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Interview with Governor Farris Bryant, February 12, 1997

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Title:
Interview with Governor Farris Bryant, February 12, 1997
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Bryant, Farris ( Interviewee )
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Politics and government -- Florida -- 20th century
Governors ( JSTOR )
Voting ( JSTOR )
Senators ( JSTOR )
Universities ( JSTOR )
Toll roads ( JSTOR )
Education ( JSTOR )
Sheriffs ( JSTOR )
Civil rights ( JSTOR )
Towns ( JSTOR )
Legislature ( JSTOR )
World wars ( JSTOR )
Death ( JSTOR )
Canals ( JSTOR )
Firearms ( JSTOR )
Junior colleges ( JSTOR )
Barges ( JSTOR )
War ( JSTOR )
Politicians ( JSTOR )
Keys ( JSTOR )
United States government ( JSTOR )
Attorneys general ( JSTOR )
Counties ( JSTOR )
High schools ( JSTOR )
Schools ( JSTOR )
Walking ( JSTOR )
Baseball ( JSTOR )
Cities ( JSTOR )
Political candidates ( JSTOR )
United States House of Representatives ( JSTOR )
Mothers ( JSTOR )
Dormitories ( JSTOR )
Oil tankers ( JSTOR )
Destroyers ( JSTOR )
Office equipment ( JSTOR )
Legislators ( JSTOR )
Conservatism ( JSTOR )
National security ( JSTOR )
Communism ( JSTOR )
Constitutional amendments ( JSTOR )
Colleges ( JSTOR )
College students ( JSTOR )
Police ( JSTOR )
Secondary school teachers ( JSTOR )
Resignation from office ( JSTOR )
Tankers ( JSTOR )
Political campaigns ( JSTOR )
Political conventions ( JSTOR )
Subsidiarity ( JSTOR )
Disasters ( JSTOR )
Air forces ( JSTOR )
Florida and Politics Oral History Collection ( local )

Notes

Funding:
This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.

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Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
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This interview is part of the 'Florida Politics' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
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Made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 4.0 International license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
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FP 65 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )

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FP65
Interviewee: Farris Bryant
Interviewer: Dr. Julian Pleasants
Date: February 12, 1997


P: This is Julian Pleasants, and I am talking with Governor Farris Bryant at his
home in Jacksonville, Florida. It is February 12, 1997. Governor, if you would,
tell me a little bit about your birth and your early youth in Florida.

B: I was born July 26, 1914, in Ocala, Florida. My father and mother were residents
of that place virtually all their lives. My father was a farm boy. He moved to
Florida in 1890, when he was five years old. I cannot find any record that my
mother was born in Florida, but my father recited on the death certificate that
she was born in Ocala. I assume that was so. In any event, my life was shaped
by those two people. They were very powerful and lasting influences in my life.

P: What other influences would have shaped your life?

B: The environment in the small town. You may have heard Judge Gerald [Bard]
Tjoflat [chief justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh
Circuit, in Atlanta, Georgia] talk about the influence of a small town. Have you
ever done that?

P: Yes.

B: It is a marvelous thesis that he develops, which is that in the whole world the
small town is the best police system for young people. In a small town
everybody knows you, and if you do something, either good or bad, there will be
several people there who will report it to your family. When you get home, you
have to face whatever you did, good or bad. I believe that. Being in a small town
really was a great influence in my life. There were several teachers who meant a
lot to me: Miss Fanny Carlisle, who was my third-grade teacher; Miss Bette Davis
and Mr. Byron Craig, who were both high school teachers; and our football coach
Jack Smith. They were all a marvelous influence in my life.

P: Of the twenty-one governors [Florida had] from 1900 until the 1980s, fourteen
came from families where farming was part of the income. In an urban state like
Florida, I think that is an interesting statistic. How did the farming background of
your father shape your thinking?

B: As I said, he moved here from Missouri with his family when he was five years
old. He lived on a farm just outside of Belleview. It was three or four miles out,
let us say in "greater Belleview." He grew up knowing all the [jobs] that farm
boys learned. He could do anything. He could whistle, play a harp and use a









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hammer and saw. He [also] knew how to manage cattle and ride horses. [My
father] told me a story about how he lived in Belleview and liked to play baseball.
[The town] had a baseball team, or perhaps two teams. Saturday was the day
they played baseball. He wanted to go and play one Saturday, and his dad told
him, no, [because] that back field had not been plowed. I do not know what field
that was, but a particular plot had not been plowed. Grandpa said, you cannot
go until you finish plowing. My father finished plowing in time to still run to town
and play baseball. But the horse also died that day. He had driven the horse so
fast and so hard that it died. He regretted that, but as a young boy, he had not
taken that into calculation. He got the field done.

P: One of the [attributes] you obviously learned then from your father was to be self-
sufficient.

B: Yes, indeed. I did not develop his particular skills. I was not raised on a farm,
although I did perform farming duties from time to time. I was really--I will not say
a city boy--but an Ocala boy. I was not a country boy at that time, but a small-
town boy. That meant a lot to me.

P: According to many sources, you were interested in being governor from
childhood. Why was that?

B: I was told this story by both my mother and my father, particularly by my father,
and so I believe it. I might not have believed it from my mother, who was an
imaginative type of person, but I would [believe it] from my father. He would not
have said it unless he knew it. Their story was that I was born in Monroe
Memorial Hospital in Ocala. My father was there, of course. I was carried out
from where I had been washed off and my father brought me back to my mother.
She said, hold him up, Cecil, so I can see him. He did and she said, hello
governor. I think that was the beginning of my political career. She never let me
forget. She had a reason for that. Her brother was Ion [L.] Farris [Democratic
gubernatorial candidate for Florida in 1916, speaker of the Florida House of
Representatives, 1909-1911, 1913-1915]. He lived here in Jacksonville at that
time, was twice speaker of the house and ran once for governor. He ran against
Sidney J. Catts [Democratic governor of Florida 1917-1921] and [William] W. V.
Knott [later Florida state treasurer, 1928-1941]. Unfortunately, Ion Farris ran
third. I would not be surprised if you heard the great statement Catts made. He
said, the common man ain't got but three friends, Jesus Christ, Sears and
Roebuck, and Sidney J. Catts. He carried the day then. He beat Knott and
became governor.

P: Why did you choose to go to Emory University [in Atlanta, Georgia]?









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B: That was [to please] my mother. She had a vision of Emory as being a little more
intellectual at that time than the University of Florida.

P: One story indicated that you said, the one year at Emory was the greatest
experience of your life. Why was that?

B: Yes, [it was] because of its faculty. Emory was a small school, and the faculty
[members] were so caring. They plucked me, as it were, at a very
impressionable stage in my life. I was really very young to be going to college,
and I needed their influence. I remember particularly Prentice Miller, who was
dean of the freshmen class. He took special care of me. When I came out of
Emory--I did it in a rather unusual way--I had really formed a lot of conceptions
about life that were good for me.

P: Why did you then transfer to Florida?

B: At the beginning of my year at Emory, I had become really good friends with a
young lady in Ocala, and I wanted to stay near Ocala for that reason. At that
time we traveled mostly by railroad. My father put me on a train to go back to
Emory and somehow I got off in Gainesville. I do not remember how the trains
were routed then, but my perception has always been that they put me on one to
go to Atlanta, and I got off at Gainesville. I did not tell them for about a month
that I was in Gainesville. That was why I changed.

P: In retrospect, was that the correct decision?

B: The reasons were not correct, but I had great opportunities at the University of
Florida. I had a fraternity there where I was accepted. I had joined it at Emory,
and I was accepted as a member in Gainesville. So I was among friends
immediately, and I loved the University of Florida.

P: To go back to Emory for a second, do you remember a story where you got a
hammerlock on a dean?

B: Yes, [Dean] Prentice Miller.

P: Would you talk about that incident?

B: At Emory we had a constant rivalry with Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of
Technology in Atlanta]. It was all about the caps that freshmen wore. We would
go over and steal their caps off their heads, and they would come over and steal









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them off our heads. On this occasion, a group of them came over. At that time I
lived in what I believe was called Alabama Hall, a dorm for freshmen. We poured
out of the dorm to do battle with these intruders and to get as many of their caps
as we could. It really got to be a melee. I got somebody around the neck, and
he [then] turned his head around. I saw [I had a hammerlock on] this favorite
person of mine, Dean Prentice Miller. I immediately dropped him, dashed back
to the dormitory, climbed into bed and hoped he had not seen enough of me in
the dark to recognize me. He either had not [seen me] or he took mercy on me.

P: Why did you decide to attend law school?

B: My uncle, whom my mother adored and whom I mentioned earlier, was a lawyer.
That was her dream for me.

P: Why did you choose Harvard?

B: That was her idea. She wanted me to have the best in the world, although it was
hard for our family at the time. I think tuition was only [around] $400 a semester,
but tuition, the clothing one had to have, and everything else [all added up].
However, I did something unusual at Harvard, at least unusual for a law student.
I got a job waiting tables at Mrs. Kelly's, a boarding house not far from my
dormitory. It helped with my expenses. I [also] typed briefs for fellow students. I
got to be very good at typing briefs, because one had to be letter-perfect, and I
learned to be.

P: What influence did the years at Harvard have, both on your ideas and on your
political career?

B: They hurt my political career, because when I came back I talked differently. I
was not aware of it, of course. My sister told me about it, but I did not pay any
attention to her. But as I got out on the hustings, I became aware that the way I
talked was a little bit offensive to a lot of people.

P: In one of your campaigns, your opponent denounced you for having gone to
Harvard. Which campaign was that?

B: That would be [in] 1956, I think.

P: Once you left Harvard, you came back to Ocala to open a private practice?

B: No! I went to Tallahassee and got the job with Jim Lee, the state comptroller.









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P: But you did come back to Ocala?

B: I returned there to begin the practice law.

P: Why did you decide to run for the state legislature at age twenty-eight?

B: If I were going to be governor, I had to start somewhere. I do not remember any
belabored decisions over it or anybody trying to influence me. For some reason,
I just decided I wanted to run.

P: What made your first campaign successful?

B: There were three candidates. One was a World War I veteran, the other one
was the incumbent, and I was the third and least likely to win. Hard work made
the campaign successful. Of course, the war in Europe and the prospect that we
would have to get into it was very much on everyone's minds. The veteran from
World War I had a real talking advantage. The incumbent obviously had an
advantage, too, so I lost the first primary. I ran second. My mother, who was ill
at that time, was sitting in the car outside the newspaper office. [The office] had
the banners [to mark] the races on in those days. It looked very much as if I
were going to lose the race. The front-runner, Joel Potter, a good man, came by
mother--everybody knew her--and he said, Mrs. Bryant, do not feel bad about
Farris getting licked. He is young and he will be in lots of races. He will win
some more. Of course, I did not get beat. I ran second in the first primary. Then
in the second primary, in the run-off, I beat Joel. He almost immediately left town
and moved out. It hurt him so. I do not think I ever gloated over it or did anything
offensive, but for his own reasons he left town.

P: Why did you resign your position as a state representative in 1942?

B: War had been declared, and I had already submitted my application for a
commission. As soon as I received notice that I was successful in that, I went to
Tallahassee and spoke to Governor [Spessard L.] Holland [Florida governor,
1941-1945], whom I admired very much. I told him that I wanted to resign to
exercise my commission, and I recall that he was very pleased. He said, when
you come back, I know you will be re-elected. He patted me on the back and
facilitated my completion of the formalities necessary to resign. Does that
answer your question?

P: Absolutely. Tell me a little about your World War II experience. You were a
gunnery officer in the Navy, is that correct?









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B: Yes.

P: Where were you stationed? What kind of combat experiences did you have?

B: First, of course, I had to go through three thirty-day training courses in Miami,
Boston, and Chicago. Then I was assigned to an oil tanker, in the harbor at
Galveston. I really did not know what I was getting into. In due course, in a few
days we started out. At that time they did not have convoys, and these oil
tankers were relatively slow. This was a Norwegian ship, but they were a little
faster than a Liberty [a cargo ship made in the United States during World War
II]. It made about twelve knots; the Liberty made only ten. We came around the
point of Florida and headed north for New York where we were to meet for
convoy. I am not positive about my facts here, but these were the stories I
gathered from the scuttlebutt among my peers. There were three oil tankers that
started out from Galveston to New York. We were not traveling together; we
were going independently, and we were following mathematical courses that
allegedly protected us from submarines. The other two did not reach New York.
I had friends aboard. I never saw them again. I have never looked back at the
naval records, but I believe that they were sunk. My wife was sitting on the
beach at Daytona, which is just east of Ocala, and she would see these ships
pass by and in some cases be burned [and sunk] there. That really gave her a
bad time.

P: Did you then continue your journey?

B: I continued on to New York where I was assigned to a convoy sailing very
shortly, with a projected landing in Bristol [England]. That was in the winter of my
first year, and in the winter the North Atlantic is hell. I had twenty-five men, one
five-inch gun on the stern, one three-inch-fifty on the bow, four twenty-millimeter
guns and two fifty-millimeter guns. I do not know what good they would have
done anybody, but we must have done good--we got across. Again, I think [we
accomplished it] at some cost. There must have been thirty or forty ships in that
convoy. There was a PBY [patrol bomber] that would fly in and out over us until
we got south of Iceland--that was the limit of its range. That made us very
comfortable. After we sailed beyond this range, there was no security at all,
except the small convoy escorts we had. I do not remember how many there
were, but there were some.

P: What year was this?









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B: This was 1942. I got to Bristol and came back on the same ship, although I do
not remember that. At times I was on a Liberty ship, which was more
comfortable than [being on] an oil tanker. If a tanker was hit, it was all over.

P: Did the Liberty ships carry mainly troops and supplies?

B: Yes, that is correct--mostly supplies. There were not too many troops going at
that point. I think they put them on faster ships if they could.

P: What happened in your World War II experience after that time?

B: At some point, I was transferred to a ship going to the Mediterranean. We
proceeded there and participated in a small way in the landing at Salerno [Allied
invasion landing on southern coast of Italy, September 8-18, 1943]. I do not
know how the dates work out after all these years, but I had the same kind of
armament on my ship, which was no good, but we had it. I think it was put there
to build our confidence. I have since read a great deal about the battle between
Admiral [Ernest Joseph] King and other officials as to whether or not there should
be convoys and so forth. After reading it all, I have the feeling that Admiral King
was wrong.

P: He was in favor of convoys?

B: I am not sure now.

P: Was Salerno a difficult landing?

B: Yes, although I personally did not land.

P: You protected the people who did land?

B: That is correct. We carried the soldiers.

P: What about the rest of your military experience? You stayed in until 1945?

B: Sometime in 1944, I was transferred. By this time I had been retrained to be an
anti-submarine officer. My role, and that of other officers in my position, was to
operate on destroyers and DEs [destroyer escorts]. The anti-submarine facilities
they had aboard amounted for the most part to a very crude device, as I now
know. It was like radar except it was underwater. It sent out a sound-pulse, and
the pulse came back in the form of a distinct ping. If the ping was moving to the
left, you knew your target was going to the left as well. The pulse could tell you









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how far away the target was by the time it took the sound-pulse to return.
Similarly you could know when the target turned, and so forth. If you read the
pings correctly, you would know what you had to shoot at. Before this, I had
became a division anti-submarine officer, which meant that I had responsibility
for all anti-submarine facilities on a team of destroyers and DEs that convoyed
ships. I had one interesting experience. The convoy's commodore was on a
destroyer, and his ship had anti-submarine equipment, together with an officer
and petty officers who operated it. His equipment failed, and the officers he had
aboard and his petty officers, who really knew more about that [technology] than I
did, could not fix it. What did he do? [He thought], I will get the division officer
over here. So I was shifted over to his ship, and on that occasion I found a lot of
excitement. Somehow or another, they could not send the sound-pulse out.

P: This was sonar equipment?

B: Yes, that is right. What it involved was just sending a ping out and listening to it
come back. This equipment is deep down in the bottom of the ship. They were
all gathered around--the petty officers, anti-submarine officers, and ship officers.
I could not think with all the noise going on. I requested that all of them leave, to
close me up down there, and to let me think about it. They did. As I looked, [it]
just seemed to me that it was improperly wired. So I changed two wires,
reversed them, and the machine was fixed. I was a hero.

P: They must have thought you were a genius.

B: I did not know what I was doing. I knew how to turn on lights, but I was no
electrician. When the TV goes out, I go out, too. That was an interesting
experience for me.

P: What would be your most vivid memory of all the World War II experiences?

B: Standing on the bridge of a merchant ship in convoy and seeing ships around me
burning, knowing that one of my friends was probably on one of those ships. The
rules were that you could not stop to rescue people. The goal was to get
through, and you did whatever was necessary to get through. You could not stop
for anybody, and to have to do that was a terrible experience.

P: It was difficult, particularly since you knew you had friends on these ships.

B: Yes, that is right. [They were] people just like me, with wives back home.

P: What impact did this total experience have on your life?









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B: Relatively little. I do not think I changed much. I cannot think of any way that I
changed. Yes, one way. I mishandled my crew. Just to give you an example, I
had twenty-five men who did not know much more than I did, but I was in charge.
I had to train them. Among other [tasks], I had to train them with small arms.
They came aboard and were all given pistols, and they had to be trained how to
use them. I was sitting in my small cabin. It was about as big as two single
beds. I had a new seaman, who came in to learn how to handle a revolver.
Under my guidance I had him break it down and put it back together. Then I
said, now do it yourself, and I turned back to some paperwork I had. The first
thing I knew, wham! The pistol went off, and the bullet rattled around the steel
bulkhead of that room. It did not hurt him or me, but it scared the life out of me.
That was just part of the job, but I was not very good at managing my men. For
instance, whenever we received a signal that there was a submarine in the area,
we went GQ [general quarters]. When we were crossing the North Atlantic, this
happened every night. During general quarters, I would be up on the bridge, and
I had this young man aboard, practically a boy. I had him there as my aide, as
my messenger boy, because he was scared to death. The communication we
had aboard this ship with the guns was sound-powered. Were you familiar with
that system?

P: No.

B: The device was not electric-powered at all, but powered by your voice. If it got
wet, it went out, period. With forty-foot waves, do you think it got wet? It did. I
was in this convoy on the port quarter of the commodore, who was point, and I
saw a submarine break water. I immediately shouted into the communication
device. Over this sound-powered system, I called out to my crew at the gun
[about] the range and bearing, which they needed because they could not see
down there. They could not hear me. I told the messenger to carry this
command to [the gun crew]. In order to accomplish this, he had to run across the
open deck. On tankers, as you know, there was a walkway. On that tanker he
would have to run forward to the [gun]. He would not do it. He refused to do it.
I am afraid I did not manage him very well; I was excited and I was furious.

P: What finally happened with the submarine?

B: It re-submerged and went about its business. The next morning the commodore
signaled over, did you see a submarine on your port bow? I signaled back,
affirmative, and that was the whole message I sent him. I did not even bother
[explaining]. I am sure he thought I was crazy, that I saw it and did not fire at it.
I figured he did not want an explanation; he just wanted to know what happened.









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P: When you left your military service, did you come back to Ocala?

B: Yes.

P: And then you ran for the [Florida] House of Representatives again?

B: Yes.

P: Tell me a little bit about your experience in the House. I believe you were there
five terms?

B: Correct.

P: What were your main interests as a legislator?

B: I did not have a great agenda. I was a conservative member. I had more fun in
those ten years in the political world than I had any other time. It was a great
pleasure to me. Of course, when I became a member, I was very, very active on
lots of issues. As you probably know, I was voted the legislator with the most
promise, or something of the sort. In subsequent years, I got a similar accolade.
Budgetarily, I was conservative. In some other ways, I was liberal.

P: In which areas would you consider yourself liberal?

B: In education, particularly. My first deep involvement was with junior colleges. I
was conscious, as was everyone else, that there were more and more students
coming along, and that we needed [more schools] quickly to handle the
overcrowding. I was involved in studies to augment that program.

P: Tell me about your term as speaker of the House [1953-1955]. What impact did
you have during that two-year period?

B: Let me explain my attitude. I looked at the responsibility of a speaker in a way
different from how it was considered since that time. I thought my responsibility
as speaker was to make the House work. By making the House work I meant
that every legislator should have a chance, within the rules, to promote whatever
his viewpoint was on the various issues. Out of the meld of these different issues
would come action, or inaction, as might be the case. I really thought of a
speaker not as a person who had an agenda, but as person who had the role to
make the legislative agenda work.









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P: What were the most difficult aspects of being speaker?

B: Getting there. I ran twice. The first time I was defeated, but the second time I
won.

P: What made you win the second time?

B: Work, really. The first time I had been a member for only one session, and that
was just not enough time to get to know and influence everybody to do what I
wanted to do.

P: Tell me about how you decided to run for governor in 1956.

B: Dan [T.] McCarty was [Florida's] governor and died after [eight] months [in office
in 1953]. I was a great admirer of Dan. It was my long-range plan to run in 1956,
because at that time Dan could not run for re-election. He died, and therefore
the question came up in my mind, shall I run for his remaining two-year term or
shall I wait and run for the four-year term? I felt that either way one could not run
for re-election. I decided to not run in 1954, but to support [LeRoy] Roy Collins
[governor of Florida, 1955-1961], and I did so. I was preparing myself to run in
1956. By 1956, I had traveled. I had gotten promises. I had gotten an
organization. Then on the last day before the books were closed, the Supreme
Court ruled that Collins could run for re-election. My support was decimated
because I had appealed to the same people he had appealed to, and he had
them first. He held on to them. I went ahead with it, but it was tremendously
difficult.

P: The vote was about 434,000 for Collins and about 110,000 for you. Did you
consider this election a steppingstone, a good experience for 1960?

B: I made it that, but that is not how I looked at it. I wanted to win. The total money
I raised for that first election was $75,000, and that was not what you would call
enough. I was caught in a very difficult position. There was Collins, who said he
was for segregation, and there was Sumter Lowry who said Collins was against
it. It was hard to position myself in that circumstance.

P: What did you learn from the campaign of 1956 that helped you in 1960?

B: I needed more friends. I needed better organization. I needed more money.

P: The official records have you spending $64,000 in 1956 and $401,000 in 1960.









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B: Wait a minute, they have me spending $401,000 in 1960?

P: Yes, including the second primary. Does that sound correct?

B: It does not.

P: Did you spend more or less?

B: More. I do not think I have any of those records available. I may, but I do not
think so.

P: This [figure] was reported for campaign spending and probably does not include
services and [those sorts of records]. Is that correct?

B: Yes, probably, although I do not remember now. I had a CPA, a good friend,
who was my treasurer, and he was supposed to cover the field. I assume he did,
but I just thought it would be more than that.

P: But you definitely spent quite a bit more in 1960 than you did in 1956.

B: Oh, yes.

P: How did you raise all that money?

B: In great part by personal solicitation. I had two great money raisers; one was
Wendell Jarrard [chairman-director of the Development Commission in 1960],
and the other was John [M.] Hammer [chairman of the Turnpike Authority in
1960].

P: They were fund raisers for you rather than contributors?

B: That is correct. They also contributed, but they were fund raisers.

P: Writing about the 1960 campaign, one historian said you were not a natural
politician, not a back-slapper.

B: Who wrote that?

P: I believe Professors [David R.] Colburn and [Richard] Scher, writing about Florida
governors. [Florida Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century, University of
Florida Press, 1980]. Why do you think you were so successful as a politician?
What personal qualities [aided your success]?









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B: Work. I am not a natural politician. That is strange. You would think by this time
I would have been converted into one, but I have never been at ease as a
politician. I simply have difficulty asking people to do something for me. I still
have that. I had quite a good fortune to have my wife--not that she raised any
money--but she went on television for me. She did a great job at it.

P: What were the key issues in the 1960 campaign?

B: There were several. One of them was finishing the [Florida] Turnpike. [LeRoy]
Collins, who had supported Doyle [E.] Carlton [Jr.], was adamantly against it, and
so Doyle was against it. I made that an issue, and it stayed an issue as long as
Roy remained in office. [Collins] went on television the night before the election
on a statewide, half-hour program to criticize me and to promote Doyle. In good
part, the turnpike played a part in that. I do not say how much, but it did.

P: There were ten candidates in the Democratic primary, and you carried the first
primary; you were the leader [with 193,507 votes]. Then your run-off was with
Carlton [Doyle Carlton, Jr., who received 186,228 votes]. Where did the rest of
the candidates fit in, for example Haydon Burns?

B: Burns was third [166,352 votes], John McCarty was fifth, I think, or was he fourth
and Fred "Bud" Dickinson was fifth?
P: John [McCarty] was fourth [144,750 votes] and ["Bud"] Dickinson was fifth
[115,520 votes].

B: Yes, then there was Ted David [80,057 votes] and Harvie J. Belser [with 30,736
votes], and I do not remember who else.

P: Bill Hendrix and George Downs, they got under 10,000 votes each.

B: Hendrix was a great Ku Klux Klaner. I do not remember what the other fellow
was.

P: How important was race in this campaign?

B: I guess we all took pretty much the same position. I do not believe that anybody
said they were for integration. We did not have Sumter Lowry in there, so it was
not as volatile an issue as it would have been with him. He was strong, and he
soaked up so much of the anti-integration vote.









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P: In the run-off, apparently LeRoy Collins supported Doyle Carlton as more
moderate on race.

B: I do not know, Roy [LeRoy Collins] might have. I believe by this time, Roy had
revealed that he was for integration. I believe he had by then.

P: How did he affect this race?

B: Very heavily. First of all, much of his campaign force went automatically to
Doyle, and that was a lot of strength. He was the biggest negative that I had to
confront me.

P: Because Collins was popular?

B: Yes.

P: Historians Colburn and Scher concluded that you won "because of racial
frustration with the moderate Collins," and the voters took this out on Doyle
Carlton in the election. They thought that Collins was too moderate on race.
What would your reaction be to that conclusion?

B: I do not think he dominated Doyle that much. He was a tremendous help to him.
Doyle was a good man, and he had his own views. I do not remember any great
allegiance to Roy [Collins] by Doyle, though I am sure he was grateful for the
help he [Collins] was giving him.

P: I want to quote LeRoy Collins. He said that you were "an apostle of reaction,
regret and retreat." What do you think he meant by that?

B: I do not know, it could not be the turnpike, although I was pushing for it and he
was against it. He had a hard time saying what he wanted to say, because of his
position. He was for segregation himself, you knew that.

P: Although he changed later?

B: Yes, you knew that, though. In both his campaigns, he was a segregationist. He
might have been saying indirectly, Farris Bryant is really a segregationist--he
wants to go back to slavery and so forth. Apparently, he did not sell it.

P: When you look back, what do you think were the key factors in your victory over
Doyle Carlton in the run-off [512,757 votes for Bryant to 416,052 votes for
Carlton]?









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B: Organization and hard work. I had the experience of one campaign.

P: How important was money in this campaign, because I know that you got some
support from Ed Ball [Florida financier affiliated with the Du Pont interests; head
of Florida National Bank], for example?

B: Ed Ball? Do you know how much he gave me? Zero. Ed Ball did not like me.
He came to bless me after I was elected. For a long time, I could have quoted
you the words he said, because it always annoyed me that people said Ed Ball
was for me and dominated me, which was said at that time. Ed Ball did not help
me at all. I am wrong. In the second primary he did put out the word that he
wished his people would be for me. He still gave me no money, but I believe that
he did do that [ask his people to assist me]. He was not a factor, and I have
always resented the implication that he was.

P: Was the support you got from the business community in general a factor?

B: Yes. I think I got a good deal of support from them.

P: How important was television in the 1960 election?

B: That was when the half-hour debates became really significant and when the
campaign turned for me. Doyle and I were in a debate on such a half-hour
program. We had an interrogator and we would answer questions. Doyle said
something in there that I had been waiting and praying he would say. He said
something about my Harvard education, and I was delighted. I said, Doyle, I
wish you would not knock me because of my education. I did the best I could;
my parents wanted me to go to the best school I could, and I did, but I do not
criticize you for dropping out of college. If you did not want an education, that
was [your decision]. You are a good man; I did not say anything about you. That
posed the educated man against [the uneducated one]. Of course, it was unfair
because Doyle is smart as he could be, but he opened it and I leaped in.

P: That was fair in a debate, right?

B: It was. I had never mentioned his dropping out until that time.

P: What about your own television show, "Breakfast with the Bryants?" Do you
think that helped you any?

B: I do not remember it.









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P: Apparently, once or twice, you and your wife made a brief appearance on
television just talking from your home and talking about your values.

B: I see.

P: What was your constitutional reform proposal that you made in 1960? What did
you hope to accomplish in terms of constitutional reform?

B: I do not recall right now.

P: Let me give you a couple of points that I think were in that. You wanted to
reorganize the trial courts, modernize the government and make it more efficient,
and have more local government. I think there were several proposals like this.
Was that important in this campaign?

B: I doubt it. I will tell you what, the only really important constitutional proposal I
wanted was to give the governor more power vis-a-vis the cabinet. I still think
today that the cabinet ought to be appointed. That is my opinion.

P: What about a line-item veto? Should the governor have that?

B: Sure, did we not have it then?

P: I do not know. Did you have a line-item veto?

B: I believe I did.

P: Let me go back a little bit. Would you discuss your role in the 1952 Democratic
National Convention? I think you led the voting from the delegates. Whom did
you support in 1952, [Adlai] Stevenson?

B: No. That was [Dwight] Eisenhower's campaign?

P: Yes.

B: I did not support Eisenhower because he was a Republican. I did not support
Stevenson because I did not like his politics.

P: Why do you think Eisenhower carried Florida in 1952 and 1956?









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B: Because in the voters' minds, he was a conservative, as contrasted with
Stevenson.

P: Does that mean that since maybe 1945, Florida has been essentially a
conservative state?

B: In my opinion, yes.

P: What about the election of 1948, with Harry Truman and the States Rights
"Dixiecrats?" Truman carried the state [with 282,328 votes], but [Thomas] Dewey
got a lot of votes [194,347], and Strom Thurmond [who led the States Rights
party] got quite a few votes [89,880]. What was significant about that 1948
campaign?

B: I have forgotten that campaign.

P: Yes, Truman, Dewey, Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats, and Henry Wallace
for the Progressive Party [11,683 votes]. Thurmond made several appearances
in Florida.

B: Strom did?

P: Yes. Were you at the 1960 Democratic National Convention [Los Angeles, July
11-15, 1960]?

B: I am sure I was.

P: What was your initial reaction to John Kennedy?

B: I was for Lyndon Johnson.

