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SAMUEL PROCTOR ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at
the University of Florida.
University of Florida
Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
MANATEE COUNTY BUSING CRISIS
Interviewer: Ben Houston
Interviewee: Lloyd Hagaman
Date of Interview: July 1, 2000
Lloyd Hagaman recount his life's transition down to Florida and his directing of the famed "Demo-
Kirk" group that helped elect Kirk in 1968 and instilled Hagaman as a key aide to Kirk (page 1). His
responsibilities as a governor's aide and his account of how Kirk came to be involved in the Manatee
County busing crisis are on page 2. Pages 2-4 contain a succinct overview of the events in Manatee.
Mr. Hagaman conjectures on the role of Manatee County's burgeoning Republican population as a
factor in Kirk's intervention and the county's overwhelming support before and after the crisis
passed (4), as well as the minor role of the Florida teacher's strike as an antecedent for the busing
crisis (5). Mr. Hagaman also asserts that he felt that race relations in Manatee were fairly placid
Page 6 contains the Florida leaders who Mr. Hagaman believes, or tends to believe were consulted
before the intervention. He speaks of the relative drudgery of occupying the superintendents's office,
(7-8) and the improvisational, seat-of-the-pants attitude towards dealing with the week's events in
Manatee (8). He comments on the interaction with the media during the week (page 9), and the
consistency of instructions from the governor throughout (10), which persisted despite Kirk's second
re-suspension order midway through the week (11).
Page 11-14 contain Mr. Hagaman's memories of the so-called standoff with the U.S. Marshals,
including specific anecdotes about his being armed and how that affected the course of events. He
also records his impression of Manatee County Sheriff Richard Weitzenfeld (12) and the widespread
news reports the U.S. Marshal Mickey Newberger was struck during the standoff (13). See also the
later incident with Kirk confronting the marshals directly on page 17-9.
Mr. Hagaman follows up with his impressions of the subsequent hearing in Tampa before Judge
Krentzmen (15). He comments on Governor Kirk's adherence to protocol in acting during the
Manatee crisis and the response of the Florida legislature to the busing edicts (16). He also
comments on Manatee County School Board attorney Kenneth Cleary's attempts to thwart Kirk's
intervention, allied with Congressman William Cramer, a persistent nemesis of Kirk's (17).
Mr. Hagaman shares his thoughts on Kirk's connection with the Justice Department during the
Manatee intervention on page 20. He also recounts his impression that Kirk was a vice-presidential
candidate in Nixon's mind (see page 20-1 and page 23). He comments on Kirk's claiming of victory
after withdrawing from Manatee and more broadly, the press's handling of the affair, including
Kirk's accusations of the press's sensationalism (22-23). Mr, Hagaman talks about the segregationist
pressure on Kirk (24), the rash of ill-advised quotes regarding the use of force (25), and the
comparisons of Kirk with past Southern segregationist governors (26-7). He discusses the political
ramifications of Manatee for Kirk's political loss in 1972, the compatibilities between
Republicanism and civil rights (29) and the ultimate significance of the Manatee situation to history
B: I am in the home of Mr. Lloyd Hagaman on July 1, 2000. Mr. Hagaman, thank
you for meeting with me today.
H: It is a pleasure.
B: We are here to discuss Mr. Hagaman's involvement in the Manatee County
school crisis of 1970. Mr. Hagaman, I was wondering if you are a native
H: No. I was born in Toledo, Ohio, and I came from Knoxville, Tennessee to Florida
in 1960. Contracted on the Cape [Canaveral] for eight years and became the
governor's chief of staff in 1968. When Claude [Kirk] got elected, Tom Ferguson
was his first senior aide, and I became his second one when Tom left.
B: How did you manage to make that segue?
H: I originally started the Demo-Kirks that Florida State University did a study [of]
and said they were responsible for electing the first Republican in 100 years. I
was a good friend of Haydon Burns [Florida governor, 1965-1967], and Robert
King High [former mayor of Miami] beat him out in the primary. When Haydon
wanted something in Brevard County where I lived at that time, they would
usually call on me. Mildred used to come down for different functions, and I
would kind of be her escort. When Robert King High, and he was from
Tennessee, beat out Haydon, why, I did not like him in Tennessee and I did not
like him in Florida. After [High] won the primary, about two or three weeks later,
he came to Brevard County. I always thought he was kind of an arrogant person.
He had the gall to tell some of the Democratic executive committee that they did
not support him in the primary and he did not need them in the general, which
would have been normally true. If you got the nomination, it was just paramount
to election. Well, they all came back kind of steaming a little. One of the
members said, boy, I wish there was something we could do about this. I said
well, I am going to try to do something. I laid awake all night trying to think of
what could we do, and decided that we would start the Demo-Kirks. The next
day, I had 7,000 signs printed up, Be a Demo-Kirk, Support Claude R. Kirk, and I
went around the state to different people that I felt like were sympathetic and did
not like the way things turned out and were conservative. It just mushroomed. I
had a lot of signs printed and traveled to every county in Florida, I guess, putting
out those signs. Claude Kirk did not even know where it came from for months
and months. Finally after so long a time, it got so big I could not handle it all by
myself, so I finally told [Kirk] where it was coming from and we went from there. I
traveled around with the musical band that traveled all over North Florida and
what have you. It was quite an experience. I had never done anything like that
before. It was fun.
B: What exactly were your responsibilities in your position with Governor Kirk?
MCBC 8 page 2
H: Originally, I went to Tallahassee [and], basically, I did not think that I would stay
any long length of time because, like I said, I [had] contracted on the Cape for
eight years, and I was vice president of the Smith Sapp Construction Company
in Orlando. I agreed to come up for awhile and work with Wade Hopping as his
assistant. Wade was a legislative aide and became a Supreme Court justice.
