Interview with Judge Bryan Simpson, May 24, 1977

Material Information

Interview with Judge Bryan Simpson, May 24, 1977
Simpson, Bryan ( Interviewee )
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Civil Rights (St. Augustine) Oral History Collection ( local )
Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History ( local )
Miscellaneous Oral History Collections ( local )
Oral histories ( lcgft )

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
CRSA 002 Bryan Simpson 5-24-1977 ( SPOHP IDENTIFIER )


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Civil Rights-St. Augustine 2A

Interviewer: David Colburn

Interviewee: Judge Bryan Simpson

May 24, 1977 sjm

S: There, there are two or three main sections which you may have gathered

from reading Mr. Ku nstler's comments, also from other sources. The, the

first, the first things that happened down there, do you want me to start

off with that? Or would you rather ask me questions?

C: Well, I was just going to ask you, the first one I was just going to ask

you was, were you involved in any of the 1963 goings-on? That was before-

S: Well, that was, that was when they took, they got ha and beati*-en -


C: Right.

S: Well, that, that came out, they never brought any action in this, in the

district court, United States court, with reference to that.

C: I see.

S: But it came out in the following spring, in 1964, in the suit against

LO. Davis, the sheriff, which was one of the main, the main pieces of

litigation. That styled Andrew Young v. LZ Davis -------

C: Right, the ambassador-

S: Ambassador to the United Nations. But he was, he was an assistant of Martin
Luther King" at that time. And he, he was, he was arrested and beat up

on and all sorts of things, so they, they, one of the early suits was Young

v. Davis, one of the main suits. The early suits were numerous arrests for,

this was about Eastertime in 1964--

C: Uh huh. Right.


Page 2 sjm

S: Early April, I guess, or late March, 1964.

C: Late March.

S: Attempts to integrate eating places and motels, to a limited extent, but

more, more eating places than anything else. And that's when Mrs. Peabody,

the, the mother of the then governor of Massachusetts, Endicott Peabody, she

was among the ones arrested and she'd been written up in her, that week, about

her reasons for going down there. They, there were, oh, I don't know, a

couple hundred arrests, I would guess, I don't want it to come out and be

sure about it on paper. And they sought, Kuestler, William Kuhtstler and
Tobias Sa enfrom Miami, they were representing these plaintiffs, they

sought, they filed petitions to remove all the cases involved in these

arrests, which were, I guess would been returnable to the county/court st o

the county judges court. I'm not certain which. Judge Mathis, John Mathis

was the judge of that court.

C: Right.

S: And I had hearings for two or three days and determined that the cases

weren't removable under the statutes which had been stood. Apparently,

Kuenstler apparently looked to 'the fact that later they, I was reversed for

the remainder of those cases. But that was because they, the court of

appeals applied the '64 Civil Rights Act retroactively.

C: Oh right.

S: -- -- opinion on that appeal and I had, at the time, at

that time, I, my recollection is, and it's filed, you'll have to ferret it

out. But my recollection is that I permitted a styf)-, s (} bond while he,

while the refusal to, while my dismissal of the case was in this court, was


Page 3 sjm

pending and that, that held them up, you see. They didn't go back at

that time.

C: Right.

S: And they, those cases now,they'd arrest them, they'd be, typically they'd

be a mixed group, two or three white ladies and a couple of colored ladies.

Now Mrs. Peabody, she had the, she had the wife of a black Episcopal

bishop somewhere in New England.

C: Yeah, Massachusetts.

S: Massachusetts, I guess, with her, and one, I don't know, one or two other

ladies, maybe another minister's wife. They, they were, they were arrested

for trying to eat, for going in and sitting down in a restaurant to eat.

C: Uh huh.

S: And there were, that, that was more or less typical ii'those offenses and

there was no special violence involved at that time.

C: Did you handle many cases like that before the St. Augustine confrontation?

S: I never had anybody try to remove a, try to remove one of those things. It

was a new concept. I think in Kuenstler's chapter he says that I was, /I /Lrea&/.'

He spoke to me and came to my office to me before the hearing and I told'

him I'd be interested to hear hat they had, see what they had to develop.

That this was something new to me, that they could remove these, this type

of case. And so, after hearing them a day or so, and hearing their arguments-

(What do you want, Ken? It'll keep, but thank you very much. Give the bank-

book and stuff to Mrs. ---' Thank you, Ken). Well, I've lost the thought,

I'm sorry, but-

C: You were talking to Kuenstler about the-


Page 4


S: And -_ te hearing. And they, they have some, they got hassled

around a little bit at that time, they got shoved around in the jail and

first agreed to, they had a as I recall a, a representative of a Miami

Bonding company or some out of town bonding company 4Ae/,/-r who said

they'd take them and then the next morning kicked that, released the people,

and then the next morning they wouldn't even --- /ord S\_n

and Bill Kuestler around in the office a little bit and so on. That, that's

I think you've covered that once that I know about. That was covered

pretty thoroughly in the testimony in that case. Then later they started,

it would have been in late May, they, they started marching down there and

marching at night.

C: Right, right.

S: And that, that is the basic, they marchg4 /----- -/ ar i'( e --

then they were told by, told by the sheriff and the chief of police and

so on that they couldn't march anymore. And they, then, we had this, had

this suit involving, and that was, that was jounq v. Davis-

C: Right.

