chips and also candy. I worked that for about a year, and I worked at the state employment office during the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 3 1 summers. I'd gotten that my first summer at school. I went back to school that fall, fall of 73 no, no, spring of 73. Then, that summer, I went to boot camp, late that summer. But I had started working at the potato chip company that spring. They let me off of work to go to boot camp and everything, and then I came back no, I worked the employment of fice the first part of that summer and the Rice's potato chip, went to boot camp the second part of the summer. Boot camp was six weeks. And came back, started school for the fall of 73 and I had work in the employment office. I had lined up a job for myself working with the phone company, and I started as a telephone operator part time. Then, the next worked all that year, part time, as a telephone operator. Then, that next summer, I worked part time as a telephone operator and worked full time during the day at the employment office. Then, I worked full time that last school year as a telephone operator and went to school for a time. W: That's how you finished at USM? M: Yeah. W: May I request that we take a brief break? We've gone eighty minutes. W e'll take a five minute break, we'll come back and we'll do the second half. M: Sure. W: Okay. [ Break in recording ] W: This is Marna Weston, again at the Indianola Library with the honorable Mayor Arthur Marble, and we're going to continue our discussion at the end of his career at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, but we're going to give
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 32 him a minute just to reframe the whole Hattiesburg era and then move on the next part. So, how would you describe and wrap up your experie nce in Hattiesburg? M: Well, I think it was a very memorable experience. I've got a chance to go back and finish up what I had started in terms of college education. I have family in Hattiesburg. In addition, when I went back to school, I had a family. I had a wife and a kid. So, that all worked out fine in terms of having family there and having a personal family. W: How and where did you meet your wife? M: I met my wife in Gulfport. She had family down in Gulfport that live right down the street from m e, and she had visited several summers and I saw her. You know, the last time I saw her, I reached out and said, I'm going to make that woman mine. You know? That happened, and W: Short courtship? M: Yeah, yeah. Well, we had known each other, the visits she had had down there for summers. But, any rate, yeah, short courtship. W: What's her name and where's she from? M: Her name is Pamela. She's from here in Indianola. Pamela Bias is her full, her maiden name. Her brother's got a set of funeral homes he re in the Delta, about seven different funeral homes. W: Brothers? So you had a fight to get her? Brothers, they don't make it easy, do they? M: No, they don't. [Laughter]
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 33 W: Do y'all get along now? M: Oh, we get along great. No, in fact, he's a very good supporter during my mayoral bids. He was a great supporter and supporter me throughout my terms in office. He's a member of the chamber of commerce. W: And what's his name? M: His name's Victor, Victo r Bias. And his wife is Grace. W: And you mentioned a son. How many children do you and Pamela have? M: We have three children. My oldest daughter turns forty this coming October 19. But she lives in France. She was educated at St. Michael's in Vermont, had a scholarship from the Catholic high school here to any Catholic college she wanted. She ended up going to St. Michael's in Vermont, and from there to Sorbonne in Paris, work on a master's. Started a master's at Sorbonne and came to Ole Miss in Oxford and finished her master's. Stayed out a year, because I told her that tree in the backyard was a plum tree, it wasn't a money tree. I told her, it was plumbed damn empty. [Laughter] You know. Sending her to school in France was quite expensive on the salar y that I had at the time. W: What is that daughter's name, and could you also introduce your other two children? M: Yeah. Her name is Vivian Nicholas, now. Vivian Marble Nicholas. She's got two wonderful children, Naomi and Liam. Her husband is Didier, h e's French. They live in Toulouse France which is down south, close to the Mediterranean, and it's close to the Spanish border. My son is Arthur III. He's a career student that went to the university of went to Mississippi State, rather. I say that becau se he
