Interview with Michael V. Gannon, November 14, 1977

Material Information

Interview with Michael V. Gannon, November 14, 1977
Series Title:
Civil Rights (St. Augustine) Oral History Collection
Gannon, Michael V. ( Interviewee )
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program


Subjects / Keywords:
Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History ( local )
African Americans ( fast )
Civil rights movements ( fast )
Spatial Coverage:
Florida--Saint Augustine


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
Holding Location:
This interview is part of the 'Civil Rights, St. Augustine' 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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Interviewee: Michael Gannon

Interviewer: David Colburn

Date: sjm

C: 'Mike, the last time we talked, I asked you the question about charac-

terizing race relations in St. Augustine prior to 1963.

G: And I remember saying that I thought on the whole, they were very good.

Exceptionally good, except for what was the obvious prejudice of many

whites toward blacks as being a minority race, and the fact that blacks

for that reason, could not eat in the same restaurants, could not sleep

in the same motels, could not use many of the other public facilities that

whites used. But in that, St. Augustine, as part of the South, was par-

ticipating in the general culture of the South. But if you take that

general culture as a whole, I think that to the degree that it was possible,

the white people of St. Augustine had acheived a modus vivendi with black

people that was exceptionally free of, of what, trouble, of abrasion and

conflict. And as a matter of fact, there was even a certain demonstrated

affability as, if you looked at the demography of the town, you could see

that prior to 1963,blacks lived interspersed, intermingled among the white

neighborhoods. While their were certain obviously black quarters of the

city, there were also many other quarters where black housing existed side

by side with white housing, with neither group averting to it in any public

way, and without any downgrading of property values and so on. So, I think

that, overall, St. Augustine had acheived about as good a working relation-

ship and living relationship, blacks and whites, as was acheived in the


C: Okay, I remember you mentioning that the last time. That's one of the

things I found very interesting, and rather unique about a Southern town,


Page 2 sjm

to see that there was very little racial segregation in housing. We

also talked briefly about Dr. Joseph Shelley, who was head of the, mayor

of the commission and you were characterizing him, you were discussing

him, and the other members of the commission. Would you care to go over

that again briefly?

G: Alright. Well, first, if I recall, I said that there were a number of

identifiable social groups or classes or sets within the community and

that there was very little social mobility from one to the other. And if

I could review those again, then I could place Joseph Shelley-

C: Fine, fine.

G: And the general leadership of the town within one of those groups. Now

the first of those groups, I said, was the old, I call them the old English

group, in that most of them have English names, are old-time Anglo-American

families dating back to the territory and early statehood years. Many of

them belong to the Trinity Episcopal Church in the city. Many of them

lived on Water Street, directly north of the Castile de San Marcos along

the bay. They were generally very well educated, enlightened, had no pro-

blems about racism. At least none that were public or ever came into view.

Had, what would you say, a liberal sophisticated approach to the world in

general, and to St. Augustine in particular. That was one group, and a

very small group.

C: Were they influential?

G: Not in city politics, no. They were not. They were influential culturally,

they supported the arts, and they were generally well-to-do and so had the

influence that money always has. But apart from that, they were not a


Page 3 sjm

significant force in, in government or life in St. Augustine. They

were respected, looked up to, but they generally kept to themselves, and

that's one of the things I'm going to say about all of these individual

groups: that they generally kept to themselves, socialized among them-

selves, and had very little intermix with the other social groups in the

city. The second group I identified as the Minorcans, the members of the

families, descendants of the Minorcan families who elected to stay in St.

Augustine after the American takeover of Florida in 1821. And there are

quite a few families of Minorcan descent. And they form a very distinct

identifiable social or community group within the city. They tend to be

very self-centered, narrow in their understanding of themselves and their

place in St. Augustine's history. Sometimes defensive, but always proud

and assertive, in that they are, generally speaking, the oldest families in

the city. As far as their attitude toward minority groups, and particularly

the blacks is concerned, they seem to have participated with the old Eng-

lish families in the generally good relations thatAwhite people had to-

ward the blacks in St. Augustine prior to 1963, but with the difference,

with this difference. That you have to look at the Minorcans not as an

absolutely, what's the word, that you can't look at the Minorcans as a

monolith. Rather they were a community that was highly stratified accord-

ing to education, wealth, opportunity to travel and so forth. Many of the

Minorcan families perhaps by dint of the tradition or heritage that was

inculcated in them in their youth were very much St. Augustine centered.

They had no great interest in travel, to discover the virtues of other cul-

tures. St. Augustine was home. I always think of the Minorcans when I


Page 4 sjm

think of that English lady who was once asked why she didn't travel,

and she said,"Why should I travel when I'm already here?" And I think

that's the way the Minorcans felt about, and still feel about, about St.

Augustine. But that's again to make a generalization to which there

are exceptions. The more enlightened, the more educated and the more

wealthy of the Minorcans tended to travel and to do exciting and innovative

things. But as you went down the line of education opportunity and affluence,

and.ended at the bottom, you had people who were extremely narrow, ex-

tremely defensive and who's, not who's sole satisfaction, but who's fre-

quent satisfaction was to find solace in that there were still other people

beneath them. And those people were the blacks. And thus there would be

some Minorcans in this tragic episode who would appear publicly, and in

a very devastating way for St. Augustine, as racists. And the classic
/ /0 4 A" Hey
example was the man known as Hass ,,use /.

C: Ah, he was a Minorcan?

G: Oh yes, very much so.

C: ts IonuIe was a man who lived out in the country, outside, but near

St. Auglustine, who averred to a CBS television interviewer in these days

that there were children running around his house whose names he didn't even

know. Who organized a group of bullies who went into town armed with blud-

geons to beat up the niggers and so forth, and so to assert i-tims- And

you know this is part of the general Southern story, there have been lower

classes of whites sometimes called in popular language "poor white trash",

who have got their kicks out of beating on the group who was below them.


Page 5 sjm

And in that way giving themselves some kind of social respectability-

that there was somebody that they were better than. And I think-Has-

MImsi and his ilk fell into that category. But I would hate for the

Minorcans all to be painted with the same brush as we must paint 44fsr

_Muse There were other Minorcans, and are today who are very enlight-

ened and well-to-do, very successful figures, and they have done an

immense amount of good for St. Augustine. But that is a distinct group.

And by the way, talking about these groups, this was such a tightly knit

group of people there was very little social intercourse between them

and other groups in the city. For example, there was almost no social

intercourse, not even social contact of any meaningful sort between the

Minorcans and the old English group. Now we come to the third group, and

that is the professional and businessman group. Now here you have even

a wider distribution of people, because the professional and businessmen

together with their families, were a very large, almost amorphous group,

which thought they participated in the general Southern culture of St.