S: I heard testimony for several days in that case

and the, the incident about Dr. Cleaver not Cleaver-

C: Robert __Y_
I/.. / .. 0 q ll^6
S: Robert .Ha4ey, yeah. Dr. Robert Hal-ey-being beaten up and when they were
kw' Cf (, i r\.(4
trying to spy on somebld m-nd=appn'r en I he and one or two other blacks

were trying to spy on A Cn ni ccjii and they caught them and they

gave them a prettyAime. And if I recollect, lit doesn't appear in this

court but perhaps in the St. Augustine local state or county court, they,



Page 5 sjm

they wouldn't make any Cc s against +-. J la peoplehamade
some C;as___s against hie, against the blacks-

C: Right.

S: That was the, well, that's when, that's how, that's how the .aey thing

came in, that incident came in. And there, there was a, there was another

thing that came out during that, during that hearing and Kuenstler and

his story about his case, sdprised that I would ask LQ. OfPavis when

he was on the stand about these special deputies that he had. Well,-

C: I was wondering that myself.

S: Well, you know, I guess time's gone by enough to talk about this a little

bit, but the FBI has spies everywhere and lately I've heard it said back

in later years, that if they didn't have the FBI on the :-./-,,.. :r ,fo'

____________pan someplace jjWb/WA- C, C s-e?

C: Right.

S: So this was a, these, these people told me, had told me, had come and told

me that, that they had information. I couldn't reveal source or talk

about it, of course, but I had information from some, one or two of

the older agents in the FBI office that some .plan people from Jacksonville

were messed up in with Davis and 4ainuse- and everything down here in St.

Augustine andlsaid that he had, he had Klansmen, their information was

that Klansmen were his special deputies. And they said that they've im-

ported the Klan down there, they called A something like the-

C: Ancient City Hunting Club?

S: Ancient City Hunting Club, or Gun Club or something or other, and that

was what I was trying to get out of Davis and then I finally, finally


Page 6 sjm

Davis come back the next day and bring me a list of deputies and that's

when Hoss Minuse's name came up, for example. I told him, "I want to

know, know about those deputies." And he didn't seem to know anything

about them. He estimated he had twenty, or thirty or forty and I said,

"My information, you have over a hundred. Get me a list." And he brought

Sa list, and it weighed like a hundred and forty or fifty, and he said

those were the ones that he had deputized during the, during the Easter-

time, that that wasn't all the special deputies. He didn't know how many

special deputies he had, no idea. Well-

C: How did one get to be a special deputy?

S: Well, he, he, he testified in that proceeding that anybody that'd come

in and volunteer, he'd make them a special deputy. He hadn't, he claimed

not to have any list of questions. .--- h /d/ and so on, and there was
no, no control o them. Now remind me to talk about the, the deputy

sheriff Lance matter after I get through, because that comes into this.

Lance was one of those special deputies. Nothing, nothing very concrete

came out of that. Thelthe, going back to the, well, this was in Andrew

Young's proceeding that, that the special deputies matter came out. And

it's very involved and I, there was another connection, there was a connection,

or thought to be a connection between a bunch of Klansmen, the air'al

bunch of Klansmen that I tried in late June and up, -I woalrid-a- -itJuly

the fourth of 1964. It was either Saturday or Sunday and we had the trial

going ogoi a, and the jury said they wanted to stay and work on the fourth

or on Sunday or both, whatever it was, and they came in with a they

couldn't agree and I had to declare a mistrial. These people were charged


Page 7 sjm

with dynamiting the home of, out in Lackawanna of the first one, of

the only little black child that had gone to Lackawanna school, gone to

the, that had happened a year or two before, two or three years before

maybe. But under the integration order, one child put in the, put in

the Lackawanna Primary School, the elementary school in the fall. He

was a little first grader. They, they had the women parading out there

fu ---- A, / /A; -sI ie/> i, and they had signs up,"Niggers

r- I .:*I ".The little six year old kid couldn't read, you

know, but it must have been a Al~v to him, what the sign said. So

finally this group, they got together and we tried these people for

dynamiting that house and we had, we had, I can't think of his name,

e. ej .G- 9 fC/-,/' r/ V, an experienced man from Indiana or Ohio, Kentucky,

Missouri, somewhere right in that part that was a, he was an accomplished
o !56C4 ia 5
dynamiter. He, he pled guilty2 6ali ?y -.. He pled guilty and

he pled guilty, and testified in the first trial against these people.

Now, after the mistrial, I tried my best to, I told the U.S. attorney,

I said,"I'm going to try it again." And he wanted to try it in the fall.

I said, well, I said,"Maybe this doesn't have anything to do with it, but

you're a Democrat and that Lyndon Johnson's running here in this fall election."