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 34 started four years, he was majoring in computer engineering and had everything paid for, and he just partied for three years in school and started his fourth year and told me he was burned out. He stayed out two years, he got married. I was trying to tell him, I knew what all that was about; stay in school, and he had to see for himself. But he stayed out, got married, got a kid, and, in fact, got two adopted one, had the other on his own. But he went back to school and he finally finished up. He did it right, majored in mechanical engineering and went straight from school to working for Mercedes Benz in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He's married and got two more kids, again, since then So, he got custody of his first child, and then he remarried and got two m ore kids. My baby girl is still here. She's been married and came out of that and came back home and finished her college degree at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, majoring in art. She's back in school, again, and getting a MBA. She's wor king on a MBA to help learn how to manage and market her art she's making. W: Still up at Delta State? M: Yes, yes. She's still at Delta State. She's got a son, Drake. So, I've got, let's see, one, three, four . that's five, six, seven grand kids, si x natural and one adopted. W: Do you feel you've been a good steward, you know, father to your children, guiding them in the ways of the world and advancing themselves through education and career wise? How do you rate yourself? M: I think I've done damn good. I've made a lot of sacrifices, and education is very important to me. I've seen to it that all of my children pursue an education of their
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 35 choice, in terms of reaching that goal that I was suggesting to you, that I encourage all children to do: set a goal and reach for that goal. I'm goal setting and achievement oriented from my military experience. But I think they've all done well. My oldest daughter has a PhD, she eventually got at Sorbonne in Paris. My son, as I mentioned, has got an engineering degree. My baby daughter is working on a master's. So, my wife has a master's. That came late. Her career started late, you know. But she's doing her thing now, and I can't it's been difficult, us living apart and everything, but I can't complain because, when I was in the service, you know, I worked military intelligence and I was gone all the time. A lot of times, I couldn't tell my family where I was or what I was doing. So, and I did encourage my wife to keep on pursuing an education. She finally got he re. She finally got there. She was afraid of math at one time, and the junior college here, I told her, just started with remedial math and work your way, all the way back up. Just start over again and work your way, all the way back up. Because, what I said you're missing is the rules. There's only things you can do in math: add, subtract, multiply, and divide. You learn those basic s when you're a kid. The other part of math is just learning the rules on what you do and when. If you start all over and learn those rules, build a foundation and build on up, build a strong building in math, you'll have it. That's what she did. She took every math at the junior college here and went down to USM, took every math there and still didn't finish school. I said, woman, when you going to finish school, make some money, you know? So, she went back to school at Delta State and she majored in compu ter science and got an IT degree. Oh, she went to town with that. She
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 36 got a job in Atlanta. She worked in Atlanta for a couple of yea rs for a company called Lucent and Lucent did some huge layoffs. They had about four of them. The third one got her. She c ame home for about six months, stayed here. She said, you're going to need some help sending these kids to school. So . she got on the internet, found a job in Miami. That's where she's been the last eight years. But it's been a big help. It's been a b ig help. Back to the USM thing and wrapping that up and everything, I enjoyed the closeness of the African American students there at the time that I went to school at USM. It was about a hundred and fifty nine students out of eighty nine thousand. It was about a hundred and fifty nine African American students. So, that made us very close knit. Anytime somebody new came on campus, we knew them. Knew them, found out about them. That led me to pledge in Omega fraternity. I pledged in there and that was a won derful experience and it's been a wonderful experience, you know, meeting people. I met Q's I met one in the Greek airport in Athens. You know? Anywhere you go, you can meet a fraternity brother, somebody that you can identify with. I've been stationed di fferent bases in the country, and I've met them everywhere. I've been stationed in Japan; met them there. You know, we had a group in Japan, almost started a chapter in Japan. I think, subsequently, they did, after I left. But that's a way and means of cre ating some camaraderie amongst ourselves. W: Why Omega Ps i Phi? My dad's an Omega Psi Phi but my uncle's a Phi Beta Sigma so what was it about the Q's that attracted you, especially being more a student over the traditional age at the time that you dec ide to pledge?