P: Why were you in favor of Lyndon Johnson?

B: Again, there are some positive and a lot of negative reasons. First of all, John
Kennedy was the poorest prepared man to be president of any man we ever had.
He had no preparation, no moral background and no business experience. We
thought he could not be elected president, but he was, of course. Lyndon was at
that time under the influence of Richard Russell [U.S. senator from Georgia,
Democrat, 1933-1971].

P: The United States Senator from Georgia?









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B: That is right. Russell was, in my opinion, a great man, a gentleman. I think
perhaps I attributed some of Russell's characteristics to Johnson. I am sure
Russell contacted me on Johnson's behalf. That is my belief.

P: What did you do from 1965 until 1970 when you ran for the U.S. Senate?

B: I practiced law and formed The Voyager Group, about twelve insurance
companies.

P: Was that in Jacksonville?

B: Yes. I also went to Washington, as an aide to Lyndon Johnson, and I became
director of the Office of Emergency Planning.

P: What did you do as the director of the Office of Emergency Planning?

B: I simply [planned] responses to hurricanes and disasters of various kinds. At that
time, the Cold War was very, very warm. It was my job to correlate our civil
defensive position with that of other countries in the world, our allies, such as
England, France, the Philippines.

P: So were you also a member of the National Security Council?

B: That is correct. That was a product of my being director of the Office of
Emergency Planning. The National Security Council was statutorily defined. At
that time it consisted of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Secretary of State
Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara [secretary of Defense] and me. That was the
National Security Council. People speak of it, and they usually include all the
aides or the staff in their thinking, but there was that distinction. Really, while I
named five people as members of the National Security Council, when Lyndon
Johnson sat down with them, he was the Security Council. He was a powerful
man.

P: What decisions did you make on the Security Council? Did you talk at all about
Vietnam?

B: Oh, yes. That was when it was very hot. Johnson was letting the bombing go up
the coast, trying to get up as far as he could without exciting the Chinese. He
was afraid those hordes [of Chinese] were going to come south across the
border, and I am sure he had good reasons for thinking that. He would make
every decision, about what could be bombed and what could not.









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P: What was your assessment of Robert McNamara, secretary of Defense [1961-
1968]?

B: I do not want to criticize him, but I never agreed with him, and I do not agree with
him today. Now, after reading his book [In Retrospect: The Tragedy and
Lessons of Vietnam, 1995], I know the reason why. All along, he was not a
believer. I guess I felt that without knowing it.

P: Were you opposed to expanding the war in Vietnam?

B: No. I thought that as long as we were going to fight it, we ought to go ahead and
fight it, period. We ought to do whatever was necessary. Johnson was afraid to
do it. I understand that. He had that responsibility. It was an awesome one, and
I do not criticize any man for his decisions there, but I disagreed. I thought he
should not try to micro-manage the war. His generals should have told him what
to do to win this war. How do we do it? And he ought to have gone with that.
That was why he had the military people.

P: What was your evaluation of Secretary of State Dean Rusk [1961-1969]?

B: I thought he was a great man. I liked him.

P: What about his views on the war?

B: He was generally very aggressive in his thinking.

P: What about Hubert Humphrey [U.S. vice president under Lyndon Johnson, 1965-
1969]?

B: I cannot really tell you. Humphrey, as vice president, would not have said
anything that was not cognizant of Lyndon Johnson's viewpoint. I admired
Hubert Humphrey. He was a gentleman, a sweet man and a good man. He
asked me to be his manager for the southern states, in his [presidential]
campaign [in 1968]. He knew I liked him, and I did.

P: Did you agree to do that?

B: No, I did not.

P: This was 1968?









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B: That is right. That was after the Democratic National Convention in Chicago,
when he stood up there in his suite and looked across the park and heard the
people out there chanting, "Dump the Hump, Dump the Hump." I thought, what
fools. This man is the best friend they have, and he was.

P: These were the hippies and radicals in Grant Park across from the convention
center?

B: That is right. They were carrying on in this way. They were trying to defeat
Humphrey, believe it or not.

P: What was your reaction to [William J.] Daley's response by sending in the
police?

B: I do not really remember.

P: Tell me about the personality of Lyndon Johnson.

B: He was one of the smartest men I have ever known. Everything he touched has
to bear his stamp. He named his girls so their initials were all "L.B.J.," including
his wife. He renamed her Ladybird, so she was "L.B.J." also. He had this
marvelous memory. When I was governor of Florida, he asked the governor of
Tennessee, Buford Ellington, to have a meeting of certain Southern governors in
the mansion at Nashville. He got us seated as though it were a semicircle
around the room. He began to talk about what he wanted to do and what he
wanted us to do to help him. He would come to you and he would point that
finger at you and zero in on you. He would say, you remember when I was in
Ocala or when I was in Miami with you and we had a talk--six months, eight
months, a year and a half ago we had a talk--and you said this, that and the
other. Remember that? Of course, I did because he quoted the words, and he
would go to each one and had a tale about each one, a personal [anecdote]. He
was a fantastic guy. He had the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of
any man I ever knew.

P: What were his weaknesses?

B: Vanity.

P: What were his greatest strengths?

B: His mind.









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P: It was awfully hard to say no to Lyndon Johnson.

B: Very hard. I will tell you, I did a lot of lobbying for him. He had sent me over to
see the North Carolina delegate, L.H. Fountain [Democratic congressman], who
is now retired, on some issue, I do not remember what the issue was. I got a call
while there that the president wanted to see me--now. I left immediately and
reported to his office. Marvin Watson [advisor to Lyndon Johnson], who was his
top man there, showed me right on in. Lyndon had approved this program I had
worked out. There was a great problem of federalism and getting the local state
organizations to work with the federal people. What I suggested was that we
would find out from each state what was the matter with the federal government,
as far as they were concerned. Then we would pick out the people in
Washington who had the authority to change that, if they wanted to do so. We
would all go down to a pre-arranged meeting. The governor could have his state
people, and we would say, get together your HEW [Department of Health,
Education and Welfare] people and your roads people and so on and so forth.
[These people on both sides would] get together and work out the problems. If
they cannot work them out, come and tell us. That program went over well, and
it was wonderful, it really was. I went to forty-four states. Johnson got so
enthusiastic about it that he gave me the privilege of using the Air Force One
airplane. Of course, it was not Air Force One since he was not on it, but [it was]
the [same] plane that was Air Force One when he was on it. I would take federal
secretaries and deputy secretaries to the states, forty-four of them, and work on
this. It was a tremendous way of working out problems that were not resolved in
other ways. Earlier, one had to send one man down, [and] he would have said,
well, I will go back and check with Jo, the secretary. Then I will let you know.
But with my plan, I had the people who could make the decision on the spot, and
that is why it worked. It worked well. I was coming back from Texas, and a
writer for The New York Times sat down beside me and said, what are you going
to do now? You almost got to all the states now. What are you going to do next?
I told him what I thought we ought to do next was to implement and develop this
program. Lyndon had read this article before I got back. I guess it was the
morning after I got back, and I had gone over to Fountain's office. Meanwhile,
[Lyndon Johnson] read [the article] and blew up. [The president] said, I make the
programs, I am the one who set you up. You did not get approval to continue
planning what will be done in the future. When I want another program, he said, I
will tell you about it. That was the way he operated. So I said, just as you say,
Mr. President, that is the way it will be.

P: Now, you were on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations?

B: I was chairman of that commission.









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P: You did that for two years or so?

B: Yes.

P: Was that the program about intergovernmental relations we just discussed?

B: No. That was not an Advisory Commission program. Advisory Commission work
was for purposes of advising only--an intellectual [task]. For example, how
[does this] get done [using] similar thinking and advice. But that commission had
no operative ability or power.

P: You reported to President Johnson?

B: Yes.

P: How would you assess his presidency?

B: It was too complex to give you a figure or to simply say it was good or bad.

P: How would you assess John Kennedy's presidency?

B: I liked John Kennedy. He was a great fellow to be with. He apparently stumbled
into doing a lot [the] right [way]. How he could have gotten on with Bobby, I do
not know. John Kennedy was successful in leading the people because of his
personality. [I do not know] how he could get along with Frank Sinatra and the
Rat Pack [Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter
Lawford] and be president, or how he could lead the sexual life that he did and
get away with it, but he was able to do so. He accomplished [a lot]. I do not
know how.

P: Overall, you would not rank him as a great president?

B: Oh, no. Indeed not. All of this Camelot stuff was just for the press corps.

P: Where were you and what was your reaction when you learned of Kennedy's
assassination [November 22, 1963]?

B: I think I was home in Ocala when I heard about it. I had been with him a few
days earlier in Tampa, about four days before that. I enjoyed being with him. He
was always a pleasure to be with.









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P: What was he doing in Tampa?

B: Making a speech to a conference we put on down there [November 18, 1963]. I
am sure it was connected to the Democratic party [President Kennedy spoke at
Al Lopez Field that day].

P: Why did you decide to run for the Senate in 1970?

B: I am glad you asked me because I would like to explain this. I told you I
practiced law, but what I did also was organize the Voyager [Insurance Group]. I
raised $10 million to do that, which at that time was a record in Florida for
beginning an insurance corporation. I had gotten the permission of my board to
go to Washington to be with Lyndon Johnson. I thought, we have capable men
here to run the company, and I have [Winn] Lovett to be the chairman. Do you
remember him?

P: I think not.

B: No? It was Winn Lovett. The company he ran earlier became a part of Winn-
Dixie. He was my wife's uncle, and he agreed to be chairman [of Voyager] when
I was gone. I thought, boy, we are in good shape. I have good officers, and I
have Mr. Lovitt as chairman. I admired him so. Of course, the insurance
business was different from any [other] business I ever saw. I resigned from my
Washington position because of the reports I was getting. I came back and the
$10 million I had raised to run this company had been reduced to $1.8 million. I
had to resign [my position] in Washington and come home. I met with the
corporate board and the board members said, you got us into this damn thing,
now get us out. These were businessmen who had each put up $100,000. That
was a requirement. To be on the board, one had to invest $100,000, and they all
did that. So I came home, resigned from my law practice, too, and re-assumed
active operation of these companies. When it came time to run for the Senate,
the primaries were set in May and my annual company meeting was in April.
You can understand that because of this loss we had suffered, I was very much
emotionally involved in this [project]. I could not leave [Voyager] again without a
lot more preparation than I had. We were making money again. So I felt a
responsibility to stay on until April, at which time I could show my good balance
sheet and good operating results. I said, I cannot run, because I cannot
[campaign for the primary] between April and May. Then they changed the
primary to September. I told Lawton [Lawton Chiles, U.S. Senator, 1971-1989;
governor of Florida, 1991-1998] and others that I was not going to run. But I had
told them that when [the primary] was set for May. When it was re-scheduled for
September, I had roughly six months to do it. I decided to run, but by this time









FP 65
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Lawton had done an awfully good job getting all his commitments. People who
were committing to him were my friends because Lawton had been my friend; he
had been part of my organization. But Lawton Chiles and [James W.] Jimmy
Kynes [attorney general of Florida, 1964-1965], who had worked with me, had
already gotten together.

P: Jimmy Kynes was attorney general at this time?

B: Yes, in fact I had appointed him attorney general.

P: What were the key issues in this 1970 Senate race?

B: I met with a member of a public relations firm with considerable experience in
campaigns, and I asked him to develop a plan under which we would run our
campaign. We met in Ft. Lauderdale so I could listen to their presentation. Their
plan basically was this: You are going to say, Farris, that you are going to have a
continuing poll taken on the issues facing you in Washington, and when the poll
comes out telling you that the people want to do this, that is what you are going
to do. I said, wait a minute, I want to be senator. I think being senator means
using your own experience, brains, and ability to do [what is right] for the people
who voted for you, not just doing what they say they want day to day. No, I will
not do that. Well, there went my plan. I was still raising money, but that,
unfortunately, was the position that I took. Today, however, I see what they are
doing in Washington. What they are doing is taking polls, day to day, and
making a move in that direction. I would not do that. I just thought, if they elect
me senator, I am going to be senator. Period.

P: Did you still get a bit of a late start compared to what Lawton Chiles was doing?

B: Sure, a very late start, and I could not overcome it.

P: What impact did walking around the state [by Lawton Chiles who walked 1,033
miles in 91 days in 1970 from the Florida Panhandle town of Century to Key
Largo in the Florida Keys] have on your campaign?

B: It was very effective. What it did was give Lawton an image of contacting the
people and getting ever more input from them. He was walking along, and he
would meet the farmer and ask him his opinion. Lawton's walking [achieved the
same goal for him as] Bob Graham's [U.S. Democratic senator from Florida,
1986-present; governor of Florida, 1979-1987] work days did for Bob. It
identified him with the people. I tried to say, yes, he is walking for senator; I am
running for senator. But I could not sell it.









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P: Although, at that time, I think, Lawton Chiles was a fairly wealthy man.

B: Yes, he was a wealthy man.

P: So in that sense he was not one of the people, yet that was what he tried to
project.

B: And he did.

P: Was it just a gimmick?

B: [It was] in the sense that I do not think it made a nickel's worth of difference to
him what he heard on the road. If he stopped in a store and the grocery man
there said, I do not like this, I do not think that really shaped his thinking. So to
that extent, yes, it was a gimmick, but it had a great value. He could stop at night
in his trailer and write something for the paper the next day and every paper
would carry it. He got marvelous coverage in the press. He was a good story.

P: You led the first primary. What was the difference between your success in the
first primary and [the runoff]? I think Lawton Chiles won by 200,000 votes in the
second primary. What had changed?

B: Nothing had changed. I got all the votes in the second primary that I had in the
first, but I did not get any more [votes].

P: You got almost exactly the same vote?

B: I think so.

P: So votes for the other candidates, like [Frederick H.] Schultz [member of the
Florida House of Representatives 1969-1971] and others, their votes shifted to
Chiles?

B: That is correct.

P: How would you assess Chiles as a campaigner?

B: He was marvelous.

P: Do you regret running for the Senate in 1970?









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B: No. I did what I thought I ought to have done.

P: Did the fact that you had been governor and had a record help or hurt you?

B: It hurt me. During this six-year interval, I lost track of the people. I had been so
involved with this company and [the work] in Washington that I lost touch. This
state changed so fast. I had made a difference, and I just lost contact with the
people.

P: Let us go on to talk about your years as governor. In your inaugural address,
you talked about legislative reapportionment, and you talked about taking on
what is known in Florida as the "Pork Chop Gang" [a term coined for the North
Florida rural legislators in the reapportionment struggles in the 1950s through
1970s]. Whatever happened to that attempt to reapportion Florida?
B: A lot happened before I became governor. [LeRoy] Roy [Collins] was governor
[acting governor, 1954-1955; governor, 1955-1961] in the period when we should
have made the changes, but he did not have the legislature. To a good extent,
he did not provide effective leadership because he was dealing with the Pork
Chop Gang. He could never shake them, and until you shook them, you could
not do anything.

P: How did you deal with it?

B: The law had changed.

P: You just waited until Baker v. Carr and Westbury v. Sanders, the one man, one
vote, court decisions?

B: When were they decided?

P: Baker v. Carr was in 1962; Westbury v. Sanders in 1964, and Reynolds v. Simms
was also in 1964. All three decisions ended up changing [voting patterns]. So
when you first became governor, you did not pursue reapportionment? You did
not take on the Pork Chop Gang?

B: Of course, I had opposed [Charles] Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida
1953-1954; president of Florida Senate 1953] and that did not improve my
standing.

P: What was your position on the Johns Committee [Florida Senate committee
established in the late 1950s to investigate the NAACP and communists,
especially in the Florida university system]?









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B: What about the Johns Committee?

P: The Johns Committee investigated alleged communists and homosexuals in the
academic community at the [state] universities, particularly at the University of
Florida.

B: I am not now familiar with that committee. I do not believe I was then, although I
must have known about it, but I do not remember it now.

P: How did you get along with your cabinet since it was elected, not appointed?

B: I got along with them wonderfully until the last six months. See, a governor who
has only one term, as I had at that time, could not have the last six months.
What do they care about you? They might like you or might not like you, but they
have their own agendas and they do not buy yours. [There was] no point in it.
You are no more important to them than the corner grocer.

P: What were your emotions the day you took the oath of office as governor of
Florida?

B: They are accurately set forth in my inaugural address; they really are.

P: Part of what you were talking about was that you wanted to work with the people
of the state of Florida, and you asked them for help. You expressed your
appreciation for their support.

B: Yes.

P: One of the major goals you had as governor was economy in government. Talk
about how you made the state more efficient.

B: All right, sir. First of all, the only impact you can have is on the general revenue.
You really cannot affect already dedicated moneys, unless it is handled by the
cabinet. I had worked for the state government in the controller's office and in
the legislature, and I knew the level of efficiency and the prevalence of
patronage. I thought if I could eliminate or minimize that, I would improve the
government of Florida. My goal was to make government work for the people.
Just as when I was speaker I wanted to make it work for the legislature, as it
were. My role as speaker was to make the legislature work better. As
governor, I thought I could make the government work better. That was my job.









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P: During your first year in office, you managed to reduce state spending by $13
million. Can you give me some specifics about how you accomplished that?

B: No, but I would like to make this comment about it. First of all, you speak of it as
a reduction of $13 million, but that should be compared with what it would have
been if the normal growth figures were there. You have to remember, too, that
so many of the programs had already been set by the previous administration. I
was limited in what I could do about them in my first year of the first legislature.
It was very difficult to have an impact. One can adopt the laws, but they will not
have any impact until some time later. Here is one specific, the Road
Department. I employed a man to be the controller--I will call him that--of the
Road Department from Miami. He was a remarkable accountant, more than a
CPA. We put together a chart that showed every project of the state Road
Department, its ultimate total expenditure, the completion date, and its financial
impact by month. We knew at all times exactly where we stood. That was very
important because when I became governor--remember this, I do not think
anybody ever realized this--the Federal Bureau of Roads had cut off road money
to Florida because the previous administration had not performed as it was
supposed to. When I came into office, there was no money for building more
roads or planning more roads. [What I did first was to] go to Washington and
convince the heads there that this administration was going to be different, and if
they go ahead and give us our money, we could do it. We did that, of course,
and it had wonderful results.

P: Part of the key, then, was reorganizing and revitalizing the state road program?

B: That is correct.

P: New headquarters, computers, and similar administrative improvements enabled
you to keep track of what they were doing?

B: That is right, except we did not have computers.

P: It was too early for computers.

B: No, well, [too early] for computers, as we know them now. All IBM had at that
time were these cards with holes [punched] in them.

P: Where did the other money come from? You received some money from the
federal government. Did you have any bonds issued? Where else did you get
the money?









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B: We got the legislature to approve the turnpike.

P: That was the Sunshine State Parkway?

B: That is right.

P: You completed it from Ft. Pierce to Wildwood, is that right?

B: Correct. Politicians said, at [that] time that we were just bringing it through
Ocala. Actually, unless we tied it in with 1-75, since 1-95 was not built yet, we
could not get the traffic on it to pay for itself. So by bringing it over, as I did, by
Orlando and up to Wildwood and then bringing 1-75 a little ways east, so it would
join, the turnpike was feasible.

P: Did the turnpike pay for itself as a toll road?

B: Paid for itself? Yes! It has built lots of roads since then. They have never let go
of that toll. It continues to pour in money, although for many years the turnpike
itself has been paid for. You may recall that The Tampa Tribune and The St.
Petersburg Times were opposed to this project, and [those papers] attributed all
the bad motives to doing it, but we did it.

P: What other road improvements did you make?

B: We did Alligator Alley [Route 84] against great opposition. As a matter of fact, it
could not be done today. I do not know if that was good or bad.

P: This was from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples?

B: Yes. The environmentalists would never let you do it today, but we did it then.

P: Did you not at least start 1-4 [Daytona Beach to Tampa] or propose or encourage
that?

B: It was started. It was already on the books, but we could not get the money for it
until the federal government loosened up. But when it loosened up, we built that.
We brought 1-75 down to Tampa. We brought 1-95 well along, but we were still
working on US-1, which was the only four-laned, state-length road. We four-
laned that road in Brevard County. The Brevard County Commission could not
raise the money to pay for the right-of-way. The state laws or practices, I do not
know which it was, said that if the counties furnish the right-of-way, the state
would build the road. Since the county could not build the right-of-way, nothing









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was being done. I took state money and bought it [the right-of-way], and we built
the four-laned [road] from the Georgia line to Miami.

P: These were general state funds that were used for this?

B: They were state Road Department funds.

P: Then you four-laned or improved US 19 and US 27 during your years as
governor?
B: US 19 was built during my term. I do not remember to what extent we worked on
US 27.

P: Overall, what you did during your term has literally increased the number of
interstate highways, turnpikes and roads, which, in turn, made it easier for
tourists to reach various Florida destinations and facilitate business exchanges.

B: Yes.

P: What impact did all this have on Florida's economy?

B: I do not think Florida could be where it is today if we had not built 1-75 down to
Tampa; 1-4 across from Daytona to Tampa; and State Road 60, which is a very
important road. We four-laned it. Of course we built 1-10. It was already started,
but we got it built.

P: [You] took that to Lake City?

B: Yes. It had been partially built. We did not take it all the way to Pensacola, but
we took it across to Tallahassee anyway.

P: Talk a little bit about your view of the Cross Florida Barge Canal [unfinished canal
that would have extended from Palatka on the St. Johns River to Yankeetown on
the Gulf of Mexico], which you strongly favored. Why were you so much in favor
of that project?

B: First of all, when I became enthusiastic about it, it provided a way to keep ships
that rounded the tip of Florida free from the [danger of German] submarines. I
had been personally involved, and so that really animated me. If we could have
had barges come from Galveston along the Intercoastal Waterway right down to
Tampa and then across Florida, it would have been marvelous. All the heavy
material from Ohio and the Mississippi River would have come down to flow
there and across to the East Coast. That was a very cheap way to get it there. I









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was enthusiastic because I thought it would be a tremendous development,
particularly for the central part of the state.

P: Is that why you picked the route, I guess, along the St. Johns [River] to Palatka to
Yankeetown? I am not sure what the proposed route was, but you picked it to
develop economically the central part of the state?

B: Yes.

P: Where did you get the money for the project?

B: The federal government appropriated it. It was all federal money, [and] the state
[bought] some rights-of-way. Until a couple of years ago, it had never been
legally stopped. It was stopped by Richard Nixon [on January 19, 1971, after
construction of one-third of the project--25 miles of the canal]. [He] issued a
press release saying that he was going to stop the barge canal. He never
entered an order, and the court, many years later, ruled that his action was
illegal, and the way it was stopped was illegal.

P: Why was it never resurrected?

B: It is so hard to prove a negative. The environmentalists said, oh, there will be a
hole in the bottom of the canal, and all the water will pour into underground
streams. How can one prove that is not so? One cannot. If I lived in Miami and
heard they were going to pour oil down into a hole through the underground
system, I would be against it, too. You would not have to try very hard to
persuade me of that.

P: Describe the situation when President Johnson came to Palatka and set off the
first explosion [on February 27, 1964] that started the dredging of the canal.

B: We were ready to go. The opposition had not coalesced at that time.

P: I understand that you also operated a bulldozer at the time you started the Cross
Florida Barge Canal.

B: Probably.

P: I think there was a picture of you driving one.

B: Is that right?









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P: I was wondering how much of an expert you were?

B: I did not move fast enough, obviously.

P: In retrospect, was the Cross Florida Barge Canal a mistake?

B: No.

P: Why should it have been completed?

B: Because it would facilitate the movement of goods from the Gulf Coast and the
Mississippi and Ohio rivers across to the Atlantic, to the East Coast. They would
tie into the Intercoastal Waterway. It would have been good for the same
reasons the railroad said it would be good. That was why railroads hated it. Tom
Rice and Prime Osborn, who were my friends, fought it and were successful.

P: The key opposition then was from the railroads?

B: That was where the opposition with money was, that is correct. Then CSX went
out to Texas and bought a big barge system. If it had bought it and worked with
the barge systems earlier, I expect they would have been for it.

P: One area that you favored, as well--in terms of conservation--[was the area of
parks]. The state did buy and expand a number of parks. Would you talk about
your thinking here?

B: Yes. The idea was to get a source of income that would facilitate the
preservation of the natural lands of Florida. We passed a constitutional
amendment to enable us to do that. I guess this provision is still on the books.
We bought a lot of land for parks and recreation and a tremendous amount of
money was spent for that purpose.

P: It all came out of this same state trust fund?

B: That was my understanding. I have not checked it out, but I understand it was
so.

P: I know one place I have been to was the John Pennecamp [Coral Reef State
Park off Key Largo]. [It] is a beautiful place.

B: Yes, it is. We used a combination of private contributions and state funds to do
that.









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P: How about tourism? I think one of the areas where you emphasized your
commitment was to expand Florida tourism.

B: I did that because it seemed a natural for Florida. In a way, I am sorry I did it. I
would not be sorry if I were out making a living, I guess, but I hate to see Florida
grow the way it has grown. There are no more small towns; rapid growth does
something to a state.

P: When you began this, you set up the Florida Development Commission. What
was that?

B: The Development Commission was just what the name implied. It was an
economic, promotional activity. It was headed by Wendell Jarrard, who was the
greatest promoter I have ever known.

P: One of [our accomplishments] was [to get] these Greyhound buses that went
around the country as traveling showcases.

B: Sure. We also had a showcase in New York at the sidewalk level of Rockefeller
Center. CBS or NBC, one or the other [networks], conducted its "Good Morning
America" program there for many years. Every program was surrounded by the
Florida atmosphere.

P: There was a popular [Florida] exhibit at the [two-year] World's Fair [Flushing
Meadows in Queens, New York] in 1964 [and 1965] that many people apparently
saw.

B: The World's Fair was a great promotional deal for Florida. I thought we had the
primary location, and Robert Moses [president, New York World's Fair, 1964-
1965], the head honcho, was a good promoter, but he was not truthful. He told
me [what] he would do for Florida and for Florida's exhibit, and later he
absolutely turned around and refused to do [it]. I spoke to him just as bluntly as I
have just spoken to you about that. It did not shake him a bit. If my statement
had not been true he would have hit me. But he betrayed me. He was a great
promoter, and maybe that was what you had to do to be a great promoter.

P: For Florida, though, the World's Fair was a successful promotion?

B: Yes.









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P: What about your travels? You traveled to Europe also promoting Florida, both in
terms of tourism and exports. How successful were those trips?

B: I cannot measure that success. We had a bus running around promoting Florida
everywhere.

P: What about these welcome stations? Do you think that helped?

B: Yes I do. They were a good idea. I do not really know to what extent they are
operating today, but at the time they set a pattern for the nation. Many states
adopted the idea. Since we did not have a lot of rest stops at the time, I felt if we
could get these tourists to stop and drink a little orange juice when they came
into the state and then ask the attendants for information about Florida, then they
would get a good sales pitch about Florida.

P: Did you start those welcome stations?

B: Yes.

P: What about advertising? How important was that, other than the state
advertising? I am talking about national print and television. Did you put a lot of
emphasis on that?

B: That would have been done by the Development Commission. I do not know
how extensive that advertising was. For the biggest impact, we combined state
money with that of the local chambers of commerce.

P: What was your attitude toward crime when you were governor?

B: To emphasize that we were a nation of laws and that we must obey them.

P: That was a good position to have.

B: For the most part, I concentrated on seeing to it that local law enforcement was
honest and efficient.

P: How did you deal with the increasing number of prisoners during the early
1960s?

B: Well, we built one [prison].

P: There were, I think, new facilities at Lake Butler and Raiford.









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B: Yes.
P: What was your view on prison? Did you see it as punishment or rehabilitation?

B: Punishment.

P: So you did not expect that prisoners would be rehabilitated at these facilities?

B: I hoped so, but I do not remember any specific concern I had that way.

P: I think one area that you proposed was stiffer prison sentences. What about the
death penalty? Did you then believe in the death penalty?

B: The oath of the governor of Florida states that he will enforce the laws, and when
a judge and jury condemn a man to death, that is the law. The governor who
preceded me [LeRoy Collins, governor 1955-1961] decided in the middle of his
second term that he did not believe in the death penalty. He just let [the death
penalties] stack up, and then they became my responsibility. When I came in, I
had this mass of cases on which I had to make a decision. I did not think it was
very kind for him to [leave me with these decisions]. It was his responsibility. I
had the responsibility during my term, but I believed in enforcing the law.

P: Did you pardon any death row prisoners?

B: I do not believe I did.

P: What is your view of the death penalty today? Do you think it is effective as a
deterrent?

B: I do not know a better answer. I cannot say that I think it does a lot, but I cannot
think of anything we can do to improve the situation.

P: Let me get to an area that I think was probably of primary concern during your
years as governor, and that is education. Why do you think you are not more
appreciated as an education governor by some educators and some historians?

B: For one reason, I promoted the trimester, and that made the academics furious.
I understand they still have it, except they divide the summer session in two. We
were the first state in the nation to have a trimester--or year-round education at
the college level.

P: Why did you shift to that system?









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B: I thought it was more economical, more efficient. We [constructed] new
buildings all the time. Why should we not use full time the ones we have? I do
not know why the professors are so against it. Maybe you can tell me. My
predecessor was very influential with the academic community. He [supported]
my opponent so strongly. I think I went in under a cloud, because he was so
vigorously opposed to me.

P: When did we shift from the Board of Control to the Board of Regents?

B: The last year of my service.

P: Why did you do that?

B: I did not do that. I believe that was done by a constitutional amendment.

P: But you favored a shift to a Board of Regents?

B: I do not recall. I do not think I did, but I do not recall.

P: You must have had a plan to deal with this huge increase in the number of
students coming into Florida?

B: When I got into office and looked back over my shoulder at what was going on in
the high schools, [such as] the growth of the student body, I knew beyond a
doubt that our university system could never handle it, even with junior colleges.
But how do you build these universities without the money? So I went to the
legislature and passed a constitutional amendment dedicating part of the utility
tax to the construction of the physical plant at the junior college and university
level. I was told recently that this amendment was instrumental in raising $5
billion. That has enabled us to meet fully the capital outlay needs of the
universities and junior colleges, and I am very proud of it. Although it is not
generally spoken of in the academic area, I think the professors look at me and
think of an anti-academic, in spite of my earned doctorate and two honorary
doctorates before I became governor.

P: What specific schools were created as a result of your initiative?

B: During my incumbency, the University of South Florida [in Tampa], Florida
International University [in Miami] and Florida Atlantic University [in Boca Raton].

P: Then I think you started the planning for [the University of] West Florida [near
Pensacola]?