The governor had seven major pieces of legislation he wanted to try to get
passed. Wade took four and gave me three. I got all three of mine passed
because I knew the Democrats. I guess after that, the governor really kind of
wanted me to stay on. I became more fascinated with it, and so I decided to stay.
I stayed all the way through. Governor [Reubin] Askew [1971-1979] even asked
me stay on, not on as the chief of staff but asked me stay on, but I had been
away from my business so long. I did agree to stay for two months to help him
put it all together before I went back to private business.
B: If you would be so kind as to describe the process with which Governor Kirk
came to be involved in the Manatee County bussing situation.
H: I tried to sit and kind of think about this a little bit when you called. I believe that
originally, the Democratic leadership tried to sponsor a bill that would affect the
whole state from a neighborhood school standpoint. I cannot remember the
exact title of the bill, but it died, due to the fact it was tied nine-to-nine [on
whether the bill should] come out of the committee. That particular plan was
based upon the Orange County plan that required no bussing. The Democrats
thought that was a good solution for what Claude Kirk was looking for because
Claude was not fighting [integration]--Claude Kirk was fighting the forced bussing
part, not segregation and desegregation. Claude saw that it was going to be
forced bussing. I think it was like 2,600 kids had to be force-bussed in Manatee
County. The plan was supposed to go into effect on April 6. The judge, I believe,
on January 29 of that year, had made the ruling, and it was to go into effect on
April 6. Claude, I think it was on a Sunday, on April 4, decided he was going to
take over the school. He suspended the school board on Monday, the 5th. He
talked to me and the aides-I believe that date was correct-and he told me he
was going to take over the school system and he was going to send me and a
couple of the other aides there, and I was to see to it that forced bussing did not
happen. Well, he suspended [the school board] on Monday, and Judge [Ben]
Krentzmen ordered him to be in court on Tuesday. Claude was a no-show. He
did not show, and Judge Krentzmen then told the school board that they were
back in power and they were to carry [the bussing plan] out. On Wednesday,
Claude suspended the school board again, and on Thursday, the federal
marshals showed up. Of course, we had a lot of Highway Patrol people there,
and we had the Manatee County sheriff's deputies there. I originally handled all
the governor's appointments to different positions, and I had even appointed
[Richard] Weitzenfeld sheriff. I had talked with Weitzenfeld, and I had instructed
him that, if the federal marshals came in to arrest us, that they were to just hold
them back and we would go into the district superintendent's office. So they
MCBC 8 page 3
showed up, and I was the only governor's aide that was authorized to carry a
gun. I was listed as a beverage agent. I had been in law enforcement since I first
came to Florida in 1960, and I had been a special deputy in Brevard County and
Manatee County and Broward County. They came in, the [assistant] United
States attorney, [Oscar] Blasingame and the other one...
B: [John] Briggs?
H: Yes, Briggs, and those two federal marshals with them. They asked me if I
understood the judge's order to cease-and-desist. They asked me if I was going
to abide by it. I told them, no, that the governor had given me instructions and
that the way the Florida rules were that if the Senate did not approve of his
action, they could override it, and they had not chosen to do that. He had
suspended the board and put me in that position, and, therefore, we were going
to carry it out. Also, Bill Maloy, the governor's educational aide, had been there,
and Robert [Dooley] Hoffman was there with me. In fact, Robert and I were the
ones who got into the most trouble. I will go into that maybe a little later. But they
asked me if I understood it, and I told them yes, I did, and I told them I was not
going to abide by it. The United States marshal, [Mickey] Newberger, kind of just
opened his jacket where I could see his gun. Well, I opened my jacket and let
him see my gun and I said, I hope it does not come to this. In the newspaper
stories there, it came out then that we had threatened to shoot them. That was
not the case at all. I just jokingly said, I hope it does not come to that. And it was
getting pretty testy, so I was not sure. So they said, well, you are under arrest,
and when they did, the deputies just pushed them back and we walked into the
superintendent's office and we locked the door. I had told them just turn them
loose after we get in there. Well, in a little while, they came and started knocking
on the door and said they were going to tear it down. Again, the press quoted
somebody saying, but what I told them was, you do not want to do that. You
have already seen that we mean business, and I will meet force with force. I
think I may have even went further. I said, if you knock the door down, you will
find yourself in jail for destroying public property. They backed off, and they left.
That was on Thursday. Then on Friday, I believe it was, Claude was ordered to
show up at about 2:00. He arrived in Bradenton, I believe, real early that
morning, something around 4:30 or something. When the federal marshals came
again, he and Briggs got into a dispute about what was supposed to happen.
They said that myself and Hoffman would be available and would accept service,
to cease-and-desist, and we were not there. I think the governor called Gerald
Mager [Kirk's legal counselor] in Tallahassee to find out were we really supposed
to be there at that time. Gerry, I believe, said no, the time was not shown the
same or something to that effect. They argued a little bit back and forth, from
what I have been told. Anyway, they finally got to Dooley and I, and we appeared
in Tampa. The governor was a no-show again. He did not come. Judge
Krentzmen was really screwing it down on me. Of course, he had already said he
was going to put a $10,000 a day fine on the governor and $1,000 a day on me. I
MCBC 8 page 4
cannot remember whether Dooley was covered with that or not. I know I was. He
started asking me all kinds of questions, and was I going to cease-and-desist? I
tried to explain to him that I was following what I thought was the proper way to
handle it under the rules that we worked by in the state of Florida. The governor
was always insisting that any argument between the state and the feds like that
should be heard in the Supreme Court, and that was why he was trying to get it
out of Krentzmen's court and get it into the Supreme Court. Of course,
Krentzmen was not having any part of that, and there were not any signs that a
Supreme Court was really going to take it up. I think a lot of discussion went
back and forth between Claude Kirk and [John] Mitchell, who was the attorney
general then. Now, I am sure you have seen a few cartoons where [Richard]
Nixon [U. S. president, 1969-1974] told his secretary that if she took another call
from Claude Kirk, she would be looking for a new job.