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 37 M: There's no other choice. [Laughter] W: I know what you're saying, start them little, I heard it growing up. But, when you say there's no other choice, for those that might be listening to these a hundred years from now and don't really know what Omega Ps i Phi means, could you M: Yeah. Most people associate us with the womanizing thing, you know. But I want to take that out of the picture and say that's some real things that Omega do, are part of our national goals and objectives is to do a fundraiser. We have community projects that we have to do, helping people, helping the homeless, feeding the hungry. These are things that we have to carry out each year, and we have to document and show that we're meeting those goals and objectives. Those are national goals and objectives that are put down on each chapter. Most people don't see that. They see the hooping and dancing and stepping and that type of thing, but there are some true things that Omegas do. Those things, you know, same type of things that I try to carry with me into my mayoral tenures. W: Mm hm. Your military career, could you give a summary of that? M: Sure. W: But only tell what you can tell. I don't want you following me. [Laughter] M: Yeah. Well, a lot of stuff has been declassified after twenty years. Most things are declassified now. In fact, if you've ever seen the movie Enemy of the State ? W: Yes, I have. M: Yeah. And the type of satellite and computer systems, you know, stuff tha t they have. The time that I was in the military, you did not talk about a key hole satellite.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 38 You didn't even say that word outside of a vault that had three foot thick concrete walls. W: Or Echelon or any of that stuff. M: You just didn't talk about it. Okay? Now you got it in movies, which tells you, they've got different things. Even now, they're showing things on TV that were classified that we were working on developing, like the stealth, the drones. The drones. We knew that the drones were going to replace some pilots, who's going to replace some intel people in terms of satellites and stuff like that. You can get real time intelligence on those things, you know. But we were doing research and development. Well, let me t ake you through where I went and where I did and how I got to that research and development. But I graduated, was commissioned second lieutenant in the Air Force. Went on to active duty at Mather Air Force Base, you know, studying navigation. They were giv ing us a tough time I was about to bust out of navigational school. There was a guy in personnel, we were playing basketball one time one day you have to do your, you know, keep your physical stamina up during exercising and stuff. We'd go to gym and play ball during lunch hour. Like some people go golf, you know? [Laughter] But, any rate, the old officers went and golfed, we went and played basketball. Met this guy. He told us, he said, you know why they're being so tough on you now, still? We looked at ea ch other, said, no. He said, well, Vietnam is closed down. He said, they're putting computer now, they've got GPS on air planes navigating, they don't need y'all anymore. You know, they're trying to bust you out. You know, they're trying to get you out bef ore you get a hundred and eighty days on active
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 39 duty so you don't have no GI benefits. So . I said, well, what do you suggest? He said, well, I suggest y'all go come over and see me in personnel and we go look at other career fields and choose somethin g that they need you in, if you intend to stay on active duty. Because, otherwise, they're going to push you on out the door. They're going to bust you out. That's what they're trying to do. We looked at each other, and about three of us went and saw him t hat afternoon. Three days later, we had orders to go to Denver. We chose intelligence career field. The school, intelligence school, was in Denver. So, we went to Denver. They said, it's going to be three weeks before we start another school. You guys can take leave, do whatever you want to do for three weeks. You're on your own. So, you know, they said, is your paycheck going to the bank? [Laughter] W: Always comes down to that, don't it? M: Yeah. But the paycheck wasn't stopping, so they just told us, your paycheck is going to continue going to your bank. If it's going to the bank, going to continue. If it's not, you're going to have to go to personnel and pick up your paycheck. So, we said, well, bye. [Laughter] We went different directions. One guy we nt back to South Carolina. One went back to Texas. I went back to Sacramento. That's where the navigational school was, outside of Sacramento. Ended up, make a long story short, went back to the school, wonderful time in Denver, graduated from intel school and I left, you know, my family and things in Sacramento. So, I used that to justify getting an assignment back out there when I graduated from intel school. I ended up getting Beale Air Force Base. Beale Air Force Base was under strategic air command, a nd what their goal and function was, was
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 40 intelligence; collecting intelligence. They worked with the U 2 airplane and with the world's fastest airplane, that's the SR 71 They were intelligence gathering platforms: cameras, radio, any type of communication and intelligence. And radar imagery intelligence. We could find ships on the ocean. In fact, we were tasked, nationally, to do that a lot of times. Never saw results of it. Find drug ships out in the ocean? We find them and they 'll never hear from drug bu sts We're scratching our heads, wondering, they're talking all this garbage about Drug War, where is it? We're doing our job, we're finding them. Just nothing every happening with them, you know. But, any rate, we get other tasks, and our tasks usually ca me from central offices in Washington, intelligence places either NSA or CIA. We'd go places with the U 2 airplane: Korea, Japan, Indian Ocean, places