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B: That is correct.

P: So those were four major high-level institutions.

B: We finished building South Florida. It had been started, but we finished it.

P: Specifically, what did you do in terms of new junior colleges?

B: We expanded to twenty-eight of them. Our goal was to put a junior college in
commuting-from-home-distance of every [student]. That was the goal. It may
not be very intelligent, but these [programs] were usually done on a chamber of
commerce basis. That was the way that was planned out. I think it has been
successful. When I was elected, there were four junior colleges in Florida.
When my term finished, there were twenty-eight, and I am very proud of that.
That was all financed by that constitutional amendment.

P: What was Genesys [Graduate Engineering Educational System]? Do you
remember that?

B: Yes. We had all these people around Cape Canaveral, high-level physicists,
engineers and so forth, and we had a great university plant at Gainesville and
Tallahassee. I could not take those professors and shuttle them back and forth.
When it was set up, we had planned on a TV system so the professor could be in
his class in Gainesville or Tallahassee and teach a class in Melbourne.

P: The full name for that program, then, was the Graduate Engineering Educational
System? Was that the correct term?

B: Yes, I believe so.

P: This was really one of the first efforts at statewide educational TV, was it not?

B: Yes, it was.

P: How successful was that?

B: I do not really know.
P: How about the Florida Institute for Continuing University Studies or FICUS?
What was that?









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B: It was an effort to make it possible for people to have college-level education in
off-campus locations.

P: It was mainly encouraging what we would call continuing education?

B: Yes, but beyond the college level.

P: [It was] for people who were not in college, but who might want to take a course
outside of college to learn a foreign language, computer skills, and [other
subjects such as] that.

B: Right.

P: What about federal funds? My understanding is that you did not want federal
funds for state education.

B: That is totally false.

P: OK, I did not think that could be right. What was your attitude toward federal
funding?

B: I was angry at the fact that they funded us only on the basis of the number of
people we used to have, instead of the number we currently have. Also, I had a
problem with all these Cubans coming into the state. We had to educate them,
to take care of them, take care of their health and get them jobs. Would the
federal government help us? No. Abraham Ribicoff [secretary of Health,
Education, and Welfare, 1961-1962] would sit, just as you and I are sitting right
now, and he would agree that it was not fair. But I never got a nickel out of him.

P: That was Abraham Ribicoff who was secretary of Health, Education and
Welfare?

B: The same, and governor of Connecticut [1955-1961; U.S. senator, 1963-1981].

P: The same is true today. Florida still does not get the correct amount of money
for roads or education.

B: That is correct.
P: To pursue education a little further, what did you do specifically to improve
university teaching, in addition to constructing buildings? I know one of [your
accomplishments]--that we all appreciate--was raise faculty salaries. You tried to
do this on a merit basis.









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B: Beyond that I have forgotten the details, to tell you the honest truth.

P: Do you remember the Committee on Quality Education?

B: Yes.

P: What was the purpose of that? That was Doak Campbell and Ralph Page.

B: I cannot spell it out.

P: One criticism that faculty [members] had was that they claimed that you were too
involved with hiring on campuses, and that you wanted to influence or approve
hiring some deans.

B: I never said one word about anyone. I will tell you what irritated a lot of people.
Do you remember Myron Blee?

P: No.

B: Myron Blee was a friend of mine whom I had met in the navy. He was on one of
those ships I was talking about, a fellow with a Ph.D. in education, originally from
Illinois. He was really my staff aide on education. He did not have any power,
but when a subject came up, Myron could educate me on the academic aspects
of it. I think he became a sore point. I still love him. He lives in Tallahassee
now.

P: What happened was that they saw him as part of your control?

B: That is right.

P: When, in fact, he was doing most of this on his own?

B: No, he did not act independently and [act] on his own. I mean to say he never
went out of bounds. But I can tell you people pointed to [what] I did that was
wrong, and they had to have someone to focus their resentment on. Well, the
governor was not down there, but Myron Blee was. I really think that was the
reason he was blamed.
P: Let us talk a little bit about St. Augustine [civil rights activism in spring 1964].
What was your initial reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, the1954 decision
that integrated public schools?









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B: I thought that [U.S. Supreme Court decision] was the wrong way to do it.

P: What was the right way?

B: Volunteering. I have never believed, and I think experience has proven me right,
that you can change people by placing them by force into a situation in which
they do not feel natural. We are sending troops to Bosnia now in that very
[situation], and we had to send troops to Little Rock [President Eisenhower
federalized the Arkansas National Guard and also sent in the 101st Airborne
Division to protect nine black students to enter Central High School in September
1957]. I made a speech in Tampa one time, and I said we will not solve the
segregation problem until two men, one black and one white, can walk down the
street and neither one feels afraid of the other; the speech was reported in the
local paper. Jesse Jackson [black political leader] proved me right. Did you read
that statement he made?

P: No.

B: Jesse Jackson said, I must admit when I was walking home the other night and
when I heard some footsteps behind me, my first thought was, I hope he is white
because I would be afraid of a black. He said that. I say, until you change the
attitude of people toward each other, you cannot force them into a situation.

P: At one point, in 1956, you had proposed an interposition resolution. Was that in
the Florida House of Representatives? And what was your thinking behind that?

B: It was very simple. It was the thinking that [John C.] Calhoun [U.S. senator from
South Carolina, 1832-1850; originator of the concept of nullification] had
promoted. [It stated] that the states were still the repository of all power that was
not specifically given to the federal government, and therefore we would
interpose as a state and exercise police power and similar powers [in connection
with integration]. I think academically I was right, but obviously, politically, I was
wrong.

P: Here is a statement I would like to get your reaction to: "To the credit of
Governors [Farris] Bryant and [Haydon] Burns [governor of Florida, 1965-1967],
they took no militant steps to block school integration." So while you were in
favor of states' rights, you did not actively, as [Democratic] Governor [George]
Wallace [of Alabama] did, stand in the door [Wallace stood at the "schoolhouse
door" of the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963, to prevent two black
students from entering; the incident received national attention]?









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B: No, indeed. As a matter of fact, I went to a meeting of a number of southern
governors, including Governor Wallace, when this whole situation was
developing. I had a reputation among my peers of being more liberal than most
southern governors, and so they said, Bryant, you have to take a stand, you have
to lead us out of this. I said, fine, I will lead you; but where are we going?
Wallace was saying, we are going to stand in the door. I declined the invitation.

P: What year was this?

B: 1961, 1962 or 1963, sometime in there [it was 1964]. It was before the passage
of the Civil Rights Act [July 2, 1964], which was enacted in 1964.

P: What was your reaction to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

B: I do not recall particularly. I am guessing I was probably against it.

P: During your administration, twenty Florida counties integrated their schools; so
were those decisions made on a local basis?

B: Yes.

P: You just did not interfere. If they wanted to integrate their schools, that was fine
with you. You did not either promote it or try to stop it?

B: That is correct. Have you ever seen the half-hour video tape of me that I have in
reference to the St. Augustine situation [civil rights activism in spring 1964]?

P: Is that the one made by the state troopers?

B: No. I did not know they had one.

P: The state troopers have a training film that partly includes the St. Augustine
crisis.

B: Is that right?

P: Yes, it is interesting.

B: I would be fascinated to see it. Here were these civil righters who wanted to
march around all the time, which is fine, but it got to where they wanted to march
at night in the narrow streets of St. Augustine. I thought that was trouble. I
thought that was inviting violence. We had intelligence from this FBI man about









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what was going on in Fernandina [on Amelia Island, north-eastern Florida], and
so I said that they should not march at nighttime in those areas. Well, they did.
We protected them, and not a head was busted. Then they said, we want to go
swimming. I said, fine, you have the right to go swimming, you go in, we will
protect you. We put troopers out in the water around them so they could go
swimming like anybody. I believe in the law. They had a right to do that, and I
saw that they got [to exercise] the right.

P: One of the criticisms [was that] when the demonstrations began, you were at a
governor's conference in Cleveland. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy,
and other [civil rights leaders] said that initially you did not send enough state
troopers to protect them.

B: They were protected. Was anybody hurt?

P: One man was killed--do you remember that?

B: No, not in that riot. Not as a result of the racial riot.

P: Well, during that time, one white participant was shot and killed [white militant
William Kincaid had been shot on October 24, 1963, while driving through the
black community of Lincolnville].

B: Where?

P: In St. Augustine. I do not have the details as to who did it [Hoss Manucy was
with Kincaid in the car; Kincaid was holding a rifle; two black residents were
arrested, but the case was never brought to trial].

B: I do not believe it.

P: OK. Let me look that up, and I will send it to you.

B: I would like to know that.

P: When you dealt with this problem, you set up a special police force. How
effective do you think that was because as the riots got a little more tension-filled,
you increased the numbers of state troopers. Do you think that was effective?

B: Yes.

P: Did you call on federal forces at all?









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B: Not at all.

P: Did you feel that you did not need them?

B: Yes.

P: Did you not call the National Guard?

B: No. This fellow who was a historian at the Askew Institute, David [Richard]
Colburn [professor of history and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences at the University of Florida], wrote a little history of Florida. In
there, he was saying that I had called out the National Guard.

P: He is the one who wrote the book on St. Augustine.

B: David and I had a talk, and I [gave some explanations] to him. He said he was
going to change it.

P: Good. What impact or influence did Lyndon Johnson have on the
demonstrations in St. Augustine?

B: Was he already the president then [1964]?

P: Yes.

B: I remember [Robert] Bobby [Kennedy].

P: Bobby would have still been attorney general.

B: He was still attorney general, OK. Bobby was in touch with me every day. I do
not remember Lyndon playing a part.

P: What advice was Robert Kennedy giving you?

B: All he was interested in was getting them out of Florida and out of a violent
situation. He did not want John [Kennedy], I thought, to have to do what
Eisenhower did in Little Rock [1957].

P: What about Senator [George] Smathers? Was he involved with this at all?

B: No.









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P: At one point there was a proposal that you appoint a bi-racial commission in St.
Augustine to resolve all issues.

B: I did that.

P: What was the result?

B: The civil righters, I do not remember who represented them, wanted this
commission, but they did not want it known publicly. So I appointed the
commission, and they were satisfied with it.

P: But it was not announced?

B: That is correct.

P: What did this commission do?

B: Nothing.

P: So they had no part in resolving [the issue]?

B: I am sure they talked with some people, but I do not think they had any
significant part.

P: What was your reaction to people like J. B. [Jesse Benjamin] Stoner [Atlanta
Klansman, Imperial Wizard of Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1959, vice-
presidential candidate of the National States Rights Party] and [Holstead R.]
"Hoss" Manucy [leader of the Ancient City Hunting Club white supremacist
group], who were Klansmen and virulent segregationists?

B: We tried to drive them out of here. I do not recall what part they played in this.
Can you tell me that?

P: Yes. Manucy was a sheriff's deputy. Stoner came down and was one of the
leaders in terms of stirring up the crowd and demanding that the ocean and the
pools not be integrated.

B: Yes. The ocean and the pools were different [situations]. This was before the
Civil Rights Act [July 1964], so the pools were private property, and the ocean
was public. I saw to it that they could use the public [places]. I do not remember









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having any part in denying them the pools, but I just point out that that was a little
different.

P: The owners denied them the pools?

B: Yes, but that was legal. That was lawful at the time.

P: When you look back at this, Martin Luther King said one time that the violence in
St. Augustine was worse than Mississippi, and that law and order had broken
down in St. Augustine. What would be your rationale?

B: I did not know he said that. I think he is wrong because you just told me that one
person was killed [in October 1963], which had completely escaped my attention
or my memory or both. I thought it was handled very nicely. We protected [Mary
Elizabeth] Peabody [wife of Episcopal Bishop Malcolm Endicott Peabody].

P: This is Endicott Peabody's mother [Mary Elizabeth], the governor of
Massachusetts [governor of Massachusetts, 1963-1965]?

B: It is funny that when I became director of the Office of Emergency Planning, do
you know who was appointed my assistant? You knew that, did you not?

P: Mrs. Peabody?

B: No, her son, Governor [Endicott] Peabody. He was appointed my assistant and
stayed as long as I was there.

P: At one point she had actually been arrested.

B: Was she?

P: Yes, [arrested] for demonstrating. [The seventy-two-year-old grandmother was
arrested for attempting to dine in the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge with some
blacks on March 31, 1964. Sheriff L. O Davis of St. Augustine made the arrest.]

B: You say that and I will take your word for it, but I begged the sheriff. I said, if she
is in the restaurant, and it comes time for closing, close it--leave her in there, but
do not arrest her. That was not my part of it. Local law enforcement officers
were just there.

P: Did you actually take over law enforcement at some point? In other words, did
the special police unit and the state troopers assume control of St. Augustine?









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B: They tried to maintain order, yes.

P: They would supersede the authority of the sheriff?

B: They were probably in perfect harmony, I do not know.

P: What is your view of Martin Luther King and his participation in St. Augustine?

B: I thought it was sort of ironic. They put him in jail. He got an offer to go to
Columbia to get a Doctorate of Law degree. He paid a $25 fine, marched out,
got in the limousine and went to New York. It seemed a little inconsistent to get a
Doctorate of Law when he had been down here violating the law.

P: What was your view, then, of his position on civil disobedience?

B: I think he was much milder than present followers.

P: You still saw him and these sit-down demonstrations as a violation of the law?

B: Yes, they were.

P: [You thought] they should have been arrested, which, of course, was what they
wanted?

B: That is correct. I did not want them arrested, and I do not think our people
arrested anybody. You may correct me on that, too.

P: The sheriff [L. O. Davis] did [the jails were filled to overflowing].
B: Well, that was the [local] sheriff. I tried. My people, the state officials, never
arrested anybody.

P: Did you ever speak out against the segregationists, the Klan and J. B. Stoner
and [other] people like him [at least four St. Augustine deputies were members of
the Klan]?

B: Probably. Yes, I did, in that speech that I told you was on that video tape. I said,
I am going to say this to the people of Florida, I do not care whom you like or
what you like, or whom you dislike or what you dislike, we are going to obey the
law. That is what we are going to do. [I made the rule as] clear as can be, and
that was the rule I followed.









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P: One issue that came up on a constitutional basis was when you prohibited the
night marches. What was the constitutional or legal basis for that? Do you
remember?

B: Yes. Law, order, and the [marchers'] safety. Our FBI man had been up to
Fernandina and came back and reported to me that white protesters were
moving in that night, with ax handles and so forth. My attitude was, they cannot
do it. I am going to see that these people are not in a position where I cannot
protect them.

P: The way you protected them was to not allow them to march at night?

B: In that area. That is correct.

P: I want to discuss this issue you had with Judge [Bryan J.] Simpson [federal
district judge], who wanted to hold you in contempt [June 1964] for violating his
decision. Can you enlighten me of the details of that issue?

B: He had issued this order to the sheriff, in some respects telling the sheriff he
could not do what the sheriff had already done. He did not issue an order to me.
He never issued an order telling me that what I had done was wrong. He did set
down a date for me to show cause why I should not be held in contempt. But
that order [to the sheriff] did not apply to me.

P: Florida Attorney General Jim Kynes made that argument, that the order would
apply only to the sheriff and not to the governor.

B: That is correct.

P: How did this finally work out? As I recall, you were friends with Judge Simpson.

B: Very much.

P: How did this finally work out?

B: There was nothing further. Before I left office, he dismissed the proceeding. It
just worked out that my administration of the peace was successful, and there
was no occasion for further action.

P: How did this all finally end? Why did the demonstrations in St. Augustine end?

B: It all just went away, I guess, or Martin Luther King went back to New York.









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P: How much influence did the passage of the Civil Rights Act [1964] have?

B: None.

P: It was passed July 2, and the demonstrations were still going on at that time.

B: They were?

P: Yes, so I just thought maybe that in that sense, by getting the act passed, the
demonstrators may have felt they had accomplished their goals.

B: Maybe so, I do not know.

P: Maybe not in St. Augustine but on a national level. What is the significance of St.
Augustine in Florida's history?

B: It depends on how you look at it. From where I was sitting it was tough. Those
were tough days and tough decisions. If you get a chance to see this video tape,
you will see what my attitude was--you are going to obey the law. I do not care
what your view is or this or that. You are going to obey the law, and you will be
given all rights you are entitled to under the law.

P: Why do you think there was less racial conflict in Florida than in most southern
states?

B: One of these civil-righter fellows who was there, who is now in Atlanta and whose
name I cannot remember, made a comment.

P: Was it [Reverend] Andrew Young [Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assistant in the Civil
Rights Movement in St. Augustine]?

B: No, not Andrew [Young], another prominent person, who said that the policy
followed in Florida was much more sophisticated than it was anywhere else.
Therefore, he said, we could never get our teeth into it. I thought that was a real
compliment to me, because that was what I was trying to accomplish.

P: Would that have been Hosea Williams [civil rights leader from Savannah who
organized anti-racism marches for the Southern Christian Leadership
Conference--SCLC--in St. Augustine in 1964]?

B: Yes. That is right, I believe it was Hosea Williams.









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P: Would you change any decisions you made during the St. Augustine crisis?

B: You are asking me a tough question. No, I would not. I would not have changed
[anything]. If I had changed it, if I had let them march, you say one man was
dead, there would be a lot more dead. I do not think that would have been good
for Florida. I do not believe it would have been good for the civil rights people.
So, no, I would not have [changed anything]. The result of not doing what I did
would have been a disaster, very much so.

P: How much does the fact that Florida was a diverse state with a lot of different
cultures have to do with less conflict between whites and blacks? Do you think
that was a factor?

B: I had not thought about it. I do not have an opinion on that.

P: If we could shift away from that now. What was your evaluation of the Bay of
Pigs [April 17, 1961, on southern coast of Cuba]? How did you react to that? In
a sense, the greatest external threat to Florida was from Cuba. Cuba is ninety
miles away from Florida, and if the Cubans had missiles, obviously that was at
least a potential threat to Florida.

B: We reacted very defensively. We established all the civil emergency
organizations and policies that we could. We were very much afraid that [Nikita]
Khrushchev [premier of the Soviet Union 1956-1964] would not turn his ships
around [in October 1962, as they sailed for Cuba to deliver missiles] and that
would have been a great disaster for Florida.

P: Do you think President Kennedy made the correct decision?

B: Yes. I did not advise him that way. I went with him down to Key West, and we
saw the planes lined up there. The pilots were living in trailers close to their
planes, suited up, ready to go. They gave me the figures of how long from a
whistle blow until they could drop bombs over Cuba.

P: This was the missile crisis that you are talking about?

B: Yes. Although initially you asked about the Bay of Pigs, that is right.

P: It could be either [confrontation], but these pilots were American pilots, not
Cuban refugees.









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B: Yes.

P: What was Kennedy's thinking at this time?

B: He did not respond to my advice, which was basically, if you do not do it now, it
will be harder later. Obviously, he had the responsibility, not me.

P: A course that was required in high schools in Florida was communism versus
Americanism. What did you think about that course?

B: I think I promoted it.

P: For what purpose?

B: For the obvious purpose of showing the advantage of democracy over
communism.

P: This was at the height of the conflict of the Cold War?

B: That is right. I was chairman of the commission of the Governors' Conference,
which had established that program. I was very much for it at the time.

P: Looking back, how would you evaluate your four years as governor? To be more
specific, what would you say were your greatest accomplishments?

B: For the long-range effect on Florida, the money I raised for junior colleges and
universities was the most significant work. I think it would have been turmoil if I
had not been able to do that. When I think of the long-range impact, the second
[accomplishment] was the acquisition of Florida lands. Thirdly there was the
construction of roads. Take Alligator Alley. How many people would have been
killed if we had not built the Alley? If we had not built 1-4, how many people
would have been killed? It enabled people to travel safely and rapidly around the
state, and you cannot measure this only in money. I have always received the
greatest satisfaction from feeling that I have saved an awful lot of lives in [these
achievements], the turnpike, the interstate and so forth.

P: What would you say would be your greatest failure? Maybe you did not have
any.

B: Yes, I did. Probably, I did not provide as much public leadership as I should
have and could have for economy in government--efficiency in government.
Those [goals] are hard to measure.









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P: What about your proudest moment--different from your accomplishments? What
were you specifically most proud of? What event or achievement?

B: Do you know that, so far as I know, no person I appointed to any job has ever
been castigated for his or her official performance. No judges have been
removed for bad conduct [or anything similar to that]. I am sure that somewhere
down there, someone slipped up, but I do not know of it. I get great satisfaction
out of that. It means a lot to me, because I think that honesty is the supreme
virtue.

P: We do not have much of it in politics today, do we?

B: We do not have as much as we need. We have more than the newspapers say
we have, but we do not have as much as we need.

P: Drawing on your life experience and your political experience, what are the
greatest problems that we have to solve in America today?

B: The racial problem. It is not going to go away, although it may be dissolved by
immigration. Also, the education of children; the re-establishment of a moral
foundation. I am talking about [such points as] the promises of the Christian
Coalition. I do not mean to put it in a religious context, but in some way, some
young people have to be taught that honesty is the best policy, that doing right is
better instead of doing wrong. They have to be taught to make the distinctions,
the judgments.

P: How do we do that?

B: By example. I do not believe you can teach it any other way.

P: What can we do about the poor conditions of our schools, particularly at the
grammar school and high school levels?

B: I do not know. I do think that there could be an improvement in grade school
education. There are parts the teachers have to do, parts the union has to do,
and parts the parents have to do. We have a real problem there. It is
frightening.

P: What would you like to say that I have not asked you about? Is there any
incident or situation or accomplishment that you would like to discuss?









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B: You have already cast a pretty broad net. It is not that we have not discussed it,
but I do not think we follow up on our public officials sufficiently well. The press
does it from a certain angle, but that is not the angle I am thinking about. I think,
for instance, when a city counselor, county commissioner, or member of the
governor's cabinet, or the governor himself takes a position, every one has to
know that five years from now somebody is going to ask, what is the result of
what you did? There has to be responsibility. That is part of honesty, I guess. I
watch our various governments and they say, we made a mistake, we
[constructed] that building and we do not need it anymore, or we built those
roads and they are not in the right place, or we are not building them where they
ought to be. Some people made those decisions, and they ought to be held
responsible, not by any court, but simply by the public being reminded of who
made these decisions, for good or for bad.

P: Of course, that is one job that we historians think we have.

B: Probably.

P: It is hard for the press to do that, because newspeople are, I think, interested in
the immediate.

B: Sure, their interest is on a different level.
P: It is a different level. Well, that is a good point. Anything else you would like to
discuss?

B: No, sir, I cannot think of anything else.

P: I want to thank you very much. This concludes the interview with Farris Bryant.


Bibliography
David Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis. University of Florida Press,
1991.

David Colburn and Richard Scher, Florida's Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century.
University of Florida Press, 1980.




Full Text

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FP65 Interviewee: Farris Bryant Interviewer: Dr. Julian Pleasants Date: February 12, 1997 P: This is Julian Pleasants, and I am talking with Governor Farris Bryant at his home in Jacksonville, Florida. It is February 12, 1997. Governor, if you would, tell me a little bit about your birth and your early youth in Florida. B: I was born July 26, 1914, in Ocala, Florida. My father and mother were residents of that place virtually all their lives. My father was a farm boy. He moved to Florida in 1890, when he was five years old. I cannot find any record that my mother was born in Florida, but my father recited on the death certificate that she was born in Ocala. I assume that was so. In any event, my life was shaped by those two people. They were very powerful and lasting influences in my life. P: What other influences would have shaped your life? B: The environment in the small town. You may have heard Judge Gerald [Bard] Tjoflat [chief justice for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Atlanta, Georgia] talk about the influence of a small town. Have you ever done that? P: Yes. B: It is a marvelous thesis that he develops, which is that in the whole world the small town is the best police system for young people. In a small town everybody knows you, and if you do something, either good or bad, there will be several people there who will report it to your family. When you get home, you have to face whatever you did, good or bad. I believe that. Being in a small town really was a great influence in my life. There were several teachers who meant a lot to me: Miss Fanny Carlisle, who was my third-grade teacher; Miss Bette Davis and Mr. Byron Craig, who were both high school teachers; and our football coach Jack Smith. They were all a marvelous influence in my life. P: Of the twenty-one governors [Florida had] from 1900 until the 1980s, fourteen came from families where farming was part of the income. In an urban state like Florida, I think that is an interesting statistic. How did the farming background of your father shape your thinking? B: As I said, he moved here from Missouri with his family when he was five years old. He lived on a farm just outside of Belleview. It was three or four miles out, let us say in "greater Belleview." He grew up knowing all the [jobs] that farm boys learned. He could do anything. He could whistle, play a harp and use a 1

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FP 65 Page 2 hammer and saw. He [also] knew how to manage cattle and ride horses. [My father] told me a story about how he lived in Belleview and liked to play baseball. [The town] had a baseball team, or perhaps two teams. Saturday was the day they played baseball. He wanted to go and play one Saturday, and his dad told him, no, [because] that back field had not been plowed. I do not know what field that was, but a particular plot had not been plowed. Grandpa said, you cannot go until you finish plowing. My father finished plowing in time to still run to town and play baseball. But the horse also died that day. He had driven the horse so fast and so hard that it died. He regretted that, but as a young boy, he had not taken that into calculation. He got the field done. P: One of the [attributes] you obviously learned then from your father was to be selfsufficient. B: Yes, indeed. I did not develop his particular skills. I was not raised on a farm, although I did perform farming duties from time to time. I was really--I will not say a city boy--but an Ocala boy. I was not a country boy at that time, but a smalltown boy. That meant a lot to me. P: According to many sources, you were interested in being governor from childhood. Why was that? B: I was told this story by both my mother and my father, particularly by my father, and so I believe it. I might not have believed it from my mother, who was an imaginative type of person, but I would [believe it] from my father. He would not have said it unless he knew it. Their story was that I was born in Monroe Memorial Hospital in Ocala. My father was there, of course. I was carried out from where I had been washed off and my father brought me back to my mother. She said, hold him up, Cecil, so I can see him. He did and she said, hello governor. I think that was the beginning of my political career. She never let me forget. She had a reason for that. Her brother was Ion [L.] Farris [Democratic gubernatorial candidate for Florida in 1916, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, 1909-1911, 1913-1915]. He lived here in Jacksonville at that time, was twice speaker of the house and ran once for governor. He ran against Sidney J. Catts [Democratic governor of Florida 1917-1921] and [William] W. V. Knott [later Florida state treasurer, 1928-1941]. Unfortunately, Ion Farris ran third. I would not be surprised if you heard the great statement Catts made. He said, the common man ain't got but three friends, Jesus Christ, Sears and Roebuck, and Sidney J. Catts. He carried the day then. He beat Knott and became governor. P: Why did you choose to go to Emory University [in Atlanta, Georgia]? 2

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FP 65 Page 3 B: That was [to please] my mother. She had a vision of Emory as being a little more intellectual at that time than the University of Florida. P: One story indicated that you said, the one year at Emory was the greatest experience of your life. Why was that? B: Yes, [it was] because of its faculty. Emory was a small school, and the faculty [members] were so caring. They plucked me, as it were, at a very impressionable stage in my life. I was really very young to be going to college, and I needed their influence. I remember particularly Prentice Miller, who was dean of the freshmen class. He took special care of me. When I came out of Emory--I did it in a rather unusual way--I had really formed a lot of conceptions about life that were good for me. P: Why did you then transfer to Florida? B: At the beginning of my year at Emory, I had become really good friends with a young lady in Ocala, and I wanted to stay near Ocala for that reason. At that time we traveled mostly by railroad. My father put me on a train to go back to Emory and somehow I got off in Gainesville. I do not remember how the trains were routed then, but my perception has always been that they put me on one to go to Atlanta, and I got off at Gainesville. I did not tell them for about a month that I was in Gainesville. That was why I changed. P: In retrospect, was that the correct decision? B: The reasons were not correct, but I had great opportunities at the University of Florida. I had a fraternity there where I was accepted. I had joined it at Emory, and I was accepted as a member in Gainesville. So I was among friends immediately, and I loved the University of Florida. P: To go back to Emory for a second, do you remember a story where you got a hammerlock on a dean? B: Yes, [Dean] Prentice Miller. P: Would you talk about that incident? B: At Emory we had a constant rivalry with Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta]. It was all about the caps that freshmen wore. We would go over and steal their caps off their heads, and they would come over and steal 3

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FP 65 Page 4 them off our heads. On this occasion, a group of them came over. At that time I lived in what I believe was called Alabama Hall, a dorm for freshmen. We poured out of the dorm to do battle with these intruders and to get as many of their caps as we could. It really got to be a melee. I got somebody around the neck, and he [then] turned his head around. I saw [I had a hammerlock on] this favorite person of mine, Dean Prentice Miller. I immediately dropped him, dashed back to the dormitory, climbed into bed and hoped he had not seen enough of me in the dark to recognize me. He either had not [seen me] or he took mercy on me. P: Why did you decide to attend law school? B: My uncle, whom my mother adored and whom I mentioned earlier, was a lawyer. That was her dream for me. P: Why did you choose Harvard? B: That was her idea. She wanted me to have the best in the world, although it was hard for our family at the time. I think tuition was only [around] $400 a semester, but tuition, the clothing one had to have, and everything else [all added up]. However, I did something unusual at Harvard, at least unusual for a law student. I got a job waiting tables at Mrs. Kelly's, a boarding house not far from my dormitory. It helped with my expenses. I [also] typed briefs for fellow students. I got to be very good at typing briefs, because one had to be letter-perfect, and I learned to be. P: What influence did the years at Harvard have, both on your ideas and on your political career? B: They hurt my political career, because when I came back I talked differently. I was not aware of it, of course. My sister told me about it, but I did not pay any attention to her. But as I got out on the hustings, I became aware that the way I talked was a little bit offensive to a lot of people. P: In one of your campaigns, your opponent denounced you for having gone to Harvard. Which campaign was that? B: That would be [in] 1956, I think. P: Once you left Harvard, you came back to Ocala to open a private practice? B: No! I went to Tallahassee and got the job with Jim Lee, the state comptroller. 4