B: I do not think I saw that one. That is pretty funny.
H: Yes, it was funny. But Claude just kept insisting that [his case] should be heard. I
believe what really was happening was that Nixon and Mitchell felt like the
Mecklenburg County [Charlotte, North Carolina] school bussing situation should
come to court before the Florida one because, I think, they thought they had a
better case and a better way to handle it. They were not wanting any disruptions
really at that point.
B: That is a pretty good survey of the events. It certainly matches up with how I
understood it. If I can go back and get the details from you as much as I can, to
the best of your memory.
H: Okay. Since you have researched all the timetable there, probably, so if I
misquote one there, straighten me out.
B: I just wanted to ask you if the fact that Manatee County had gone Republican in
recent elections, whether that was a factor in Governor Kirk's connections there?
H: It very well could have been. By and large, the Manatee people were solidly
behind what he was doing. There was no question about that. It was kind of
ironic when you asked that question. I never knew or ever thought that I would go
back to Manatee County from that incident, and I wound up going back there,
involved again in the school system. I am not an educator but an administrator.
B: In the sheriff's department. You had such a connection with them...
H: Right. When I got back here and thought about all of that, I said this is really
weird. But [Manatee Countians] were solidly behind [Kirk] then, I believe. Jerome
Pratt was a legislator then. He was a Democrat, but he absolutely was standing
behind the governor and just preaching it out on the street and what have you.
MCBC 8 page 5
When the governor finally capitulated on Sunday after that Friday, finally gave up
[occupying] the building and keeping out the school board, Jerome turned on him
and really tore into him for giving up. I think the people in Manatee County
understood what he was trying to do. It was a tough fight, and it was tough from
a PR [public relations] standpoint, I think, all over the state. He caught a lot of
flak because he went to California during that teacher strike. I think there was
some play back and forth that way.
B: Do you think that the teacher strike had any effect on the Manatee County
situation? Was there a connection there?
H: Possibly a little but not major, I do not think. It was kind of ironic, too. When we
got there, it was going to be a payday for the teachers in Manatee while we were
doing that. I also handled the Governor's Club [Kirk's fundraising arm] for the
governor, so I had to pledge funds from the Governor's Club to cover the payroll
to make sure the teachers got paid. We handled that okay, too.
B: Was it correct that you had to put the money in escrow in order to back the
H: Yes. Correct. That worked out all right.
B: I was wondering if you could possibly explain why exactly Governor Kirk chose
Manatee County, because my understanding was that there were some
situations revolving around bussing in the Daytona area where he had to back off
after a judge threatened him with contempt.
H: I do not know why he necessarily chose Manatee County over anything else. As I
said, when I was in the governor's office, education was not one of my areas, so
I did not follow it to that extent. It just seemed like it fell in place for his ideas of
stopping forced bussing. He just felt like it destroyed the neighborhood-school
concept. I do not really remember the first [episode in Daytona] that you spoke of
that much, but when it presented itself in Manatee County, he did not waste any
time tackling it. He certainly tore right after it. Like I said, it was due to happen on
Tuesday, and he suspended the board on Monday. I mean, he made the
statement to me and to others that, you know, absolutely we were to see to it
that no forced bussing took place. He even jokingly said, if you get shot, you lay
there and bleed, but you stop any activity. And for a while, it did get a little scary.
B: Did you have any awareness of how race relations were in Manatee at that time?
H: I never knew of any real problem in Manatee County. The whole time I was
there, I never...I could understand the feelings of the black community especially,
how they felt about the court's decision and that they expected the bussing to
take place. I think I can accurately say now that they do not believe in the forced
MCBC 8 page 6
bussing either. Back then, I think there were some doubts, but it was something
that I believe the black community felt like they had to follow through because it
was the first real push to get what they felt like they were due. Like I said, it was
not that the governor was trying to stop desegregation. He was just trying to stop
forced bussing. That was all he had in mind. It was not that he was trying to stir
up any other problems, but those kinds of things get confused at times, as to
what somebody is really trying to do. I am sure there are some people who are
looking at it from a George Wallace-type [segregationist Alabama governor and
racial demagogue] standpoint. That was not what the governor had in mind at all.
The only thing he ever said to me was, stop the forced bussing, and we do not
want to destroy the neighborhood school concept.
B: Do you recall if any other figures in Florida were consulted? Certainly, it was a
drastic course of action.
H: Yes, and I am sure that he probably did. But again, like I said, I was not his
educational aide. I am sure Charles Perry and Wade Hopping and others were
probably brought in to discuss it.
B: How about other politicians, like the local Manatee County politicians?
H: To tell you the truth, I would have thought Ralph Haben [later Speaker of the
Florida House of Representatives] then would have been brought into it, and I
really felt like, in a sense, a lot of them supported what Claude Kirk was doing,
but I have no personal knowledge of their involvement. Like I said, I mean, my
job was politics, appointments, the Republican National Committee, all those
kinds of things.
B: What about, possibly, Tom Gallon or Wilbur Boyd [state senator from Manatee
H: I would have thought Wilbur Boyd and Tom Gallon, both, would have been
consulted, although, like I said, I have no personal knowledge of that.
B: You mentioned earlier that you all went down on Sunday with the original order
to suspend the board. From my understanding, there was a meeting in
Tallahassee with some representatives, possibly the superintendent but a couple
of the school board members. Do you recall that meeting?