in the Indian Ocean, England. Those main places we could monitor any place in the world. We could fly the SR 71 out of Beale and refuel him just outside of Beale top him off with fuel and top him off on the other side of the Atlantic, and we could get anywhere over there, that side of the world, that we wanted to collect. The part about that intelligence col lection was, all but one of them was timely. I should say, time consuming. You know, it takes time for that airplane to go, collect the data, then come back and you process it. The U 2 had communications equipment that collected everything from . cell phones to bank data transmissions. This information was uplinked to a satellite and downlinked to Washington. That was pretty much real time, real time intelligence. W: Just out of curiosity suppose the president or whoever ordered somebody to be somewhere in the world anywhere say, Austria. What's the longest period of
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 41 time it would take to drop somebody off from an SR 71 to any other spot on the planet? How long would it take? M: An SR 71 only had two seats. It had a pilot seat and it had a syst ems operator seat/navigator. You know, in the backseat. It's not a transport plane. You don't take passengers anyplace. But, in terms of speed of that airplane, we're talking 2,100+ miles per hour. So, it could leave the west coast and be on the east coast in about an hour and a half, hour and twenty three minutes. W: Okay. So, California to Kinshasa in four and a half hours, five hours? M: Where's Kinshasa? W: Africa. M: Somewhere like that, mm hm. W: Zaire. M: Mm hm, yeah. W: That's kind of crazy. So, there's stuff that's faster than that now, of course. M: I don't know. W: And you couldn't tell me if you did. [Laughter] M: I would think, but, here's the thing. You don't . the way the military operates is, they try to have capabilities to give you as real time information as possible when it comes to that. Now, those drones are the cheap collective source. You can imagine how much fuel it takes to drive an airplane that fast. The whole plane. I mean, the thing is made out of titanium and it wou ld be leaking fuel like a sieve, just like somebody sweating on death row, you know? And the fuel was so stable, you could take a match and put to it and it wouldn't burn. I mean, it
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 42 wouldn't ignite. That's how stable the fuel is. But it's designed to burn under high compression and under thin air circumstances, which is up way in the atmosphere. So, it flies high and it flies fast. But it was a very expensive system. One of the reasons: we got into test and research and development with those systems, as w ell. Part of the research and development was one of the things that you see now. You see these pictures and you see the crosshairs on a set of doors like that, and you know, then all of a sudden you see this missile streak through and go right through the doors. You know, that imagery that you're looking at is electro optical imagery. We tested some of that imagery built on the U 2 airplane. Now, my suspicion is that they're us ing it on something like Cobra helicopters that can sit off and, you know, look at and data links through satellites that, you know, once somebody else launches that missile say, the drone launches a missile. Then, you know, the guys sitting up here with crosshairs on the target, and the satellite is feeding data from each. You know, they're sharing data that drives that missile right through where you place the crosshairs. Like looking through a rifle and looking at crosshairs on a deer. You know, a target, whatever target. But, at any rate, that was a very that research and developme nt was something that we did when we were home, in the home base, did a lot of flying and flights that were associated with research and development. We did some operational missions right out of Beale with SR. We could do a mission and get it up in the ai r and go and one of the things we used to do is test Soviet resolve. You know, you fly an SR 71 at 2,100 miles an hour at the Soviet border, and everything start lighting up. You know, they start turning on radar
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 43 systems and trying to lock on to this targe t moving that fast, and he's steadied such enough information on what radar is lighting him up. We would know what radars light up, what their locations are, which ones have certain functions, whether it's monitoring and detecting us, whether it's a detect ion function or whether it's a lock on function that drives that missile that they launch at you. That's important to know when you go to war. So, every now and then, you have to test that resolve to find out if those frequencies are the same, if their loc ations are the same. That's intelligence data. That's information that you have to know when you get ready to go to war, and that's what we did. We kept ourselves ready to go to war. W: Why and how did you leave the Air Force? M: Well, number one, I got out of that unit. You know? We were doing ten months out of the year, TDY. Some guys were coming home and finding divorce papers, and we had the highest divorce rate in the military. Some guys didn't take it too well. Had a couple instances of guys shot th emselves in the head and all kind of crazy stuff, committing suicide and stuff. But I came home, my wife was gone back to Mississippi. [Laughter] I mean, it makes you want to get out of it, you know. Then, handwriting on the wall was, the system was old. W e were doing tests on that and we were seeing information about the tests on the drones and capabilities they were going to have and everything, so it was like back at the nav y school. You see the handwriting on the wall about your career field closing down, making changes, significant changes that affect you. And you been there, you want to leave that. So, I left. I went to Okinawa, Japan and stayed over there