Augustine, were never really part of the old history of St. Augustine in the

way that the old English were, and the Minorcans were. They were people

whose homes were in St. Augustine, who loved St. Augustine for its atmos-

phere, for its environment, for the, the beach and, and the company that

they formed with other friends that they found there. But they were not

necessarily people whose long time roots were in the city, although many of

them did have roots within the city. And of course you cannot, you cannot

draw an absolute distinction between the Minorcans and the professional and


Page 6 sjm

Business men, because in point of fact, there were some Minorcans among

the professionals and among the businessmen. But the professional people

and the business people were generally a separate caste or group in that

they tended to belong to the same groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis, and

they tended to associate socially between and among each other. And if you

take that professional and businessman group, you find almost no Minorcans

in it, and you find no old English in it. So, I would identify this as a

special group. And it's this group that gave the civic leadership to the

city over the course of many years, in this present century, and we can go
To e
back to them in a little bit to talk about George Shelley. The fourth

group is the group that I called farmers and fisherman. Pardon me, laborers,

farmers and fishermen. Now here, you're getting close to a group that, while

it never really articulated its' attitude toward the blacks in any overt

or public way prior to 1963, was ready to do so if pressed. Because these

were white people who, who had goals, attitudes, philosophies of their own.

They were people of the earth, people of the sea. They were people who

worked hard, who scraped for a living. Who had very few of the creature

comforts that the professional and business people had, and the old English,

and many of the Miprcans had. In some respects you can say, they were in

frequent, if not constant competition with the blacks for employment, al-

though there never was a racial confrontation over employment between the

two groups. This group became the most vociferous of the St. Augustiners

in the black crisis of 1963-64. Still, it must be said that this group

was not the white group that fought in the streets. These were the people

who criticized the blacks the loudest. These were the people who belonged


Page 7 sjm

to American Legion and the Oddfellows and the Elks and groups such as

that had occasion to come together and to discuss these issues and to

speak about the blacks once black militancy came to the surface. And

they did so very strident tones, but they did not participate themselves

in any of the, or I won't say in any, but in, in much of the activity

that followed. Although there may have been elements of this group in

the, in the problem.

C: They weren't affiliated with Minuse's ancient city hunting club, then?

G: Yes, some of them were, but most of the ancient city hunting club came

from outside the city, outside the ciy. I'm talking about the people

within the city limits, now. The city of St. Augustine, because of the

special point that I think needs to be made, namely that when St. Augustine

had its violent confrontations, those confrontations occurred between

groups, both of which came from outside. But there were people within the

city limits who sympathized with some of the white activism that took

place, and this was the group laborers, farmers and and fishermen. Then

you have, of course, the blacks. And they, the blacks had a, I think a

long time and generally honorable history in the city. They took pride in

the work they did. They had a certain esprit and they lived in a community

that they loved. They wouldn't go anywhere else. They thought St. Augustine

was about as close to heaven as, as a black person in America, could, could

find. And so I think the blacks were generally a contented group, and prior

to the arrival of the, I don't want to call them agitators because that's a

loaded term, but it's the term that was used by the white group, until the


Page 8 sjm

arrival of those who would sensitize them to their legitimate gripes in

American society, these blacks lived generally contented life with their

lot, and participated freely with white people in various things that they

were allowed to participate in So those are the five groups: old English,

Minorcans, professional and businessmen, laborers, farmers and fishermen,

and finally, blacks. Now, it was that third group, the professional and

businessmen who gave the city its' civic leadership. Not only because

they were the members in the main of the city commission: and zoning board

and other governing bodies, but they were the people of influence, who

at the Kiwanis Club and Rotary Club and various other gatherings, social,

civic and fraternal, had the opportunity to say and do things that affected

the direction of the city in total. It happened that in the early 1960's,

that St. Augustine, which has always been somewhat behind the times in just

about everything, and by design, I might add, because there's consciously

no hurrying and scurrying in St. Augustine. It happened that there was in

the city a very active John Birch chapter, chapter of the John Birch Society.

And this, you see, after the McCarthy era of the fifties, and whereas the

John Birch movement or the extreme conservative or reactionary movement had

been discredited in many quarters of American life, it still lived on with

amazing strength in certain pockets of the South and the West, and St. Augustine

was certainly one of those pockets. The leaders of the John Birch Society,

and therefore the leaders of the reactionary movement and therefore the

people who were always writing condemnatory letters to the St. Augustine

Record about the liberal or progressive direction the country was taking,

the leaders were the physicians. They were the people like Hargrove Norris


Page 9 sjm

and Joseph Shelley and Dr. Caffaro, I forget his first name, but he's

in the directory, and others. That was a very vocal group. And the

early 1960's was a time of not very great political activity in St. Au-

gustine, there were no special civic issues. The city was fairly much

at peace, participating in general prosperity of the early sixties, tre-

mendous tourist income, everybody was involved in making money. The only

people who were talking ideology were the people on the far right: Hargrove

Norris, Joseph Shelley and various others.

C: If I can interrupt you for a second-

G: Yeah, yeah.

C: Do you have any idea why-there were three doctors-do you have any idea why

they were so conseative?

G: No, I don't and somebody needs to do a study of that. Somebody needs to

find that out. You're obviously the person, because I don't think anybody

has really tried to determine. I used to ask, I was in school in those

years, and, or I was over here at the, well, I was in school until '62, and

then I was in St. Augustine my first year back when I was at the mission

in '63, and I used to ask my mother, "How come all the physicians are

mouthing all these things? What's, what's their problem?" and so forth. But

I don't remember my mom's answer. Maybe she knows, or she can point you to

some people who will know, because she does know the people who know the

answers to these questions. And that would be a very interesting thing to

know. Well, at that particular time, there were a number of businessmen who

exercised leadership in the community. There were three in particular. And

all of them, though citizens of St. Augustine, exercised their authority and


Page 10 sjm

influence in different dimensions or spheres. For example, Eaq Pope,

who is a local insurance agent, was probably the most influential member

of the Florida Senate, because not only of his natural talents as a leader

and an orator, but because of his seniority. &ari Pope was not an inno-

vative legislator. Shortly before his death, he reminisced that he got

very few bills passed but he sure killed a hell of a lot of bad bills.

That was the way he put it. He was known as the "lion of St. John's"

Because he came from St. John's county and he had a mane of white hair.

And I knew him, I knew him well and honor and prize that friendship and

he, he was a man who showed exceptional foresight, a progressive temper

of mind, and did a world of good not only for St. Augustine and St. John's

County, but for the state of Florida. The second person that I would name

who exercised exceptional leadership at this time was Herbert E. Wolfe.