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FP 65 Page 5 P: But you did come back to Ocala? B: I returned there to begin the practice law. P: Why did you decide to run for the state legislature at age twenty-eight? B: If I were going to be governor, I had to start somewhere. I do not remember any belabored decisions over it or anybody trying to influence me. For some reason, I just decided I wanted to run. P: What made your first campaign successful? B: There were three candidates. One was a World War I veteran, the other one was the incumbent, and I was the third and least likely to win. Hard work made the campaign successful. Of course, the war in Europe and the prospect that we would have to get into it was very much on everyone's minds. The veteran from World War I had a real talking advantage. The incumbent obviously had an advantage, too, so I lost the first primary. I ran second. My mother, who was ill at that time, was sitting in the car outside the newspaper office. [The office] had the banners [to mark] the races on in those days. It looked very much as if I were going to lose the race. The front-runner, Joel Potter, a good man, came by mother--everybody knew her--and he said, Mrs. Bryant, do not feel bad about Farris getting licked. He is young and he will be in lots of races. He will win some more. Of course, I did not get beat. I ran second in the first primary. Then in the second primary, in the run-off, I beat Joel. He almost immediately left town and moved out. It hurt him so. I do not think I ever gloated over it or did anything offensive, but for his own reasons he left town. P: Why did you resign your position as a state representative in 1942? B: War had been declared, and I had already submitted my application for a commission. As soon as I received notice that I was successful in that, I went to Tallahassee and spoke to Governor [Spessard L.] Holland [Florida governor, 1941-1945], whom I admired very much. I told him that I wanted to resign to exercise my commission, and I recall that he was very pleased. He said, when you come back, I know you will be re-elected. He patted me on the back and facilitated my completion of the formalities necessary to resign. Does that answer your question? P: Absolutely. Tell me a little about your World War II experience. You were a gunnery officer in the Navy, is that correct? 5

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FP 65 Page 6 B: Yes. P: Where were you stationed? What kind of combat experiences did you have? B: First, of course, I had to go through three thirty-day training courses in Miami, Boston, and Chicago. Then I was assigned to an oil tanker, in the harbor at Galveston. I really did not know what I was getting into. In due course, in a few days we started out. At that time they did not have convoys, and these oil tankers were relatively slow. This was a Norwegian ship, but they were a little faster than a Liberty [a cargo ship made in the United States during World War II]. It made about twelve knots; the Liberty made only ten. We came around the point of Florida and headed north for New York where we were to meet for convoy. I am not positive about my facts here, but these were the stories I gathered from the scuttlebutt among my peers. There were three oil tankers that started out from Galveston to New York. We were not traveling together; we were going independently, and we were following mathematical courses that allegedly protected us from submarines. The other two did not reach New York. I had friends aboard. I never saw them again. I have never looked back at the naval records, but I believe that they were sunk. My wife was sitting on the beach at Daytona, which is just east of Ocala, and she would see these ships pass by and in some cases be burned [and sunk] there. That really gave her a bad time. P: Did you then continue your journey? B: I continued on to New York where I was assigned to a convoy sailing very shortly, with a projected landing in Bristol [England]. That was in the winter of my first year, and in the winter the North Atlantic is hell. I had twenty-five men, one five-inch gun on the stern, one three-inch-fifty on the bow, four twenty-millimeter guns and two fifty-millimeter guns. I do not know what good they would have done anybody, but we must have done good--we got across. Again, I think [we accomplished it] at some cost. There must have been thirty or forty ships in that convoy. There was a PBY [patrol bomber] that would fly in and out over us until we got south of Iceland--that was the limit of its range. That made us very comfortable. After we sailed beyond this range, there was no security at all, except the small convoy escorts we had. I do not remember how many there were, but there were some. P: What year was this? 6

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FP 65 Page 7 B: This was 1942. I got to Bristol and came back on the same ship, although I do not remember that. At times I was on a Liberty ship, which was more comfortable than [being on] an oil tanker. If a tanker was hit, it was all over. P: Did the Liberty ships carry mainly troops and supplies? B: Yes, that is correct--mostly supplies. There were not too many troops going at that point. I think they put them on faster ships if they could. P: What happened in your World War II experience after that time? B: At some point, I was transferred to a ship going to the Mediterranean. We proceeded there and participated in a small way in the landing at Salerno [Allied invasion landing on southern coast of Italy, September 8-18, 1943]. I do not know how the dates work out after all these years, but I had the same kind of armament on my ship, which was no good, but we had it. I think it was put there to build our confidence. I have since read a great deal about the battle between Admiral [Ernest Joseph] King and other officials as to whether or not there should be convoys and so forth. After reading it all, I have the feeling that Admiral King was wrong. P: He was in favor of convoys? B: I am not sure now. P: Was Salerno a difficult landing? B: Yes, although I personally did not land. P: You protected the people who did land? B: That is correct. We carried the soldiers. P: What about the rest of your military experience? You stayed in until 1945? B: Sometime in 1944, I was transferred. By this time I had been retrained to be an anti-submarine officer. My role, and that of other officers in my position, was to operate on destroyers and DEs [destroyer escorts]. The anti-submarine facilities they had aboard amounted for the most part to a very crude device, as I now know. It was like radar except it was underwater. It sent out a sound-pulse, and the pulse came back in the form of a distinct ping. If the ping was moving to the left, you knew your target was going to the left as well. The pulse could tell you 7

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FP 65 Page 8 how far away the target was by the time it took the sound-pulse to return. Similarly you could know when the target turned, and so forth. If you read the pings correctly, you would know what you had to shoot at. Before this, I had became a division anti-submarine officer, which meant that I had responsibility for all anti-submarine facilities on a team of destroyers and DEs that convoyed ships. I had one interesting experience. The convoy's commodore was on a destroyer, and his ship had anti-submarine equipment, together with an officer and petty officers who operated it. His equipment failed, and the officers he had aboard and his petty officers, who really knew more about that [technology] than I did, could not fix it. What did he do? [He thought], I will get the division officer over here. So I was shifted over to his ship, and on that occasion I found a lot of excitement. Somehow or another, they could not send the sound-pulse out. P: This was sonar equipment? B: Yes, that is right. What it involved was just sending a ping out and listening to it come back. This equipment is deep down in the bottom of the ship. They were all gathered around--the petty officers, anti-submarine officers, and ship officers. I could not think with all the noise going on. I requested that all of them leave, to close me up down there, and to let me think about it. They did. As I looked, [it] just seemed to me that it was improperly wired. So I changed two wires, reversed them, and the machine was fixed. I was a hero. P: They must have thought you were a genius. B: I did not know what I was doing. I knew how to turn on lights, but I was no electrician. When the TV goes out, I go out, too. That was an interesting experience for me. P: What would be your most vivid memory of all the World War II experiences? B: Standing on the bridge of a merchant ship in convoy and seeing ships around me burning, knowing that one of my friends was probably on one of those ships. The rules were that you could not stop to rescue people. The goal was to get through, and you did whatever was necessary to get through. You could not stop for anybody, and to have to do that was a terrible experience. P: It was difficult, particularly since you knew you had friends on these ships. B: Yes, that is right. [They were] people just like me, with wives back home. P: What impact did this total experience have on your life? 8

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FP 65 Page 9 B: Relatively little. I do not think I changed much. I cannot think of any way that I changed. Yes, one way. I mishandled my crew. Just to give you an example, I had twenty-five men who did not know much more than I did, but I was in charge. I had to train them. Among other [tasks], I had to train them with small arms. They came aboard and were all given pistols, and they had to be trained how to use them. I was sitting in my small cabin. It was about as big as two single beds. I had a new seaman, who came in to learn how to handle a revolver. Under my guidance I had him break it down and put it back together. Then I said, now do it yourself, and I turned back to some paperwork I had. The first thing I knew, wham! The pistol went off, and the bullet rattled around the steel bulkhead of that room. It did not hurt him or me, but it scared the life out of me. That was just part of the job, but I was not very good at managing my men. For instance, whenever we received a signal that there was a submarine in the area, we went GQ [general quarters]. When we were crossing the North Atlantic, this happened every night. During general quarters, I would be up on the bridge, and I had this young man aboard, practically a boy. I had him there as my aide, as my messenger boy, because he was scared to death. The communication we had aboard this ship with the guns was sound-powered. Were you familiar with that system? P: No. B: The device was not electric-powered at all, but powered by your voice. If it got wet, it went out, period. With forty-foot waves, do you think it got wet? It did. I was in this convoy on the port quarter of the commodore, who was point, and I saw a submarine break water. I immediately shouted into the communication device. Over this sound-powered system, I called out to my crew at the gun [about] the range and bearing, which they needed because they could not see down there. They could not hear me. I told the messenger to carry this command to [the gun crew]. In order to accomplish this, he had to run across the open deck. On tankers, as you know, there was a walkway. On that tanker he would have to run forward to the [gun]. He would not do it. He refused to do it. I am afraid I did not manage him very well; I was excited and I was furious. P: What finally happened with the submarine? B: It re-submerged and went about its business. The next morning the commodore signaled over, did you see a submarine on your port bow? I signaled back, affirmative, and that was the whole message I sent him. I did not even bother [explaining]. I am sure he thought I was crazy, that I saw it and did not fire at it. I figured he did not want an explanation; he just wanted to know what happened. 9

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FP 65 Page 10 P: When you left your military service, did you come back to Ocala? B: Yes. P: And then you ran for the [Florida] House of Representatives again? B: Yes. P: Tell me a little bit about your experience in the House. I believe you were there five terms? B: Correct. P: What were your main interests as a legislator? B: I did not have a great agenda. I was a conservative member. I had more fun in those ten years in the political world than I had any other time. It was a great pleasure to me. Of course, when I became a member, I was very, very active on lots of issues. As you probably know, I was voted the legislator with the most promise, or something of the sort. In subsequent years, I got a similar accolade. Budgetarily, I was conservative. In some other ways, I was liberal. P: In which areas would you consider yourself liberal? B: In education, particularly. My first deep involvement was with junior colleges. I was conscious, as was everyone else, that there were more and more students coming along, and that we needed [more schools] quickly to handle the overcrowding. I was involved in studies to augment that program. P: Tell me about your term as speaker of the House [1953-1955]. What impact did you have during that two-year period? B: Let me explain my attitude. I looked at the responsibility of a speaker in a way different from how it was considered since that time. I thought my responsibility as speaker was to make the House work. By making the House work I meant that every legislator should have a chance, within the rules, to promote whatever his viewpoint was on the various issues. Out of the meld of these different issues would come action, or inaction, as might be the case. I really thought of a speaker not as a person who had an agenda, but as person who had the role to make the legislative agenda work. 10

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FP 65 Page 11 P: What were the most difficult aspects of being speaker? B: Getting there. I ran twice. The first time I was defeated, but the second time I won. P: What made you win the second time? B: Work, really. The first time I had been a member for only one session, and that was just not enough time to get to know and influence everybody to do what I wanted to do. P: Tell me about how you decided to run for governor in 1956. B: Dan [T.] McCarty was [Florida's] governor and died after [eight] months [in office in 1953]. I was a great admirer of Dan. It was my long-range plan to run in 1956, because at that time Dan could not run for re-election. He died, and therefore the question came up in my mind, shall I run for his remaining two-year term or shall I wait and run for the four-year term? I felt that either way one could not run for re-election. I decided to not run in 1954, but to support [LeRoy] Roy Collins [governor of Florida, 1955-1961], and I did so. I was preparing myself to run in 1956. By 1956, 1 had traveled. I had gotten promises. I had gotten an organization. Then on the last day before the books were closed, the Supreme Court ruled that Collins could run for re-election. My support was decimated because I had appealed to the same people he had appealed to, and he had them first. He held on to them. I went ahead with it, but it was tremendously difficult. P: The vote was about 434,000 for Collins and about 110,000 for you. Did you consider this election a steppingstone, a good experience for 1960? B: I made it that, but that is not how I looked at it. I wanted to win. The total money I raised for that first election was $75,000, and that was not what you would call enough. I was caught in a very difficult position. There was Collins, who said he was for segregation, and there was Sumter Lowry who said Collins was against it. It was hard to position myself in that circumstance. P: What did you learn from the campaign of 1956 that helped you in 1960? B: I needed more friends. I needed better organization. I needed more money. P: The official records have you spending $64,000 in 1956 and $401,000 in 1960. 11

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FP 65 Page 12 B: Wait a minute, they have me spending $401,000 in 1960? P: Yes, including the second primary. Does that sound correct? B: It does not. P: Did you spend more or less? B: More. I do not think I have any of those records available. I may, but I do not think so. P: This [figure] was reported for campaign spending and probably does not include services and [those sorts of records]. Is that correct? B: Yes, probably, although I do not remember now. I had a CPA, a good friend, who was my treasurer, and he was supposed to cover the field. I assume he did, but I just thought it would be more than that. P: But you definitely spent quite a bit more in 1960 than you did in 1956. B: Oh, yes. P: How did you raise all that money? B: In great part by personal solicitation. I had two great money raisers; one was Wendell Jarrard [chairman-director of the Development Commission in 1960], and the other was John [M.] Hammer [chairman of the Turnpike Authority in 1960]. P: They were fund raisers for you rather than contributors? B: That is correct. They also contributed, but they were fund raisers. P: Writing about the 1960 campaign, one historian said you were not a natural politician, not a back-slapper. B: Who wrote that? P: I believe Professors [David R.] Colburn and [Richard] Scher, writing about Florida governors. [Florida Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century, University of Florida Press, 1980]. Why do you think you were so successful as a politician? What personal qualities [aided your success]? 12

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FP 65 Page 13 B: Work. I am not a natural politician. That is strange. You would think by this time I would have been converted into one, but I have never been at ease as a politician. I simply have difficulty asking people to do something for me. I still have that. I had quite a good fortune to have my wife--not that she raised any money--but she went on television for me. She did a great job at it. P: What were the key issues in the 1960 campaign? B: There were several. One of them was finishing the [Florida] Turnpike. [LeRoy] Collins, who had supported Doyle [E.] Carlton [Jr.], was adamantly against it, and so Doyle was against it. I made that an issue, and it stayed an issue as long as Roy remained in office. [Collins] went on television the night before the election on a statewide, half-hour program to criticize me and to promote Doyle. In good part, the turnpike played a part in that. I do not say how much, but it did. P: There were ten candidates in the Democratic primary, and you carried the first primary; you were the leader [with 193,507 votes]. Then your run-off was with Carlton [Doyle Carlton, Jr., who received 186,228 votes]. Where did the rest of the candidates fit in, for example Haydon Burns? B: Burns was third [166,352 votes], John McCarty was fifth, I think, or was he fourth and Fred "Bud" Dickinson was fifth? P: John [McCarty] was fourth [144,750 votes] and ["Bud"] Dickinson was fifth [115,520 votes]. B: Yes, then there was Ted David [80,057 votes] and Harvie J. Belser [with 30,736 votes], and I do not remember who else. P: Bill Hendrix and George Downs, they got under 10,000 votes each. B: Hendrix was a great Ku Klux Klaner. I do not remember what the other fellow was. P: How important was race in this campaign? B: I guess we all took pretty much the same position. I do not believe that anybody said they were for integration. We did not have Sumter Lowry in there, so it was not as volatile an issue as it would have been with him. He was strong, and he soaked up so much of the anti-integration vote. 13

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FP 65 Page 14 P: In the run-off, apparently LeRoy Collins supported Doyle Carlton as more moderate on race. B: I do not know, Roy [LeRoy Collins] might have. I believe by this time, Roy had revealed that he was for integration. I believe he had by then. P: How did he affect this race? B: Very heavily. First of all, much of his campaign force went automatically to Doyle, and that was a lot of strength. He was the biggest negative that I had to confront me. P: Because Collins was popular? B: Yes. P: Historians Colburn and Scher concluded that you won "because of racial frustration with the moderate Collins," and the voters took this out on Doyle Carlton in the election. They thought that Collins was too moderate on race. What would your reaction be to that conclusion? B: I do not think he dominated Doyle that much. He was a tremendous help to him. Doyle was a good man, and he had his own views. I do not remember any great allegiance to Roy [Collins] by Doyle, though I am sure he was grateful for the help he [Collins] was giving him. P: I want to quote LeRoy Collins. He said that you were "an apostle of reaction, regret and retreat." What do you think he meant by that? B: I do not know, it could not be the turnpike, although I was pushing for it and he was against it. He had a hard time saying what he wanted to say, because of his position. He was for segregation himself, you knew that. P: Although he changed later? B: Yes, you knew that, though. In both his campaigns, he was a segregationist. He might have been saying indirectly, Farris Bryant is really a segregationist--he wants to go back to slavery and so forth. Apparently, he did not sell it. P: When you look back, what do you think were the key factors in your victory over Doyle Carlton in the run-off [512,757 votes for Bryant to 416,052 votes for Carlton]? 14

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FP 65 Page 15 B: Organization and hard work. I had the experience of one campaign. P: How important was money in this campaign, because I know that you got some support from Ed Ball [Florida financier affiliated with the Du Pont interests; head of Florida National Bank], for example? B: Ed Ball? Do you know how much he gave me? Zero. Ed Ball did not like me. He came to bless me after I was elected. For a long time, I could have quoted you the words he said, because it always annoyed me that people said Ed Ball was for me and dominated me, which was said at that time. Ed Ball did not help me at all. I am wrong. In the second primary he did put out the word that he wished his people would be for me. He still gave me no money, but I believe that he did do that [ask his people to assist me]. He was not a factor, and I have always resented the implication that he was. P: Was the support you got from the business community in general a factor? B: Yes. I think I got a good deal of support from them. P: How important was television in the 1960 election? B: That was when the half-hour debates became really significant and when the campaign turned for me. Doyle and I were in a debate on such a half-hour program. We had an interrogator and we would answer questions. Doyle said something in there that I had been waiting and praying he would say. He said something about my Harvard education, and I was delighted. I said, Doyle, I wish you would not knock me because of my education. I did the best I could; my parents wanted me to go to the best school I could, and I did, but I do not criticize you for dropping out of college. If you did not want an education, that was [your decision]. You are a good man; I did not say anything about you. That posed the educated man against [the uneducated one]. Of course, it was unfair because Doyle is smart as he could be, but he opened it and I leaped in. P: That was fair in a debate, right? B: It was. I had never mentioned his dropping out until that time. P: What about your own television show, "Breakfast with the Bryants?" Do you think that helped you any? B: I do not remember it. 15

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FP 65 Page 16 P: Apparently, once or twice, you and your wife made a brief appearance on television just talking from your home and talking about your values. B: I see. P: What was your constitutional reform proposal that you made in 1960? What did you hope to accomplish in terms of constitutional reform? B: I do not recall right now. P: Let me give you a couple of points that I think were in that. You wanted to reorganize the trial courts, modernize the government and make it more efficient, and have more local government. I think there were several proposals like this. Was that important in this campaign? B: I doubt it. I will tell you what, the only really important constitutional proposal I wanted was to give the governor more power vis-a-vis the cabinet. I still think today that the cabinet ought to be appointed. That is my opinion. P: What about a line-item veto? Should the governor have that? B: Sure, did we not have it then? P: I do not know. Did you have a line-item veto? B: I believe I did. P: Let me go back a little bit. Would you discuss your role in the 1952 Democratic National Convention? I think you led the voting from the delegates. Whom did you support in 1952, [Adlai] Stevenson? B: No. That was [Dwight] Eisenhower's campaign? P: Yes. B: I did not support Eisenhower because he was a Republican. I did not support Stevenson because I did not like his politics. P: Why do you think Eisenhower carried Florida in 1952 and 1956? 16

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FP 65 Page 17 B: Because in the voters' minds, he was a conservative, as contrasted with Stevenson. P: Does that mean that since maybe 1945, Florida has been essentially a conservative state? B: In my opinion, yes. P: What about the election of 1948, with Harry Truman and the States Rights "Dixiecrats?" Truman carried the state [with 282,328 votes], but [Thomas] Dewey got a lot of votes [194,347], and Strom Thurmond [who led the States Rights party] got quite a few votes [89,880]. What was significant about that 1948 campaign? B: I have forgotten that campaign. P: Yes, Truman, Dewey, Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats, and Henry Wallace for the Progressive Party [11,683 votes]. Thurmond made several appearances in Florida. B: Strom did? P: Yes. Were you at the 1960 Democratic National Convention [Los Angeles, July 11-15, 1960]? B: I am sure I was. P: What was your initial reaction to John Kennedy? B: I was for Lyndon Johnson. P: Why were you in favor of Lyndon Johnson? B: Again, there are some positive and a lot of negative reasons. First of all, John Kennedy was the poorest prepared man to be president of any man we ever had. He had no preparation, no moral background and no business experience. We thought he could not be elected president, but he was, of course. Lyndon was at that time under the influence of Richard Russell [U.S. senator from Georgia, Democrat, 1933-1971]. P: The United States Senator from Georgia? 17

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FP 65 Page 18 B: That is right. Russell was, in my opinion, a great man, a gentleman. I think perhaps I attributed some of Russell's characteristics to Johnson. I am sure Russell contacted me on Johnson's behalf. That is my belief. P: What did you do from 1965 until 1970 when you ran for the U.S. Senate? B: I practiced law and formed The Voyager Group, about twelve insurance companies. P: Was that in Jacksonville? B: Yes. I also went to Washington, as an aide to Lyndon Johnson, and I became director of the Office of Emergency Planning. P: What did you do as the director of the Office of Emergency Planning? B: I simply [planned] responses to hurricanes and disasters of various kinds. At that time, the Cold War was very, very warm. It was my job to correlate our civil defensive position with that of other countries in the world, our allies, such as England, France, the Philippines. P: So were you also a member of the National Security Council? B: That is correct. That was a product of my being director of the Office of Emergency Planning. The National Security Council was statutorily defined. At that time it consisted of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara [secretary of Defense] and me. That was the National Security Council. People speak of it, and they usually include all the aides or the staff in their thinking, but there was that distinction. Really, while I named five people as members of the National Security Council, when Lyndon Johnson sat down with them, he was the Security Council. He was a powerful man. P: What decisions did you make on the Security Council? Did you talk at all about Vietnam? B: Oh, yes. That was when it was very hot. Johnson was letting the bombing go up the coast, trying to get up as far as he could without exciting the Chinese. He was afraid those hordes [of Chinese] were going to come south across the border, and I am sure he had good reasons for thinking that. He would make every decision, about what could be bombed and what could not. 18

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FP 65 Page 19 P: What was your assessment of Robert McNamara, secretary of Defense [19611968]? B: I do not want to criticize him, but I never agreed with him, and I do not agree with him today. Now, after reading his book [In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, 1995], I know the reason why. All along, he was not a believer. I guess I felt that without knowing it. P: Were you opposed to expanding the war in Vietnam? B: No. I thought that as long as we were going to fight it, we ought to go ahead and fight it, period. We ought to do whatever was necessary. Johnson was afraid to do it. I understand that. He had that responsibility. It was an awesome one, and I do not criticize any man for his decisions there, but I disagreed. I thought he should not try to micro-manage the war. His generals should have told him what to do to win this war. How do we do it? And he ought to have gone with that. That was why he had the military people. P: What was your evaluation of Secretary of State Dean Rusk [1961-1969]? B: I thought he was a great man. I liked him. P: What about his views on the war? B: He was generally very aggressive in his thinking. P: What about Hubert Humphrey [U.S. vice president under Lyndon Johnson, 19651969]? B: I cannot really tell you. Humphrey, as vice president, would not have said anything that was not cognizant of Lyndon Johnson's viewpoint. I admired Hubert Humphrey. He was a gentleman, a sweet man and a good man. He asked me to be his manager for the southern states, in his [presidential] campaign [in 1968]. He knew I liked him, and I did. P: Did you agree to do that? B: No, I did not. P: This was 1968? 19

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FP 65 Page 20 B: That is right. That was after the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, when he stood up there in his suite and looked across the park and heard the people out there chanting, "Dump the Hump, Dump the Hump." I thought, what fools. This man is the best friend they have, and he was. P: These were the hippies and radicals in Grant Park across from the convention center? B: That is right. They were carrying on in this way. They were trying to defeat Humphrey, believe it or not. P: What was your reaction to [William J.] Daley's response by sending in the police? B: I do not really remember. P: Tell me about the personality of Lyndon Johnson. B: He was one of the smartest men I have ever known. Everything he touched has to bear his stamp. He named his girls so their initials were all "L.B.J.," including his wife. He renamed her Ladybird, so she was "L.B.J." also. He had this marvelous memory. When I was governor of Florida, he asked the governor of Tennessee, Buford Ellington, to have a meeting of certain Southern governors in the mansion at Nashville. He got us seated as though it were a semicircle around the room. He began to talk about what he wanted to do and what he wanted us to do to help him. He would come to you and he would point that finger at you and zero in on you. He would say, you remember when I was in Ocala or when I was in Miami with you and we had a talk--six months, eight months, a year and a half ago we had a talk--and you said this, that and the other. Remember that? Of course, I did because he quoted the words, and he would go to each one and had a tale about each one, a personal [anecdote]. He was a fantastic guy. He had the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of any man I ever knew. P: What were his weaknesses? B: Vanity. P: What were his greatest strengths? B: His mind. 20

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FP 65 Page 21 P: It was awfully hard to say no to Lyndon Johnson. B: Very hard. I will tell you, I did a lot of lobbying for him. He had sent me over to see the North Carolina delegate, L.H. Fountain [Democratic congressman], who is now retired, on some issue, I do not remember what the issue was. I got a call while there that the president wanted to see me--now. I left immediately and reported to his office. Marvin Watson [advisor to Lyndon Johnson], who was his top man there, showed me right on in. Lyndon had approved this program I had worked out. There was a great problem of federalism and getting the local state organizations to work with the federal people. What I suggested was that we would find out from each state what was the matter with the federal government, as far as they were concerned. Then we would pick out the people in Washington who had the authority to change that, if they wanted to do so. We would all go down to a pre-arranged meeting. The governor could have his state people, and we would say, get together your HEW [Department of Health, Education and Welfare] people and your roads people and so on and so forth. [These people on both sides would] get together and work out the problems. If they cannot work them out, come and tell us. That program went over well, and it was wonderful, it really was. I went to forty-four states. Johnson got so enthusiastic about it that he gave me the privilege of using the Air Force One airplane. Of course, it was not Air Force One since he was not on it, but [it was] the [same] plane that was Air Force One when he was on it. I would take federal secretaries and deputy secretaries to the states, forty-four of them, and work on this. It was a tremendous way of working out problems that were not resolved in other ways. Earlier, one had to send one man down, [and] he would have said, well, I will go back and check with Jo, the secretary. Then I will let you know. But with my plan, I had the people who could make the decision on the spot, and that is why it worked. It worked well. I was coming back from Texas, and a writer for The New York Times sat down beside me and said, what are you going to do now? You almost got to all the states now. What are you going to do next? I told him what I thought we ought to do next was to implement and develop this program. Lyndon had read this article before I got back. I guess it was the morning after I got back, and I had gone over to Fountain's office. Meanwhile, [Lyndon Johnson] read [the article] and blew up. [The president] said, I make the programs, I am the one who set you up. You did not get approval to continue planning what will be done in the future. When I want another program, he said, I will tell you about it. That was the way he operated. So I said, just as you say, Mr. President, that is the way it will be. P: Now, you were on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations? B: I was chairman of that commission. 21

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FP 65 Page 22 P: You did that for two years or so? B: Yes. P: Was that the program about intergovernmental relations we just discussed? B: No. That was not an Advisory Commission program. Advisory Commission work was for purposes of advising only--an intellectual [task]. For example, how [does this] get done [using] similar thinking and advice. But that commission had no operative ability or power. P: You reported to President Johnson? B: Yes. P: How would you assess his presidency? B: It was too complex to give you a figure or to simply say it was good or bad. P: How would you assess John Kennedy's presidency? B: I liked John Kennedy. He was a great fellow to be with. He apparently stumbled into doing a lot [the] right [way]. How he could have gotten on with Bobby, I do not know. John Kennedy was successful in leading the people because of his personality. [I do not know] how he could get along with Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack [Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter Lawford] and be president, or how he could lead the sexual life that he did and get away with it, but he was able to do so. He accomplished [a lot]. I do not know how. P: Overall, you would not rank him as a great president? B: Oh, no. Indeed not. All of this Camelot stuff was just for the press corps. P: Where were you and what was your reaction when you learned of Kennedy's assassination [November 22, 1963]? B: I think I was home in Ocala when I heard about it. I had been with him a few days earlier in Tampa, about four days before that. I enjoyed being with him. He was always a pleasure to be with. 22

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FP 65 Page 23 P: What was he doing in Tampa? B: Making a speech to a conference we put on down there [November 18, 1963]. I am sure it was connected to the Democratic party [President Kennedy spoke at Al Lopez Field that day]. P: Why did you decide to run for the Senate in 1970? B: I am glad you asked me because I would like to explain this. I told you I practiced law, but what I did also was organize the Voyager [Insurance Group]. I raised $10 million to do that, which at that time was a record in Florida for beginning an insurance corporation. I had gotten the permission of my board to go to Washington to be with Lyndon Johnson. I thought, we have capable men here to run the company, and I have [Winn] Lovett to be the chairman. Do you remember him? P: I think not. B: No? It was Winn Lovett. The company he ran earlier became a part of WinnDixie. He was my wife's uncle, and he agreed to be chairman [of Voyager] when I was gone. I thought, boy, we are in good shape. I have good officers, and I have Mr. Lovitt as chairman. I admired him so. Of course, the insurance business was different from any [other] business I ever saw. I resigned from my Washington position because of the reports I was getting. I came back and the $10 million I had raised to run this company had been reduced to $1.8 million. I had to resign [my position] in Washington and come home. I met with the corporate board and the board members said, you got us into this damn thing, now get us out. These were businessmen who had each put up $100,000. That was a requirement. To be on the board, one had to invest $100,000, and they all did that. So I came home, resigned from my law practice, too, and re-assumed active operation of these companies. When it came time to run for the Senate, the primaries were set in May and my annual company meeting was in April. You can understand that because of this loss we had suffered, I was very much emotionally involved in this [project]. I could not leave [Voyager] again without a lot more preparation than I had. We were making money again. So I felt a responsibility to stay on until April, at which time I could show my good balance sheet and good operating results. I said, I cannot run, because I cannot [campaign for the primary] between April and May. Then they changed the primary to September. I told Lawton [Lawton Chiles, U.S. Senator, 1971-1989; governor of Florida, 1991-1998] and others that I was not going to run. But I had told them that when [the primary] was set for May. When it was re-scheduled for September, I had roughly six months to do it. I decided to run, but by this time 23