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 44 a year and a half on an assignment that was still associated with that unit, but yet it was out of the direct unit. That was my first step, foot out the door, in getting out. Coming back from overseas, you get a choice of assignment. So, that's when I chose to get the othe r foot out the door and just leave that unit. I went to a bomb wing. Big mistake. Big mistake. The other unit, you know, had a lot invested in me. So, they wanted me back. They were trying to save the system, save the unit, but I saw the handwriting on the wall; the system is going. I'm not going to stop. Just one me is not going to stop it. But they wanted me back, and I had been promised a five year tour in Louisiana. They cut that short. I had bought a house and everything. I had this call from this gene ral's aid in Nebraska, and he said, the general wants you up here at headquarters south My headquarters was, man, the general can piss up a rope, because I just bought a house. [Laughter] W: True. M: My house know, there's eleven hundred and sixty two d ollars a month. My housing allowance from the military is eight hundred dollars a month. There's no way I'm going to be able to survive if I move and come to Omaha, Nebraska. If I foreclose on the house, my security is clearance is gone, I wouldn't be able to do the job. He said, man, I'm just a messenger. I said, well, you know, be that as it may, I said, I don't know. I see myself between a rock and a hard place. He went back there to the general, I said, piss up a rope. [Laughter] Knowing what that means to my career, you know. Man, we had back to back IG inspections, I had the biggest fight of my life, trying to keep my name clear. They were trying to
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 45 court martial me and everything, and bad blood I just took out, you know, the way out. Get out. It's ti me to get out, you know. I just got on out. But, you know, it was too much mess. Too much mess . well, I'll leave it at that. I'll leave it at that. W: How did that concluding effort with the military move you toward politics and, eventually, your ele ction as mayor of Indianola, Mississippi? M: Well . I tried being a private contractor, you know, after that, building houses and everything. I had this passion for building architecture and building, just working with my hands. My great grandfather used to always tell us, son, you got to be able to work with your hands and everything. When I was in school, I took shop four different years at four different shops. My ninth and tenth grade year in Gulfport, we had wood working and house construction, you know. They gave us some background and exper ience in that. I enjoyed it. I enjoyed working outside, being outside. I enjoyed being around people. But it's a bigger responsibility than that. Also, it depends on the company. You know, housing is one of the leading economic indicators you know, economi cally, in this country. There are ups and downs, just like the economy, in housing. When I got out was one of those times, when we were in a recession, in 1985. Housing, the market was dropping out of housing. I was telling you about my house in the milita ry and everything, and I ended up taking a big loss on that because, in a recession, they stop drilling for oil. East Texas and Shreveport, Louisiana, area is a lot of oil drillers. A lot of those oil drillers were out of work, so the housing market in tha t area just nose dived and crashed. I was caught up in that and suffered that loss. But, by the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 46 same token, with the recession during that time, few people were building houses. So, to try to get into that profession and be a contractor and get kicked off during that, man, I spent the savings that I had here in Indianola trying to work below nothing, spending my own money, working for cheap just to get people to know your work, know your name and everything. I spent a small fortunate just trying to get know n and get my foot in the door to be enough When I saw that I had basically spent my life savings, you know, I said, well, hey, before all of this is gone, I got to have a place of my own and I got to buy up some land and looking after myself, taking that attitude of self preservation into account. Being I ended up getting a job at the city. Mayor told me at the time, eighteen thousand dollars a year, take it or leave it. Well, heck, I'd been making forty eight thousand dollars a year in the military. Then, you know, going from that to another job paying job less than half of that. That was a big drop. But I ended up taking it anyway. You know, I saw myself getting back into public service. A lot of people here were trying to have something and do and find a way to do, and I spent much of my t ime trying to help black folks reach their goal and objectives. That ended up paying off for me in terms of doing for this community and getting a salary upgraded with the city, because I was bringing a lot to the table for the community. As more and more time passed, we were doing some other good things. I ha d been OSHA office in the military, and safety was a big thing. There had been a couple accidents here; people's lives were lost. During the whole twenty years that I was in with the city, twelve as a building inspector, we didn't lose a person in a house fire, and then, even as a mayor and training and