H: I did not attend that meeting, so not that I recall. I was just given orders as the
governor's chief of staff what he wanted to accomplish there, to take control of
the school and maintain control of the school. Bill Maloy handled more the
talking to those educational people than I did. Like I said, my job was basically to
make sure that the staff carried out what the governor wanted.
MCBC 8 page 7
B: So, you flew down on Sunday, and you were there when the order was read with
Lieutenant Governor [Raymond C.] Osborne?
B: Why was he down there?
H: He and the governor were there together, I believe. That was the day that Dooley
and I were kind of out of the way. I believe that was on Thursday.
B: No, it was the Sunday, in the original suspension order.
H: Sunday, I am sorry, in the original suspension. I do not recall really why the
lieutenant governor necessarily was there. It was just part of the lieutenant
governor's job to show support and backup to the governor.
B: Put up a solid front.
B: So when you got down there, talk about, if you would, what you did during the
week. Was there anything to do?
H: Well, there wasn't a whole lot to do. I remember that it was awful hard to try to
get out to get something to eat with all the federal guys running around. They
would try to block me in. Colonel [Eldridge] Beach, the head of the Highway
Patrol, was a good friend of mine, but he was worried that I was going to get
hurt. They would put me in a Highway Patrol car and race me out of the place,
go ten blocks and change me into another car, to get me somewhere where I
could even get a bite to eat. You could not get anything in or out, hardly. It was
very tense. After the first encounter with the federal marshals, we kept getting
the word that more and more and more of them were arriving in Tampa and
coming down. Even Colonel Beach told me, Lloyd, you are a good friend of mine.
I am warning you, things are getting tough and you are going to get hurt if
something does not give. He said, I feel like just taking you out of here. I said,
Beach, I cannot go and leave the governor. He has given me instructions of what
he wants, and I will stick with it. Of course, Judge Krentzmen asked me that
same question, how far would I go for the governor? And Briggs asked me if I
would commit a felony, you know, and how far would I go for the governor? And I
tried to tell both of them that I had more to lose, probably, than any staff member
there. I was a national defense executive reservist, the liaison between the state
of Florida and the Department of Army. Any kind of civil disorders, natural
disasters and all that, I sat on the state of Florida civil defense board. I carried
more badges in my pocket than most people. I always had what I considered a
good record in law enforcement, and the last thing in the world I wanted to do
MCBC 8 page 8
was violate the law. In fact, the paper said I had tears running down my eyes
when I was trying to answer his question. It was tough.
B: Was that report accurate?
H: Yes, it certainly was.
B: You were torn.
H: I was torn. In fact, as I told them, this is not my fight. This is the governor's fight. I
don't have a place in it except to carry out the governor's orders. That is my job. I
am his executive assistant. He has given me an order whether I like it or dislike
it, and I am not going to discuss that. I am going to carry out his order. It was
even worse than that. My wife was being operated on Monday morning, and I
thought I was going to jail on Friday. So it was tough.
B: You stated that your orders were very clear that you were to stop forced bussing,
but did you have any sort of blueprint about how you were going to go about it?
H: It was just seat-of-the-pants. We were flying by and reacting to whatever
happened. I am sure it was kind of obvious when the federal marshals came in
that we just reacted to whatever we had to do. Like the press kept saying, and
others, and it was tense, that something was going to really happen and some
people were going to get hurt if it didn't get straightened out. Those federal
marshals were not coming there to play games. In fact, we had a meeting after it
was all kind of over, in Tallahassee. The federal marshal Newberger, I mean, he
jokingly told me, there has been other people we have had to face and they
stood in the door until we arrived, and when we came through, they moved out of
the way. You are the first guy who refused to move that I have been a party to.
He said to me, you know, I think you are a real gentleman, but, boy, you are
tough. I said, well, I felt like I had to be tough because, basically, that stand
against the federal marshals was the only way that we really had to stand up for
what we believed in and what the governor believed in, in an attempt to try to
stop it. It did not work in the long run, but I think history has shown that by and
large, now, the biggest majority of people accept the fact that forced bussing is
not the solution.
B: Did you have that exchange with Newberger during or afterwards?
B: Did you have any rules of deportment that you had to follow while you were down
H: No. I was on my own, in essence, on how to handle it.
MCBC 8 page 9
H: Right. It was not easy.
B: Did you have any interaction with the press?
H: No. I tried to avoid the press as much as possible. I tried to keep it as low-key as
I could. Of course, when the governor showed up, the press was there. It is like
my picture with Weitzenfeld and us kind of whispering to each other, it was all
over the country. I got copies from New York and Alaska and Hawaii. We talked
among ourselves, of course, but I tried to avoid the press. I did not want to stir
that anymore than we had to. But of course, when the governor came, they are
not looking for me like they are looking for him, for press coverage.
B: Do you think that was the right thing to do, or, in view of how the press treated
your behavior, do you wish that you had interacted with them more?
H: I really did not feel like at that point that the governor's aides should be
interjecting themselves into it. I felt like it was the governor's show, it was the
governor's plan, it was the governor's wishes, and it should be the governor who
explained his programs. He could allow any one of the educational aides, Bill
Maloy or Gerry Mager as his legal aide to explain his position, but I did not want
other aides who were there with me who might misinterpret and make
statements that were not what the governor wanted. So, I really tried to avoid the
press as much as possible.
B: Can you sort of get into the dynamics between you and the other aides who were
in that office? I understand it was you, Maloy, Warner and Hoffman?