Herbert Wolfe was the chairman of the Exchange Bank. He was the president

of the San Marco Contracting Company, and also the owner of a large, sig-

nificant ranch. He had immense political power, not only locally, but

state-wide. He was the treasurer for at least one governor's campaign

fund, successful governor. He was successful in that the man won the

office. He contributed to the chests of a number of other governors in

their campaigns.

C: LPope claims in his memoirs that he helped sponsor Smathers campaign for

the Senate.

G: That's right, I think he did. I think he did. I'm quite sure that that's

true. And so he, he held tremendous sway over local politics and local

life. He owned a great amount of the city. As a matter of fact, a lot of


Page 11 sjm

people feared Herbert Wolfe, and I think unreasonably, because Herbert

Wolfe was really very ethical, high-minded and generous man with a

strong sense of community obligation. I think he's been faulted unjustly

by many people for for having intentions that I, I'm not sure that

Herbert E. Wolfe ever had. I always found him to be a gentleman, and a

gentleman of high ethical and moral standards. Well in any event, he was

a man who pulled himself up by his own bootstraps. He, I think I told

you that story the last time, which I certainly wouldn't want to repeat

for attribution, because it doesn't appear to do him any credit and it

may not be altogether true, but he was plowing the farm one day as a, as a

young man and there was a black sitting on the fence watching him and

Wolfe was having some difficulty turning the horse and the plow or doing

something, whatever, and the black was sitting on the fence and convincing

and telling him how to do it and right then and there Herbert Wolfe quit

plowing and walked away from the farm, and said, by God, he would never do

anything else the rest of his life that a nigger could do better than him.

So, he set out to do some other things. And he was extremely successful

at them. Toward the, he's still alive, as you know, and toward the end of

his active public career, he was named the first chairman of the Historic

St. Augustine Preservation Board. A Board which by strange irony, I'm

chairman of, now.

C: I didn't know that.

G: And this was really a very significant work that he undertook. And he was

good at it.and he labored hard at it, and really did an exceptional job at


Page 12 sjm

it. And St. Augustine owes him the highest debt. As a matter of fact,

just recently awarded him the highest honor that the city can bestow, the-

Order of La Florida. Only eight living people can hold that award. They

must be fifty-five years of age and must have rendered truly distinguished

service over the length of many years to the city and only two such people

have been so honored, General Henry W. McMillan, the recently retired adjutant

general and who's also a member of the Board now, and Herbert E. Wolfe,

just two months ago. Well, those are two people who wielded power. And

then we come down to the local level, strictly local level. And we find

Joseph Shelley elected to the City Commission and then becoming mayor com-

missioner. Now I don't remember the system by which the mayor commissioner


C: He's elected by the other members of the commission.

G: He was? Okay. I, I, I think that that's the way it was, that's my recol-

lection. And so Joe Shelley, either in turn, became mayor and unhappily

was mayor during that time, or else he was the first one of the new commis-

sioning, I, I just don't recall. I'm sure you know or will find out. In

any event, he was mayor at the time of St. Augustine's trial, and he was

he was, he was the worst mayor that St. Augustine could have had in that

moment, because he was not a peacemaker, and he was not a man of vision, and

he was not a man who, he was not a compassionate man. He was full of John

Birch rhetoric and he was, his eyes were blinded by extreme right-wing ideo-

logy. And he let things dissolve into chaos and violence and was not unduly

perturbed when the violence happened. He was just the opposite of a civic

leader. He was a civicfollower and of the worst order. I was, I would always


Page 13 sjm

felt friendly with Joe Shelley and his wife, and I sympathized with

them deeply when their son was fatally wounded in Vietnam and Joe flew

out to the Phillipines to the hospital to which his son had been brought

and worked with the physicians day and night, you know, to save his

boy, but he died. Later on, when I was in Vietnam, and I did a series

of articles, one of which was on the field hospital, Da Nang, which was

a, just the most terrible thing I ever saw in my life. And I, I wrote

it up, and it was syndicated, and Mrs. Shelley happened to read it in the

newspaper, and she said, that was the hospital that her boy had been

brought to. They've always felt a certain bond with me for that reason,

and, you know it's hard to say hard things about, about a man whose been

through that agony, and I think that's affected him. I think he's, I

think the death of his boy really took a lot out of Joe Shelley. And then

the subsequent peace, if you want to put it in his terms, defeat that oc-

curred in Vietnam was also, I think, disabled him mentally or emotionally.

I understand he's in a very bad way right now. You know, when you think

that your boy gave his, gave up his life for nothing, it has a, a terrible

effect. When I was in Vietnam, all the guys up on the front lines, the

grunts, the marines and the army guys, they, they all said their private

moments that the war meant nothing to them at all. They saw no reason for

it, it was senseless, it was useless, and I said,"Well, why are you fighting?",

and they said,"To keep my buddy alive." That was the only reason. They

weren't fighting for America, they weren't fighting for-to keep their buddy

alive, that was the one thing. And, and then, the second thing on their

list was,"Because I've lost my best friend," or "Because my buddy's died


Page 14 sjm

here somewhere and I don't want their, the loss of their lives to, to

mean nothing. I've got to give it a meaning," you know, and so they

kept fighting. And I think Joe's been that way and I think he's just

gone into a pit because of it. A lot of parents experienced this. Well,

that's why, you know, I've got to speak charitably Ct I Dabout Joe

Shelley. But how he got into this, this bent of mind that he was in

in the early sixties, I, I, I don't know. It was, it was the undoing of

St. Augustine, that it did not have at the helm a man of insight, a man

of compassion, a man of courage, a man who would dare to go out and, you know,

hold back the contending forces and speak the language of reason. It

didn't have that kind of man. It had a very inadequate police force, both

city force and county sheriff's force. Both were pitifully undereducated,

undertrained for what happened, and Joe Shelley failed. He was not the

only one who failed. The rest of the City Commission failed. Every civic

leader failed. Unfortunately, as I said the last time, there had not yet

risen to the surface a civic leader such as John D. )/aley proved to be in

the years immediately following this. Now John )aley was in the city at

the time, but John was, he was young, he was a greenhorn in the city, he was

really just getting started. He had gotten his insurance company underway,

together with Peter Thompson, Thompson-Valey Insurance Company. And he was

beginning to test the waters of civic, you know, participation in civic

affairs. He was beginning to take an interest in politics and so forth. After

these terrible years, '63-64, John aley would thrust himself on the

scene to try to save the city, which he did. And in 1965, he was the

mayor of the city and in the year afterwards, I think he was mayor, too.


Page 15 sjm

And ever since then, he has been the conscience of the city, civically

and politically. And if there's any one man I would name as Mr. St.

Augustine, it would be John D. ialey. It's, it's unfortunate for St.