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 47 coaching my predecessor successor, in that building official's job, we still didn't. That was after I left, just sho rtly after, we lost a guy in a fire here. But, thing is, he realized he had some money in a mattress and went back in the house to get it. He had made it out of the house, but, you know, he lost his life like that. Since then, it's been several losses. The y fired my choice as the building official, and then they started having losses. You know? The experience wasn't there. But they've had several losses since I've been out of office. W: That still doesn't explain, though, how you got started. I mean, what gave you the bug to actually run for position? M: Oh . [Laughter] I had some ambitions. You know, been a political science major in school. I had some ambitions of running for office, but I never you know how you put things off, put things off, and yo u don't really, you're content with where you are and what you're doing. You're helping people and you're getting, you know, feedback from that, and that's feeding you to stay where you are. That's where I was as a building official. I had a mayor that was my that was before me, that one of the struggles that I had here was just being the first black, I was the first black building official. I was outspoken. I insisted on the rights of black people. You know, this community had a tough time swallowing that, and I had repercussions behind that. They come after me with things of my own personal interests. W: You had to get elected or got to jail, basically. [Laughter] M: Well, you asked for how it happened, what specifically prompted me to do this, I'm drawi ng this picture for you. What happened was that I had, you know, having
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 48 those things and doing those things, it brought repercussions on me. What the previous mayor had done was hired a guy that, very next day, hit the streets telling people that he was here to get my job. Well, I had spent, basically, ten years working with this community, helping this community, helping people form bu sinesses, do . our folks didn't have anybody before me to feed them that type of information. Our people W: How to put in a bid. M: Have been . our people have been dependent, you know? They haven't really learned how to be independent, and they still haven't, fully, learned to be independent. When they need something, they want to go to somebody that can tell them and spoon feed them on how to do it, you know? That saves the time of having to figure it out on their own or learn for themselves. B ut, at any rate, this guy was backstabbing me like that, and I have some cars, I have some commercial property. One day, the things, repercussions that we would do is come at me about my own stuff. Okay? I have some cars. My hobby I enjoy is working on car s and restoring cars. Well, they were trying to make me move these cars, get rid of these cars, get rid of my property. You can't just take a person's property. There are some specific laws on take laws on dealing with the state of Mississippi. You have to go through a procedure. Now, here, this same guy that the previous mayor had hired to be my assistant came at me, sticking his finger in my face, telling me that I better move my cars, my g d cars, or he was going to have my b a arrested. Okay? So, I told him, first, this little man in my head was telling me, punch him in the face, snap his neck, you know.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 49 I was having a military flashback. No, no, no, that's just what they want you to do, they want you to play into that ball game. Oh. So I told him, hey, do what you got to do. We're going to see who's right. They arrested me, and it was an unlawful arrest. He only had the authority to give me a citation, and so, any rate W: By the way, when I said what I said about being arrested or winning the election, I had no idea that that had happened. That was just, in my mind, I was like, well, you got to win or go to jail, because that's always how it is. [Laughter] M: Right, right. Any rate, you know, I'd gotten this lawyer. This lawyer made them sweep it under the rug, clear my record, and put me it's like he told them, I want my client put back to where he was five minutes before all of this happened. He said, well the mayor was scratching a pen, how in the hell am I going to do that? [Laughter] You know. He t old them, I don't care, that's your problem. This is my client. If you can't do that, we'll see you in court. He called the city attorney, and the city attorney told him, hey, if you can get that kind of deal, yeah, I suggest you take it. [Laughter] They k new they had screwed up when the guy arrested me, but, any rate, then the mayor got in my face, telling me that, pointing his finger at me right in front of city hall. He told them, got up in my face and trying to intimidate me, and told me that he was goi ng to have my job. Pointed his finger in my face. That same little man was talking to me, you know. He was screaming this time. Snap his neck, snap his neck, snap his neck. No, no, no, that's just what he wants you to do. You got a place with your name alr eady on the jailhouse door. You know? I took a deep breath, I stepped back from him, and I said, Mayor, I said, I need a favor from you. We were in the lobby
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 50 at city hall. There was people in line paying their taxes, there was people in line paying their w ater bills. This conversation got real loud and nasty, and he told me I told him I said, Mayor, I said, I need you to do me a favor this evening. I was real cool, calm, and collected. He said, what's that? I said, I need you to go home this evening, I need to get in your most comfortable chair, I want you to get your ottoman, I want you to prop your feet up, I want you to cross your arms and lean back and get real comfortable. And he said, why is that? I said, because I'm going to get your job before you ge t mine. [Laughter] And I walked away from him just like that. And everybody started clapping. After that, it was on. I couldn't back out, you know. When everybody clapped, I had the support of the public behind that, and that traveled around this town like wildfire. That was one of things that got me elected, you know, just standing up to him like that. W: What was the campaign like? M: Campaign was nasty. The black lawyer I was telling you about, that was a black millionaire, he came in we had met, he an d I had met about five years before, maybe longer. Seven years, at a career day at the high school. I had told him, you know, one day, I might think of running for office here. He pulled out his card, he said, well, if you do, he said, here's my card. Call me, let me know, he said, because I'm about helping blacks here in my hometown. He said, now, I'll help you as best I can. That first campaign, we spent twenty eight thousand dollars, which was totally absurd W: Early 90s? M: here in Indianola.