H: Yes. Most of the stuff, when it came to the federal marshals, I felt like it was
basically myself and Robert Hoffman. Warner was kind of in and out. He handed
the lieutenant governor's stuff a lot and the scheduling for the governor, and so
he was in and out and gone, as I remember it. Bill Maloy, of course, was there
every time the governor was present. I cannot remember exactly how long he
stayed through the whole week. My philosophy was that Bill would handle the
educational people's contact there, and my job was the handle the federal
marshals and our aides. So I did very little talking to the local officials, except the
B: Were you all sort of unified in your stance with the governor?
H: Yes. We all said we would stick. Like I said, the only two that Krentzmen seemed
to take on was myself and Hoffman, and we both said no, we would not follow
his orders, that we would follow the governor's, and we both had a lot to lose by
saying that at the time.
MCBC 8 page 10
B: Do you know why they did not serve notice on Maloy or Warner?
H: I do not know really why they did not. As I remember most of it, Dooley was the
only one who was right there with me when we were facing the marshals, I think.
I think that is where they decided to make an example of me and Dooley,
because I was the one who refused to obey the order and I was the one who put
the pressure on them. I was the one, I guess, they considered threatening to
some extent, even though that was not my intention, except with what I thought
was overextending their power. I guess their report probably showed the judge
that we stood in the way. That is just a guess on my part, but it seemed that we
were the two that they were really after.
B: Even if the aides were supporting the governor, were there any sort of
considerations of other possible actions?
H: None that I recall. Our job was to just take control of the school, and any of the
political dealings would have to come from the governor, through either Maloy or
Gerry Mager, and Gerry, I do not think he was ever there. I had the telephone,
the WATS [secure phone] line open all the time to the governor's office, so all I
had to do was holler out loud if things got really bad.
B: If you were in constant contact with Tallahassee all the time, did their attitude
throughout the course of the week ever change in their instructions and
H: No. Basically, just maintain control.
B: When you were in touch with them, what sort of exchange would go on?
H: I would just explain to them what just transpired, like I told them I just faced the
marshals and I refused to accept [the service], and the governor would send
word, keep up the good work and hold on.
B: Do you remember there being any interaction between the aides, between the
school board and Superintendent [Jack] Davidson during the week?
H: I am sure Maloy must have talked with him, but I did not. We took over his office,
and I never saw him.
B: You were saying that on Wednesday that there was a resuspension after the
H: On Tuesday, the judge, as I recall it, told the board they were back in action, that
the governor's power over them was over and that they were to implement the
[bussing] plan, but then the governor came right back and issued the order the
MCBC 8 page 11
second time, if my memory is correct, suspending them and removing them from
B: Was that turn of events completely initiated by Krentzmen?
H: The part about putting them back in, my understanding was that Krentzmen
issued that order, and my understanding was the governor, I guess for clarity, he
re-suspended them and told us to keep control of the school.
B: And there was not any sort of reconsideration of tactics at that point?
H: No instructions that I got. I mean, Maloy may have had some meetings or
conversations with district people, but as I said, that was not my job. My job was
to just keep control, and that is what we did until he capitulated.
B: If we can treat in some detail, to the best of your memory, the situation of the
showdown with the marshals, because the newspaper accounts about it are very
tangled, as you can probably understand. Talk about the police presence that
was there. How many were there and in what jurisdictions?
H: I think we had either fifty or seventy-five Highway Patrol, mostly what I consider
the riot squad. They were the biggest guys I think I have ever [seen], [they] had
fifteen [patrolmen] that big. [The building] was two stories, and [we] had some on
the first floor and some on the second floor. I cannot remember how many
Manatee County deputies, but I would say there were ten or twelve of them
around at different times. There was not that many, I do not believe, [when] we
had the confrontation inside. But we knew [the marshals] were coming, so I had
the Highway Patrol ready and Weitzenfeld had his deputies ready. They knew
what the game plan was, that I was going to refuse to abide by the order, and if
they tried to arrest me, just to back them up, and they did back them up.
B: Were you the only Beverage agent in attendance?
H: Yes. Like I said, I was the only one authorized to carry a gun, and in the manner
to do that, they made me a Beverage agent, as such, in order for me to be legal
carrying the gun. I did that a lot because there were a lot of times that there was
maybe one guard from the mansion security that would be with the governor or
something and other things could be going on. So, most of the time I was with
the governor, I would always be armed.
B: So, in the Manatee County office...
H: I was armed.
B: Were you the only one who was armed?
MCBC 8 page 12
H: The only governor's aide, [of] anybody involved in the governor's office. Yeah,
nobody else, but the deputies were armed.
B: Talk a little bit about Richard Weitzenfeld.
H: I could show you letters I received from him, thanking me for the relationship we
had together and how we stood together. Dick was in a very peculiar position. I
mean, he could have [gone] to jail, too, and he could have had big fines. Like
any elected politician, he did not want to destroy himself at home, and he did not
want to wake up and have a felony charged against him because he would have
been gone right then. I would have had to go back to Tallahassee and find a new
sheriff for the governor to fill his position. So, he was caught between a rock and
a hard place, but he hung in there until the very last moment. He capitulated a
little earlier than the rest of us.
B: When was that?
H: On [Thursday]. I believe my memory is correct. On [Thursday] when the governor
did not appear but Hoffman and I appeared at the long hearing. Why, we refused
to obey Krentzmen's orders, but Dick, I felt like, agreed to carry it out and agreed
to get out of the way.
B: I should have asked this earlier with the police presence. Were they in uniform,
or were they in plainclothes?
H: Most of them were in plainclothes, if my memory serves me correctly, with the
B: Why was that?
H: We just wanted to downplay it a little bit, as much as possible. At least, I felt like
that. I did not want any more police presence shown than possible. Like with the
Highway Patrol, [we] usually kept them inside, out of the way as much as
possible. We really were not wanting to have that confrontation, and I did not
want to aggravate it by having a big presence with tons of people outside and
looking like a battlefield. We were hoping to get through it the easiest way
possible. Colonel Beach, who was a great guy, certainly hung right in there with
us with the Highway Patrol and did everything he could to help us, and
Weitzenfeld did, too.