Augustine that he did not matureahese events. There were some other

people who, okay, I'm talking about that group of professional and

businessmen. There were some, I'll talk about John aley and certain

others who were up at the top of the list of people who could have done

something. Unfortunately, the people who had the influence and the power

and the momentum were the people at the lower rank of the professional

and business group. And Joseph Shelley was one, and another was Noble

Putt Calhoun, Noble Putnam Calhoun. And if you want to know about white

racism from the professional and businessman's standpoint, in other words,

at the bottom of that stratum, talk to Noble Putt Calhoun. I knew Putt

very early on, because at the close, well it's in the last year of the

Second World War, I was working at a radio station, I was a disc jockey and

sports announcer and war analyst and everything else at WFOY, the only

station in town. WFOY, wonderful fountain of youth, 1240 on your dial. And

toward the end of my year there, a man came to work at the station, Putt

Clahoun. Putt had just been discharged from the military, an early dis-

charge, for what reason I don't remember, and Putt was a real southern

guy, you know in those days, two hundred and fifty watt stations didn't

have much pick on your announcers. The normativeAin American radio was

what was called the Chicago voice. And that was because radio ini-, originated

in Chicago. And in the 1920's, early '30's, when the networks first

started, the voices that the American population identified with big time

Page 16 sjm

radio were the people who had the Chicago voice, and when the network

headquarters moved to New York, the Chicago voice moved to New York.

There was, in the early years, there was never a New York announcer on the

air from New York, they were all Chicago networks. And so, in all, as a

matter of fact, that prevails even today. If you, if you turn on a

southern radio station in any community of any size, you'll never hear a

southern voice. Very interesting.

C: I've noticed that.

G: Yeah. Southern people always want to hear a Chicago voice. Fascinating.

Nobody's ever done a study on this. I talked about it for years, but it's

fact that nobody really has studied. Well,Noble Putt Calhoun, though, had

a very deep Southern drawl and it always bothered me, because I could never

understand how Alan Brown, the manager of the station would hire Putt Cal-

houn. But Putt worked there as an announcer doing mostly commercials. I

did all the DJ work, and I did Touchton's Telequiz and Today!s War Commentary

and all kinds of other nonsense. And Putt did mostly commercials, and I

remember one day on this DJ show I had, the 12-40 club. It was the middle

of the mayoralty race. This was in 1945, the spring of, about this time,

1945. There was a man running for mayor, Walter B. Frazier, who had been

a power in St. Augustine. He owned the Fountain of Youth, he owned the oldest

schoolhouse, his son now owns his properties, and he'd made a lot of money

and injected himself into Florida politics and even ran for governor and

was defeated. When he was mayor of St. Augustine, a number of times and

he was running for re-election this particular year, spring, '45


Page 17 sjm

and he decided that he would not read his own campaign speeches. What

he would do, would be to ask me if I would read his, his speeches for

him on the air. And, about what a great guy, sort of third person stuff,

you see, what a great guy Walter B. Frazier was. And in return for that,

he promised me a chicken dinner and three cartons of Camel cigarettes.

Well, the chicken dinner didn't appeal to me, but the three cartons of

Camels really did, because in those days, all the Camels were sent to the

fighting men, you know. And all we could get were Wings and Fatimas and

All Americans and things like this. So, I, I read his campaign speeches

for him. He lost by the way. And I never got the chicken dinner and I

never got the three cartons of Camels, which bothered me no end. That was

my first taste of the treachery of American politics. But I did this.

And then on the 12-40, this DJ show I had in the afternoons, see radio was

the only thing there was in those days. And all the kids got out of

school and I, theoretically, I was a senior in high school, but I dropped

out because this was all more important. Is that still going?

C: Yeah.

G: And I ran for, I decided what the heck, here I am giving all these campaign

speeches for Frazier,"Why don't I run for mayor myself?" So, I, I publicly

announced my candidacy, and so on, and all the kids in town voted for me

and more. I mean, they said they were going to vote. They couldn't vote un-

less they were twenty-one. Well, the vote came out and Frazier lost by a

narrow margin. But I got thirty-eight write-in votes and they were all from

black people, in West Augustine and Putt Calhoun found out about it and he

came into the control room one day when I was working there and said, he


Page 18 sm

said,"What are you doing appealing to the niggers? What are you doing

appealing to those niggers, those black, stinking niggers?" And that's

the first time I've ever heard anyone in St. Augustine talk about blacks

that way. Later on I found out that Putt had been in Australia the same

time Steve O'Connell was in Australia and they knew each other. And Steve

was teaching physical ed to a, to the troops, teaching them sports and

keeping in condition. Putt Calhoun was a captain in charge of a company

of black soldiers. And it got to him, somehow. And Putt said a few things

over the air, too, after this, which really gave me pause. I was worried

about this. Well, when all of this came to the surface, Putt's racism came

to the surface, too. And I mean in a big way. And Putt was a member of the

Trinity Episcopal Church and a member of the vestry, and that will give

you a clue to a primary force in the vestry's decision to keep the niggers

out. So that shows you a low point there, that professional and businessmen.

Okay, where are we now?

C: Well-

G: I went a long way.

C: Right, well, we're about to leave '63 and go on into '64 and I think talk

about the emergence, the entrance of King. Before we do, I wanted to ask

you, the last time we talked, you said that you didn't think anybody in St.

Aug ustine thought anything serious would happen in '64, despite the events

of '63.

G: Uh hum,

C: I was wondering if, in other words, I guess you're saying that they didn't

take that Florida advisory commission on Civil Rights which came to St. Au-


Page 19 sjm

gustine in Aug ust and made a number of recommendations to the U.S.

Civil Rights Commission. I guess they didn't take their observations

seriously. Basically what they said was to halt the spending of, ap-

propriating of federal funds for the 400th anniversary. They mentioned

the discrimination out at Fairchild-Strtis Corporation, they mentioned

discrimination within St. Augustine. But apparently, most of St. Augustine

didn't pay much attention to that report.

G: That's true, that's true. And they felt that these were the same kinds

of reports that were being made about every city in the south. So St.

Augustine did not, at that time, feel itself especially singled out. Al-

though it, there were certain elements in the city that became very ner-

vous when the 400th anniversary was mentioned.

C: Uh hum.

G: I was one of those.

C: Right. How about the, the Florida East Coast Railroad strike, which started

in February, actually started, excuse me, started in January of '63, and

would, would last about two years.

G: Maybe even more.

C: Did that have any- yeah, right. Even longer.

G: It took more, oh yeah, more than that.

C: Right.

G: I think it's the longest strike in American history.

C: Right. Now, did that have any influence on people in St. Augustine? Were

many employed by Florida East Coast?