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 51 W: A lot of money, yeah. M: For a small town election, where you're talking about only about twenty eight hundred voters out of ten thousand make the election. So, man, we plastered this place with signs. We had radio commercials, TV commercials. They were n't accustomed to seeing that. W: Who was your campaign manager? M: I was, basically. W: Okay. M: You know. I always believed in running my own campaign. I worked with people. You know, you have to draw together a group of people that make up or represent a coalition. People who will truly have buy in into your platform and your agenda, where you're trying to go, what you're trying to do. That's basically what I have, was people. The very last time I ran, when I lost, I couldn't, I couldn't I mean people were committed. I couldn't pull that together in time. Consequently, I lost. Consequently, I lost. But, like I said, I attribute that to my own myself, and my own decisions. W: Well, you lost to a member of your own party. Had you ever considered well, first of all, I'm sure you considered you were going to win the primary, but once you did not, did you consider running independent or an alternate party campaign ? M: There's some things about that campaign that you're unaware of. W : I don't know about everything about the campaign, I'm totally unaware.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 52 M: Yeah. That campaign, and each campaign that I had, I had a number of people running against me. That is this community's tactic in trying to W: Divide the vote. M: Divide the vote, make it di fficult for who they didn't want to get in. I had that the first time, but not at I didn't have many W: Black candidates. M: No. I didn't have any black candidates running against me. I was the only black candidate running against two whites. The white vote, even I got part of their votes, in the beginning, because they didn't want this mayor anymore. But, at any rate, second time around was a fairly tight race and I won by a very narrow margin. W: Plurality, or were you 50% plus one? M: I had a plurality, but it was closer relative to the first race. First race, I got seventy, about seventy four percent of the vote. This is place was, at the time, was sixty percent black and thirty five percent white. White population has been steady dropping. Bl ack population has been building, because a lot of blacks come out of high school, they don't move away. They go after service jobs, they go after manufacturing type jobs, the few that were still here at the time. They don't choose that college course in t erms of a career. Most of your whites graduate, they move on to college, and it's not the jobs here to support that, so they are now moving away. So, your white population is steady declining and your black population is steady rising. This last election a nd census, the black
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 53 population is more than seventy percent, like, about seventy two percent black here and about twenty eight percent white. You know? And I still lost. But it's W: How many black candidates were on the ballot? M: [Laughter] Four out of five. Four out of five. It was the same way the second election that I had. That's why it was narrow. And getting black folks out to vote in multiple elections is a difficult thing. You have to really be campaign stomping, stomping the bush hard to get them back out. But that last time, I didn't have the resources in terms of my team, and I didn't have the resources in terms of money, because the money commitments are going the other way. W: What do you think changed that people were willing to entertai n, considering other candidates, without checking with you and asking what you were going to do? M: Right. Oh, it's not asking about asking about what I was going to do. We had achieved things here. We had achieved BB King Park, got a statue of BB King. W e got a BB King Museum, that was a fifteen million dollar project. We achieved that. We had street projects lined up all over town, you know? Paving streets. We had major downtown improvements lined up. These were grant supported projects, you know? What w e had to do was raise money and set aside money to match, to even get the grants. You know? Position us to get the grants. So, we had, we had we had set these goals, we had achieved these goals. In addition to that, we were putting aside money we were con t rolling spending frivolously Our cash reserve grew from eight hundred thousand, when I first came in office, to 2.6 million, okay? This, our last audit, the audit that came out and said that the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 54 city of Indianola, believe it or not in this time of recessi on the severe recession and downturn the city of Indianola is in sound financial standing. That statement was made by the auditor. The newspaper never printed it. W: So, while there were achievements measurable achievements it didn't get out, they weren't associated directly with you, even though your stewardship M: Right. The local newspaper works with the local chamber of commerce community here in terms of, they p rint everything negative about N egroes. Everything. You pick up that paper, you can find out who committed what crime, who, and who's going to jail, what court convicted who. You can find all that information out in that paper. But you can't . rarely, I won't say you can't, but rarely, they won't do they might, at the time the grades come out at Mississippi State and Ole Miss, they might print who, what students got an A or B or something like that. But, for the most part, they're not going to print, say, like at the high school, what student did . extremely well on ACT tests. They try to get control of the high school. They're trying to get a charter school here, and they're trying to get whites in control of that charter school. And this community's awful fearful of that, but it can't happen with that community involved. Number one, th ey don't realize how that game is played, getting this charter school. Something needs to happen, for sure. I wouldn't say, necessarily, a charter school, but something needs to happen, because, year after year now, they were only paying the mayor sixty tw o thousand a year. They paid me that after almost running me out of this town, giving myself a raise to that, okay? Superintendent of Education is making a hundred and six thousand dollars a year, and the