B: It sounds like even though you were happy to delegate matters to the
appropriate aides, it seems like you were pretty much stage managing the whole
H: I felt like as the governor's chief of staff, that is what he wanted me to do. That is
MCBC 8 page 13
what he led me to believe, that I was supposed to hold the fort. That is exactly
what I did.
B: Returning to the standoff situation, my understanding is that there was some sort
of preliminary meeting in the corridor and then the retreat into the
superintendent's office. Can you elaborate on that?
H: We had planned it that way, that we would let them come in and make the pitch
to me for whatever they wanted to say and, if they tried to arrest me, they would
hold them out in the corridor and we would just go into the superintendent's
office and I would lock the door. If they tried to proceed any farther, I would have
to just react from that. I did not know what they would do. Like I said, they finally
told me I was under arrest, and when they did, why, the federal marshal reached
for my arm, and when he did, I just jerked it back and they just put him back up
against the wall.
B: The deputies did?
B: Because they outnumbered the marshals, correct?
H: Sure. There was not any real struggling or anything like that from the marshals. I
mean, tried to be as diplomatic under a condition like that as you can be. It is
pretty hard to be diplomatic.
B: There were some news reports that Mickey Newberger was actually struck
during this situation. Was that correct?
H: Well, like I said, they put him back pretty fast and pretty hard. I do not think they
deliberately ever tried to strike him. Maybe in the process of trying to keep him
from grabbing me, because he reached for me and said you are under arrest. Of
course, like I said, he had cleared his jacket right before [where his gun was],
and I guess any law enforcement officer would do that automatically. You know,
he cannot reach his gun if his coat is buttoned. And like I said, I cleared mine
and jokingly said, I hope it does not come to that. But I do not think any of them
hit him deliberately. Of course, I was busy getting everybody turned and going
the other way, to get out of there.
B: So, it was you and Hoffman who were there?
H: Right. We were the only ones I can remember at this point. Others could have
been back there, but I just do not remember. I know I am the one who faced the
marshals, and they asked me if I understood the order and was I going to cease
and desist and vacate the property, and I told them no, we were not going to do
MCBC 8 page 14
that. That is when he said, well, you are under arrest.
B: And Sheriff Weitzenfeld was there, as well?
B: So, that is why the deputies were also taken into court with you at the hearing,
because they were the ones who were present.
H: Right. I believe there were, like, six of them.
B: After you retreated into the office, that was when they threatened to break down
H: They came and knocked on the door, demanded to open the door. I told them I
was not going to do that and that they should have understood from what they
just went through, I told them if they knocked the door down, why, they would be
arrested for destroying public property. We were carrying out our constitutional
duties to do what we were doing. From that room, all I had to do was holler. Like
I said, we had them upstair and we had them downstairs, so they would have
reacted in a few minutes if we would have needed them. But after a little bit of
waiting around and talking through the door, I guess they decided the best thing
was to leave. But then I heard the federal marshals were then pouring into
Tampa and that they would be back.
B: There were also some reports that there was some telephoning going back and
forth between inside and outside the office. Is that accurate?
H: Like I said, I had that telephone hooked up right to the governor's office where I
was telling him everything that was happening back and forth.
B: I meant between the lobby where the marshals and Blasingame were and the
office. Is that inaccurate?
H: I do not remember that, but I do remember talking on the telephone back to
Tallahassee with all that going on. Trying to talk with them about what was
happening and then banging on the door, it was a little bit tough trying to keep
your concentration on what was happening.
B: So, a very surreal but very tense situation.
H: Absolutely, and Colonel Beach did not help matters by telling me how I was
going to get hurt if something did not happen right soon to stop it.
B: My understanding of events after that is that you and Mr. Hoffman were taken to
MCBC 8 page 15
a hotel that evening? Do you recall that?
H: I do not recall. I could have [been].
B: And then on to the next day for the hearing in Tampa.
H: Yes. We appeared the next day about 2:00. I do not remember where I spent the
night that night.
B: What were your impressions of the hearing?
H: Very intense, again, and I felt like I was going to jail because I did not think
Judge Krentzmen was going to back off, even though I tried to explain to him that
the rules were if the Senate wanted to override the governor's decision, they
could, and they did not choose to do that. So I felt like that I was following the
proper rules by controlling the school, in lieu of the board controlling it. I tried to
explain to the judge that I had more to lose than anybody that I could think of in
the staff, that I had built a long reputation being involved in law enforcement and
being a national defense executive reservist and being on the state civil defense
board and all kinds of other boards, on the board of the Red Cross there in
Tallahassee and several other boards. He did not find any sympathy with that
either. He just kept saying, are you going to obey my order, or do you go to jail?
As I said, with tears in my eyes, I finally said, I am sorry but I will have to obey
B: And so what were your impressions of Judge Krentzmen, overall?
H: I thought he was a good judge. He was doing his job, and I did not have any
animosity towards him. The two federal United States attorneys were really sharp
guys, nice guys. I did not have any problem with their part, and I had no problem
with the federal marshals whatsoever, as far as from a personal standpoint. We
were all just trying to do our jobs. If I had been on the other side, I would have
been just as tenacious on that side. It takes a lot of guts for a police officer
sometimes to stand up to certain situations. Like I said, I had been involved in
law enforcement for quite a while. I guess that is where I drew my strength to
stand up and face it. It was not easy.
B: Some people have commented that they felt that Judge Krentzmen politicized
the entire issue. Would you agree with that assessment?