G: Oh, yes, it had a lot of influence on the people. There were tremendous



Page 20 sjm

numbers of people in St. Augustine who were, well, tremendous, I don't

know. But a large number of people who were employed at the Florida East

Coast Railway headquarters and that had always been a stable industry in

the town. That and the Miller Shops of the Florida East Coast Railway, the
whole Miller locomotive shops, you can still see the remains opposite the

Ponce de Leon Motor Lodge across Route 1. They were primary source of

jobs in St. Augustine. And the headquarters still is. But I don't remem-

ber that there was any connection between the strike and the civil rights


C: Okay. Do you think, do you think it sitrred up feelings in St. Augustine,

or it left a floating body of unemployed loose who could be mobilized in

an anti-civil rights cause.

G: I would say yes, if I knew that those two events were conjoined, because

I don't know.

C: Right.

G: But I think your reasoning is very good and I, I never thought of that


C: Okay. The other, one of the other things that happened in '6-. (end of side)


G: -drawing inferences, in that most of the violence that occurred was at

night, when all working people were free.

C: Right. Good point, good point. Another event in '63 that might have gone

unnoticed by most St. Augustinians but it didn't go unnoticed by blacks in

particular, I've found reference to in the, considerable reference to in the


Page 21 sjm

Florida Star News, the Jacksonville black newspaper and the Pittsburgh

Courrier, the national black newspaper. And that was the imprisonment of

four young blacks from St. Augustine, teen-agers, who took, who were

involved in the Haling-led protests of '63. They were under-aged. They

were taken from their parents by Judge Mathis and put in jail, and then

went to the federal, excuse me, the state prisons for teenagers. One at

Marianna, I believe, and I'm not sure where the other ones were. Two

girls and two Boys. And this, was this, did this go unnoticed by most-?

G: I don't, I remember that, but I guess it went generally unnoticed. Nobody

rallied to the side of those, those boys. And Haley himself was some-

thing of a newcomer. Quite, quite a remarkable and courageous person, but

he did and said things ultimately that got him into hot water with the

NAACP, which for a while he represented in the city.

C: Uih hum. Right.

G: I think Haley was a sport. He was like Haley's comet. He, he went through

the sky, you know, and then disappeared.

C: Uh hum. Yeah, he doesn't even live there anymore.

G: No. But, no I don't remember that, I don't remember that.

C: You know, they, it became, once they, once they were put in jail, they

stayed in jail for several months. It wasn't a matter of just being in

there day, days. And the judge put them in prison because their folks

wouldn't promise to keep them out of further demonstrations. Well, anyway

let's, let's go on and jump into '64.

G:. \jE figures.


Page 22 sjm

C: Why do you think King became involved in St. Augustine? Martin Luther


G: King, I think, needed a peg on which to hang passage of the Civil Rights

law. It was foundering, or it was making slow progress, and he needed

to attract attention to a place or a cause that was more specific than

his general cause. And St. Augustine provided an easy and obvious target.

Because it was about to celebrate its four hundredth anniversary, in the

course of which federal funds had, or were going to be appropriated. And

this he seized on. And in retrospect, you'd have to say that he was a

very good tactician. But in retrospect also, you might argue that he

was not a very good strategist. He secured, or I'll reverse that, he was

a very good strategist and not a very good tactician, because he secured

passage of the Civil Rights law, and I think largely, because of what he

did in St. Augustine. But he left in his wake, a ruined city, in many

respects. A city that would take years to recover from what he did there,

from the bad publicity that he brought there and caused to happen there.

He left people who lived in terror in the nighttime because of fears that

had been engendered in them by experiences that took place in the city. He

left behind a quadracentennial that in great part was nothing that it had

expectations of being and most of all, he left a city that was devastated

by drastic decrease in tourism because of the bad image of the city and the

reluctance of people to go there. And St. Augustine depends eighty-five

percent for its survival on tourism. I think he picked an easy mark. And

I, I think it's, I think it's tragic that he chose a place where racial

relation in the main were good and where black people as well as white, today,


Page 23 sjm

do not remember him kindly. For that, of course, you'll have to

correct my opinion by talking with black people themselves. But there are

numerous things that I could say to that. I remember when Martin Luther

King first came to the city. I never saw him there myself. I was in-

credibly busy with the Library of Florida History and with the building

of the cross and the church and the mission, with the planning of the

church's role, the quadracentennial, the coordination of the church's role

with the role to be played by the Castillo de San Marcos, the St. Augustine

Historical Society, the city government and the Historic St. Augustine

Preservation Board, and yet of course I could not be anything other than

dismayed and troubled and very much aware of what was happening racially

in the city. And as time went on, I became more and more aware, and more

and more troubled in my own conscience, because I realized belatedly, I

should, these are things I should have realized a long time before, but I

realized under the press of events that I didn't like at all, that really

the black people in America were, were, were treated like cattle. And this

cried out to heaven for change, if not for vengeance. I understood how)

I knew the history of the South enough to know what had happened and why

it happened and, and of course I was a voice for gradualism. We've got to

solve these problems gradually, and I fell into the trap of, of excusing

the lack of any change at all, under the mantle of gradualism. But I tried

to be a peacemaker of sorts, within the limitations and all I can tell you

now, is my experiences as I went around and saw what happened. Without

going into the, the sequence events, of events that you can determine for

yourself, because I remember I had forgotten the sequence. Mrs. Peabody

came down at Eastertime and that was before King came down and so forth.


Page 24 sjm

And all of those things are fairly open to the record. What I remem-

ber, I-that when Martin Luther, I remember being passionately involved

with the quadracentennial, and being invited to Tampa to speak with

President Kennedy about the quadracentennial and the history of the

city and our plans for it, and how he was actively interested in it,

and promised to keep in touch with me about it and so on, and then four

days later he was shot. And that was, that was the first tragic thing

that happened to me, in this, that something I had committed myself to

and I had found a champion in the highest office in the land, you know,

to make this nationally known. All of that just went down the tube.

And then, I don't know again, the sequence of that event, but I remem-

ber that was one thing that happened. And then the entrance of Martin

Luther King into the city caused the rest, or much of the rest of what

we had planned, to go down the tube. Because we didn't get any federal

monies as a consequence of what he did and the loss of the president who

was interested in us, although-

C: Johnson, Johnson didn't provide any money?

G: Well, he may have provided a little bit.

C: Uh hum.