I said,"You try this thing a month before the election, it will bring

a lot of, bring a lot of racial feeling, bring a lot to the surface that

might react unfavorably on the President." And I said, He's,he's a

Democrat and that might interest him." And so they didn't try it until

after, after the election. Finally4he/t ried it in November and the people

were acquitted. They had a they had a ------ -- dry run, and


Page 8 sjm

this government witness wouldn't, wouldn't testify and we, I let him

use the, I let him use his prior, testimony at the prior trial and

that was, that was one of the points on the appeal, whether, whether

he could testify again or not. And then, then he brought, pushed con-

viction proceedings which I decided against him and he claimed that the

FBI had made him promise all kinds of things, you know to, to get his

plea of guilty set aside. It turned out, he was the only one, only one

that got it. These local Klan types, they, they got away, but there was

there were indications that you couldn't, couldn't really put your

finger on at that time and it'd be impossible to put them down in very

concise order now, with the time passed and my memory being what it is,

but that, these people were tied in with the S.Agllctlr,', and old

Davis, and this, I'm not clear on this in my mind, but Davis arrested,

the Florida East Coast strike was going on and there wassome rewards out

for people that were committing acts of sabotage against the railroad,

putting dynamite all over it and blowing up the trains and so on. They

had big rewards. This William whatever his name was, Davis had him

and he thought he had gotten himself a, and I think M4use was in with

him, I don't know, but they thought they had captured him. The East Coast

saboteur. And it was all linked in together with this Klan trial that

this fellow was a witness in here in Jacksonville and I'll get, get, they

were, the FBI was monitoring the Jacksonville Klan thing and that's how

they got up enough evidence to indict these people for the dynamiting of

the house out there, the parents of, the mother of this little boy, and also

they, they were getting some feedback in there about St. Augustine thing

Page 9 sjm

from the same, same thing going on, see and it tied in with the, tied

in with the dynamiter. Well, the, let's go back to Young, Young v. Davis.

Now that went on for several days n16! / Lv, /v ( brought another,

brought this suit and we had, we had a hearing and I told him that, I

said,"I'll get this out as quickly as I can, but I'd like to ask for

commitment that you don't demonstrate during the time I have the case

on the advisement bench, it turned out to be about a week or ten days,

nine or ten days, I forget, the order came out on the ninth of June.

And they agreed, they went out to confer, and they agreed to that. Then

I enjoined the marchers. I, I enjoined them-fi~t with the marchers.

Davis, and Dr. Shelley was / a A 1 d vI 'A li ore d C CE-.I 's 0 ,-

C: (Stuart Virgil.V

S: Stuart Virgil, Stuart, yeah. And of course, one thing, we got hot to

start bringing in these people march at night and the people in pickup

trucks with bicycle chains and a /jitj '"and ball bats and so on would

assemble on the square and r,/ jr!,, and fight them and they brought the

Florida Highway Patrol down there. We had another, another big hearing

about that I recall Wq1/' /-1 / '. And I refused to /,// /' to them

C: There must have been a lot of pressure on you then, because I think

everybody was, well, the whites were hoping you'd put a ban on the demon-


S: Yeah, yeah, right, well, then I, I got, I don't know where that file's


Page 10 sjm

here or not, but I have stacks of you know, poisonous, poison pen

mail, threats and everything else. I wonder with these people coming

in and they would assemble from, they weren't all of them, they weren't

all of them, many of them local 3,Anx` people. They'd get a couple of

pickup trucks loads Co-.^ 5rov OCftb i: d J-c.'

C: I was wondering what you, you hear a lot of St. Augustinian people say

that there really wasn't a St. Augustine protest, it was people from

outside. Did you have that feeling too?

S: Well, it.was people, it was people from outside. King, King went in there,

King started it and King was, King was tickled to death to get out of there

with a dog bone, really. I couldn't, all I was trying to do, the main

thing I was trying to do was to get a biracial committee formed down there

and let them deal with these blacks. And you couldn't get anybody that

would agree. They wanted to have a secret committee they wouldn't, wouldn't

let lh',rk [ And, well, Pope the senator, he came over and talked to me

one night about what to do, and I said,"&~i, you can take the lead in

this thing." No, he couldn't do that. You'd have to have some, if you're

going to lead you have to have somebody to follow you and so on, see. Well,

finally, a banker there, can't remember his name-

C: I'm, I'm not sure which one it was-Frank Harold?

S: Frank Harold was one, and then the other man, the other banker who's-

C: Wolfe, was it Wolfe?

S: Wolfe, yeah. And they finally got some sort of committee, they got some

sort of a, at least a front of a committee together. And what, what saved

the situation, I, I, what, you see the first thing, the first thing that

people like, people like King would want, would be to make, they're making


Page 11 sjm

a, they're making a protest and they're making a non-violent protest,
r lA'r #,//e tjFU PFC (0
but they won't alw..ayng bodies to get beat on and to make as

much noise as they can;

C: They get the publicity-

S: They want, they want, the thing they'd want would be if you could,

to say, well, the state of Florida can't have it. Get the President

to send troops in or something,see, which, which would have been a, which

would have been a bad mistake N, ----- eSt. Augustine people

they wanted everybody to go away, and just play like it didn't happen.

C: Why do you think King went there? Do you have any-?

S: Well, I'll tell you why. Because I think what triggered it was the

Civil Rights Commission in, I'm not sure but what they included that H1e

incident in their report, but they, they, their report that they filed in

the fall of 1963, it said St. Augustine was a tinderbox and so on, and that

it had to, something had to give, and tha, wa that people weren't, blacks

weren't getting a fair shake and that it was a terrible thing, for what

claimed to be the oldest permanent white settlement or whatever they called

it. And I think that's what called it to, to these outsiders' attention.

It was YsrA Williams and King and Young, they had four or five others

of these black non-violent, you know, students, southern-

C: Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

S: Yeah, the slicks and the snakes. They had another one Southern Non-Violent

which are snakes, I think, I don't know, they had a nickname for all of

them. But, that's what brought it on. The, the situation as far as the

Civil Rights Act was in '64, was passed and signed, right about the first


Page 12


of July and that's right when things came to a head. I had issued a

shor-court order against the government for-

C: Banning the marchers?