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FP 65 Page 24 Lawton had done an awfully good job getting all his commitments. People who were committing to him were my friends because Lawton had been my friend; he had been part of my organization. But Lawton Chiles and [James W.] Jimmy Kynes [attorney general of Florida, 1964-1965], who had worked with me, had already gotten together. P: Jimmy Kynes was attorney general at this time? B: Yes, in fact I had appointed him attorney general. P: What were the key issues in this 1970 Senate race? B: I met with a member of a public relations firm with considerable experience in campaigns, and I asked him to develop a plan under which we would run our campaign. We met in Ft. Lauderdale so I could listen to their presentation. Their plan basically was this: You are going to say, Farris, that you are going to have a continuing poll taken on the issues facing you in Washington, and when the poll comes out telling you that the people want to do this, that is what you are going to do. I said, wait a minute, I want to be senator. I think being senator means using your own experience, brains, and ability to do [what is right] for the people who voted for you, not just doing what they say they want day to day. No, I will not do that. Well, there went my plan. I was still raising money, but that, unfortunately, was the position that I took. Today, however, I see what they are doing in Washington. What they are doing is taking polls, day to day, and making a move in that direction. I would not do that. I just thought, if they elect me senator, I am going to be senator. Period. P: Did you still get a bit of a late start compared to what Lawton Chiles was doing? B: Sure, a very late start, and I could not overcome it. P: What impact did walking around the state [by Lawton Chiles who walked 1,033 miles in 91 days in 1970 from the Florida Panhandle town of Century to Key Largo in the Florida Keys] have on your campaign? B: It was very effective. What it did was give Lawton an image of contacting the people and getting ever more input from them. He was walking along, and he would meet the farmer and ask him his opinion. Lawton's walking [achieved the same goal for him as] Bob Graham's [U.S. Democratic senator from Florida, 1986-present; governor of Florida, 1979-1987] work days did for Bob. It identified him with the people. I tried to say, yes, he is walking for senator; I am running for senator. But I could not sell it. 24

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FP 65 Page 25 P: Although, at that time, I think, Lawton Chiles was a fairly wealthy man. B: Yes, he was a wealthy man. P: So in that sense he was not one of the people, yet that was what he tried to project. B: And he did. P: Was it just a gimmick? B: [It was] in the sense that I do not think it made a nickel's worth of difference to him what he heard on the road. If he stopped in a store and the grocery man there said, I do not like this, I do not think that really shaped his thinking. So to that extent, yes, it was a gimmick, but it had a great value. He could stop at night in his trailer and write something for the paper the next day and every paper would carry it. He got marvelous coverage in the press. He was a good story. P: You led the first primary. What was the difference between your success in the first primary and [the runoff]? I think Lawton Chiles won by 200,000 votes in the second primary. What had changed? B: Nothing had changed. I got all the votes in the second primary that I had in the first, but I did not get any more [votes]. P: You got almost exactly the same vote? B: I think so. P: So votes for the other candidates, like [Frederick H.] Schultz [member of the Florida House of Representatives 1969-1971] and others, their votes shifted to Chiles? B: That is correct. P: How would you assess Chiles as a campaigner? B: He was marvelous. P: Do you regret running for the Senate in 1970? 25

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FP 65 Page 26 B: No. I did what I thought I ought to have done. P: Did the fact that you had been governor and had a record help or hurt you? B: It hurt me. During this six-year interval, I lost track of the people. I had been so involved with this company and [the work] in Washington that I lost touch. This state changed so fast. I had made a difference, and I just lost contact with the people. P: Let us go on to talk about your years as governor. In your inaugural address, you talked about legislative reapportionment, and you talked about taking on what is known in Florida as the "Pork Chop Gang" [a term coined for the North Florida rural legislators in the reapportionment struggles in the 1950s through 1970s]. Whatever happened to that attempt to reapportion Florida? B: A lot happened before I became governor. [LeRoy] Roy [Collins] was governor [acting governor, 1954-1955; governor, 1955-1961] in the period when we should have made the changes, but he did not have the legislature. To a good extent, he did not provide effective leadership because he was dealing with the Pork Chop Gang. He could never shake them, and until you shook them, you could not do anything. P: How did you deal with it? B: The law had changed. P: You just waited until Baker v. Carr and Westbury v. Sanders, the one man, one vote, court decisions? B: When were they decided? P: Baker v. Carr was in 1962; Westbury v. Sanders in 1964, and Reynolds v. Simms was also in 1964. All three decisions ended up changing [voting patterns]. So when you first became governor, you did not pursue reapportionment? You did not take on the Pork Chop Gang? B: Of course, I had opposed [Charles] Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida 1953-1954; president of Florida Senate 1953] and that did not improve my standing. P: What was your position on the Johns Committee [Florida Senate committee established in the late 1950s to investigate the NAACP and communists, especially in the Florida university system]? 26

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FP 65 Page 27 B: What about the Johns Committee? P: The Johns Committee investigated alleged communists and homosexuals in the academic community at the [state] universities, particularly at the University of Florida. B: I am not now familiar with that committee. I do not believe I was then, although I must have known about it, but I do not remember it now. P: How did you get along with your cabinet since it was elected, not appointed? B: I got along with them wonderfully until the last six months. See, a governor who has only one term, as I had at that time, could not have the last six months. What do they care about you? They might like you or might not like you, but they have their own agendas and they do not buy yours. [There was] no point in it. You are no more important to them than the corner grocer. P: What were your emotions the day you took the oath of office as governor of Florida? B: They are accurately set forth in my inaugural address; they really are. P: Part of what you were talking about was that you wanted to work with the people of the state of Florida, and you asked them for help. You expressed your appreciation for their support. B: Yes. P: One of the major goals you had as governor was economy in government. Talk about how you made the state more efficient. B: All right, sir. First of all, the only impact you can have is on the general revenue. You really cannot affect already dedicated moneys, unless it is handled by the cabinet. I had worked for the state government in the controller's office and in the legislature, and I knew the level of efficiency and the prevalence of patronage. I thought if I could eliminate or minimize that, I would improve the government of Florida. My goal was to make government work for the people. Just as when I was speaker I wanted to make it work for the legislature, as it were. My role as speaker was to make the legislature work better. As governor, I thought I could make the government work better. That was my job. 27

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FP 65 Page 28 P: During your first year in office, you managed to reduce state spending by $13 million. Can you give me some specifics about how you accomplished that? B: No, but I would like to make this comment about it. First of all, you speak of it as a reduction of $13 million, but that should be compared with what it would have been if the normal growth figures were there. You have to remember, too, that so many of the programs had already been set by the previous administration. I was limited in what I could do about them in my first year of the first legislature. It was very difficult to have an impact. One can adopt the laws, but they will not have any impact until some time later. Here is one specific, the Road Department. I employed a man to be the controller--I will call him that--of the Road Department from Miami. He was a remarkable accountant, more than a CPA. We put together a chart that showed every project of the state Road Department, its ultimate total expenditure, the completion date, and its financial impact by month. We knew at all times exactly where we stood. That was very important because when I became governor--remember this, I do not think anybody ever realized this--the Federal Bureau of Roads had cut off road money to Florida because the previous administration had not performed as it was supposed to. When I came into office, there was no money for building more roads or planning more roads. [What I did first was to] go to Washington and convince the heads there that this administration was going to be different, and if they go ahead and give us our money, we could do it. We did that, of course, and it had wonderful results. P: Part of the key, then, was reorganizing and revitalizing the state road program? B: That is correct. P: New headquarters, computers, and similar administrative improvements enabled you to keep track of what they were doing? B: That is right, except we did not have computers. P: It was too early for computers. B: No, well, [too early] for computers, as we know them now. All IBM had at that time were these cards with holes [punched] in them. P: Where did the other money come from? You received some money from the federal government. Did you have any bonds issued? Where else did you get the money? 28

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FP 65 Page 29 B: We got the legislature to approve the turnpike. P: That was the Sunshine State Parkway? B: That is right. P: You completed it from Ft. Pierce to Wildwood, is that right? B: Correct. Politicians said, at [that] time that we were just bringing it through Ocala. Actually, unless we tied it in with 1-75, since 1-95 was not built yet, we could not get the traffic on it to pay for itself. So by bringing it over, as I did, by Orlando and up to Wildwood and then bringing 1-75 a little ways east, so it would join, the turnpike was feasible. P: Did the turnpike pay for itself as a toll road? B: Paid for itself? Yes! It has built lots of roads since then. They have never let go of that toll. It continues to pour in money, although for many years the turnpike itself has been paid for. You may recall that The Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times were opposed to this project, and [those papers] attributed all the bad motives to doing it, but we did it. P: What other road improvements did you make? B: We did Alligator Alley [Route 84] against great opposition. As a matter of fact, it could not be done today. I do not know if that was good or bad. P: This was from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples? B: Yes. The environmentalists would never let you do it today, but we did it then. P: Did you not at least start 1-4 [Daytona Beach to Tampa] or propose or encourage that? B: It was started. It was already on the books, but we could not get the money for it until the federal government loosened up. But when it loosened up, we built that. We brought 1-75 down to Tampa. We brought 1-95 well along, but we were still working on US-1, which was the only four-laned, state-length road. We fourlaned that road in Brevard County. The Brevard County Commission could not raise the money to pay for the right-of-way. The state laws or practices, I do not know which it was, said that if the counties furnish the right-of-way, the state would build the road. Since the county could not build the right-of-way, nothing 29

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FP 65 Page 30 was being done. I took state money and bought it [the right-of-way], and we built the four-laned [road] from the Georgia line to Miami. P: These were general state funds that were used for this? B: They were state Road Department funds. P: Then you four-laned or improved US 19 and US 27 during your years as governor? B: US 19 was built during my term. I do not remember to what extent we worked on US 27. P: Overall, what you did during your term has literally increased the number of interstate highways, turnpikes and roads, which, in turn, made it easier for tourists to reach various Florida destinations and facilitate business exchanges. B: Yes. P: What impact did all this have on Florida's economy? B: I do not think Florida could be where it is today if we had not built 1-75 down to Tampa; 1-4 across from Daytona to Tampa; and State Road 60, which is a very important road. We four-laned it. Of course we built 1-10. It was already started, but we got it built. P: [You] took that to Lake City? B: Yes. It had been partially built. We did not take it all the way to Pensacola, but we took it across to Tallahassee anyway. P: Talk a little bit about your view of the Cross Florida Barge Canal [unfinished canal that would have extended from Palatka on the St. Johns River to Yankeetown on the Gulf of Mexico], which you strongly favored. Why were you so much in favor of that project? B: First of all, when I became enthusiastic about it, it provided a way to keep ships that rounded the tip of Florida free from the [danger of German] submarines. I had been personally involved, and so that really animated me. If we could have had barges come from Galveston along the Intercoastal Waterway right down to Tampa and then across Florida, it would have been marvelous. All the heavy material from Ohio and the Mississippi River would have come down to flow there and across to the East Coast. That was a very cheap way to get it there. I 30

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FP 65 Page 31 was enthusiastic because I thought it would be a tremendous development, particularly for the central part of the state. P: Is that why you picked the route, I guess, along the St. Johns [River] to Palatka to Yankeetown? I am not sure what the proposed route was, but you picked it to develop economically the central part of the state? B: Yes. P: Where did you get the money for the project? B: The federal government appropriated it. It was all federal money, [and] the state [bought] some rights-of-way. Until a couple of years ago, it had never been legally stopped. It was stopped by Richard Nixon [on January 19, 1971, after construction of one-third of the project--25 miles of the canal]. [He] issued a press release saying that he was going to stop the barge canal. He never entered an order, and the court, many years later, ruled that his action was illegal, and the way it was stopped was illegal. P: Why was it never resurrected? B: It is so hard to prove a negative. The environmentalists said, oh, there will be a hole in the bottom of the canal, and all the water will pour into underground streams. How can one prove that is not so? One cannot. If I lived in Miami and heard they were going to pour oil down into a hole through the underground system, I would be against it, too. You would not have to try very hard to persuade me of that. P: Describe the situation when President Johnson came to Palatka and set off the first explosion [on February 27, 1964] that started the dredging of the canal. B: We were ready to go. The opposition had not coalesced at that time. P: I understand that you also operated a bulldozer at the time you started the Cross Florida Barge Canal. B: Probably. P: I think there was a picture of you driving one. B: Is that right? 31

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FP 65 Page 32 P: I was wondering how much of an expert you were? B: I did not move fast enough, obviously. P: In retrospect, was the Cross Florida Barge Canal a mistake? B: No. P: Why should it have been completed? B: Because it would facilitate the movement of goods from the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi and Ohio rivers across to the Atlantic, to the East Coast. They would tie into the Intercoastal Waterway. It would have been good for the same reasons the railroad said it would be good. That was why railroads hated it. Tom Rice and Prime Osborn, who were my friends, fought it and were successful. P: The key opposition then was from the railroads? B: That was where the opposition with money was, that is correct. Then CSX went out to Texas and bought a big barge system. If it had bought it and worked with the barge systems earlier, I expect they would have been for it. P: One area that you favored, as well--in terms of conservation--[was the area of parks]. The state did buy and expand a number of parks. Would you talk about your thinking here? B: Yes. The idea was to get a source of income that would facilitate the preservation of the natural lands of Florida. We passed a constitutional amendment to enable us to do that. I guess this provision is still on the books. We bought a lot of land for parks and recreation and a tremendous amount of money was spent for that purpose. P: It all came out of this same state trust fund? B: That was my understanding. I have not checked it out, but I understand it was so. P: I know one place I have been to was the John Pennecamp [Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo]. [It] is a beautiful place. B: Yes, it is. We used a combination of private contributions and state funds to do that. 32

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FP 65 Page 33 P: How about tourism? I think one of the areas where you emphasized your commitment was to expand Florida tourism. B: I did that because it seemed a natural for Florida. In a way, I am sorry I did it. I would not be sorry if I were out making a living, I guess, but I hate to see Florida grow the way it has grown. There are no more small towns; rapid growth does something to a state. P: When you began this, you set up the Florida Development Commission. What was that? B: The Development Commission was just what the name implied. It was an economic, promotional activity. It was headed by Wendell Jarrard, who was the greatest promoter I have ever known. P: One of [our accomplishments] was [to get] these Greyhound buses that went around the country as traveling showcases. B: Sure. We also had a showcase in New York at the sidewalk level of Rockefeller Center. CBS or NBC, one or the other [networks], conducted its "Good Morning America" program there for many years. Every program was surrounded by the Florida atmosphere. P: There was a popular [Florida] exhibit at the [two-year] World's Fair [Flushing Meadows in Queens, New York] in 1964 [and 1965] that many people apparently saw. B: The World's Fair was a great promotional deal for Florida. I thought we had the primary location, and Robert Moses [president, New York World's Fair, 19641965], the head honcho, was a good promoter, but he was not truthful. He told me [what] he would do for Florida and for Florida's exhibit, and later he absolutely turned around and refused to do [it]. I spoke to him just as bluntly as I have just spoken to you about that. It did not shake him a bit. If my statement had not been true he would have hit me. But he betrayed me. He was a great promoter, and maybe that was what you had to do to be a great promoter. P: For Florida, though, the World's Fair was a successful promotion? B: Yes. 33

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FP 65 Page 34 P: What about your travels? You traveled to Europe also promoting Florida, both in terms of tourism and exports. How successful were those trips? B: I cannot measure that success. We had a bus running around promoting Florida everywhere. P: What about these welcome stations? Do you think that helped? B: Yes I do. They were a good idea. I do not really know to what extent they are operating today, but at the time they set a pattern for the nation. Many states adopted the idea. Since we did not have a lot of rest stops at the time, I felt if we could get these tourists to stop and drink a little orange juice when they came into the state and then ask the attendants for information about Florida, then they would get a good sales pitch about Florida. P: Did you start those welcome stations? B: Yes. P: What about advertising? How important was that, other than the state advertising? I am talking about national print and television. Did you put a lot of emphasis on that? B: That would have been done by the Development Commission. I do not know how extensive that advertising was. For the biggest impact, we combined state money with that of the local chambers of commerce. P: What was your attitude toward crime when you were governor? B: To emphasize that we were a nation of laws and that we must obey them. P: That was a good position to have. B: For the most part, I concentrated on seeing to it that local law enforcement was honest and efficient. P: How did you deal with the increasing number of prisoners during the early 1960s? B: Well, we built one [prison]. P: There were, I think, new facilities at Lake Butler and Raiford. 34

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FP 65 Page 35 B: Yes. P: What was your view on prison? Did you see it as punishment or rehabilitation? B: Punishment. P: So you did not expect that prisoners would be rehabilitated at these facilities? B: I hoped so, but I do not remember any specific concern I had that way. P: I think one area that you proposed was stiffer prison sentences. What about the death penalty? Did you then believe in the death penalty? B: The oath of the governor of Florida states that he will enforce the laws, and when a judge and jury condemn a man to death, that is the law. The governor who preceded me [LeRoy Collins, governor 1955-1961] decided in the middle of his second term that he did not believe in the death penalty. He just let [the death penalties] stack up, and then they became my responsibility. When I came in, I had this mass of cases on which I had to make a decision. I did not think it was very kind for him to [leave me with these decisions]. It was his responsibility. I had the responsibility during my term, but I believed in enforcing the law. P: Did you pardon any death row prisoners? B: I do not believe I did. P: What is your view of the death penalty today? Do you think it is effective as a deterrent? B: I do not know a better answer. I cannot say that I think it does a lot, but I cannot think of anything we can do to improve the situation. P: Let me get to an area that I think was probably of primary concern during your years as governor, and that is education. Why do you think you are not more appreciated as an education governor by some educators and some historians? B: For one reason, I promoted the trimester, and that made the academics furious. I understand they still have it, except they divide the summer session in two. We were the first state in the nation to have a trimester--or year-round education at the college level. P: Why did you shift to that system? 35

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FP 65 Page 36 B: I thought it was more economical, more efficient. We [constructed] new buildings all the time. Why should we not use full time the ones we have? I do not know why the professors are so against it. Maybe you can tell me. My predecessor was very influential with the academic community. He [supported] my opponent so strongly. I think I went in under a cloud, because he was so vigorously opposed to me. P: When did we shift from the Board of Control to the Board of Regents? B: The last year of my service. P: Why did you do that? B: I did not do that. I believe that was done by a constitutional amendment. P: But you favored a shift to a Board of Regents? B: I do not recall. I do not think I did, but I do not recall. P: You must have had a plan to deal with this huge increase in the number of students coming into Florida? B: When I got into office and looked back over my shoulder at what was going on in the high schools, [such as] the growth of the student body, I knew beyond a doubt that our university system could never handle it, even with junior colleges. But how do you build these universities without the money? So I went to the legislature and passed a constitutional amendment dedicating part of the utility tax to the construction of the physical plant at the junior college and university level. I was told recently that this amendment was instrumental in raising $5 billion. That has enabled us to meet fully the capital outlay needs of the universities and junior colleges, and I am very proud of it. Although it is not generally spoken of in the academic area, I think the professors look at me and think of an anti-academic, in spite of my earned doctorate and two honorary doctorates before I became governor. P: What specific schools were created as a result of your initiative? B: During my incumbency, the University of South Florida [in Tampa], Florida International University [in Miami] and Florida Atlantic University [in Boca Raton]. P: Then I think you started the planning for [the University of] West Florida [near Pensacola]? 36

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FP 65 Page 37 B: That is correct. P: So those were four major high-level institutions. B: We finished building South Florida. It had been started, but we finished it. P: Specifically, what did you do in terms of new junior colleges? B: We expanded to twenty-eight of them. Our goal was to put a junior college in commuting-from-home-distance of every [student]. That was the goal. It may not be very intelligent, but these [programs] were usually done on a chamber of commerce basis. That was the way that was planned out. I think it has been successful. When I was elected, there were four junior colleges in Florida. When my term finished, there were twenty-eight, and I am very proud of that. That was all financed by that constitutional amendment. P: What was Genesys [Graduate Engineering Educational System]? Do you remember that? B: Yes. We had all these people around Cape Canaveral, high-level physicists, engineers and so forth, and we had a great university plant at Gainesville and Tallahassee. I could not take those professors and shuttle them back and forth. When it was set up, we had planned on a TV system so the professor could be in his class in Gainesville or Tallahassee and teach a class in Melbourne. P: The full name for that program, then, was the Graduate Engineering Educational System? Was that the correct term? B: Yes, I believe so. P: This was really one of the first efforts at statewide educational TV, was it not? B: Yes, it was. P: How successful was that? B: I do not really know. P: How about the Florida Institute for Continuing University Studies or FICUS? What was that? 37

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FP 65 Page 38 B: It was an effort to make it possible for people to have college-level education in off-campus locations. P: It was mainly encouraging what we would call continuing education? B: Yes, but beyond the college level. P: [It was] for people who were not in college, but who might want to take a course outside of college to learn a foreign language, computer skills, and [other subjects such as] that. B: Right. P: What about federal funds? My understanding is that you did not want federal funds for state education. B: That is totally false. P: OK, I did not think that could be right. What was your attitude toward federal funding? B: I was angry at the fact that they funded us only on the basis of the number of people we used to have, instead of the number we currently have. Also, I had a problem with all these Cubans coming into the state. We had to educate them, to take care of them, take care of their health and get them jobs. Would the federal government help us? No. Abraham Ribicoff [secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1961-1962] would sit, just as you and I are sitting right now, and he would agree that it was not fair. But I never got a nickel out of him. P: That was Abraham Ribicoff who was secretary of Health, Education and Welfare? B: The same, and governor of Connecticut [1955-1961; U.S. senator, 1963-1981]. P: The same is true today. Florida still does not get the correct amount of money for roads or education. B: That is correct. P: To pursue education a little further, what did you do specifically to improve university teaching, in addition to constructing buildings? I know one of [your accomplishments]--that we all appreciate--was raise faculty salaries. You tried to do this on a merit basis. 38

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FP 65 Page 39 B: Beyond that I have forgotten the details, to tell you the honest truth. P: Do you remember the Committee on Quality Education? B: Yes. P: What was the purpose of that? That was Doak Campbell and Ralph Page. B: I cannot spell it out. P: One criticism that faculty [members] had was that they claimed that you were too involved with hiring on campuses, and that you wanted to influence or approve hiring some deans. B: I never said one word about anyone. I will tell you what irritated a lot of people. Do you remember Myron Blee? P: No. B: Myron Blee was a friend of mine whom I had met in the navy. He was on one of those ships I was talking about, a fellow with a Ph.D. in education, originally from Illinois. He was really my staff aide on education. He did not have any power, but when a subject came up, Myron could educate me on the academic aspects of it. I think he became a sore point. I still love him. He lives in Tallahassee now. P: What happened was that they saw him as part of your control? B: That is right. P: When, in fact, he was doing most of this on his own? B: No, he did not act independently and [act] on his own. I mean to say he never went out of bounds. But I can tell you people pointed to [what] I did that was wrong, and they had to have someone to focus their resentment on. Well, the governor was not down there, but Myron Blee was. I really think that was the reason he was blamed. P: Let us talk a little bit about St. Augustine [civil rights activism in spring 1964]. What was your initial reaction to Brown v. Board of Education, the1954 decision that integrated public schools? 39

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FP 65 Page 40 B: I thought that [U.S. Supreme Court decision] was the wrong way to do it. P: What was the right way? B: Volunteering. I have never believed, and I think experience has proven me right, that you can change people by placing them by force into a situation in which they do not feel natural. We are sending troops to Bosnia now in that very [situation], and we had to send troops to Little Rock [President Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard and also sent in the 101st Airborne Division to protect nine black students to enter Central High School in September 1957]. I made a speech in Tampa one time, and I said we will not solve the segregation problem until two men, one black and one white, can walk down the street and neither one feels afraid of the other; the speech was reported in the local paper. Jesse Jackson [black political leader] proved me right. Did you read that statement he made? P: No. B: Jesse Jackson said, I must admit when I was walking home the other night and when I heard some footsteps behind me, my first thought was, I hope he is white because I would be afraid of a black. He said that. I say, until you change the attitude of people toward each other, you cannot force them into a situation. P: At one point, in 1956, you had proposed an interposition resolution. Was that in the Florida House of Representatives? And what was your thinking behind that? B: It was very simple. It was the thinking that [John C.] Calhoun [U.S. senator from South Carolina, 1832-1850; originator of the concept of nullification] had promoted. [It stated] that the states were still the repository of all power that was not specifically given to the federal government, and therefore we would interpose as a state and exercise police power and similar powers [in connection with integration]. I think academically I was right, but obviously, politically, I was wrong. P: Here is a statement I would like to get your reaction to: "To the credit of Governors [Farris] Bryant and [Haydon] Burns [governor of Florida, 1965-1967], they took no militant steps to block school integration." So while you were in favor of states' rights, you did not actively, as [Democratic] Governor [George] Wallace [of Alabama] did, stand in the door [Wallace stood at the "schoolhouse door" of the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963, to prevent two black students from entering; the incident received national attention]? 40

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FP 65 Page 41 B: No, indeed. As a matter of fact, I went to a meeting of a number of southern governors, including Governor Wallace, when this whole situation was developing. I had a reputation among my peers of being more liberal than most southern governors, and so they said, Bryant, you have to take a stand, you have to lead us out of this. I said, fine, I will lead you; but where are we going? Wallace was saying, we are going to stand in the door. I declined the invitation. P: What year was this? B: 1961, 1962 or 1963, sometime in there [it was 1964]. It was before the passage of the Civil Rights Act [July 2, 1964], which was enacted in 1964. P: What was your reaction to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act? B: I do not recall particularly. I am guessing I was probably against it. P: During your administration, twenty Florida counties integrated their schools; so were those decisions made on a local basis? B: Yes. P: You just did not interfere. If they wanted to integrate their schools, that was fine with you. You did not either promote it or try to stop it? B: That is correct. Have you ever seen the half-hour video tape of me that I have in reference to the St. Augustine situation [civil rights activism in spring 1964]? P: Is that the one made by the state troopers? B: No. I did not know they had one. P: The state troopers have a training film that partly includes the St. Augustine crisis. B: Is that right? P: Yes, it is interesting. B: I would be fascinated to see it. Here were these civil righters who wanted to march around all the time, which is fine, but it got to where they wanted to march at night in the narrow streets of St. Augustine. I thought that was trouble. I thought that was inviting violence. We had intelligence from this FBI man about 41

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FP 65 Page 42 what was going on in Fernandina [on Amelia Island, north-eastern Florida], and so I said that they should not march at nighttime in those areas. Well, they did. We protected them, and not a head was busted. Then they said, we want to go swimming. I said, fine, you have the right to go swimming, you go in, we will protect you. We put troopers out in the water around them so they could go swimming like anybody. I believe in the law. They had a right to do that, and I saw that they got [to exercise] the right. P: One of the criticisms [was that] when the demonstrations began, you were at a governor's conference in Cleveland. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and other [civil rights leaders] said that initially you did not send enough state troopers to protect them. B: They were protected. Was anybody hurt? P: One man was killed--do you remember that? B: No, not in that riot. Not as a result of the racial riot. P: Well, during that time, one white participant was shot and killed [white militant William Kincaid had been shot on October 24, 1963, while driving through the black community of Lincolnville]. B: Where? P: In St. Augustine. I do not have the details as to who did it [Hoss Manucy was with Kincaid in the car; Kincaid was holding a rifle; two black residents were arrested, but the case was never brought to trial]. B: I do not believe it. P: OK. Let me look that up, and I will send it to you. B: I would like to know that. P: When you dealt with this problem, you set up a special police force. How effective do you think that was because as the riots got a little more tension-filled, you increased the numbers of state troopers. Do you think that was effective? B: Yes. P: Did you call on federal forces at all? 42

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FP 65 Page 43 B: Not at all. P: Did you feel that you did not need them? B: Yes. P: Did you not call the National Guard? B: No. This fellow who was a historian at the Askew Institute, David [Richard] Colburn [professor of history and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida], wrote a little history of Florida. In there, he was saying that I had called out the National Guard. P: He is the one who wrote the book on St. Augustine. B: David and I had a talk, and I [gave some explanations] to him. He said he was going to change it. P: Good. What impact or influence did Lyndon Johnson have on the demonstrations in St. Augustine? B: Was he already the president then [1964]? P: Yes. B: I remember [Robert] Bobby [Kennedy]. P: Bobby would have still been attorney general. B: He was still attorney general, OK. Bobby was in touch with me every day. I do not remember Lyndon playing a part. P: What advice was Robert Kennedy giving you? B: All he was interested in was getting them out of Florida and out of a violent situation. He did not want John [Kennedy], I thought, to have to do what Eisenhower did in Little Rock [1957]. P: What about Senator [George] Smathers? Was he involved with this at all? B: No. 43

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FP 65 Page 44 P: At one point there was a proposal that you appoint a bi-racial commission in St. Augustine to resolve all issues. B: I did that. P: What was the result? B: The civil righters, I do not remember who represented them, wanted this commission, but they did not want it known publicly. So I appointed the commission, and they were satisfied with it. P: But it was not announced? B: That is correct. P: What did this commission do? B: Nothing. P: So they had no part in resolving [the issue]? B: I am sure they talked with some people, but I do not think they had any significant part. P: What was your reaction to people like J. B. [Jesse Benjamin] Stoner [Atlanta Klansman, Imperial Wizard of Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1959, vicepresidential candidate of the National States Rights Party] and [Holstead R.] "Hoss" Manucy [leader of the Ancient City Hunting Club white supremacist group], who were Klansmen and virulent segregationists? B: We tried to drive them out of here. I do not recall what part they played in this. Can you tell me that? P: Yes. Manucy was a sheriff's deputy. Stoner came down and was one of the leaders in terms of stirring up the crowd and demanding that the ocean and the pools not be integrated. B: Yes. The ocean and the pools were different [situations]. This was before the Civil Rights Act [July 1964], so the pools were private property, and the ocean was public. I saw to it that they could use the public [places]. I do not remember 44

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FP 65 Page 45 having any part in denying them the pools, but I just point out that that was a little different. P: The owners denied them the pools? B: Yes, but that was legal. That was lawful at the time. P: When you look back at this, Martin Luther King said one time that the violence in St. Augustine was worse than Mississippi, and that law and order had broken down in St. Augustine. What would be your rationale? B: I did not know he said that. I think he is wrong because you just told me that one person was killed [in October 1963], which had completely escaped my attention or my memory or both. I thought it was handled very nicely. We protected [Mary Elizabeth] Peabody [wife of Episcopal Bishop Malcolm Endicott Peabody]. P: This is Endicott Peabody's mother [Mary Elizabeth], the governor of Massachusetts [governor of Massachusetts, 1963-1965]? B: It is funny that when I became director of the Office of Emergency Planning, do you know who was appointed my assistant? You knew that, did you not? P: Mrs. Peabody? B: No, her son, Governor [Endicott] Peabody. He was appointed my assistant and stayed as long as I was there. P: At one point she had actually been arrested. B: Was she? P: Yes, [arrested] for demonstrating. [The seventy-two-year-old grandmother was arrested for attempting to dine in the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge with some blacks on March 31, 1964. Sheriff L. 0 Davis of St. Augustine made the arrest.] B: You say that and I will take your word for it, but I begged the sheriff. I said, if she is in the restaurant, and it comes time for closing, close it--leave her in there, but do not arrest her. That was not my part of it. Local law enforcement officers were just there. P: Did you actually take over law enforcement at some point? In other words, did the special police unit and the state troopers assume control of St. Augustine? 45