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 55 grades are steady falling on the ACT score. Now, I grew the economy from eight hundred thousand dollars a year surplus W: To over two million. M: To 2.6 million. Who's having successes? Who's being more successful, what it is, at their service, and who deserves what? I had people calling me, telling me I ought to be ashamed for raising my salary from thirty basically thirty eight thousand dollars a year to sixty two. But my agreement with the board was not to raise it to sixty two permanently. The mayor was getting twelve thousand dollars less than the h ighest paid department head. What I was asking to be done was that, for two years, it be raised to sixty two to balance me out for my retirement. Your retirement is based on your highest four years. I wanted my highest four years to average at fifty two th ousand a year. So, the way to do that, they had neglected me for so long, I only had two years to do it. They raised me to sixty two so that mine would balance out to fifty two, and then it would revert back to what he's getting right now. In a debate, he said he'd give all the money, all the raise back. He hasn't given a dime back. Where it is, is where we had agreed to put it when I was there. I didn't ask the city for a dime until they were able to afford it, until I had deserved that raise. W: It sound s like you M: And yet this town got all p in the air. Black folks felt that, you know, I was looking out for myself and not looking out for this town. Like, I had jobs hanging out of my back pocket, out of my shirts pockets and everywhere But, if the pr esident couldn't create jobs, how could I?
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 56 W: It sounds like you got into a framing war. Your opponent was able to frame certain things that weren't the main issue M: He was there every meeting, coming out to that, I mean, my last four years. Everything that happened, he and the newspaper guy were . using the newspaper to put the twist on it, that they wanted on it, and this community bought into it. W: Yeah. Politics is not about truth; it's about perception. So, it sounds like you have a fire in y our belly and that you still have a vision. So, the question is, would you consider running again? Either in this office or a different one? M: No. Not here. Not here. I'm finished as far as serving here. W: So, with the talents that you've built and you r experiences M: Let me put a W: Caveat. M: Yeah. I'm finished as far as serving adults here. Now, the children, I'll bend over backwards and do everything I can and I'd serve in any position necessary to help the children. W: Who are the people that you admire and model yourself after? You know, if you have role models, who are they? M: I enjoy our president, certainly. I've seen what it takes to run a local municipality, and I can only imagine the things that he's going through in Washington. But, for certain, I identify with the type of challenges that he get on a daily basis to everything that he's trying to do in Washington. If there was a way that I could help him, you know, I would.
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 57 W: Do you see him, then, as a great leader? M: Extremely gre at leader. W: What is your definition of leadership? M: Leadership is somebody that will do everything that they can to reach some goals and objectives that they've set. I think that he's set some goals and objectives and he's doing everything he can to try to reach them, but the opposition and resistance that he's getting is extreme. W: The honorable Mr. Arthur Marble, on behalf of the Sam Proctor Oral History Program, I'd like to thank you for taking the time to participate in this very extensive, thou ght provoking, and thorough interview. Just from meeting you today, I know that people will listen to this interview and benefit a lot from it in the future. It's my tradition, as an interviewer, to give the thanks of our program and then, also, to turn fi nal privilege over to the person I'm interviewing. So, this will be the last time that I speak, however, if there's any comment that you want to make, for any period of time on what we've talked about, something different, those comments would be appropria te at thi s time. When you conclude them, that will end our interview, with our thanks. M: Mm him Thank you. Thank you, number one, for the opportunity to come and be interviewed and to speak out on my perspectives and visions concerning this community. The thing that I'd like to leave you and everyone else with is the fact that, African Americans have come a long way in this country, but still and again, we've got a long ways to go. I challenge everybody to set some goals and look at that goals, assess t hose goals, and do everything they can within their power to
MFP 08 5 ; Marble ; Page 58 reach those goals, in terms of making us a stronger race of people; stronger participants within the processes of this country. And, also, to do everything that they can to bring out the achievem ents that we've done to this day. Those achievements are many. A lot of them get swept under the rug and hidden, but they're there. They need to be brought out and they need to be put up so that they can shine, and so that our children and our children's c hildren can look at those achievements and . set, in their mind, that they, too, can achieve. Thank you. [End of interview] Transcribed by: Diana Dombrowski, March 3, 2014 Audit edited by: Sarah Blanc, March 6, 2014 Final edited by: Sarah Blanc, April 2014
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