S: f /W ;i k /w banning the marchers. I thought that there had to be

-- k-odIr twJl en days ahead S/ow wr!' on a certain date, why, it

should be held in contempt. I thought maybe things would settle down

a little then. Couldn't have a you know people say,government ignores

S court orders on like that. Yo ., ./ ,-.,

,/tvrr of^ /A;t'-cy^ /t,}. Y'/Af. 6fr 4. 'sf /fCOss c 2 )p4i, r /t (C /

C: Are you and Bryant weren't you and Bryan4fairly good friends at that time,

or is that?

S: We had been friends, yeah, he had, he practiced law in Ocala and I, when

I came on the district bench in 1950, I used to go twice a year, and hold

court down in Ocala for two or three weeks, whatever it is. They have a

courtroom, courtroom down there and we had an Ocala docket and I'd go down

and meet all those Ocala lawyers pretty well,and Bryant was a Rotarian, a

iq~ut 0a Rotary Club down there, Cid ', C' 5UZ hi(Aj f we, we werc -rfln in

He, he had one of his close friends here in Jacksonville

during that week or ten days we're talking about call me and ask me could

he, he and I talk unofficially, and I said, "Come on over, I'll meet you

at'your friend's house." And we had a meeting one night about two hours,

trying to figure out where, where we were going, where we were getting to.

We, we were not, we thought differently, but we were not unfriendly, in a

personal sense..,

C: Uh huh, sure.



Page 13 sjm

S: all, see, and I was trying to help them, I was trying to help them

figure them, figure things out. One way is to, to get passed off with the-

well, the thing they were, the thing they were protesting about getting

into, getting into motels and restaurants and everything was covered by

the Civil Rights Act. So now the next, the next thing was, they started

trying to integrate those motels and restaurants with the force of law

behind them with Title Two of the Civil Rights Act to back them up. And so

we had a bunch of those cases.

C: I wonder if I could back up just a second.

S: Yeah, yeah.

C: Do you think what King was concerned, do you think it, he was trying to

use St. Augustine to get the Civil Rights Act passed? Did you sense any

of that with Young?

S: I don't-

C: Was trying to pressure -o)qgic (s ?

S: I, I don't know that King thought that way.

C: Uh huh.

S: King was, King was a, he was a terrific inspirational leader, you know, and

he, I can hear him now. "I have a, I have a dream," you know, there, when
the, at the Washington Monument --that period. He, he was, he was a

terrific inspirational leader, but I don't think he was much of a thinker

and a, and a planner and I, I would question whether he, but that may have,

that's certainly a possibility. Now I wouldn't like to think that he was

simply going all over and trying to stir up as much interest and concern for

the plight of the blacks as he could. I, I, maybe they, course he was,


Page 14 sjm

course I'm sure he examined the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I, I don't

know, he probably testified up there. I don't know that, I don't think they

would call him in, but you know there was a good deal of testifying, testi-

mony about people say, this, talking about Title Two testimony, people say

well, the department of black, Department of Justice lawyer-


C: Yeah, I was going to ask you one of the other questions I was going to

ask you. You, were sharply critical of Davis for the conditions in his

jail. Now I wonder if you might, how, how did you know that conditions

were that bad then?

S: There was a suit, when that was, I tell you, there was a suit, and I'll try

to think of the name of it. It's one of these cases, when, after the first

of July, when, when they, when they started making these steps to integrate

the various restaurants, and getting, those people getting arrested, again,

you see, they, /1,/' r these were locals. I suppose they were being di-

rected from outside, but going in and try to, go and sit down and-I'll tell

you one of those instances -.4, ,-/ O ,' hA And, as I

recall, there was also some marching and demonstrating about this same time,

and when this, these, these problems brought on a they brought on a lot

of, a number of arrests and they, I'm not sure which and I couldn't tell

from the testimony whefiiEhebarf the jail set bonds or whether he

had a direction from Matthews the judge to set bond, whereas the people

that were, outside people that were demonstrating and trying to, trying to

integrate, trying to integrate restaurants and motels-

C: Uh huh, right.


Page C

S: We were setting bond a hundred and fifty, two hundred, three hundred

dollars then. That was a cinch for them. Now these local people, they

get done arresting them in, in July there, so they were setting bonds

at three thousand, thirty-five hundred.

C: Good heavens.

S: Out of sight for these people.

C: Well-

S: They brought a suit that, that they claimed that the excessive bail,; .NR fV z 7/

A/ h /,r .)-- -- w;/Aexcessive bail, and also cruel and unusual punishment under

the Eighth Amendment by the way they were treated in the jail. And that's

when I criticized the jail conditions in the, in the order in that, in

that case, in which I-

C: Were they that bad, just out of curio sity?

S: They were pretty bad. They, they had a, he had a, he had a compound where

everybody was, blacks and whites, males and females ---AhAa ad to stay.

They'd keep themVthere in the ball and chain in July all day, and they'd

say that was "--- They sent them to court so they'd let them have

exercise, they'd stay out there if it was hot, they'd stay out there if

a thunderstorm came or whatever. And then you had them packed in like sar-

dines in some places at night and that sort of thing.

C: I see.

S: That was the, that was the basis of/ -, I, let me, I think..... -- / /i

/, -h p/- /p itFs, Brock. Now Brock was the, Brock was the -

C: Here's, here's a reference to it-

S: Brock was the man that ran the ldnson Motor Lodge.

a/ I



Page 16 sjm

C: Right.