H: I did not take it that way. I just felt like he had equal right to defend his position,
having issued the order, the same way the governor had to carry out his actions
to go against the order. Again, like I said, I was kind of new being involved in
politics at that point. I have been in quite a bit since that, but I have always felt
like there are two sides to everything. I can understand Krentzmen. That was the
MCBC 8 page 16
trend of the day, and he ruled from what he considered law. This is a country
based on law, and I felt like he had a right to do that, and I felt like the governor,
as long as he followed the proper procedure and protocol, had a right to stand
against him. I certainly felt strongly, personally, against forced bussing. I felt like
that would destroy the neighborhood-school concept. But, I have said before a
lot of times, it was not my fight. It was the governor's fight. My only job was the
follow what the governor wanted me to do as his chief of staff.
B: Did you feel that Governor Kirk did follow the proper protocol?
H: He had every right to suspend them if he thought there was a justifiable reason,
misfeasance, malfeasance. He did that, and nobody attempted to override it.
Like I said, one of the legislators-and I am sure all of them agreed because they
did not try to override it-stood up and just preached his name to high heaven,
and as soon as the governor gave up, why, he turned the other way, turned
against him and attacked him for giving up.
B: That was Jerome Pratt?
H: Yes. So, I felt like the delegation was certainly supportive. I think they would
have liked originally to have passed the program that was based on the Orange
County [plan] that required no forced bussing that they thought would work and
could get through the courts without that, I believe they called it, unitary system. I
cannot remember exactly. Like I said, I was not an educational aide, and I did
not follow all those particular plans. I had so much to do myself that I did not get
into those. But when that died, like I said, with the nine-to-nine tie vote, then the
court had ordered April 6 for the plan to go into action. Everybody did what they
felt they could do to stop it.
B: How did you feel the legislature as a whole reacted to this situation?
H: Again, I felt like it was politics in action. The Democrats have certain ideas of
their own, and Republicans had ideas of theirs. I have to believe that by and
large, the legislature really did not favor forced bussing, but they were not going
to do a whole lot to try to create any kind of thing that looked like we were
fighting desegregation. I am sure if I had been a legislator, I would have been the
same way. It was just the law of the land almost at that point, and trying to find a
method to overturn what was the going way, I guess you would call it, you had to
be kind of innovative. Claude Kirk chose an awful innovative way to try to fight it.
It took a lot of guts for a governor to do that. I know everybody says he was
flamboyant and all these other descriptive adjectives and he was one of those
charge-over-the-hill Marine types, but it took a lot of courage to stand up and do
that. Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever side you are on, a lot of politicians,
or several of them, have tried it, and each one has come to a different fate.
MCBC 8 page 17
B: Elaborating on the interaction with the legislature, my understanding is that
Manatee County school board attorney Kenneth Cleary tried to marshal his
forces in Tallahassee to try and stir up opposition to that. Do you have...?
H: I am sure he did, and, of course, I have heard that. But like I said, I did not follow
those day-to-day legislative type things as the governor's chief of staff. We had,
like, Wade Hopping and others who followed the legislative action. Warner.
followed some of it. Maloy would be naturally following all the educational issues
and briefing the governor and what have you. I would get bits and pieces of it as
the chief of staff. Only when the issue really got to the point like it did was I given
direction to take over the school system and stop the forced bussing.
B: Were you aware of any attempts of Congressman William Cramer [Republican
Senator from Orlando] to counteract the bussing situation? I know there was no
love lost between him and Kirk.
H: Yes, I was just starting to say there was not a whole lot of comraderie between
the two. In fact, one time on an airplane, why, the ICY machine-they called it the
Inscoe Cramer & Young-they had a lot of their forces on this plane. They were
jabbing the governor back and forth, and I got up on the speaker system and I
said I wanted everybody to understand that the governor understands what ICY
means is I Control Young. That broke up the ice, but it was getting kind of
sarcastic there for a while. I am not really familiar with what all Cramer tried to
do. But you are correct, there was no real love lost between them.
B: Returning to the Friday, I know that you were in Tampa in the hearing with Mr.
Hoffman, but you talked earlier that there was some sort of confrontation at that
point in Manatee between Governor Kirk and the marshals.
B: They were attempting to serve you?
H: Yes, and according to the United States attorney, Briggs, he felt he had an
agreement with Gerry Mager and the governor and the court that Hoffman and I
would be there at a given time for them to serve the paper. We were not there
because we had not necessarily been informed to be there at that particular
moment. The governor felt like he could accept service for us. He was there, and
he wanted to take and accept the service for us, but they did not want to do that.
They wanted directly Hoffman and I. They were arguing back and forth, the way I
understand it, and the governor called Gerry Mager and said, was this the way it
was? And Gerry said no, that was not what we agreed to, as such. But then they
got a hold of us and told us that we needed to be there at 2:00, and we
highballed it up there.
B: Gerry Mager was Governor Kirk's legal counsel?
MCBC 8 page 18
B: So who was he dealing with?
H: I presume he was dealing with the court [in] some way.
B: Krentzmen or the U. S. attorney's office?
H: The U. S. attorney's office, and that they had been in agreement that we would
be there at a certain time to accept the service from the federal marshals and the
United States attorney, and we would appear that day at 2:00 in Tampa. I think
the sticking point was, I think the federal marshal said something to the governor,
well, you reneged, and then the governor said no, I did not renege. You all are
the ones who reneged and caused the problem. This was not the way it was
supposed to be. Anyway, they finally got it worked out, and we were called and
told, look, you need to be in Tampa at 2:00, and we got there.