G: See, the President told me he would come, Kennedy said, he said,"Look, you

set things up and I'll be there to help you out", and so on. But when King

came into the city, my feelings were mixed. On the one hand, in my mind

and, in my mind I knew that he was, he was right in what he was doing. In

my heart, I was wishing to hell he was doing it somewhere else. And you see,

there's the old problem, the old dilemma, you know. The limousine liberal,


Page 25 sjm

such as I was, admittedly. I was wishing that allAthis could be done,

but that my own interests would not be affected and of course that was

a stupid position to take, but it was the position that I, that I took

and I have a great deal of sympathy for people whose lives are upset, or

whose plans are, are threatened or damaged or destroyed by a necessary

social change. I think I had a lot of trouble with King on one count

in particular. And yet it may have been necessary to his tactics. He

brought in demonstrators from Atlanta and elsewhere, to do the marching.

He dragooned certain local people, mostly youths from Florida Memorial

College to march with his people and those marches were conducted in

King style in a peaceful manner, but still very loudly in such a way as

to cause real concern, if not fright among many of the citizens of the

city. And my mother I remember, was one who was terrified. I used to

have to go and stay in the house with her at night. We'd pull the blinds

and turn out, leave the lights out and so forth, as the groups of blacks

would go by shouting and singing and yelling and so forth and there were

other ladies, many of them living alone who were just frightened out of

their wits by this. Nothing like this had ever happened in St. Augustine,

and they were, they were really frightened. I remember that. And then I

remember, on the other side the violent white men who came. in from outside

the city, armed with their truncheons and their clubs, their chains and how
in the nighttime they fall upon these lines of young black people and beat

them and see the young blacks running screaming and yelling from the scene

and then I knew that the, the whole matter was going rapidly out of hand.

It was a shameful display. The only thing I could think of to justify what


Page 26 sjm

I was viewing was the fact that the people on both sides were from

out of town, as nearly as I could tell. St. Augustine had become a

battleground, a kind of Anzio for two armies, neither of which was

Italian. And I've spoken about the failure of the, oh, well, I'll,I'll

stay with the blacks for a while now. Martin Luther King used to go

into the black areas of the city and the black neighborhoods and demand

money from, from the people there. And you'll find blacks in the city

today who'll tell you how he and his people went around and demanded peon

ple's entire welfare checks for this enterprise. After a time, it didn't

take long, the black people in St. Augustine became very disenchanted with

"Martin Luther King, and they didn't support him, many of them. Maybe even

-most, But then again, you'd better talk to the blacks. And I, I met blacks

who would not talk about, didn't want anything to do with him, felt trum-

melled and ashamed, dispirited about the whole thing. And that's what I

thought was the tragedy. That Martin Luther King was, the tragedy for St.

Augustine, not for the blacks in general, but the tragedy for St. Augustine

was that Martin Luther King was using the black people of St. Augustine in

a way that was not serving them at all, in the short run. In the long run

of course it would, and in a way that everybody in the city thought was

bringing ruin upon the city, and was provoking unnecessarily the violence

that was taking place in the street. And then soon, eventually you had

the classic confrontation of black leaders and then such clowns as J.B. Stone

and Lynch and various other racists who came to town to, to, to preach their

garbage. And there's no question in retrospect that Martin Luther King saved

the black people of America, or he was largely responsible for it. And

Page 27 sjm

many of the rights that the people of, black people of this country had

in consequence of the passage of the Civil Rights Law and other laws

that followed soon afterwards, that the responsibility for that is largely

his and he deserves to be credited by history for that. But that does

not remove the dilemma, the irony, the anomaly, whatever it is, certainly

the tragedy of one city having to be destroyed in a sense, that that

might happen. Do you know what I mean?

C: Uh hum.

G: In other words, I'm not saying that Martin Luther King set out to do an

evil thing, to manipulate a city for evil purposes, no. He set out to

use the city for noble purposes. But that city went down the drain for

those purposes.

C: Can I ask you, while. we're here, we're a little ahead of ourselves, time--

wise, but why, what were race relations like after he left? Did they just

deteriorate completely, or how would you characterize them?

G: They became very bad after he left. Where they'd been two rather congenial

groups, now looked at each other as across a no man's land. Whites were

afraid to be seen speaking to blacks, working with blacks. Blacks kept

a very low profile, let it be known that they had nothing to do with Martin

Luther King's works and thoughts. It was, it was a tragic time. Now the

fighting in the streets, I saw a lot of that fighting. Now in retrospect,

I wish to hell I'd had the moral courage to do something about it, but I

didn't. And I'll tell you why. I would have been shipped out of town by

my bishop immediately. Now I, I put the blame on myself.initially for not

having tried to do more than I did. I remember President Currier of Florida


Page 28 sjm

Memorial College once said something that was very generous, but I don't

think true, he said I was the only white minister who stood up for the

blacks in those days. And maybe that happened, but if, if it did happen

it happened in rather quiet remarks that I made or things that I may

have tried to do of an obscure nature. But there was an opportunity for

me to have, to have tried to do something, and I didn't do it. And I didn't

do it, because I would have lost everything that I'd worked for at the

mission and I would have lost my own presence in the city. I would have

been shipped out of town the next day.

C: Would you care to go into that, why the ishop would do that?

G: Yeah, in this -matter, the bishop was a coward. I hope none. of these things

I say will come out the way I'm saying them now. You know, I'm, I'm, I'm

just speaking as directly and clearly as, as I can, so that you'll understand

the situation. But he, he acted in a very cowardly fashion. He was afraid.

Given a chance for greatness, he muffed it. One third of the city was captLve.

He found loopholes for inaction. One of his loopholes was the fact that

most of these people were from out of town. He had no influence on them

one way or the other. But he could have had influence by courageouslof one

nature or another. He also talked glowingly about peace, justice, all in the

abstract and felt his own conscience and the obligations of the church

satisfied in that respect. His man at the cathedral, the man who had the

cure of souls, the cure animarum for St. Augustine, was Monseignur John P.

Burns who is now the pastor of St. Patrick's Church here in Gainesville.

C: Right, right.

G: And Burns locked himself in the rectory and hid from men's eyes. I remember


Page 29 sjm

once in the middle of violence in the Plaza, looking up at the rectory

window and saw him with the curtain drawn, looking out and then closing

the curtain. And I'll never forget that. That was, that was the symbol

to me of the church's care for what happened in St. Augustine in those


C: How many blacks were Catholic in St. Augustine?

G: I don't know, but a pretty good number. I would say maybe what five hun-

dred, maybe, something like that.

C: Uh huh, that would be a pretty good number.

G: Yeah.

C: How about the rest of the religious leaders, Mike while we're talking about

the Catholic Church, let's talk about the others at the same time. Were

they doing anything?

G: No, the white churches. No, the I'll get to the Episcopal story in a

moment, but I'd like to just stay on Hurley for just a second.

C: Okay.