S: And he was the one that was pictured throwing acid in the pool colored

people jumping in the pool and him running around to throw acid in it, and

so forth. I, now this may be, KiO(V, Matthews may be the, the-

C: It says here in, in Freedman's book, that you, that there were two cases

two suits referred to you and it said that in the, in the second opinion,

you described the, the high bail:requirements and then you also described

the conditions in the jail.

S: Yeah, well now, does that, does that have a footnote citation or anything


C: It doesn't have any, I don't see any reference-

S: Any reference to the name of the case, well, it's one of these.

C: Reference to the case. Somehow the Plummer case rings a bell, but I

wouldn't swear to that one.

S: Plummer, it might be Plummer. She was a, she was one of the local protesters,

and it may have been, that may have bee ven brought, in her name. Well I

think it may have been, I know that Vance, the sheriff- Here's, here the, the

contempt scene against Vance came up the Plummer case,'cause here's, here's

the, here that material is, the fe findings and the addition ,' -r/ fact.

That went on, that went Supreme Court somewhere, about my right to turn,

turn in his badge fa sofrw

C: Uh huh. That's where Strom Thurmond denounced what you did on the floor of the


S: Yeah,I think, yeah it was in-

C: 'Cause the court upheld you, didn't it?


Page 17 sjm

S: Well, yeah. My, my court upheld me, the fifth s5cdr. upheld me, and then the,

then the, the Supreme Court and I'm, I'm not certain whether they heard it

on the merits and upheld me, or, or whether they denied a petition for

certain, and that's the way it- but anyway my good friend, Justice Black
Iicc\ ai 4^nq C,
Suda biting, sharp dissent about that/ tok-h over the, usurpe Bi M-
of functions of state and everything, well, this fellow Lance wi4hra,

one of these vdserlri ( 1. He wo ll-d' aynd that's all in that

stuff there. Kimball was one of the people, I think, one of theshkt-Ls a

few-eo-th local/ nurse or she worked in some/ ay/f or in some clerical

capacity, I don't know, she...This Plummer, Plummer against Brock was

the suit where they complahed about the,the refusal to serve,see.

C: Uh huh.

S: A number of places, we took testimony about him and-

C: Right.

S: They, the testimony all was that, we -p because the, the

Ancient City Hunting Club and Gun Club when the Mniusy people were running

around threatening -c _, Sec I think what it amounted to, the result

was an injunction enjoining them to serve and enjoining these other people

from interfering with-

C: Right.

S: People who wanted to be served.

C: That was after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, wasn't it?

S: That's, that's right, that's right, that's right and that's what the Plummer

case basically was.


Page 18 sjm

C: Uh huh.

S: And then Vance, there was some, some white person, some white man from

outside and I don't know what his, whether he was a preacher, lawyer,

somebody came in down there and this colored man named hEttider-be, I

know they call him Thunderbird-

C: Uh huh.

S: The colored people, they'd call him Thunderbird, I found out his name.

He met the man and he drove him to this eating place, the Chews, run by

some people called the Chews.

C: Chews, right, Chew's Restaurant.

S: Well, they had a different name then, I believe. But anyhow, he, he

followed them and chased them all around, all up and down back streets,

and finally, he, he said something to him while he was there, and then

when he left, he followed them. Well, it wasn't any, there wasn't any

reason for this volunteer deputy to be doing that for any reason except

to intimidate Thunderbird and that was the basis for telling him that

he'd have to turn in his badgeand he probably violated a Civil Rights

Act himself ---- O;Wj /7j Cror evy ----. That's Plummer, that's,

there's got to be, King v. Mathis, maybe this is the one. I'm trying to

find the one where what you asked about, where they, where the jail con-


C: Right.

S: Things get away from me. I thought I never would forget any of this. It

wentAfor the,the...this was not setting bond, I guess. King v. Mathis.

C: That wasn't, wasn't the Young v. Davis, was it?


Page 19 sjm

S: Young v. Davis, the original Young v. Davis was the, and here's that

file, was the, was the, ui'' * . ':. .

C: Right.

S: Now, it may have, I don't think, I think they would have filed another
suit. Here's one hotel, Williams a w I don't know

what that is. That, that's just a t-1oWr/ f-TS (?)ewis Conell, proprietor,

and individual doing business by the name of Santa Maria Restaurants, so

that's just the'l4l'4 f One 0 -- integrating. There were, there may be a,

there were maybe a dozen separate ones of those cases, probably fifteen

or more in which similar orders went out, eAt l ~ / //. q/, /4r//, / f/j/w

_VER _r_,*__ _ats _;_ __ernr somewhere.

C: You know, it really seems in looking at the events that went on, thatJ,-

you really kept the lid on events there that if, if they, if it hadn't


S: Well, somebody else, I, I don't know, another judge might, might have

just said, well this is, all this mess, and swept it under the rug. I, I

didn't feel my conscience wouldn't let me do that. But Ot kto,_Jo,

,.c-I,,,s uou ,,-t i .,i- tAl\ you don't want, you wish you never picked it up, but

you.can't let go. This was a ..

C: Davis had no restraint on him from, 'cause Shelley was pretty much agreed

with what he was, mayor-

S: Yeah, well, Shelley was the mayor and, and Davis was of course a different

chain of command, but they were all working together.

C: Right.

S: Gregory Stewart was the-


Page 20 sjm

C: Was the police chief, yeah.