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FP 65 Page 46 B: They tried to maintain order, yes. P: They would supersede the authority of the sheriff? B: They were probably in perfect harmony, I do not know. P: What is your view of Martin Luther King and his participation in St. Augustine? B: I thought it was sort of ironic. They put him in jail. He got an offer to go to Columbia to get a Doctorate of Law degree. He paid a $25 fine, marched out, got in the limousine and went to New York. It seemed a little inconsistent to get a Doctorate of Law when he had been down here violating the law. P: What was your view, then, of his position on civil disobedience? B: I think he was much milder than present followers. P: You still saw him and these sit-down demonstrations as a violation of the law? B: Yes, they were. P: [You thought] they should have been arrested, which, of course, was what they wanted? B: That is correct. I did not want them arrested, and I do not think our people arrested anybody. You may correct me on that, too. P: The sheriff [L. 0. Davis] did [the jails were filled to overflowing]. B: Well, that was the [local] sheriff. I tried. My people, the state officials, never arrested anybody. P: Did you ever speak out against the segregationists, the Klan and J. B. Stoner and [other] people like him [at least four St. Augustine deputies were members of the Klan]? B: Probably. Yes, I did, in that speech that I told you was on that video tape. I said, I am going to say this to the people of Florida, I do not care whom you like or what you like, or whom you dislike or what you dislike, we are going to obey the law. That is what we are going to do. [I made the rule as] clear as can be, and that was the rule I followed. 46

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FP 65 Page 47 P: One issue that came up on a constitutional basis was when you prohibited the night marches. What was the constitutional or legal basis for that? Do you remember? B: Yes. Law, order, and the [marchers'] safety. Our FBI man had been up to Fernandina and came back and reported to me that white protesters were moving in that night, with ax handles and so forth. My attitude was, they cannot do it. I am going to see that these people are not in a position where I cannot protect them. P: The way you protected them was to not allow them to march at night? B: In that area. That is correct. P: I want to discuss this issue you had with Judge [Bryan J.] Simpson [federal district judge], who wanted to hold you in contempt [June 1964] for violating his decision. Can you enlighten me of the details of that issue? B: He had issued this order to the sheriff, in some respects telling the sheriff he could not do what the sheriff had already done. He did not issue an order to me. He never issued an order telling me that what I had done was wrong. He did set down a date for me to show cause why I should not be held in contempt. But that order [to the sheriff] did not apply to me. P: Florida Attorney General Jim Kynes made that argument, that the order would apply only to the sheriff and not to the governor. B: That is correct. P: How did this finally work out? As I recall, you were friends with Judge Simpson. B: Very much. P: How did this finally work out? B: There was nothing further. Before I left office, he dismissed the proceeding. It just worked out that my administration of the peace was successful, and there was no occasion for further action. P: How did this all finally end? Why did the demonstrations in St. Augustine end? B: It all just went away, I guess, or Martin Luther King went back to New York. 47

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FP 65 Page 48 P: How much influence did the passage of the Civil Rights Act [1964] have? B: None. P: It was passed July 2, and the demonstrations were still going on at that time. B: They were? P: Yes, so I just thought maybe that in that sense, by getting the act passed, the demonstrators may have felt they had accomplished their goals. B: Maybe so, I do not know. P: Maybe not in St. Augustine but on a national level. What is the significance of St. Augustine in Florida's history? B: It depends on how you look at it. From where I was sitting it was tough. Those were tough days and tough decisions. If you get a chance to see this video tape, you will see what my attitude was--you are going to obey the law. I do not care what your view is or this or that. You are going to obey the law, and you will be given all rights you are entitled to under the law. P: Why do you think there was less racial conflict in Florida than in most southern states? B: One of these civil-righter fellows who was there, who is now in Atlanta and whose name I cannot remember, made a comment. P: Was it [Reverend] Andrew Young [Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assistant in the Civil Rights Movement in St. Augustine]? B: No, not Andrew [Young], another prominent person, who said that the policy followed in Florida was much more sophisticated than it was anywhere else. Therefore, he said, we could never get our teeth into it. I thought that was a real compliment to me, because that was what I was trying to accomplish. P: Would that have been Hosea Williams [civil rights leader from Savannah who organized anti-racism marches for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference--SCLC--in St. Augustine in 1964]? B: Yes. That is right, I believe it was Hosea Williams. 48

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FP 65 Page 49 P: Would you change any decisions you made during the St. Augustine crisis? B: You are asking me a tough question. No, I would not. I would not have changed [anything]. If I had changed it, if I had let them march, you say one man was dead, there would be a lot more dead. I do not think that would have been good for Florida. I do not believe it would have been good for the civil rights people. So, no, I would not have [changed anything]. The result of not doing what I did would have been a disaster, very much so. P: How much does the fact that Florida was a diverse state with a lot of different cultures have to do with less conflict between whites and blacks? Do you think that was a factor? B: I had not thought about it. I do not have an opinion on that. P: If we could shift away from that now. What was your evaluation of the Bay of Pigs [April 17, 1961, on southern coast of Cuba]? How did you react to that? In a sense, the greatest external threat to Florida was from Cuba. Cuba is ninety miles away from Florida, and if the Cubans had missiles, obviously that was at least a potential threat to Florida. B: We reacted very defensively. We established all the civil emergency organizations and policies that we could. We were very much afraid that [Nikita] Khrushchev [premier of the Soviet Union 1956-1964] would not turn his ships around [in October 1962, as they sailed for Cuba to deliver missiles] and that would have been a great disaster for Florida. P: Do you think President Kennedy made the correct decision? B: Yes. I did not advise him that way. I went with him down to Key West, and we saw the planes lined up there. The pilots were living in trailers close to their planes, suited up, ready to go. They gave me the figures of how long from a whistle blow until they could drop bombs over Cuba. P: This was the missile crisis that you are talking about? B: Yes. Although initially you asked about the Bay of Pigs, that is right. P: It could be either [confrontation], but these pilots were American pilots, not Cuban refugees. 49

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FP 65 Page 50 B: Yes. P: What was Kennedy's thinking at this time? B: He did not respond to my advice, which was basically, if you do not do it now, it will be harder later. Obviously, he had the responsibility, not me. P: A course that was required in high schools in Florida was communism versus Americanism. What did you think about that course? B: I think I promoted it. P: For what purpose? B: For the obvious purpose of showing the advantage of democracy over communism. P: This was at the height of the conflict of the Cold War? B: That is right. I was chairman of the commission of the Governors' Conference, which had established that program. I was very much for it at the time. P: Looking back, how would you evaluate your four years as governor? To be more specific, what would you say were your greatest accomplishments? B: For the long-range effect on Florida, the money I raised for junior colleges and universities was the most significant work. I think it would have been turmoil if I had not been able to do that. When I think of the long-range impact, the second [accomplishment] was the acquisition of Florida lands. Thirdly there was the construction of roads. Take Alligator Alley. How many people would have been killed if we had not built the Alley? If we had not built 1-4, how many people would have been killed? It enabled people to travel safely and rapidly around the state, and you cannot measure this only in money. I have always received the greatest satisfaction from feeling that I have saved an awful lot of lives in [these achievements], the turnpike, the interstate and so forth. P: What would you say would be your greatest failure? Maybe you did not have any. B: Yes, I did. Probably, I did not provide as much public leadership as I should have and could have for economy in government--efficiency in government. Those [goals] are hard to measure. 50

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FP 65 Page 51 P: What about your proudest moment--different from your accomplishments? What were you specifically most proud of? What event or achievement? B: Do you know that, so far as I know, no person I appointed to any job has ever been castigated for his or her official performance. No judges have been removed for bad conduct [or anything similar to that]. I am sure that somewhere down there, someone slipped up, but I do not know of it. I get great satisfaction out of that. It means a lot to me, because I think that honesty is the supreme virtue. P: We do not have much of it in politics today, do we? B: We do not have as much as we need. We have more than the newspapers say we have, but we do not have as much as we need. P: Drawing on your life experience and your political experience, what are the greatest problems that we have to solve in America today? B: The racial problem. It is not going to go away, although it may be dissolved by immigration. Also, the education of children; the re-establishment of a moral foundation. I am talking about [such points as] the promises of the Christian Coalition. I do not mean to put it in a religious context, but in some way, some young people have to be taught that honesty is the best policy, that doing right is better instead of doing wrong. They have to be taught to make the distinctions, the judgments. P: How do we do that? B: By example. I do not believe you can teach it any other way. P: What can we do about the poor conditions of our schools, particularly at the grammar school and high school levels? B: I do not know. I do think that there could be an improvement in grade school education. There are parts the teachers have to do, parts the union has to do, and parts the parents have to do. We have a real problem there. It is frightening. P: What would you like to say that I have not asked you about? Is there any incident or situation or accomplishment that you would like to discuss? 51

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FP 65 Page 52 B: You have already cast a pretty broad net. It is not that we have not discussed it, but I do not think we follow up on our public officials sufficiently well. The press does it from a certain angle, but that is not the angle I am thinking about. I think, for instance, when a city counselor, county commissioner, or member of the governor's cabinet, or the governor himself takes a position, every one has to know that five years from now somebody is going to ask, what is the result of what you did? There has to be responsibility. That is part of honesty, I guess. I watch our various governments and they say, we made a mistake, we [constructed] that building and we do not need it anymore, or we built those roads and they are not in the right place, or we are not building them where they ought to be. Some people made those decisions, and they ought to be held responsible, not by any court, but simply by the public being reminded of who made these decisions, for good or for bad. P: Of course, that is one job that we historians think we have. B: Probably. P: It is hard for the press to do that, because newspeople are, I think, interested in the immediate. B: Sure, their interest is on a different level. P: It is a different level. Well, that is a good point. Anything else you would like to discuss? B: No, sir, I cannot think of anything else. P: I want to thank you very much. This concludes the interview with Farris Bryant. Bibliography David Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis. University of Florida Press, 1991. David Colburn and Richard Scher, Florida's Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century. University of Florida Press, 1980. 52


FP65

Interviewee: Farris Bryant
Interviewer: Dr. Julian Pleasants

Date: February 12, 1997

This is Julian Pleasants, and I am talking with Governor Farris Bryant at his

home in Jacksonville, Florida. It is February 12, 1997. Governor, if you would,
tell me a little bit about your birth and your early youth in Florida.

l was born July 26, 1914, in Ocala, Florida. My father and mother were residents

of that place virtually all their lives. My father was a farm boy. He moved to
Florida in 1890, when he was five years old. I cannot find any record that my

mother was born in Florida, but my father recited on the death certificate that
she was born in Ocala. I assume that was so. In any event, my life was shaped

by those two people. They were very powerful and lasting influences in my life.
What other influences would have shaped your life?

The environment in the small town. You may have heard Judge Gerald [Bard]
Tjoflat [chiefjustice for the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh

Circuit, in Atlanta, Georgia] talk about the influence of a small town. Have you
ever done that?

Yes.

It is a marvelous thesis that he develops, which is that in the whole world the

small town is the best police system for young people. In a small town
everybody knows you, and if you do something, either good or bad, there will be

several people there who will report it to your family. When you get home, you
have to face whatever you did, good or bad. I believe that. Being in a small town

really was a great influence in my life. There were several teachers who meant a
lot to me: Miss Fanny Carlisle, who was my third-grade teacher; Miss Bette Davis

and Mr. Byron Craig, who were both high school teachers; and our football coach
Jack Smith. They were all a marvelous influence in my life.

Of the twenty-one governors [Florida had] from 1900 until the 1980s, fourteen

came from families where farming was part of the income. In an urban state like
Florida, I think that is an interesting statistic. How did the farming background of

your father shape your thinking?

As I said, he moved here from Missouri with his family when he was five years
old. He lived on a farm just outside of Belleview. It was three or four miles out,

let us say in greater Belleview. He grew up knowing all the [jobs] that farm
boys learned. He could do anything. He could whistle, play a harp and use a

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hammer and saw. He [also] knew how to manage cattle and ride horses. [My

father] told me a story about how he lived in Belleview and liked to play baseball.
[The town] had a baseball team, or perhaps two teams. Saturday was the day

they played baseball. He wanted to go and play one Saturday, and his dad told
him, no, [because] that back field had not been plowed. I do not know what field

that was, but a particular plot had not been plowed. Grandpa said, you cannot
go until you finish plowing. My father finished plowing in time to still run to town

and play baseball. But the horse also died that day. He had driven the horse so
fast and so hard that it died. He regretted that, but as a young boy, he had not

taken that into calculation. He got the field done.

One of the [attributes] you obviously learned then from your father was to be self-
sufficient.

Yes, indeed. I did not develop his particular skills. I was not raised on a farm,

although I did perform farming duties from time to time. l was really--l will not say
a city boy--but an Ocala boy. l was not a country boy at that time, but a small-

town boy. That meant a lot to me.

According to many sources, you were interested in being governor from
childhood. Why was that?

l was told this story by both my mother and my father, particularly by my father,

and so I believe it. I might not have believed it from my mother, who was an
imaginative type of person, but I would [believe it] from my father. He would not

have said it unless he knew it. Their story was that I was born in Monroe
Memorial Hospital in Ocala. My father was there, of course. I was carried out

from where I had been washed off and my father brought me back to my mother.
She said, hold him up, Cecil, so I can see him. He did and she said, hello

governor. I think that was the beginning of my political career. She never let me
forget. She had a reason for that. Her brother was |on [L.] Farris [Democratic

gubernatorial candidate for Florida in 1916, speaker of the Florida House of
Representatives, 1909-1911, 1913-1915]. He lived here in Jacksonville at that

time, was twice speaker of the house and ran once for governor. He ran against
Sidney J. Catts [Democratic governor of Florida 1917-1921] and [William] W. V.

Knott [later Florida state treasurer, 1928-1941]. Unfortunately, Ion Farris ran
third. I would not be surprised if you heard the great statement Catts made. He

said, the common man aint got but three friends, Jesus Christ, Sears and
Roebuck, and Sidney J. Catts. He carried the day then. He beat Knott and
became governor.

Why did you choose to go to Emory University [in Atlanta, Georgia]?

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B: That was [to please] my mother. She had a vision of Emory as being a little more
intellectual at that time than the University of Florida.

P: One story indicated that you said, the one year at Emory was the greatest
experience of your life. Why was that?

B: Yes, [it was] because of its faculty. Emory was a small school, and the faculty
[members] were so caring. They plucked me, as it were, at a very

impressionable stage in my life. l was really very young to be going to college,
and I needed their influence. I remember particularly Prentice Miller, who was

dean of the freshmen class. He took special care of me. When I came out of
Emory--l did it in a rather unusual way--l had really formed a lot of conceptions

about life that were good for me.
P: Why did you then transfer to Florida?

B: At the beginning of my year at Emory, I had become really good friends with a
young lady in Ocala, and I wanted to stay near Ocala for that reason. At that

time we traveled mostly by railroad. My father put me on a train to go back to
Emory and somehow I got off in Gainesville. I do not remember how the trains

were routed then, but my perception has always been that they put me on one to
go to Atlanta, and I got off at Gainesville. I did not tell them for about a month

that l was in Gainesville. That was why I changed.

P: In retrospect, was that the correct decision?

B: The reasons were not correct, but I had great opportunities at the University of
Florida. I had a fraternity there where l was accepted. I had joined it at Emory,
and l was accepted as a member in Gainesville. So I was among friends

immediately, and I loved the University of Florida.

P: To go back to Emory for a second, do you remember a story where you got a
hammerlock on a dean?

B: Yes, [Dean] Prentice Miller.
P: Would you talk about that incident?
B: At Emory we had a constant rivalry with Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of

Technology in Atlanta]. It was all about the caps that freshmen wore. We would
go over and steal their caps off their heads, and they would come over and steal

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them off our heads. On this occasion, a group of them came over. At that time I

lived in what I believe was called Alabama Hall, a dorm for freshmen. We poured
out of the dorm to do battle with these intruders and to get as many of their caps

as we could. It really got to be a melee. I got somebody around the neck, and
he [then] turned his head around. I saw [I had a hammerlock on] this favorite

person of mine, Dean Prentice Miller. I immediately dropped him, dashed back
to the dormitory, climbed into bed and hoped he had not seen enough of me in

the dark to recognize me. He either had not [seen me] or he took mercy on me.
Why did you decide to attend law school?

My uncle, whom my mother adored and whom I mentioned earlier, was a lawyer.
That was her dream for me.

Why did you choose Harvard?

That was her idea. She wanted me to have the best in the world, although it was

hard for our family at the time. I think tuition was only [around] $400 a semester,
but tuition, the clothing one had to have, and everything else [all added up].

However, I did something unusual at Harvard, at least unusual for a law student.
I got a job waiting tables at Mrs. Kellys, a boarding house not far from my

dormitory. It helped with my expenses. I [also] typed briefs for fellow students. I
got to be very good at typing briefs, because one had to be letter-perfect, and I

learned to be.

What influence did the years at Harvard have, both on your ideas and on your
political career?

They hurt my political career, because when I came back I talked differently. I
was not aware of it, of course. My sister told me about it, but I did not pay any
attention to her. But as I got out on the hustings, I became aware that the way I
talked was a little bit offensive to a lot of people.

In one of your campaigns, your opponent denounced you for having gone to
Harvard. Which campaign was that?

That would be [in] 1956, I think.
Once you left Harvard, you came back to Ocala to open a private practice?

No! I went to Tallahassee and got the job with Jim Lee, the state comptroller.

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P:

B:

But you did come back to Ocala?
I returned there to begin the practice law.
Why did you decide to run for the state legislature at age twenty-eight?

If I were going to be governor, I had to start somewhere. I do not remember any

belabored decisions over it or anybody trying to influence me. For some reason,
I just decided I wanted to run.

What made your first campaign successful?

There were three candidates. One was a World War | veteran, the other one

was the incumbent, and l was the third and least likely to win. Hard work made
the campaign successful. Of course, the war in Europe and the prospect that we

would have to get into it was very much on everyones minds. The veteran from
World War I had a real talking advantage. The incumbent obviously had an

advantage, too, so I lost the first primary. I ran second. My mother, who was ill
at that time, was sitting in the car outside the newspaper office. [The office] had

the banners [to mark] the races on in those days. It looked very much as if I
were going to lose the race. The front-runner, Joel Potter, a good man, came by

mother--everybody knew her--and he said, Mrs. Bryant, do not feel bad about
Farris getting licked. He is young and he will be in lots of races. He will win

some more. Of course, I did not get beat. I ran second in the first primary. Then
in the second primary, in the run-off, I beat Joel. He almost immediately left town

and moved out. It hurt him so. I do not think I ever gloated over it or did anything
offensive, but for his own reasons he left town.

Why did you resign your position as a state representative in 1942?

War had been declared, and I had already submitted my application for a

commission. As soon as I received notice that l was successful in that, I went to
Tallahassee and spoke to Governor [Spessard L.] Holland [Florida governor,

1941-1945], whom I admired very much. I told him that I wanted to resign to
exercise my commission, and I recall that he was very pleased. He said, when

you come back, I know you will be re-elected. He patted me on the back and
facilitated my completion of the formalities necessary to resign. Does that

answer your question?

Absolutely. Tell me a little about your World War II experience. You were a
gunnery officer in the Navy, is that correct?

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B:

P:

Yes.
Where were you stationed? What kind of combat experiences did you have?

First, of course, I had to go through three thirty-day training courses in Miami,

Boston, and Chicago. Then I was assigned to an oil tanker, in the harbor at
Galveston. I really did not know what I was getting into. In due course, in a few

days we started out. At that time they did not have convoys, and these oil
tankers were relatively slow. This was a Norwegian ship, but they were a little

faster than a Liberty [a cargo ship made in the United States during World War
II]. It made about twelve knots; the Liberty made only ten. We came around the

point of Florida and headed north for New York where we were to meet for
convoy. I am not positive about my facts here, but these were the stories I

gathered from the scuttlebutt among my peers. There were three oil tankers that
started out from Galveston to New York. We were not traveling together; we

were going independently, and we were following mathematical courses that
allegedly protected us from submarines. The other two did not reach New York.

I had friends aboard. I never saw them again. l have never looked back at the
naval records, but I believe that they were sunk. My wife was sitting on the

beach at Daytona, which is just east of Ocala, and she would see these ships
pass by and in some cases be burned [and sunk] there. That really gave her a

bad time.
Did you then continue your journey?

I continued on to New York where l was assigned to a convoy sailing very
shortly, with a projected landing in Bristol [England]. That was in the winter of my

first year, and in the winter the North Atlantic is hell. I had twenty-five men, one
five-inch gun on the stern, one three-inch-fifty on the bow, four twenty-millimeter

guns and two fifty-millimeter guns. I do not know what good they would have
done anybody, but we must have done good--we got across. Again, I think [we

accomplished it] at some cost. There must have been thirty or forty ships in that
convoy. There was a PBY [patrol bomber] that would fly in and out over us until

we got south of lceland--that was the limit of its range. That made us very
comfortable. After we sailed beyond this range, there was no security at all,

except the small convoy escorts we had. I do not remember how many there
were, but there were some.

What year was this?

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B:

This was 1942. I got to Bristol and came back on the same ship, although I do

not remember that. At times l was on a Liberty ship, which was more
comfortable than [being on] an oil tanker. If a tanker was hit, it was all over.

Did the Liberty ships carry mainly troops and supplies?

Yes, that is correct--mostly supplies. There were not too many troops going at
that point. I think they put them on faster ships if they could.

What happened in your World War II experience after that time?

At some point, I was transferred to a ship going to the Mediterranean. We
proceeded there and participated in a small way in the landing at Salerno [Allied

invasion landing on southern coast of Italy, September 8-18, 1943]. I do not
know how the dates work out after all these years, but I had the same kind of

armament on my ship, which was no good, but we had it. I think it was put there
to build our confidence. I have since read a great deal about the battle between

Admiral [Ernest Joseph] King and other officials as to whether or not there should
be convoys and so forth. After reading it all, l have the feeling that Admiral King
was wrong.

He was in favor of convoys?

I am not sure now.

Was Salerno a difficult landing?

Yes, although I personally did not land.

You protected the people who did land?

That is correct. We carried the soldiers.

What about the rest of your military experience? You stayed in until 1945?
Sometime in 1944, l was transferred. By this time I had been retrained to be an

anti-submarine officer. My role, and that of other officers in my position, was to

operate on destroyers and DEs [destroyer escorts]. The antisubmarine facilities
they had aboard amounted for the most part to a very crude device, as | now

know. It was like radar except it was underwater. lt sent out a sound-pulse, and
the pulse came back in the form of a distinct ping. If the ping was moving to the

left, you knew your target was going to the left as well. The pulse could tell you

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how far away the target was by the time it took the sound-pulse to return.

Similarly you could know when the target turned, and so forth. If you read the
pings correctly, you would know what you had to shoot at. Before this, I had

became a division anti-submarine officer, which meant that I had responsibility
for all anti-submarine facilities on a team of destroyers and DEs that convoyed

ships. I had one interesting experience. The convoys commodore was on a
destroyer, and his ship had anti-submarine equipment, together with an officer

and petty officers who operated it. His equipment failed, and the officers he had
aboard and his petty officers, who really knew more about that [technology] than I

did, could not fix it. What did he do? [He thought], I will get the division officer
over here. So I was shifted over to his ship, and on that occasion I found a lot of

excitement. Somehow or another, they could not send the sound-pulse out.
This was sonar equipment?

Yes, that is right. What it involved was just sending a ping out and listening to it
come back. This equipment is deep down in the bottom of the ship. They were

all gathered around--the petty officers, anti-submarine officers, and ship officers.
I could not think with all the noise going on. I requested that all of them leave, to

close me up down there, and to let me think about it. They did. As I looked, [it]
just seemed to me that it was improperly wired. So I changed two wires,
reversed them, and the machine was fixed. I was a hero.

They must have thought you were a genius.

I did not know what I was doing. I knew how to turn on lights, but I was no
electrician. When the TV goes out, | go out, too. That was an interesting
experience for me.

What would be your most vivid memory of all the World War II experiences?
Standing on the bridge of a merchant ship in convoy and seeing ships around me

burning, knowing that one of my friends was probably on one of those ships. The
rules were that you could not stop to rescue people. The goal was to get

through, and you did whatever was necessary to get through. You could not stop
for anybody, and to have to do that was a terrible experience.
It was difficult, particularly since you knew you had friends on these ships.

Yes, that is right. [They were] people just like me, with wives back home.

What impact did this total experience have on your life?

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Relatively little. I do not think I changed much. I cannot think of any way that I
changed. Yes, one way. I mishandled my crew. Just to give you an example, I

had twenty-five men who did not know much more than I did, but I was in charge.
I had to train them. Among other [tasks], I had to train them with small arms.

They came aboard and were all given pistols, and they had to be trained how to
use them. I was sitting in my small cabin. It was about as big as two single

beds. I had a new seaman, who came in to learn how to handle a revolver.
Under my guidance I had him break it down and put it back together. Then I

said, now do it yourself, and I turned back to some paperwork I had. The first
thing I knew, wham! The pistol went off, and the bullet rattled around the steel

bulkhead of that room. It did not hurt him or me, but it scared the life out of me.
That was just part of the job, but I was not very good at managing my men. For

instance, whenever we received a signal that there was a submarine in the area,
we went GO [general quarters]. When we were crossing the North Atlantic, this

happened every night. During general quarters, I would be up on the bridge, and
I had this young man aboard, practically a boy. I had him there as my aide, as

my messenger boy, because he was scared to death. The communication we
had aboard this ship with the guns was sound-powered. Were you familiar with

that system?
No.

The device was not electric-powered at all, but powered by your voice. If it got
wet, it went out, period. With forty-foot waves, do you think it got wet? It did. I

was in this convoy on the port quarter of the commodore, who was point, and I
saw a submarine break water. I immediately shouted into the communication

device. Over this sound-powered system, I called out to my crew at the gun
[about] the range and bearing, which they needed because they could not see

down there. They could not hear me. I told the messenger to carry this
command to [the gun crew]. In order to accomplish this, he had to run across the

open deck. On tankers, as you know, there was a walkway. On that tanker he
would have to run fonivard to the [gun]. He would not do it. He refused to do it.

I am afraid I did not manage him very well; I was excited and I was furious.
What finally happened with the submarine?

|t re-submerged and went about its business. The next morning the commodore
signaled over, did you see a submarine on your port bow? | signaled back,

affirmative, and that was the whole message I sent him. I did not even bother
[explaining]. I am sure he thought I was crazy, that I saw it and did not fire at it.

I figured he did not want an explanation; he just wanted to know what happened.

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P: When you left your military service, did you come back to Ocala?

B: Yes.

P: And then you ran for the [Florida] House of Representatives again?

B: Yes.

P: Tell me a little bit about your experience in the House. I believe you were there
five terms?

B: Correct.

P: What were your main interests as a legislator?

B: I did not have a great agenda. l was a conservative member. I had more fun in
those ten years in the political world than I had any other time. It was a great
pleasure to me. Of course, when I became a member, l was very, very active on
lots of issues. As you probably know, I was voted the legislator with the most
promise, or something of the sort. In subsequent years, I got a similar accolade.

Budgetarily, l was conservative. In some other ways, I was liberal.

P: In which areas would you consider yourself liberal?

B: In education, particularly. My first deep involvement was with junior colleges. l
was conscious, as was everyone else, that there were more and more students
coming along, and that we needed [more schools] quickly to handle the
overcrowding. l was involved in studies to augment that program.

P: Tell me about your term as speaker of the House [1953-1955]. What impact did
you have during that two-year period?

B: Let me explain my attitude. I looked at the responsibility of a speaker in a way

different from how it was considered since that time. I thought my responsibility
as speaker was to make the House work. By making the House work I meant
that every legislator should have a chance, within the rules, to promote whatever
his viewpoint was on the various issues. Out of the meld of these different issues
would come action, or inaction, as might be the case. I really thought of a

speaker not as a person who had an agenda, but as person who had the role to
make the legislative agenda work.

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P:

B:

What were the most difficult aspects of being speaker?

Getting there. I ran twice. The first time l was defeated, but the second time I
won.

What made you win the second time?

Work, really. The first time I had been a member for only one session, and that
was just not enough time to get to know and influence everybody to do what I

wanted to do.
Tell me about how you decided to run for governor in 1956.

Dan [T.] McCarty was [Floridas] governor and died after [eight] months [in office
in 1953]. l was a great admirer of Dan. It was my long-range plan to run in 1956
because at that time Dan could not run for re-election. He died, and therefore
the question came up in my mind, shall I run for his remaining two-year term or
shall I wait and run for the four-year term? I felt that either way one could not run
for re-election. I decided to not run in 1954, but to support [LeRoy] Roy Collins
[governor of Florida, 1955-1961], and I did so. I was preparing myself to run in
1956. By 1956, I had traveled. I had gotten promises. I had gotten an
organization. Then on the last day before the books were closed, the Supreme
Court ruled that Collins could run for re-election. My support was decimated
because I had appealed to the same people he had appealed to, and he had
them first. He held on to them. I went ahead with it, but it was tremendously

difficult.

J

The vote was about 434,000 for Collins and about 110,000 for you. Did you
consider this election a steppingstone, a good experience for 1960?

I made it that, but that is not how I looked at it. I wanted to win. The total money

I raised for that first election was $75,000, and that was not what you would call
enough. I was caught in a very difficult position. There was Collins, who said he

was for segregation, and there was Sumter Lowry who said Collins was against
it. It was hard to position myself in that circumstance.
What did you learn from the campaign of 1956 that helped you in 1960?

I needed more friends. I needed better organization. I needed more money.

The official records have you spending $64,000 in 1956 and $401,000 in 1960.

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B: Wait a minute, they have me spending $401,000 in 1960?

P: Yes, including the second primary. Does that sound correct?

B: It does not.

P: Did you spend more or less?

B: More. I do not think l have any of those records available. I may, but I do not
think so.

P: This [figure] was reported for campaign spending and probably does not include

services and [those sorts of records]. Is that correct?