G: I remember when Archbishop Hurley arrived at, from a flight on an airport,

at Trme*o) airport at Jacksonville, Martin Luther King had just gotten

off of another plane, and Hurley and the, King were in the lobby of luSOon

a very small lobby at the same time. And Hurley raced and hid behind a

pillar, and said,"Don't let that man see me." So he really hid from this,

he, he was afraid. Subsequently, he wrote a sermon for Monseignur Burns to

give in the cathedral and it was the most abstract, cliche-ridden, ethereal

sermon you ever heard about. You know, do good and avoid evil. Obey the

ten commandments and if everybody does that, everything will take care of


Page 30 sjm

itself, which was a way of just separating himself utterly from the

situation and doing it, you know, in such a way that everybody could

applaud it, you know, and so on, for, for saying all the right things.

Well, he said right things, but they had no application to, to the

situation at hand. And I was no better. I'm criticizing him, but I

was no better. In retrospect, I should have laid my whole career and

job on the line, and gone out in the streets and tried to do something

to, to stop.

C: Why do you suppose he acted in a, what you call a cowardly fashion? Is

there any specific reason?

G: Yeah, I think I know exactly. But you have to know a little bit about

Joseph P. Hurley, who's a very complex character, one of the most fascinating

of the people in twentieth century Florida history. And incredibly

accomplished and incredibly powerful man in Florida life, culture, politics.

Well, Hurley was burned a couple of times. He started out, he started out

in life as a, an assistant pastor in Cleveland, Ohio, caughtthe fancy of

the bishop of the diocese, Mooney, who decided to make him his secretary.

And Mooney was named Papal delegate, papal nuncio, to India, and took

Hurley along. Hurley became secretary of the nuncioture in New Delhi, and

then later, Mooney was transferred to Japan. All of this in the thirties.

Then Mooney was named to Rome as head of the American desk at the Secreta4ry

of State of the Vatican, and Hurley was left behind in Tokyo as charge d'affaire.

Then Mooney was translated to this country and named Cardinal Archbishop of

Detroit and Hurley went to Rome, succeeding Mooney as head of the American

desk. And Hurley became a very strong anti-Nazi. Very interesting. I found oLt


Page 31 sjm

a lot of things about him by accident and I remember, I remember one

day, excuse this diversion, but one day in the 1950's, I was skiing in

Switzerland at Grindelwald and I was on, up on Mt. First and watching

the pre-Olympic skiers in their slalom trials. And I noticed a man

up the slope, who I thought, whom I thought I recognized, and I went

up and I said,"Excuse me, but are you, by any chance, Sir Arnold Lunt?"

And he avowed that he was, and I said,"Do you-?", oh, he asked me where

I was from and I said St. Augustine and that I was a seminarian studying

in Belgium and so forth, and he said,"Isn't that where that remarkable

man, Joseph P. Hurley went?", in his British accent, and I said,"Yes."

And he said,"Oh, I remember him well," he said. "I was a correspondent

for the Daily Mail in 1939 in Rome and my paper asked :me to be on the

alert for any Vatican people who said anything at all about the Nazis.

And one evening I was listening to Vatican radio and on comes this

American Monseignur, this Joseph P. Hurley, the head of American desk

and the Secretary of State, blasting the.Nazis, just excoriating them up

and down. And it was the first time there had ever been a public statement

about the Nazis outside of a few very formal statements of the Popes

themselves. So I immediately interviewed this man, and found him to be
extraordinary. Then war broke out and Hurley was named to St. Augustine,

and when he arrived in St. Augustine, it was the expectation of the American

church that he was going to be the new great American churchman, the new

Cardinal Gibbons, a man of extraordinary courage. All, almost all of

Hurley's belongings were sunk by German submarines. They had come over on

another boat and the boat went down. He lost most of his things, but he


Page 32 sjm

arrived here shortly after, about six months his arrival at St. Augustine

he was, he was asked by the NBC program, the Catholic Hour, the radio pro-

gram, the Catholic Hour, to give a talk. And he gave a talk. And the

talk was against Nazi Germany. And this was in 1940, and when the talk

ended, Catholic Hour received more mail than it had ever received before,

and almost all of it, against Hurley. Almost all of it' from Catholic


C: Ah, yes.

G: Irish Americans. And I remember, I, I, I saw all of that, I have microfilm

of all that correspondence, because Hurley kept it. There was something

perverse about him in this sense that he kept all bad mail, and there were

boxes of it and I have it all microfilmed. And I remember onGel1tter in

particular from a woman in his home town of Cleveland, a letter that said,

"To think that Minnie Hurley's boy would stoop to lick a British jack." And

Hurley was, was devastated by this. Nothing like this had ever happened.

He had ridden the crest of success all his life. And all of a sudden, boom,

the whole country, down on him. It, it, it killed his spirit for a long

while. He wrote a letter to Cardinal Mooney, just a, a weeping letter, I

have a copy of it. And, in 1940. Well, then the war was over, and the

man for whom he had worked as Secretary of State was now Pope, Fucelli,

Pope Pius XII. And Pius XII at the end of the war, named Hurley Papal

Nuncio to Yugoslavia, a very difficult problem there dealing with the

Communists, Tito, the Croatians and the Slavs and all of that. And Fucelli

knew of Hurley's talents and named him, and Hurley did a fantastic job at

the trial of Cardinal Stapenok and others, he was heavily involved. And


Page 33 sjm

he earned the wrath of Tito for standing up for the Catholic people and

standing up for justice and so forth, and he was really back in his ele-

ment again, and, and on the crest once more and then he did an incredibly

stupid thing. He took his aide, McNulty, John McNulty, he and McNulty left

Yugoslavia to go on vacation at Lugano in Switzerland. And when they

went to return, the border guards did not allow them back in. And Hurley

said, "But I'm the Papal Nuncio." They said,"We're sorry." See, once he

was out of the country, Tito was under no obligation to let him back

in And Hurley went to Rome, and Pius XII refused to see him. And he

remained in Rome in a condition of shame and disgrace for months when

finally Fucelli made him an archbishop ad persona, meaning he was an

archbishop, but in title and rank without having archbishop's territory

or authority, and gave him a gold chalice with, encrusted with.jewels,

and sent him back to St. Augustine, where he arrived. And that was a

way of saving face for Hurley. But Hurley knew that he was in disgrace

and he, he never lived it down. And he never did another courageous thing

in his life. And when he hid behind the pillar in Imeson Airport, it

all fell in place. But he was the man who could have saved St. Augustine

and I could have helped him and others could have helped him. But he

did not have the courage, and alas, neither did I, because I was, I was

saying to myself,"Discretion is the better part of valor, and I'll be

able to carry on things and keep them going. Don't be foolhardy, don't

lose everything. Try to work behind the scenes." And subsequently I did

try to work behind the scenes. And so, on one occasion, after the city

had just gone completely to pieces, by the way Hurley wasn't the only one

Page 34 sjm

who was hiding. I remember one day, one night, I was standing in a

doorway in the darkness watching the violence in the streets, watching

Lynch and Stoner ranting, watching the blacks marching by, watching the

whites come in with their clubs and clubbing, watching the police try to

do this, watching the CBS cameramen taking it all in, the bright lights

and so on. Watching this whole frightful scene from this blackened corner

of a doorway on King Street and a figure came, came up and sort of scurried

by me into the next doorway. And after a while I looked around to see

who it was, and it was General Henry W. MacMillan, adjutant general of the

State of Florida, also watching from afar, you know?