S: Was the police chief, but, we had, there was a lot of dealing with, two

or three hearings on, where the highway patrol people had come in and

they had them in there. They had a bunch of them, the governor did,

v.,iW -te7.i o/u)-d they'couldn't maintain the, couldn't maintain

order, r/6/ a 0 an injunction against banning

marches after this, I'1-bhe F- arr I just can't, can't put my finger

on what I'm looking for. I know that it's here.

C: That was, when they came up to, and questioned you about their ability to

control events there, wasn't that when you said that they ought to start

arresting some of those other people instead of-

S: Well, that may have been, that may have been in the. 7th4t /AS /V'. -/1sE,
Acorvi;), LqW/ ;/ 0 / r -/A^ ^ ", >O' /r -

SIDE 2-~ /. ----.
C: yro -A rr rr.C r/5C 4w C','
5' Thr.s WvE Z CTjc< is t .<, ***/ J/.._/y Lia-/. 4.dDnul ^//f/ ,thaz',/^ //*/l /
ONE On //'r Ar'l^-i nwfhrfp^,
C'/ R .,
S: You might give that a, I suppose these, those findings and these findings

and the two most, the one about the marching and the other one and this

one about the, the economic violations by the-

C: Yeah, here's the reference to the 90 degree temperatures and the storm and

the fact that he kept them in the compound during these times.

S: -~~ Ar // -ir,y I don't remember whether it was a man or a woman

r 1/i/-t'-n ,, , /4i4c Jff Asit down. They had one cripple in there, too.

C: One polio victim, right, on crutches.

S: Was that a woman or a man?

C: Yeah, it was a woman. And then you have the reference to the sweatboxCS


Page 21











/ ' a
I think 1/a:r ,.'. p' o ot the opinion Tiaw', / r, Lance and as I say, I
Coad OOV 0
can't, I can't recall when the, when the, whether-ic Supre 4ti~keto athe,

onfit,' or ,./rF;., i-/'. ,' i-" black filed the strongest sentences in or er-'C .

Yeah, I've read it, I can't remember either, to be honest with you.

*,f procedural/ if, i rn'

Well, that, that's the one there, that's 47/oi V41C f lA/A ,,OrNfiAT.-,


d/rfr I" / / W i'/CALor c.r/I"l A deliberate tortures, some-

thing of sort. You know, you get mad as the dickens when you come along

the street and somebody's run the windows up and left, left a little old

dog in the hot sun-


'And then you think about human beings and I think I said in there /i/ i//:

ic,', / 6~ tifa~v~t / A ,~n-W, /.'x 'but these weren't, these weren't forcoirS
v ,,
or even people from other states, they were ,-- hometown.

And there was then, they'c( bc A. 't iu,-,,- i c, wto Tc~ -"S, PL.( vm-rn 6r cr.:..-
erccL 1 C '. L\AVyv-c l-'n C,', L l -LC C -. c.. c U CV\cA C,- \C'
aFVA6 -


And had a hearing on, on that, because, he wasn't, of course he wasn't

on this, he wasn't defendable and wh ,,e/ <,* :-. ... ..order, --- o res/c
/v roewCF,5
-le___r people, but he was, I said he was in, acting as-counselor4 o/ /,

NSu hm' /'6 .' -That was one of the points in the appeal, whether or not he

was, whether or not you could punish him for contempt when he, when he was

not a defendent-~AWV/A~fA,' /A! C r',t / O rIP -



Page 22 sjm

C: Right.

S: And it's some of these things, somewhere. Now, for some reason, and I

don't know why, there's a, and these are all filed, but, there are a

bunch of, I don't know why I had these Xerox copies, and these are simply

Xerox copies of the Supreme Court slips. And I suppose they're all the

different-1964, about that time. &ie-I against Maryland, Bowie against

the City of Columbia. Several copies of the same thing. Whatever, they're,

they're, if they, if nobody wants them, throw them away, because they're,

they're in the books now anyway.

C: Uh huh. I'm sure they'll be glad to have those.

S: Well, they, they, if they don't want them, they can throw them away then,

they're not much value to anybody, they're just, but they were, I wanted

them at the time for some purpose that I can't even recall. I had a huge
fi e of hem.c/'3 'A
file of them.( ,,. /'.., Y what they're going to do to you.

C: Uh huh.

S: That's my first wife, she's dead now, but she knew how to handle them.

She'd say, "Yes, thank you, so nice to call," and, eA I ad4, "May have

your name and who's calling?" And then say,"We appreciate having your views",

or something like this. I told her just be polite, od/er- ,/{,I/ they'd hang

the phone up, they'd get so mad at her for-

C: Being nice.

S: Being nice to them. They told me that, this is an aside. During this time,

when they, I guess it was when the.people were coming in from outside.

I had a friend in Ocala who called me up one night. He ran a big truck stop

and had waitresses there, and one of his waitresses was married to


Page 23


somebody _-----_ ___---- right next to him said,"You better

watch out, those people are going to try to kill you." "Can you tell me

who they are?" He said, No."s4< ,d a.k < "I don't know what to do." I

said,"I guess .i orvrat. ,J C~Lfa." The FBI came to see

me. They had some communicated threats from up in Georgia and Montana.

__---_ ---__ They had the names of these people. I

said,"Well, can you give me a picture of them? They got an arrest record,

maybe you got a rap sheet Or o r --- -
,---(C--i ~~Zj
7/ry rovidA i4 4"nr1 rowr ,U ,r. c What shall I do? Be-careful. QA', o/ c. 6
V I 1 3 '' -1.
lir ,- .', .. -.,, .,- I said,"Well, just be careful, that's all you

can tell me." Yftsf Iov .I had some doubts about it' ,/,. ,' .' .