B: Yes, probably, although I do not remember now. I had a CPA, a good friend,
who was my treasurer, and he was supposed to cover the field. I assume he did,
but ljust thought it would be more than that.

P: But you definitely spent quite a bit more in 1960 than you did in 1956.

B: Oh, yes.
P: How did you raise all that money?
B: In great part by personal solicitation. I had two great money raisers; one was

Wendell Jarrard [chairman-director of the Development Commission in 1960],
and the other was John [M] Hammer [chairman of the Turnpike Authority in

1960]
P: They were fund raisers for you rather than contributors?
B: That is correct. They also contributed, but they were fund raisers.
P: Writing about the 1960 campaign, one historian said you were not a natural

politician, not a backslapper.
B: Who wrote that?

P: I believe Professors [David R] Colburn and [Richard] Scher, writing about Florida

governors. [Florida Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century, University of
Florida Press, 1980]. Why do you think you were so successful as a politician?

What personal qualities [aided your success]?

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Work. I am not a natural politician. That is strange. You would think by this time
I would have been converted into one, but I have never been at ease as a

politician. I simply have difficulty asking people to do something for me. I still
have that. I had quite a good fortune to have my wife--not that she raised any

money--but she went on television for me. She did a great job at it.
What were the key issues in the 1960 campaign?

There were several. One of them was finishing the [Florida] Turnpike. [LeRoy]
Collins, who had supported Doyle [E.] Carlton [Jr.], was adamantly against it, and

so Doyle was against it. I made that an issue, and it stayed an issue as long as
Roy remained in office. [Collins] went on television the night before the election

on a statewide, half-hour program to criticize me and to promote Doyle. In good
part, the turnpike played a part in that. I do not say how much, but it did.

There were ten candidates in the Democratic primary, and you carried the first

primary; you were the leader [with 193,507 votes]. Then your run-off was with
Carlton [Doyle Carlton, Jr., who received 186,228 votes]. Where did the rest of

the candidates fit in, for example Haydon Burns?

Burns was third [166,352 votes], John McCarty was fifth, I think, or was he fourth
and Fred Bud Dickinson was fifth?

John [McCarty] was fourth [144,750 votes] and [Bud] Dickinson was fifth
[115,520 votes].

Yes, then there was Ted David [80,057 votes] and Harvie J. Belser [with 30,736
votes], and I do not remember who else.

Bill Hendrix and George Downs, they got under 10,000 votes each.

Hendrix was a great Ku Klux Klaner. I do not remember what the other fellow
was.

How important was race in this campaign?
I guess we all took pretty much the same position. I do not believe that anybody

said they were for integration. We did not have Sumter Lowry in there, so it was
not as volatile an issue as it would have been with him. He was strong, and he

soaked up so much of the anti-integration vote.

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P: In the run-off, apparently LeRoy Collins supported Doyle Carlton as more
moderate on race.

B: I do not know, Roy [LeRoy Collins] might have. I believe by this time, Roy had
revealed that he was for integration. I believe he had by then.

P: How did he affect this race?

B: Very heavily. First of all, much of his campaign force went automatically to
Doyle, and that was a lot of strength. He was the biggest negative that I had to
confront me.

P: Because Collins was popular?

B: Yes.

P: Historians Colburn and Scher concluded that you won because of racial
frustration with the moderate Collins, and the voters took this out on Doyle
Carlton in the election. They thought that Collins was too moderate on race.
What would your reaction be to that conclusion?

B: I do not think he dominated Doyle that much. He was a tremendous help to him.
Doyle was a good man, and he had his own views. I do not remember any great
allegiance to Roy [Collins] by Doyle, though I am sure he was grateful for the
help he [Collins] was giving him.

P: I want to quote LeRoy Collins. He said that you were an apostle of reaction,
regret and retreat. What do you think he meant by that?

B: I do not know, it could not be the turnpike, although I was pushing for it and he
was against it. He had a hard time saying what he wanted to say, because of his
position. He was for segregation himself, you knew that.

P: Although he changed later?

B: Yes, you knew that, though. In both his campaigns, he was a segregationist. He
might have been saying indirectly, Farris Bryant is really a segregationist--he
wants to go back to slavery and so forth. Apparently, he did not sell it.

P: When you look back, what do you think were the key factors in your victory over

Doyle Carlton in the run-off [512,757 votes for Bryant to 416,052 votes for
Carlton]?

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Organization and hard work. I had the experience of one campaign.

How important was money in this campaign, because I know that you got some
support from Ed Ball [Florida financier affiliated with the Du Pont interests; head

of Florida National Bank], for example?

Ed Ball? Do you know how much he gave me? Zero. Ed Ball did not like me.
He came to bless me after I was elected. For a long time, I could have quoted

you the words he said, because it always annoyed me that people said Ed Ball
was for me and dominated me, which was said at that time. Ed Ball did not help

me at all. I am wrong. In the second primary he did put out the word that he
wished his people would be for me. He still gave me no money, but I believe that

he did do that [ask his people to assist me]. He was not a factor, and l have
always resented the implication that he was.

Was the support you got from the business community in general a factor?
Yes. I think I got a good deal of support from them.
How important was television in the 1960 election?

That was when the half-hour debates became really significant and when the

campaign turned for me. Doyle and l were in a debate on such a half-hour
program. We had an interrogator and we would answer questions. Doyle said

something in there that I had been waiting and praying he would say. He said
something about my Harvard education, and l was delighted. I said, Doyle, |

wish you would not knock me because of my education. I did the best I could;
my parents wanted me to go to the best school I could, and I did, but I do not

criticize you for dropping out of college. If you did not want an education, that
was [your decision]. You are a good man; I did not say anything about you. That

posed the educated man against [the uneducated one]. Of course, it was unfair
because Doyle is smart as he could be, but he opened it and | leaped in.
That was fair in a debate, right?

It was. I had never mentioned his dropping out until that time.

What about your own television show, Breakfast with the Bryants? Do you
think that helped you any?

I do not remember it.

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P: Apparently, once or twice, you and your wife made a brief appearance on
television just talking from your home and talking about your values.

B: | see.

P: What was your constitutional reform proposal that you made in 1960? What did
you hope to accomplish in terms of constitutional reform?

B: I do not recall right now.

P: Let me give you a couple of points that I think were in that. You wanted to
reorganize the trial courts, modernize the government and make it more efficient,

and have more local government. I think there were several proposals like this.
Was that important in this campaign?

B: I doubt it. I will tell you what, the only really important constitutional proposal I

wanted was to give the governor more power vis-a-vis the cabinet. I still think
today that the cabinet ought to be appointed. That is my opinion.

P: What about a line-item veto? Should the governor have that?

B: Sure, did we not have it then?

P: I do not know. Did you have a line-item veto?

B: I believe I did.

P: Let me go back a little bit. Would you discuss your role in the 1952 Democratic

National Convention? I think you led the voting from the delegates. Whom did
you support in 1952, [Adlai] Stevenson?

B: No. That was [Dwight] Eisenhowers campaign?
P: Yes.
B: I did not support Eisenhower because he was a Republican. I did not support

Stevenson because I did not like his politics.

P: Why do you think Eisenhower carried Florida in 1952 and 1956?

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B: Because in the voters minds, he was a conservative, as contrasted with
Stevenson.

P: Does that mean that since maybe 1945, Florida has been essentially a
conservative state?

B: In my opinion, yes.

P: What about the election of 1948, with Harry Truman and the States Rights
Dixiecrats? Truman carried the state [with 282,328 votes], but [Thomas] Dewey
got a lot of votes [194,347], and Strom Thurmond [who led the States Rights
party] got quite a few votes [89,880]. What was significant about that 1948
campaign?

B: l have forgotten that campaign.

P: Yes, Truman, Dewey, Strom Thurmond and the Dixiecrats, and Henry Wallace
for the Progressive Party [11,683 votes]. Thurmond made several appearances
in Florida.

B: Strom did?

P: Yes. Were you at the 1960 Democratic National Convention [Los Angeles, July
11-15, 1960]?

B: I am sure I was.

P: What was your initial reaction to John Kennedy?

B: l was for Lyndon Johnson.

P: Why were you in favor of Lyndon Johnson?

B: Again, there are some positive and a lot of negative reasons. First of all, John
Kennedy was the poorest prepared man to be president of any man we ever had.

He had no preparation, no moral background and no business experience. We

thought he could not be elected president, but he was, of course. Lyndon was at
that time under the influence of Richard Russell [US senator from Georgia,
Democrat, 1933-1971].

P: The United States Senator from Georgia?

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B: That is right. Russell was, in my opinion, a great man, a gentleman. I think

perhaps I attributed some of Russells characteristics to Johnson. I am sure
Russell contacted me on Johnsons behalf. That is my belief.

P: What did you do from 1965 until 1970 when you ran for the US. Senate?

B: l practiced law and formed The Voyager Group, about twelve insurance
companies.

P: Was that in Jacksonville?

B: Yes. I also went to Washington, as an aide to Lyndon Johnson, and I became

director of the Office of Emergency Planning.
P: What did you do as the director of the Office of Emergency Planning?

B: I simply [planned] responses to hurricanes and disasters of various kinds. At that

time, the Cold War was very, very warm. It was my job to correlate our civil
defensive position with that of other countries in the world, our allies, such as

England, France, the Philippines.
P: So were you also a member of the National Security Council?

B: That is correct. That was a product of my being director of the Office of
Emergency Planning. The National Security Council was statutorily defined. At
that time it consisted of Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Secretary of State
Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara [secretary of Defense] and me. That was the
National Security Council. People speak of it, and they usually include all the
aides or the staff in their thinking, but there was that distinction. Really, while I
named five people as members of the National Security Council, when Lyndon
Johnson sat down with them, he was the Security Council. He was a powerful

man.

P: What decisions did you make on the Security Council? Did you talk at all about
Vietnam?

B: Oh, yes. That was when it was very hot. Johnson was letting the bombing go up

the coast, trying to get up as far as he could without exciting the Chinese. He
was afraid those hordes [of Chinese] were going to come south across the

border, and I am sure he had good reasons for thinking that. He would make
every decision, about what could be bombed and what could not.

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P: What was your assessment of Robert McNamara, secretary of Defense [1961-
1968]?

B: I do not want to criticize him, but I never agreed with him, and I do not agree with
him today. Now, after reading his book [In Retrospect: The Tragedy and
Lessons of Vietnam, 1995], I know the reason why. All along, he was not a
believer. I guess I felt that without knowing it.

P: Were you opposed to expanding the war in Vietnam?

B: No. I thought that as long as we were going to fight it, we ought to go ahead and
fight it, period. We ought to do whatever was necessary. Johnson was afraid to
do it. I understand that. He had that responsibility. It was an awesome one, and
I do not criticize any man for his decisions there, but I disagreed. I thought he
should not try to micro-manage the war. His generals should have told him what
to do to win this war. How do we do it? And he ought to have gone with that.
That was why he had the military people.

P: What was your evaluation of Secretary of State Dean Rusk [1961 -1 969]?

B: I thought he was a great man. I liked him.

P: What about his views on the war?

B: He was generally very aggressive in his thinking.

P: What about Hubert Humphrey [US vice president under Lyndon Johnson, 1965-
1969]?

B: I cannot really tell you. Humphrey, as vice president, would not have said
anything that was not cognizant of Lyndon Johnsons viewpoint. I admired
Hubert Humphrey. He was a gentleman, a sweet man and a good man. He
asked me to be his manager for the southern states, in his [presidential]
campaign [in 1968]. He knew I liked him, and I did.

P: Did you agree to do that?

B: No, I did not.

P: This was 1968?

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B: That is right. That was after the Democratic National Convention in Chicago,

when he stood up there in his suite and looked across the park and heard the
people out there chanting, Dump the Hump, Dump the Hump. I thought, what

fools. This man is the best friend they have, and he was.

P: These were the hippies and radicals in Grant Park across from the convention
center?

B: That is right. They were carrying on in this way. They were trying to defeat
Humphrey, believe it or not.

P: What was your reaction to [William J.] Daleys response by sending in the
police?

B: I do not really remember.

P: Tell me about the personality of Lyndon Johnson.

B: He was one of the smartest men l have ever known. Everything he touched has

to bear his stamp. He named his girls so their initials were all L.B.J., including
his wife. He renamed her Ladybird, so she was LBJ. also. He had this
marvelous memory. When I was governor of Florida, he asked the governor of
Tennessee, Buford Ellington, to have a meeting of certain Southern governors in
the mansion at Nashville. He got us seated as though it were a semicircle
around the room. He began to talk about what he wanted to do and what he
wanted us to do to help him. He would come to you and he would point that
finger at you and zero in on you. He would say, you remember when l was in
Ocala or when l was in Miami with you and we had a talk--six months, eight
months, a year and a half ago we had a talk--and you said this, that and the
other. Remember that? Of course, I did because he quoted the words, and he
would go to each one and had a tale about each one, a personal [anecdote]. He
was a fantastic guy. He had the greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses of
any man I ever knew.

P: What were his weaknesses?

B: Vanity.

P: What were his greatest strengths?
B: His mind.

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P:

B:

It was awfully hard to say no to Lyndon Johnson.

Very hard. I will tell you, I did a lot of lobbying for him. He had sent me over to

see the North Carolina delegate, L.H. Fountain [Democratic congressman], who
is now retired, on some issue, I do not remember what the issue was. I got a call
while there that the president wanted to see me--now. I left immediately and
reported to his office. Marvin Watson [advisor to Lyndon Johnson], who was his

top man there, showed me right on in. Lyndon had approved this program I had
worked out. There was a great problem of federalism and getting the local state

organizations to work with the federal people. What I suggested was that we
would find out from each state what was the matter with the federal government,

as far as they were concerned. Then we would pick out the people in
Washington who had the authority to change that, if they wanted to do so. We

would all go down to a pre-arranged meeting. The governor could have his state
people, and we would say, get together your HEW [Department of Health,

Education and Welfare] people and your roads people and so on and so forth.
[These people on both sides would] get together and work out the problems. If

they cannot work them out, come and tell us. That program went over well, and
it was wonderful, it really was. I went to forty-four states. Johnson got so

enthusiastic about it that he gave me the privilege of using the Air Force One
airplane. Of course, it was not Air Force One since he was not on it, but [it was]

the [same] plane that was Air Force One when he was on it. I would take federal
secretaries and deputy secretaries to the states, forty-four of them, and work on

this. It was a tremendous way of working out problems that were not resolved in
other ways. Earlier, one had to send one man down, [and] he would have said,

well, I will go back and check with Jo, the secretary. Then I will let you know.
But with my plan, I had the people who could make the decision on the spot, and

that is why it worked. It worked well. l was coming back from Texas, and a
writer for The New York Times sat down beside me and said, what are you going

to do now? You almost got to all the states now. What are you going to do next?
I told him what I thought we ought to do next was to implement and develop this

program. Lyndon had read this article before I got back. I guess it was the
morning after I got back, and I had gone over to Fountains office. Meanwhile,

[Lyndon Johnson] read [the article] and blew up. [The president] said, I make the
programs, I am the one who set you up. You did not get approval to continue

planning what will be done in the future. When I want another program, he said, I
will tell you about it. That was the way he operated. So I said, just as you say,
Mr. President, that is the way it will be.

Now, you were on the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations?

l was chairman of that commission.

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P: You did that for two years or so?

B: Yes.

P: Was that the program about intergovernmental relations we just discussed?

B: No. That was not an Advisory Commission program. Advisory Commission work
was for purposes of advising only--an intellectual [task]. For example, how
[does this] get done [using] similar thinking and advice. But that commission had
no operative ability or power.

P: You reported to President Johnson?

B: Yes.

P: How would you assess his presidency?

B: It was too complex to give you a figure or to simply say it was good or bad.

P: How would you assess John Kennedys presidency?

B: I liked John Kennedy. He was a great fellow to be with. He apparently stumbled
into doing a lot [the] right [way]. How he could have gotten on with Bobby, I do
not know. John Kennedy was successful in leading the people because of his
personality. [I do not know] how he could get along with Frank Sinatra and the
Rat Pack [Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin, Joey Bishop, and Peter
Lawford] and be president, or how he could lead the sexual life that he did and
get away with it, but he was able to do so. He accomplished [a lot]. I do not
know how.

P: Overall, you would not rank him as a great president?

B: Oh, no. Indeed not. All of this Camelot stuff was just for the press corps.

P: Where were you and what was your reaction when you learned of Kennedys
assassination [November 22, 1963]?

B: I think l was home in Ocala when I heard about it. I had been with him a few

days earlier in Tampa, about four days before that. I enjoyed being with him. He
was always a pleasure to be with.

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P: What was he doing in Tampa?

B: Making a speech to a conference we put on down there [November 18, 1963]. I
am sure it was connected to the Democratic party [President Kennedy spoke at
Al Lopez Field that day].

P: Why did you decide to run for the Senate in 1970?

B: I am glad you asked me because I would like to explain this. I told you |
practiced law, but what I did also was organize the Voyager [Insurance Group]. I
raised $10 million to do that, which at that time was a record in Florida for
beginning an insurance corporation. I had gotten the permission of my board to
go to Washington to be with Lyndon Johnson. I thought, we have capable men
here to run the company, and l have [Winn] Lovett to be the chairman. Do you
remember him?

P: I think not.

B: No? It was Winn Lovett. The company he ran earlier became a part of Winn-

Dixie. He was my wifes uncle, and he agreed to be chairman [of Voyager] when
l was gone. I thought, boy, we are in good shape. I have good officers, and l

have Mr. Lovitt as chairman. I admired him so. Of course, the insurance
business was different from any [other] business I ever saw. I resigned from my

Washington position because of the reports l was getting. I came back and the
$10 million I had raised to run this company had been reduced to $1.8 million. I

had to resign [my position] in Washington and come home. I met with the
corporate board and the board members said, you got us into this damn thing,

now get us out. These were businessmen who had each put up $100,000. That
was a requirement. To be on the board, one had to invest $100,000, and they all

did that. So I came home, resigned from my law practice, too, and re-assumed
active operation of these companies. When it came time to run for the Senate,

the primaries were set in May and my annual company meeting was in April.
You can understand that because of this loss we had suffered, l was very much

emotionally involved in this [project]. I could not leave [Voyager] again without a
lot more preparation than I had. We were making money again. So I felt a

responsibility to stay on until April, at which time I could show my good balance
sheet and good operating results. I said, I cannot run, because I cannot

[campaign for the primary] between April and May. Then they changed the
primary to September. I told Lawton [Lawton Chiles, US. Senator, 1971-1989;

governor of Florida, 1991-1998] and others that l was not going to run. But I had
told them that when [the primary] was set for May. When it was re-scheduled for

September, I had roughly six months to do it. I decided to run, but by this time

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Lawton had done an awfully good job getting all his commitments. People who

were committing to him were my friends because Lawton had been my friend; he
had been part of my organization. But Lawton Chiles and [James W.] Jimmy

Kynes [attorney general of Florida, 1964-1965], who had worked with me, had
already gotten together.

Jimmy Kynes was attorney general at this time?
Yes, in fact I had appointed him attorney general.
What were the key issues in this 1970 Senate race?

I met with a member of a public relations firm with considerable experience in

campaigns, and | asked him to develop a plan under which we would run our
campaign. We met in Ft. Lauderdale so I could listen to their presentation. Their

plan basically was this: You are going to say, Farris, that you are going to have a
continuing poll taken on the issues facing you in Washington, and when the poll

comes out telling you that the people want to do this, that is what you are going
to do. I said, wait a minute, I want to be senator. I think being senator means

using your own experience, brains, and ability to do [what is right] for the people
who voted for you, not just doing what they say they want day to day. No, I will

not do that. Well, there went my plan. l was still raising money, but that,
unfortunately, was the position that I took. Today, however, I see what they are

doing in Washington. What they are doing is taking polls, day to day, and
making a move in that direction. I would not do that. | just thought, if they elect

me senator, I am going to be senator. Period.
Did you still get a bit of a late start compared to what Lawton Chiles was doing?
Sure, a very late start, and I could not overcome it.

What impact did walking around the state [by Lawton Chiles who walked 1,033
miles in 91 days in 1970 from the Florida Panhandle town of Century to Key

Largo in the Florida Keys] have on your campaign?

It was very effective. What it did was give Lawton an image of contacting the
people and getting ever more input from them. He was walking along, and he

would meet the farmer and ask him his opinion. Lawtons walking [achieved the
same goal for him as] Bob Grahams [US Democratic senator from Florida,

1986-present; governor of Florida, 1979-1987] work days did for Bob. lt
identified him with the people. I tried to say, yes, he is walking for senator; I am

running for senator. But I could not sell it.

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P: Although, at that time, I think, Lawton Chiles was a fairly wealthy man.

B: Yes, he was a wealthy man.

P: So in that sense he was not one of the people, yet that was what he tried to
project.

B: And he did.
P: Was itjust a gimmick?

B: [It was] in the sense that I do not think it made a nickels worth of difference to

him what he heard on the road. If he stopped in a store and the grocery man
there said, I do not like this, I do not think that really shaped his thinking. So to

that extent, yes, it was a gimmick, but it had a great value. He could stop at night
in his trailer and write something for the paper the next day and every paper

would carry it. He got marvelous coverage in the press. He was a good story.

P: You led the first primary. What was the difference between your success in the
first primary and [the runoff]? I think Lawton Chiles won by 200,000 votes in the

second primary. What had changed?

B: Nothing had changed. I got all the votes in the second primary that I had in the
first, but I did not get any more [votes].

P: You got almost exactly the same vote?

B: I think so.

P: So votes for the other candidates, like [Frederick H.] Schultz [member of the
Florida House of Representatives 1969-1971] and others, their votes shifted to
Chiles?

B: That is correct.

P: How would you assess Chiles as a campaigner?

B: He was marvelous.

P: Do you regret running for the Senate in 1970?

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B: No. I did what I thought I ought to have done.
P: Did the fact that you had been governor and had a record help or hurt you?

B: It hurt me. During this six-year interval, I lost track of the people. I had been so

involved with this company and [the work] in Washington that I lost touch. This
state changed so fast. I had made a difference, and ljust lost contact with the

people.

P: Let us go on to talk about your years as governor. In your inaugural address,
you talked about legislative reapportionment, and you talked about taking on

what is known in Florida as the Pork Chop Gang [a term coined for the North
Florida rural legislators in the reapportionment struggles in the 1950s through

1970s]. Whatever happened to that attempt to reapportion Florida?
B: A lot happened before I became governor. [LeRoy] Roy [Collins] was governor

[acting governor, 19541955; governor, 1955-1961] in the period when we should
have made the changes, but he did not have the legislature. To a good extent,

he did not provide effective leadership because he was dealing with the Pork
Chop Gang. He could never shake them, and until you shook them, you could

not do anything.
P: How did you deal with it?
B: The law had changed.

P: You just waited until Baker v. Carr and Westbury v. Sanders, the one man, one
vote, court decisions?

B: When were they decided?

P: Baker v. Carr was in 1962; Westbury v. Sanders in 1964, and Reynolds v. Simms
was also in 1964. All three decisions ended up changing [voting patterns]. So
when you first became governor, you did not pursue reapportionment? You did

not take on the Pork Chop Gang?

B: Of course, I had opposed [Charles] Charley Johns [acting governor of Florida
1953-1954; president of Florida Senate 1953] and that did not improve my
standing.

P: What was your position on the Johns Committee [Florida Senate committee

established in the late 1950s to investigate the NAACP and communists,
especially in the Florida university system]?

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B: What about the Johns Committee?

P: The Johns Committee investigated alleged communists and homosexuals in the
academic community at the [state] universities, particularly at the University of
Florida.

B: I am not now familiar with that committee. I do not believe I was then, although I
must have known about it, but I do not remember it now.

P: How did you get along with your cabinet since it was elected, not appointed?

B: I got along with them wonderfully until the last six months. See, a governor who
has only one term, as I had at that time, could not have the last six months.
What do they care about you? They might like you or might not like you, but they
have their own agendas and they do not buy yours. [There was] no point in it.
You are no more important to them than the corner grocer.

P: What were your emotions the day you took the oath of office as governor of
Florida?

B: They are accurately set forth in my inaugural address; they really are.

P: Part of what you were talking about was that you wanted to work with the people
of the state of Florida, and you asked them for help. You expressed your
appreciation for their support.

B: Yes.

P: One of the major goals you had as governor was economy in government. Talk
about how you made the state more efficient.

B: All right, sir. First of all, the only impact you can have is on the general revenue.

You really cannot affect already dedicated moneys, unless it is handled by the
cabinet. I had worked for the state government in the controllers office and in

the legislature, and I knew the level of efficiency and the prevalence of
patronage. I thought if I could eliminate or minimize that, I would improve the

government of Florida. My goal was to make government work for the people.
Just as when l was speaker I wanted to make it work for the legislature, as it

were. My role as speaker was to make the legislature work better. As
governor, I thought I could make the government work better. That was my job.

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P:

During your first year in office, you managed to reduce state spending by $13
million. Can you give me some specifics about how you accomplished that?

No, but I would like to make this comment about it. First of all, you speak of it as
a reduction of $13 million, but that should be compared with what it would have

been if the normal growth figures were there. You have to remember, too, that
so many of the programs had already been set by the previous administration. I

was limited in what I could do about them in my first year of the first legislature.
It was very difficult to have an impact. One can adopt the laws, but they will not

have any impact until some time later. Here is one specific, the Road
Department. | employed a man to be the controller--l will call him that--of the

Road Department from Miami. He was a remarkable accountant, more than a
CPA. We put together a chart that showed every project of the state Road

Department, its ultimate total expenditure, the completion date, and its financial
impact by month. We knew at all times exactly where we stood. That was very

important because when I became governor--remember this, I do not think
anybody ever realized this--the Federal Bureau of Roads had cut off road money

to Florida because the previous administration had not performed as it was
supposed to. When I came into office, there was no money for building more

roads or planning more roads. [What I did first was to] go to Washington and
convince the heads there that this administration was going to be different, and if

they go ahead and give us our money, we could do it. We did that, of course,
and it had wonderful results.
Part of the key, then, was reorganizing and revitalizing the state road program?

That is correct.

New headquarters, computers, and similar administrative improvements enabled
you to keep track of what they were doing?

That is right, except we did not have computers.
It was too early for computers.

No, well, [too early] for computers, as we know them now. All IBM had at that
time were these cards with holes [punched] in them.

Where did the other money come from? You received some money from the

federal government. Did you have any bonds issued? Where else did you get
the money?

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B: We got the legislature to approve the turnpike.

P: That was the Sunshine State Parkway?

B: That is right.

P: You completed it from Ft. Pierce to Wildwood, is that right?

B: Correct. Politicians said, at [that] time that we werejust bringing it through
Ocala. Actually, unless we tied it in with l-75, since l-95 was not built yet, we
could not get the traffic on it to pay for itself. So by bringing it over, as I did, by
Orlando and up to Wildwood and then bringing l-75 a little ways east, so it would
join, the turnpike was feasible.

P: Did the turnpike pay for itself as a toll road?

B: Paid for itself? Yes! It has built lots of roads since then. They have never let go
of that toll. It continues to pour in money, although for many years the turnpike
itself has been paid for. You may recall that The Tampa Tribune and The St.
Petersburg Times were opposed to this project, and [those papers] attributed all
the bad motives to doing it, but we did it.

P: What other road improvements did you make?

B: We did Alligator Alley [Route 84] against great opposition. As a matter of fact, it
could not be done today. I do not know if that was good or bad.

P: This was from Ft. Lauderdale to Naples?

B: Yes. The environmentalists would never let you do it today, but we did it then.

P: Did you not at least start l-4 [Daytona Beach to Tampa] or propose or encourage
that?

B: It was started. It was already on the books, but we could not get the money for it

until the federal government loosened up. But when it loosened up, we built that.
We brought l-75 down to Tampa. We brought l-95 well along, but we were still

working on US-|, which was the only four-laned, state-length road. We four-
laned that road in Brevard County. The Brevard County Commission could not

raise the money to pay for the right-of-way. The state laws or practices, I do not
know which it was, said that if the counties furnish the right-of-way, the state

would build the road. Since the county could not build the right-of-way, nothing

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was being done. I took state money and bought it [the right-of-way], and we built
the fourIaned [road] from the Georgia line to Miami.

These were general state funds that were used for this?
They were state Road Department funds.

Then you four-laned or improved US 19 and US 27 during your years as
governor?

US 19 was built during my term. I do not remember to what extent we worked on
US 27.

Overall, what you did during your term has literally increased the number of

interstate highways, turnpikes and roads, which, in turn, made it easier for
tourists to reach various Florida destinations and facilitate business exchanges.

Yes.
What impact did all this have on Floridas economy?

I do not think Florida could be where it is today if we had not built I-75 down to

Tampa; I-4 across from Daytona to Tampa; and State Road 60, which is a very
important road. We four-Ianed it. Of course we built I-10. It was already started,

but we got it built.
[You] took that to Lake City?

Yes. It had been partially built. We did not take it all the way to Pensacola, but
we took it across to Tallahassee anyway.

Talk a little bit about your view of the Cross Florida Barge Canal [unfinished canal

that would have extended from Palatka on the St. Johns River to Yankeetown on
the Gulf of Mexico], which you strongly favored. Why were you so much in favor

of that project?

First of all, when I became enthusiastic about it, it provided a way to keep ships
that rounded the tip of Florida free from the [danger of German] submarines. I

had been personally involved, and so that really animated me. If we could have
had barges come from Galveston along the Intercoastal Waterway right down to

Tampa and then across Florida, it would have been marvelous. All the heavy
material from Ohio and the Mississippi River would have come down to flow

there and across to the East Coast. That was a very cheap way to get it there. |

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was enthusiastic because I thought it would be a tremendous development,
particularly for the central part of the state.

P: Is that why you picked the route, I guess, along the St. Johns [River] to Palatka to
Yankeetown? I am not sure what the proposed route was, but you picked it to

develop economically the central part of the state?
B: Yes.
P: Where did you get the money for the project?

B: The federal government appropriated it. It was all federal money, [and] the state
[bought] some rights-of-way. Until a couple of years ago, it had never been

legally stopped. It was stopped by Richard Nixon [on January 19, 1971, after
construction of one-third of the project--25 miles of the canal]. [He] issued a

press release saying that he was going to stop the barge canal. He never
entered an order, and the court, many years later, ruled that his action was

illegal, and the way it was stopped was illegal.
P: Why was it never resurrected?
B: It is so hard to prove a negative. The environmentalists said, oh, there will be a

hole in the bottom of the canal, and all the water will pour into underground

streams. How can one prove that is not so? One cannot. If I lived in Miami and
heard they were going to pour oil down into a hole through the underground
system, I would be against it, too. You would not have to try very hard to
persuade me of that.