C: Uh huh.

G: Well, in any event, the, I guess the one, I, I went to see Shelley, appalled

by what was happening and ashamed that nobody was doing anything con-

structive, and I, I put together and I, I meant to find it in time to

give to you today, but I'll find it, put together a statement called

A Declaration of Good Will" to express the, to give expression to the

voice of both the white and the black communities, as I saw it. And I

begged Joseph Shelley to sell this to this, to the population of the city,

to reverse the terrible publicity the city was suffering from and to stand

up for an objective, careful, fair look at the, the rights that were being

demanded and so on. And I went to his office and I presented it to him

and he read it, and I begged him to do something, and he refused to budge.

The only thing he said to me in reply was, "How come the niggers all ride

around in-", I don't know if he said niggers, Negroes, niggers, he didn't

say blacks in any event, because that wasn't the popular parlance at that


Page 35 sjm

point. "How come they all drive around in big cars?" That was his

response. And I've always remembered that. So, then I remember we had

the quadracentennial-

C: I wonder if I could get you on the other churches for a second.

G: Yeah, oh yeah that's right.

C: I don't mean to belabor that-

G: I need to get to the other churches.

C: If 1, I'm just curious as to why the, you a good sense of what

was happeningthe Catholic Church, but I, I think the other religious

leaders had an obligation, too, which they let go by, and I wonder if we

could just talk about that for a minute.

G: Well, for one thing, the reason why there was a stronger obligation on

the Catholic clergy to do something than on the others, was because the

Catholic priests were not subject to the vote of their congregations. But

the Protestant churches were. And they could dismiss their pastor just

like that. And it would be a very rare white Protestant minister who

would stand up and say something, if he knew it was violently opposed to

the will and opinion of his congregation. He'd be out of his job the next


C: Right.

G: Now, the only white priest or minister who did anything of that sort was,

Father Bullock of, and what is his first name, I'll remember it,nof Trinity

Episcopal Church.

C: You, you mean, Seymour, Charles Seymour?

G: Or was it Seymour, Charles Seymour?


Page 36 sjm

C: Yeah, Charles Seymour, right.

G: That's right. His predecessor. I think.

C: Yeah, Bullock, Bullock was, Bullock followed Seymour.

G: Bullock followed Seymour-

C: Right.

G: After Seymour left. Seymour stood up, against his vestry.

C: Right.

G: To permit the blacks to enter, it was Seymour.

C: That's right.

G: And, that was a courageous act. He was supported in that by his bishop,

which was more than Archbishop Hurley did for his Catholic counterparts

who might have done the same thing. And Seymour was the only one, the only

one who made an issue of admitting blacks freely into his church to worship.

And his, his vestry opposed him, and Seymour left, under what circumstances,

I forget. Don't know if he was-

C: He went to New Orleans after that, I'm not sure if he was called by a parrish

down there or exactly what. But, he, he's there now, I believe.

G: You know, you should try to talk with him and you should talk with Puck

Calhoun and members of the vestry. I can give you names of lots of people

to whom you could talk in St. Augustine. And I'd like for you to talk to

my mother's black maid, if she will agree to do it. But if she doesn't,

she'll put you in touch with people who will. Louise, Louise was shocked

by what Martin Luther King did. And, but she was also shocked by what the

whites did, and at one point, oh yes, Martin Luther King told the black


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women, the maids, not to go to work for the white families, not to

show up. Louise did anyway. She was one of the few because she snuck

through the back streets to get to my mother's house, and-

C: So there was tremendous pressure on the blacks.

G: Oh, tremendous, yeah.

C: Okay.

G: One, on one of those trips to my mother's house, Louise was assaulted by

Ku Klux Klanners who grabbed her and dragged her into an automobile and

she clawed herself away and ran. An old woman, too. She can tell you, if

she'll open up, if she knows that it won't be written-she's still scared.

C: Is that right?

G: If you mentioned her this, she's still scared. That's why, you know, we'd

have to be very delicate about this, but, and if she knows that she would

never Be quoted. She's so afraid, she lives in fear still, because of this

and... Well, in any event, there's, not too many black, there are not too

many church people, and there were, I think Charles Purrier at Florida

Memorial was the wisest black in town. And the person who tried to do the

most to keep things peaceful. But there were nonwhites who, whites either

powerful or lay who took a you know really substantive, S2 of lea-


C: It's getting late and I know you're getting tired, so I figure maybe one

more question and we'll call it quits. But, when it really got violent, were

any of the, wereany of the businessmen'who could see that, that businesses

were being impaired, affected by the racial conflict and the riots in the

city, were any of them beginning to mobilize behind the scenes to put


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pressure on Shelley and, and government and the others on the commission?

G: I, that's a question I can't answer. I don't know.

C: Uh huh. Okay.

G: I don't remember. I remember, you know, it was, what was it, Brock-

C: James Brock.

G: James Brock who was really in the forefront, I think you mentioned this

the last time, the fore front of the local motel operators in trying to

do something about black rights. And he was going to make a motion at

the forthcoming meeting of the Hotel and Motel Association of Florida

which he was president of that year to open up motels and hotels to

blacks. And it was an irony that he, by a quirk, was singled out as

a vicious white racist. You see, St. Augustine was filled with these

ironies. It seemed the harder you tried to do one thing, the more you

were painted with a brush for being the other thing. And Brock is a classic

case. By the way, he's back in town and has bought

C: Oh, is he really?

G: He's bought it. He owns it.

C: How about A.H. Tibolt and the St. Augustine Record. They seemed to provide

minimal leadership during this whole period of time.

G: Yeah, well, that's the story of that paper throughout its' history. I was

once the sports editor of that paper when I was in high school. It was a

joke. The paper was a joke then and it's a joke now. It's never done any-

thing. The radio stations similarly. Although Frankie Walker, I would say,

Frankie Walker, in her way, has done more than any media person in St.

Augustine, in those years and afterwards to alert people to what was actually


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happening. And Frankie has a she has a high sense of what's right and

what's wrong. She would be a good person to talk with.