/Uh hu r igt. te-J' I f -

Uh huh, right.

--- -- --- -- ---- -- -1"""

several repeating rifles and a couple of shotguns, I said,"You want me

to put one at each window loaded and then if I hear anything go to that

window and shoot, or what do you think I ought to do?" ,"Use your
c, SkrE,
own judgement." Aside from, it's a little hard on your family, this sort

of thing is hard on your family. /rv// ey i .p I never

will understand why they want to kill the judge, anyhow. -_ ----'

_--- ---_ .There's some newspaper things here, too, now

I'm going to stop talking and let you ask me questions.

C: I just wanted to ask you about,yyou answered most of what I wanted to ask you,

I just wanted to ask about KurAstler and Simon. What, what sort of lawyers

were they? How did you find them? Both of them are very activist lawyers


Page 24

today. I was wondering how they were back then.

S: Yeah, well, I'll tell you, Kuenstler was the soul of ijkLicAl conduct

in the courtroom, very professional. So was iby Simon, all through

this and somewhere along the line, I think Kue~stler changed, between this

time and the time that he took part in the Chicago Seven trial and some

of the Rap Brown business and all of that, I, I think that the symptoms

changed constantly. He, he got into this thing, as he tells in his book

there, that he got into it pretty much by, started intoAby accident, and

got interested and kept on going. And at that time, he was, he was, I

think a different person, now, I, I say this because we have a, how long

have you been at the university?

C: Five years.

S: This may have been a little before then, but there was a, some trouble in

Gainesville,, I think it was the wife of a professor down there, and she

and the, encouraging some activity on the part of black people. I, it's,

it's kind of out of my mind and I didn't sit on it, there was an appeal and

I suppose that it was, I don't know whether it was, was T,.. (>- ,'. t" ,//

P,. 7Jcj or after Arno, after Arno was on there or when maybe it a Aer /rr, i'.",''.-

I just don't remember. )They had an appeal /_.- -~,-' AFr it was with

a panel of O ci- .. i.. /,, by then o h-te Court of Appeals. They had

___ ---__- ----------- sit hepe in Jacksonville in

this Gainesville case -------- This is something I couldn't imagine

Bill Kuenstler doing in the time that I had all these contacts with him

over that five or six months. He had, here again, the FBI came and told

me they didn't know who to, who to tell. I wasn't going to sit on the


Page 25


panel, but I was a resident sector judge and there was three judges

coming in from outside and so ---- told me. They hadn't had

somebody for a little meeting that they had in Gainesville with these

these appellants, the people who appealed the case. They'd been, whatever,

whatever rights they were trying to enforce -/ /i,/ They'd been turned

down by the district judge and they were appealing and they told me

that Kulstler had, had appeared at the meeting two days before of the

group in Gainesville. I can't remember what it was all about now. And

he told them, he said,"I want you to come to Jacksonville /i/i/ 1
Oraef,, c,// /V A ow //.---_- "He said, "'Make some noise." Well, the

idea of an ethical lawyer wanting to try to intimidate or influence a

court that way, that, that was shocking to mel/l/1 j r .r/ / ,.. a e z // Jr(r

Griffin Bell was on the panel and I told Griffin about it, and I said,

"Griffin, I'll tell the marshal to have some extra men in the hallway

and I'll tell the FBI to have some extra people, we'll have a few people

in the courtroom and tell the marshal when, when the seats in the, it's

a real small courtroom sr i,,tf7r ,! when the seats are in there

filled, not to let anybody else in -- ___- any other sug-

gestions, let me know. But the information is that they're going to come

in and try to raise a disturbance and rrrc- . 0i th around the court-

house and so --- said,"No, I don't think anything else ....._

__- He-sed, "If you hear anything why call me," and this was

Thursday or Friday before they were to start the session on Monday and

Tuesday, Monday or Tuesday of the following week Ojic/ they did. They

came in -/- fi '. There was ./g//; and it was one other

CfFf)/I .JY c-^^


Page 26 sjm

regular judge, it was old judge Phillips, R.A. Phillips who was former

chief judge of the tenth circuit. He was up in his eighties, he lived

down at Lakeland and retired, you know, and he'd sit about, would have

court about once a year, ---- - f a / ,.',/, .-.--- I. J'a(Suo,/f-u

for a year or two before he died. And he was there, 3' re iEifc (lyf/r

/ i/ A1 eJ 4, QVJI,4,5
you going to do (,, ./' .. . / /j,

-_--------------- under control, see ----_-_ But that, that

to me is a, that to me is a-

C: Yeah.

S: Is an indication of a, of a change in a mane /ok.. and he, he, he

got so, he was no longer, he, he was no longer disinterested attorney re-

presenting a client, but he was part of the movement himself and acted,

acted like he maybe wished he was black or something, you know, so he

could protest and all that. He, he'd take on a coloration of Rap Brown

or Stokely Carmichael or somebody-

C: Uh huh, right.

S: Rather than be, hold himself aloof from it. And he showed some of that

in the, in that-

C: Chicago Trial.

S: Chicago Trial, yeah.

C: Did, did this fellow Earl Johnson come before your court in any of these

cases at St. Augustine?