P: Describe the situation when President Johnson came to Palatka and set off the
first explosion [on February 27, 1964] that started the dredging of the canal.

B: We were ready to go. The opposition had not coalesced at that time.

P: I understand that you also operated a bulldozer at the time you started the Cross
Florida Barge Canal.

B: Probably.

P: I think there was a picture of you driving one.

B: Is that right?

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P: l was wondering how much of an expert you were?

B: I did not move fast enough, obviously.

P: In retrospect, was the Cross Florida Barge Canal a mistake?
B: No.

P: Why should it have been completed?

B: Because it would facilitate the movement of goods from the Gulf Coast and the

Mississippi and Ohio rivers across to the Atlantic, to the East Coast. They would
tie into the lntercoastal Watenivay. It would have been good for the same

reasons the railroad said it would be good. That was why railroads hated it. Tom
Rice and Prime Osborn, who were my friends, fought it and were successful.

P: The key opposition then was from the railroads?

B: That was where the opposition with money was, that is correct. Then CSX went

out to Texas and bought a big barge system. If it had bought it and worked with
the barge systems earlier, I expect they would have been for it.

P: One area that you favored, as well--in terms of conservation--[was the area of

parks]. The state did buy and expand a number of parks. Would you talk about
your thinking here?

B: Yes. The idea was to get a source of income that would facilitate the
preservation of the natural lands of Florida. We passed a constitutional
amendment to enable us to do that. I guess this provision is still on the books.
We bought a lot of land for parks and recreation and a tremendous amount of
money was spent for that purpose.

P: It all came out of this same state trust fund?

B: That was my understanding. I have not checked it out, but I understand it was
so.

P: I know one place l have been to was the John Pennecamp [Coral Reef State

Park off Key Largo]. [It] is a beautiful place.

B: Yes, it is. We used a combination of private contributions and state funds to do
that.

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How about tourism? I think one of the areas where you emphasized your
commitment was to expand Florida tourism.

I did that because it seemed a natural for Florida. In a way, I am sorry I did it. I

would not be sorry if I were out making a living, I guess, but I hate to see Florida
grow the way it has grown. There are no more small towns; rapid growth does

something to a state.

When you began this, you set up the Florida Development Commission. What
was that?

The Development Commission was just what the name implied. It was an

economic, promotional activity. It was headed by Wendell Jarrard, who was the
greatest promoter I have ever known.

One of [our accomplishments] was [to get] these Greyhound buses that went
around the country as traveling showcases.

Sure. We also had a showcase in New York at the sidewalk level of Rockefeller
Center. CBS or NBC, one or the other [networks], conducted its Good Morning
America program there for many years. Every program was surrounded by the
Florida atmosphere.

There was a popular [Florida] exhibit at the [two-year] Worlds Fair [Flushing

Meadows in Queens, New York] in 1964 [and 1965] that many people apparently
saw.

The Worlds Fair was a great promotional deal for Florida. I thought we had the

primary location, and Robert Moses [president, New York Worlds Fair, 1964-
1965], the head honcho, was a good promoter, but he was not truthful. He told

me [what] he would do for Florida and for Floridas exhibit, and later he
absolutely turned around and refused to do [it]. I spoke to him just as bluntly as I

have just spoken to you about that. It did not shake him a bit. If my statement
had not been true he would have hit me. But he betrayed me. He was a great
promoter, and maybe that was what you had to do to be a great promoter.

For Florida, though, the Worlds Fair was a successful promotion?

Yes.

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P: What about your travels? You traveled to Europe also promoting Florida, both in
terms of tourism and exports. How successful were those trips?

B: I cannot measure that success. We had a bus running around promoting Florida
everywhere.

P: What about these welcome stations? Do you think that helped?

B: Yes I do. They were a good idea. I do not really know to what extent they are
operating today, but at the time they set a pattern for the nation. Many states
adopted the idea. Since we did not have a lot of rest stops at the time, I felt if we
could get these tourists to stop and drink a little orange juice when they came
into the state and then ask the attendants for information about Florida, then they
would get a good sales pitch about Florida.

P: Did you start those welcome stations?

B: Yes.

P: What about advertising? How important was that, other than the state
advertising? I am talking about national print and television. Did you put a lot of
emphasis on that?

B: That would have been done by the Development Commission. I do not know
how extensive that advertising was. For the biggest impact, we combined state
money with that of the local chambers of commerce.

P: What was your attitude toward crime when you were governor?

B: To emphasize that we were a nation of laws and that we must obey them.

P: That was a good position to have.

B: For the most part, I concentrated on seeing to it that local law enforcement was
honest and efficient.

P: How did you deal with the increasing number of prisoners during the early
1960s?

B: Well, we built one [prison].

P: There were, I think, new facilities at Lake Butler and Raiford.

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B: Yes.

P: What was your view on prison? Did you see it as punishment or rehabilitation?

B: Punishment.

P: So you did not expect that prisoners would be rehabilitated at these facilities?

B: I hoped so, but I do not remember any specific concern I had that way.

P: I think one area that you proposed was stiffer prison sentences. What about the
death penalty? Did you then believe in the death penalty?

B: The oath of the governor of Florida states that he will enforce the laws, and when
a judge and jury condemn a man to death, that is the law. The governor who
preceded me [LeRoy Collins, governor 1955-1961] decided in the middle of his
second term that he did not believe in the death penalty. He just let [the death
penalties] stack up, and then they became my responsibility. When I came in, I
had this mass of cases on which I had to make a decision. I did not think it was
very kind for him to [leave me with these decisions]. It was his responsibility. I
had the responsibility during my term, but I believed in enforcing the law.

P: Did you pardon any death row prisoners?

B: I do not believe I did.

P: What is your view of the death penalty today? Do you think it is effective as a
deterrent?

B: I do not know a better answer. I cannot say that I think it does a lot, but I cannot
think of anything we can do to improve the situation.

P: Let me get to an area that I think was probably of primary concern during your
years as governor, and that is education. Why do you think you are not more
appreciated as an education governor by some educators and some historians?

B: For one reason, I promoted the trimester, and that made the academics furious.
I understand they still have it, except they divide the summer session in two. We
were the first state in the nation to have a trimester--or year-round education at
the college level.

P: Why did you shift to that system?

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B:

I thought it was more economical, more efficient. We [constructed] new

buildings all the time. Why should we not use full time the ones we have? I do
not know why the professors are so against it. Maybe you can tell me. My

predecessor was very influential with the academic community. He [supported]
my opponent so strongly. I think I went in under a cloud, because he was so

vigorously opposed to me.

When did we shift from the Board of Control to the Board of Regents?
The last year of my service.

Why did you do that?

I did not do that. I believe that was done by a constitutional amendment.
But you favored a shift to a Board of Regents?

I do not recall. I do not think I did, but I do not recall.

You must have had a plan to deal with this huge increase in the number of
students coming into Florida?

When I got into office and looked back over my shoulder at what was going on in

the high schools, [such as] the growth of the student body, I knew beyond a
doubt that our university system could never handle it, even with junior colleges.

But how do you build these universities without the money? So I went to the
legislature and passed a constitutional amendment dedicating part of the utility

tax to the construction of the physical plant at the junior college and university
level. l was told recently that this amendment was instrumental in raising $5

billion. That has enabled us to meet fully the capital outlay needs of the
universities and junior colleges, and I am very proud of it. Although it is not

generally spoken of in the academic area, I think the professors look at me and
think of an anti-academic, in spite of my earned doctorate and two honorary
doctorates before I became governor.

What specific schools were created as a result of your initiative?

During my incumbency, the University of South Florida [in Tampa], Florida
International University [in Miami] and Florida Atlantic University [in Boca Raton].

Then I think you started the planning for [the University of] West Florida [near
Pensacola]?

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B: That is correct.
P: So those were four major high-level institutions.

B: We finished building South Florida. It had been started, but we finished it.
P: Specifically, what did you do in terms of new junior colleges?

B: We expanded to twenty-eight of them. Our goal was to put a junior college in
commuting-from-home-distance of every [student]. That was the goal. It may

not be very intelligent, but these [programs] were usually done on a chamber of
commerce basis. That was the way that was planned out. I think it has been

successful. When I was elected, there were fourjunior colleges in Florida.
When my term finished, there were twenty-eight, and I am very proud of that.

That was all financed by that constitutional amendment.

P: What was Genesys [Graduate Engineering Educational System]? Do you
remember that?

B: Yes. We had all these people around Cape Canaveral, high-level physicists,

engineers and so forth, and we had a great university plant at Gainesville and
Tallahassee. I could not take those professors and shuttle them back and forth.

When it was set up, we had planned on a TV system so the professor could be in
his class in Gainesville or Tallahassee and teach a class in Melbourne.

P: The full name for that program, then, was the Graduate Engineering Educational
System? Was that the correct term?

B: Yes, I believe so.

P: This was really one of the first efforts at statewide educational TV, was it not?
B: Yes, it was.

P: How successful was that?

B: I do not really know.

P: How about the Florida Institute for Continuing University Studies or FICUS?

What was that?

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B: It was an effort to make it possible for people to have college-level education in
off-campus locations.

P: It was mainly encouraging what we would call continuing education?
B: Yes, but beyond the college level.
P: [It was] for people who were not in college, but who might want to take a course

outside of college to learn a foreign language, computer skills, and [other
subjects such as] that.

B: Right.

P: What about federal funds? My understanding is that you did not want federal
funds for state education.

B: That is totally false.

P: OK, I did not think that could be right. What was your attitude toward federal
funding?

B: l was angry at the fact that they funded us only on the basis of the number of
people we used to have, instead of the number we currently have. Also, I had a

problem with all these Cubans coming into the state. We had to educate them,
to take care of them, take care of their health and get them jobs. Would the

federal government help us? No. Abraham Ribicoff [secretary of Health,
Education, and Welfare, 1961-1962] would sit, just as you and l are sitting right

now, and he would agree that it was not fair. But I never got a nickel out of him.

P: That was Abraham Ribicoff who was secretary of Health, Education and
Welfare?

B: The same, and governor of Connecticut [1955-1961; US. senator, 1963-1981].

P: The same is true today. Florida still does not get the correct amount of money
for roads or education.

That is correct.
To pursue education a little further, what did you do specifically to improve

university teaching, in addition to constructing buildings? I know one of [your
accomplishments]-that we all appreciate--was raise faculty salaries. You tried to

do this on a merit basis.

1.7.0?

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B: Beyond that l have forgotten the details, to tell you the honest truth.

P: Do you remember the Committee on Quality Education?

B: Yes.

P: What was the purpose of that? That was Doak Campbell and Ralph Page.

B: I cannot spell it out.

P: One criticism that faculty [members] had was that they claimed that you were too
involved with hiring on campuses, and that you wanted to influence or approve
hiring some deans.

B: I never said one word about anyone. I will tell you what irritated a lot of people.
Do you remember Myron Blee?

P: No.

B: Myron Blee was a friend of mine whom I had met in the navy. He was on one of
those ships l was talking about, a fellow with a Ph.D. in education, originally from
Illinois. He was really my staff aide on education. He did not have any power,
but when a subject came up, Myron could educate me on the academic aspects
of it. I think he became a sore point. I still love him. He lives in Tallahassee
now.

P: What happened was that they saw him as part of your control?

B: That is right.

P: When, in fact, he was doing most of this on his own?

B: No, he did not act independently and [act] on his own. I mean to say he never
went out of bounds. But I can tell you people pointed to [what] I did that was
wrong, and they had to have someone to focus their resentment on. Well, the
governor was not down there, but Myron Blee was. I really think that was the
reason he was blamed.

P: Let us talk a little bit about St. Augustine [civil rights activism in spring 1964].

What was your initial reaction to Brown v. Board of Education the1954 decision

that integrated public schools?



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B:

P:

I thought that [US Supreme Court decision] was the wrong way to do it.
What was the right way?

Volunteering. l have never believed, and I think experience has proven me right,

that you can change people by placing them by force into a situation in which
they do not feel natural. We are sending troops to Bosnia now in that very

[situation], and we had to send troops to Little Rock [President Eisenhower
federalized the Arkansas National Guard and also sent in the 101St Airborne

Division to protect nine black students to enter Central High School in September
1957]. I made a speech in Tampa one time, and I said we will not solve the

segregation problem until two men, one black and one white, can walk down the
street and neither one feels afraid of the other; the speech was reported in the

local paper. Jesse Jackson [black political leader] proved me right. Did you read
that statement he made?

No.

Jesse Jackson said, I must admit when l was walking home the other night and

when I heard some footsteps behind me, my first thought was, I hope he is white
because I would be afraid of a black. He said that. I say, until you change the

attitude of people toward each other, you cannot force them into a situation.

At one point, in 1956, you had proposed an interposition resolution. Was that in
the Florida House of Representatives? And what was your thinking behind that?

It was very simple. It was the thinking that [John C.] Calhoun [US senator from

South Carolina, 1832-1850; originator of the concept of nullification] had
promoted. [lt stated] that the states were still the repository of all power that was

not specifically given to the federal government, and therefore we would
interpose as a state and exercise police power and similar powers [in connection

with integration]. I think academically l was right, but obviously, politically, l was
wrong.

Here is a statement I would like to get your reaction to: To the credit of

Governors [Farris] Bryant and [Haydon] Burns [governor of Florida, 1965-1967],
they took no militant steps to block school integration. So while you were in

favor of states rights, you did not actively, as [Democratic] Governor [George]
Wallace [of Alabama] did, stand in the door [Wallace stood at the schoolhouse

door of the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963, to prevent two black
students from entering; the incident received national attention]?

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B:

No, indeed. As a matter of fact, I went to a meeting of a number of southern

governors, including Governor Wallace, when this whole situation was
developing. I had a reputation among my peers of being more liberal than most

southern governors, and so they said, Bryant, you have to take a stand, you have
to lead us out of this. I said, fine, I will lead you; but where are we going?
Wallace was saying, we are going to stand in the door. I declined the invitation.
What year was this?

1961, 1962 or 1963, sometime in there [it was 1964]. It was before the passage
of the Civil Rights Act [July 2, 1964], which was enacted in 1964.

What was your reaction to the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
I do not recall particularly. I am guessing l was probably against it.

During your administration, twenty Florida counties integrated their schools; so
were those decisions made on a local basis?

Yes.

You just did not interfere. If they wanted to integrate their schools, that was fine
with you. You did not either promote it or try to stop it?

That is correct. Have you ever seen the half-hour video tape of me that l have in
reference to the St. Augustine situation [civil rights activism in spring 1964]?

Is that the one made by the state troopers?
No. I did not know they had one.

The state troopers have a training film that partly includes the St. Augustine
crisis.

Is that right?
Yes, it is interesting.
I would be fascinated to see it. Here were these civil righters who wanted to

march around all the time, which is fine, but it got to where they wanted to march
at night in the narrow streets of St. Augustine. I thought that was trouble. I

thought that was inviting violence. We had intelligence from this FBI man about

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what was going on in Fernandina [on Amelia Island, north-eastern Florida], and

so I said that they should not march at nighttime in those areas. Well, they did.
We protected them, and not a head was busted. Then they said, we want to go
swimming. I said, fine, you have the right to go swimming, you go in, we will
protect you. We put troopers out in the water around them so they could go

swimming like anybody. I believe in the law. They had a right to do that, and I
saw that they got [to exercise] the right.

P: One of the criticisms [was that] when the demonstrations began, you were at a

governors conference in Cleveland. Martin Luther King, Jr., Ralph Abernathy,
and other [civil rights leaders] said that initially you did not send enough state

troopers to protect them.

B: They were protected. Was anybody hurt?

P: One man was killed--do you remember that?
B: No, not in that riot. Not as a result of the racial riot.
P: Well, during that time, one white participant was shot and killed [white militant

William Kincaid had been shot on October 24, 1963, while driving through the
black community of Lincolnville].

B: Where?

P: In St. Augustine. I do not have the details as to who did it [Hoss Manucy was
with Kincaid in the car; Kincaid was holding a rifle; two black residents were
arrested, but the case was never brought to trial].

B: I do not believe it.

P: OK. Let me look that up, and I will send it to you.

B: I would like to know that.

P: When you dealt with this problem, you set up a special police force. How

effective do you think that was because as the riots got a little more tension-filled,
you increased the numbers of state troopers. Do you think that was effective?

B: Yes.

P: Did you call on federal forces at all?

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B: Not at all.

P: Did you feel that you did not need them?

B: Yes.
P: Did you not call the National Guard?
B: No. This fellow who was a historian at the Askew Institute, David [Richard]

Colburn [professor of history and associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts
and Sciences at the University of Florida], wrote a little history of Florida. In

there, he was saying that I had called out the National Guard.

P: He is the one who wrote the book on St. Augustine.

B: David and I had a talk, and I [gave some explanations] to him. He said he was
going to change it.

P: Good. What impact or influence did Lyndon Johnson have on the
demonstrations in St. Augustine?

B: Was he already the president then [1964]?

P: Yes.

B: I remember [Robert] Bobby [Kennedy].

P: Bobby would have still been attorney general.

B: He was still attorney general, OK. Bobby was in touch with me every day. I do

not remember Lyndon playing a part.
P: What advice was Robert Kennedy giving you?

B: All he was interested in was getting them out of Florida and out of a violent
situation. He did not want John [Kennedy], I thought, to have to do what

Eisenhower did in Little Rock [1957].
P: What about Senator [George] Smathers? Was he involved with this at all?

B: No.

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P: At one point there was a proposal that you appoint a bi-racial commission in St.
Augustine to resolve all issues.

B: I did that.
P: What was the result?
B: The civil righters, I do not remember who represented them, wanted this

commission, but they did not want it known publicly. So I appointed the
commission, and they were satisfied with it.

P: But it was not announced?

B: That is correct.

P: What did this commission do?

B: Nothing.

P: So they had no part in resolving [the issue]?

B: I am sure they talked with some people, but I do not think they had any

significant part.

P: What was your reaction to people like J. B. [Jesse Benjamin] Stoner [Atlanta
Klansman, Imperial Wizard of Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in 1959, vice-

presidential candidate of the National States Rights Party] and [Holstead R]
Hoss Manucy [leader of the Ancient City Hunting Club white supremacist

group], who were Klansmen and virulent segregationists?

B: We tried to drive them out of here. I do not recall what part they played in this.
Can you tell me that?

P: Yes. Manucy was a sheriffs deputy. Stoner came down and was one of the

leaders in terms of stirring up the crowd and demanding that the ocean and the
pools not be integrated.

B: Yes. The ocean and the pools were different [situations]. This was before the

Civil Rights Act [July 1964], so the pools were private property, and the ocean
was public. I saw to it that they could use the public [places]. I do not remember

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having any part in denying them the pools, but I just point out that that was a little
different.

P: The owners denied them the pools?

B: Yes, but that was legal. That was lawful at the time.

P: When you look back at this, Martin Luther King said one time that the violence in

St. Augustine was worse than Mississippi, and that law and order had broken
down in St. Augustine. What would be your rationale?

B: I did not know he said that. I think he is wrong because you just told me that one
person was killed [in October 1963], which had completely escaped my attention

or my memory or both. I thought it was handled very nicely. We protected [Mary
Elizabeth] Peabody [wife of Episcopal Bishop Malcolm Endicott Peabody].

P: This is Endicott Peabodys mother [Mary Elizabeth], the governor of
Massachusetts [governor of Massachusetts, 1963-1965]?

B: It is funny that when I became director of the Office of Emergency Planning, do
you know who was appointed my assistant? You knew that, did you not?

P: Mrs. Peabody?

B: No, her son, Governor [Endicott] Peabody. He was appointed my assistant and
stayed as long as l was there.

P: At one point she had actually been arrested.
B: Was she?

P: Yes, [arrested] for demonstrating. [The seventy-two-year-old grandmother was
arrested for attempting to dine in the Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge with some

blacks on March 31, 1964. Sheriff L. 0 Davis of St. Augustine made the arrest]

B: You say that and I will take your word for it, but I begged the sheriff. I said, if she
is in the restaurant, and it comes time for closing, close it--leave her in there, but

do not arrest her. That was not my part of it. Local law enforcement officers
were just there.

P: Did you actually take over law enforcement at some point? In other words, did
the special police unit and the state troopers assume control of St. Augustine?

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B: They tried to maintain order, yes.

P: They would supersede the authority of the sheriff?

B: They were probably in perfect harmony, I do not know.

P: What is your view of Martin Luther King and his participation in St. Augustine?
B: I thought it was sort of ironic. They put him in jail. He got an offer to go to

Columbia to get a Doctorate of Law degree. He paid a $25 fine, marched out,

got in the limousine and went to New York. It seemed a little inconsistent to get a
Doctorate of Law when he had been down here violating the law.

P: What was your view, then, of his position on civil disobedience?

B: I think he was much milder than present followers.

P: You still saw him and these sit-down demonstrations as a violation of the law?

B: Yes, they were.

P: [You thought] they should have been arrested, which, of course, was what they
wanted?

B: That is correct. I did not want them arrested, and I do not think our people

arrested anybody. You may correct me on that, too.

The sheriff [L. 0. Davis] did [the jails were filled to overflowing].

Well, that was the [local] sheriff. I tried. My people, the state officials, never
arrested anybody.

9.37.0

P: Did you ever speak out against the segregationists, the Klan and J. B. Stoner

and [other] people like him [at least four St. Augustine deputies were members of
the Klan]?

B: Probably. Yes, I did, in that speech that I told you was on that video tape. I said,

I am going to say this to the people of Florida, I do not care whom you like or
what you like, or whom you dislike or what you dislike, we are going to obey the

law. That is what we are going to do. [I made the rule as] clear as can be, and
that was the rule I followed.

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P: One issue that came up on a constitutional basis was when you prohibited the
night marches. What was the constitutional or legal basis for that? Do you
remember?

B: Yes. Law, order, and the [marchers] safety. Our FBI man had been up to

Fernandina and came back and reported to me that white protesters were
moving in that night, with ax handles and so forth. My attitude was, they cannot
do it. I am going to see that these people are not in a position where I cannot
protect them.

P: The way you protected them was to not allow them to march at night?
B: In that area. That is correct.
P: I want to discuss this issue you had with Judge [Bryan J.] Simpson [federal

districtjudge], who wanted to hold you in contempt [June 1964] for violating his
decision. Can you enlighten me of the details of that issue?

B: He had issued this order to the sheriff, in some respects telling the sheriff he

could not do what the sheriff had already done. He did not issue an order to me.
He never issued an order telling me that what I had done was wrong. He did set
down a date for me to show cause why I should not be held in contempt. But
that order [to the sheriff] did not apply to me.

P: Florida Attorney General Jim Kynes made that argument, that the order would
apply only to the sheriff and not to the governor.

B: That is correct.

P: How did this finally work out? As I recall, you were friends with Judge Simpson.

B: Very much.

P: How did this finally work out?

B: There was nothing further. Before I left office, he dismissed the proceeding. It
just worked out that my administration of the peace was successful, and there
was no occasion for further action.

P: How did this all finally end? Why did the demonstrations in St. Augustine end?

B: It all just went away, I guess, or Martin Luther King went back to New York.

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P: How much influence did the passage of the Civil Rights Act [1964] have?

B: None.
P: It was passed July 2, and the demonstrations were still going on at that time.
B: They were?

P: Yes, so ljust thought maybe that in that sense, by getting the act passed, the
demonstrators may have felt they had accomplished their goals.

B: Maybe so, I do not know.

P: Maybe not in St. Augustine but on a national level. What is the significance of St.
Augustine in Floridas history?

B: It depends on how you look at it. From where l was sitting it was tough. Those
were tough days and tough decisions. If you get a chance to see this video tape,

you will see what my attitude was--you are going to obey the law. I do not care
what your view is or this or that. You are going to obey the law, and you will be

given all rights you are entitled to under the law.

P: Why do you think there was less racial conflict in Florida than in most southern
states?
B: One of these civil-righter fellows who was there, who is now in Atlanta and whose

name I cannot remember, made a comment.

P: Was it [Reverend] Andrew Young [Martin Luther King, Jrs assistant in the Civil
Rights Movement in St. Augustine]?

B: No, not Andrew [Young], another prominent person, who said that the policy

followed in Florida was much more sophisticated than it was anywhere else.
Therefore, he said, we could never get our teeth into it. I thought that was a real

compliment to me, because that was what I was trying to accomplish.

P: Would that have been Hosea Williams [civil rights leader from Savannah who
organized antiracism marches for the Southern Christian Leadership

Conference--SCLC--in St. Augustine in 1964]?

B: Yes. That is right, I believe it was Hosea Williams.

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Would you change any decisions you made during the St. Augustine crisis?

You are asking me a tough question. No, I would not. I would not have changed
[anything]. If I had changed it, if I had let them march, you say one man was

dead, there would be a lot more dead. I do not think that would have been good
for Florida. I do not believe it would have been good for the civil rights people.

So, no, I would not have [changed anything]. The result of not doing what I did
would have been a disaster, very much so.

How much does the fact that Florida was a diverse state with a lot of different

cultures have to do with less conflict between whites and blacks? Do you think
that was a factor?

I had not thought about it. I do not have an opinion on that.

If we could shift away from that now. What was your evaluation of the Bay of

Pigs [April 17, 1961, on southern coast of Cuba]? How did you react to that? In
a sense, the greatest external threat to Florida was from Cuba. Cuba is ninety

miles away from Florida, and if the Cubans had missiles, obviously that was at
least a potential threat to Florida.

We reacted very defensively. We established all the civil emergency

organizations and policies that we could. We were very much afraid that [Nikita]
Khrushchev [premier of the Soviet Union 1956-1964] would not turn his ships

around [in October 1962, as they sailed for Cuba to deliver missiles] and that
would have been a great disaster for Florida.

Do you think President Kennedy made the correct decision?

Yes. I did not advise him that way. I went with him down to Key West, and we
saw the planes lined up there. The pilots were living in trailers close to their
planes, suited up, ready to go. They gave me the figures of how long from a
whistle blow until they could drop bombs over Cuba.

This was the missile crisis that you are talking about?

Yes. Although initially you asked about the Bay of Pigs, that is right.

It could be either [confrontation], but these pilots were American pilots, not
Cuban refugees.

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B: Yes.

P: What was Kennedys thinking at this time?

B: He did not respond to my advice, which was basically, if you do not do it now, it
will be harder later. Obviously, he had the responsibility, not me.

P: A course that was required in high schools in Florida was communism versus
Americanism. What did you think about that course?

B: I think | promoted it.

P: For what purpose?

B: For the obvious purpose of showing the advantage of democracy over
communism.

P: This was at the height of the conflict of the Cold War?

B: That is right. I was chairman of the commission of the Governors Conference,
which had established that program. l was very much for it at the time.

P: Looking back, how would you evaluate your four years as governor? To be more
specific, what would you say were your greatest accomplishments?

B: For the long-range effect on Florida, the money I raised forjunior colleges and
universities was the most significant work. I think it would have been turmoil if I
had not been able to do that. When I think of the long-range impact, the second
[accomplishment] was the acquisition of Florida lands. Thirdly there was the
construction of roads. Take Alligator Alley. How many people would have been
killed if we had not built the Alley? If we had not built l-4, how many people
would have been killed? lt enabled people to travel safely and rapidly around the
state, and you cannot measure this only in money. l have always received the
greatest satisfaction from feeling that l have saved an awful lot of lives in [these
achievements], the turnpike, the interstate and so forth.

P: What would you say would be your greatest failure? Maybe you did not have
any.

B: Yes, I did. Probably, I did not provide as much public leadership as I should

have and could have for economy in government--efficiency in government.
Those [goals] are hard to measure.

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What about your proudest moment--different from your accomplishments? What
were you specifically most proud of? What event or achievement?

Do you know that, so far as I know, no person I appointed to any job has ever

been castigated for his or her official performance. No judges have been
removed for bad conduct [or anything similar to that]. I am sure that somewhere

down there, someone slipped up, but I do not know of it. | get great satisfaction
out of that. It means a lot to me, because I think that honesty is the supreme

virtue.
We do not have much of it in politics today, do we?

We do not have as much as we need. We have more than the newspapers say
we have, but we do not have as much as we need.

Drawing on your life experience and your political experience, what are the
greatest problems that we have to solve in America today?

The racial problem. It is not going to go away, although it may be dissolved by
immigration. Also, the education of children; the re-establishment of a moral

foundation. I am talking about [such points as] the promises of the Christian
Coalition. I do not mean to put it in a religious context, but in some way, some

young people have to be taught that honesty is the best policy, that doing right is
better instead of doing wrong. They have to be taught to make the distinctions,

the judgments.
How do we do that?

By example. I do not believe you can teach it any other way.

What can we do about the poor conditions of our schools, particularly at the
grammar school and high school levels?

I do not know. I do think that there could be an improvement in grade school

education. There are parts the teachers have to do, parts the union has to do,
and parts the parents have to do. We have a real problem there. It is

frightening.

What would you like to say that l have not asked you about? Is there any
incident or situation or accomplishment that you would like to discuss?

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B: You have already cast a pretty broad net. It is not that we have not discussed it,
but I do not think we follow up on our public officials sufficiently well. The press
does it from a certain angle, but that is not the angle I am thinking about. I think,
for instance, when a city counselor, county commissioner, or member of the
governors cabinet, or the governor himself takes a position, every one has to
know that five years from now somebody is going to ask, what is the result of
what you did? There has to be responsibility. That is part of honesty, I guess. I
watch our various governments and they say, we made a mistake, we
[constructed] that building and we do not need it anymore, or we built those
roads and they are not in the right place, or we are not building them where they
ought to be. Some people made those decisions, and they ought to be held
responsible, not by any court, but simply by the public being reminded of who
made these decisions, for good or for bad.

P: Of course, that is one job that we historians think we have.
B: Probably.
P: It is hard for the press to do that, because newspeople are, I think, interested in

the immediate.

B: Sure, their interest is on a different level.

P: It is a different level. Well, that is a good point. Anything else you would like to
discuss?

B: No, sir, I cannot think of anything else.

P: I want to thank you very much. This concludes the interview with Farris Bryant.

Bibliography
David Colburn, Racial Change and Community Crisis. University of Florida Press,
1991.

David Colburn and Richard Scher, Floridas Gubernatorial Politics in the 20th Century.
University of Florida Press, 1980.

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