S: Peripherally, peripherally and I, I'm sure, I was a witness in one or two

of them, and we had, we had some matters involving an instance of, they


Page 27 sjm

they would, this QA.g ,ifh' I kd judge, he'd try to hassle these

out-of-state, out-of-state lawyers. You know, he'd make a practice of- '

Florida, J 1pp iT,., ./,o v,rr And they, they would /rir f-,/ /

C: I see.

S: To i, /''" . ----- They, I remember saying to

some of my friends who were in a :fr I o --- Florida Bar at that time,

that if, if, the day that <,< r < rJ' .<-.r e' A1..1r^ fAr t/,t( Or

004A -O---- O i c r^ Jacksonville to Tampa JeJoc,/volunteer

their services, come in and help the people that needed help in the court

with things that these out-of-state lawyers i41d-ot. I was .g_ i',

start enforcing their rules about, you know, any rules about you can't

appeal because you're not a member of, member of the Florida Bar or some-

thing. But I said, (CJL if you don't, I'll have, I'm going let,

let them in the cases, There, there was a, that summer

of '64 and maybe the next year, too, they had,they had two or three organi-

zations, lawyers for constitutional, something LC, I don't know,

they had initials, and, and there was a fellow named Arnstein that was here

for two or three weeks and -arnstein ended up the permanent man oeCP /aj

Jomfi'S;i oCt/ Mississippi for the same, head of LC, //, Lawyer's Con-

stitutional, now I don't know what the rest of it was, and then there was

another organizationA /c j o',, 'r Melvin Wolf, if I recall _/-9-/- F,!i/

(fd We.f 61 from New Jersey or Manhattan and New York and Washington
------ --------------- They, they would come in relays, they, see

this, this, these guys would give their vacation time, they'd take their


Page 28


vacation time and come down here and, and pay their own expenses and

try to handle these cases for these, these people that were protesting

and acting out their protest by trying to integrate 44,c, '4 t6 ,.,O

And they, well, -

C: I'm just, I'm just curious as to why, I mean there was, there were a

lot of judges hearing cases in the South at this particular time, but

why, what was it about your background or your education or whatever,

that made you render the decision that you did, that, that, that pro-

tected the rights of the demonstrators, whereas so many other judges

were finding against them.

S: I, I don't know, I can't answer, except to say that, that I c_4iZ ff /or i~

my concept of,I mean the first case with any racial overtones that

I rc rriterested, I was Circt4 j, 1 and this was pre-

Brown, it was back at the time of the Virginia case where they said they

had to let blacks ride on the f-a /. is d ,

But they had, they made a police case on the black i r.f ."tthe railroad

station here in Jacksonville ?v .' ,' "// ./.'r : "

appealed tth1r from the police court from the municipal court through 'he

to the circuit court. And -- F--

I think they fined, fined the man or fined the two of them fifty apiece for

fining somebody a hundred dollars. And they had paid it and then tried to

take it to court. And 4fy - -- -- a ir /'tPrj I suggested


Page 29 sjm

to the -f -- 7 i / r/'f /,j:s .^ A' 5.:7A-' 6'/A/ r/ y -

4Fr/H? nF, of .-4 /.fycRasthought about this, but it seems to me that, I've

got a grave question about whether I can hear, hear this, because it

seems to me that they're attempting to ),). /, E ,,-. (fJ-CS

/Agy t-,) h, our or five hundred dollars, they paid the fine, what is

there, what is there to appeal?" And I said,"I / p inion

f-.,/ ./, ~/ / you'll come back a month later or two, sometime after

lunch and give meQ ,-, -,. ." So they came back and they--

__ something's already done,

you know, like a man that's electrocuted and wanted to appeal, what, what,

what's he got.

C: Right.

S: So, I, IaVo hat s F/'Pa r/i~D that I, not having to, not having

to stick my neck out-

C: Right.

S: I'm only a circuit judge and, and I was appointed a circuit bench in 1946

and had to run again in '48, I don't know whether it was before or after

elections, I had to run. He, he just, it was right about along that time

(eJF. / rr// Q0ri o you know. &---- effect on me, and that's

the, that's the attitude of elected officials. I've had, I've had school

officials, elected school board members come and tell me,"You've got to,

you've got/ to us _;"_ We've got to have somebody to blame."

C: Right, right.

S: _ f_ _____ telling people next election that damn son of a bitch

down there in the Federal Court made, made us do it. We didn't want, we


Page 30


to mix your children with those blacks, but here we are", see. And that,

that's sort of, and it's sort of a ez-' attitude, it's the way, customs

_----_---- talk to older people and say, "Well, these people outside

they don't understand what we know about them down here in the South," and

all that kind of thing.

C: Uh huh.

S: And, and we gradually wake up f V)tf '-o ,/o Now I think,
0 0 7' .ZO( e,

e/y wA,-,i/ Athere's not much not much doubt about what the Supreme Court means when

they write a case like Brown, and some of the other j-it cases. That

you're going to, if you don't abide by ynrt, 0/ -- e 'A5F/ ou tvo-

There used to be, there was a famous newspaper d 1a r F/or' ri c -- e

-/c Atlanta Constitution-

C: Uh huh.

S: In the late nineties or early 1900's. Well, his son, John Graves, second

__ -- second ------ --" But he was editor of Jacksonville

\ncwl / rf' for quite a few years 7 -- y /,, .He had moved

to a n vr n E J / paper by the time this happened. I knew him

well frp Jacksonville, John would say to me,

he said, he said he didn't mind people -

Sfy soYUr/ dw r (rI (." running to meet him.

C: Well, thank you. I appreciate it