B: Perhaps this will jar your memory, perhaps not, but I know Mr. Hoffman said that
the sheriff's department spirited you out and put you up at a hotel for the night,
and I think it had something to do with the fact that you were afraid that when
you were served by the marshals, you were going to be taken out in handcuffs or
something like that...
B: And you had an aversion to that.
H: No, I did not have any aversion to that. I was just determined they were not going
to arrest me there.
B: I see.
H: And they were going to put the handcuffs on me. I mean, he was reaching for
them when he said you are under arrest.
B: On Thursday?
H: Yes, and I was not about to do that. Of course, if they could have gotten to me
Friday, yes, they probably would have tried to, since we did not appear before,
you know, did not allow it. But on Friday, if the governor was going to accept the
service, why, I did not have a fear they would try to handcuff me there,
necessarily, because if the governor accepts the service [and] says you are
going to be there at 2:00, I mean, if you are not there, well, they are going to
come looking for you, sure enough.
MCBC 8 page 19
B: I know you were not there when this happened, but I understand that it was a
fairly big media event with Governor Kirk on Friday in Manatee. Can you explain
what the Palace Guard was?
H: I have heard that comment a few times, and I guess it referred to the guys on our
staff who protected the governor and that a lot of aides protected the governor to
the extent sometimes they did not give him even good advice to protect him from
different things. But I really never figured out who the Palace Guard was.
B: Apparently, there was this big media event where they were having yet another
face to face situation, and apparently the room was filled with blonde
schoolchildren in blazers and pants. Do you know...?
H: Like I said, I was not there for that particular one, but Claude Kirk was not past
using, you know, from a PR standpoint, I do not know who invited the kids there.
B: So they were local kids?
H: I was not there at that meeting, so I do not know how they got there.
B: I just was wondering if you heard about it. I know you were in Tampa.
H: Yes, I do not really remember it. I have seen the pictures of the governor in the
meeting. I never really noticed the kids' picture there with him.
B: After the hearing, what happened then?
H: Well, that was on a Friday, and again, the judge issued orders that by Monday
the governor was to have it over, no more. On Sunday, I believe, Kirk said that it
was up to the courts now, [that] he had done all he could do, that a fine of
$10,000 on him would not solve anything and it had to go to the court. He felt,
again, like any dispute like that was between the state and district court should
be in the Supreme Court and not a district court. That was the normal rule, but I
think they ignored that, and for the second time. So Kirk backed off. He just went
his way after that.
B: Did you go back to Manatee that weekend after the hearing?
H: No, I headed to Tallahassee. My wife was being operated on, on Monday. No, I
had nothing other than that job in Manatee County at that time. I did not know
Manatee County until I went there for that.
B: So after the hearing, it just sort of petered out. There was no strong presence at
the office anymore?
MCBC 8 page 20
H: No, not to my recollection.
B: Could you talk about your knowledge of the interaction between the Justice
Department and Governor Kirk?
H: I know that the governor was just trying a lot to talk to Mitchell and to talk even to
Nixon and others in the administration to try to get in ahead of the
Charlotte/Mecklenburg County case, and he tried to present his arguments to
them. I was not privy to all the calls. I am sure he did most of them at the
mansion. But he tried very hard to convince them of the situation, and they just
kept insisting, I think, that it ought to be the Mecklenburg County case they got
into the courts first. That is the reason I say that cartoon really shows the
secretary would be looking for another job if she did not quit passing those calls.
B: I will have to look for that.
H: I could look back, but it would take me a while to go through. I have got a lot of
old clippings and stuff filed away. I might be able to find a copy of the cartoon.
B: So was this communication, again to the best of your knowledge, of course,
ongoing throughout the week, or was it towards the end of the week when it was
really starting to heat up?
H: I think he had been trying all during the week, and I think he probably even tried
before. He knew the court order went into effect on Monday, or Tuesday. When
he suspended the board on Sunday, I guess it was, I am sure that he already
talked to somebody in the Nixon administration about what was happening. He
probably was very popular with the administration until we got down to the 1968
convention in Miami [when] he supported Nelson Rockefeller [governor of New
York and rival of Nixon for the Republican presidential nomination]. Up until that
point, he had an open phone line almost, I think, to Washington. So, I am sure
he talked to plenty of people before. I was not privy to all those conversations, as
B: Do you know if he ever talked to Nixon?
H: I have no personal knowledge, but I am sure he did. In fact, even as bad as
things got at one point, I felt like Nixon was still considering him for VP [vice
B: Even throughout all this, through the 1970s?
H: Hm-mm [yes].
B: Why would he have done that?
MCBC 8 page 21
H: I just think that at that point until the late part of the term, before November when
they got at crosshairs, and it may have been a lot to do with this decision, that he
thought maybe they might have promised him. I do not know, but something
B: Because they were thinking about dumping [Vice President Spiro T.] Agnew at
that point, were they not?
H: Yes, right-o, and that was another ironic tale I will tell you later. I became very
close to Agnew and his wife when he was named [vice president]. In fact, I got a
letter from his aide telling me that he had done nothing wrong and everything
[would be okay]. By the time I got the letter, he was already plea-bargaining. I
had an autographed picture, a big one, from him and his wife both, in my office,
and I turned it around backwards in my office. Everybody would come in and
say, what is that? I said, well, look at it and you will know why I turned it
backwards. People have a right to expect more.
B: Yes. He disappointed a lot of people.
H: Bad. Like I said, I became very close. In fact, I had been to Washington, and he
walked me downstairs when I left. That hurt [referring to Agnew's nolo
contender plea and resignation as vice president].
B: Yes. More than Kirk?
H: No. Both of them would have hurt me if they did really bad, but [Agnew] did really
bad. I mean, he deserved to get what he got if he was guilty, and they certainly
seemed to prove he was guilty. I got no use whatsoever for anybody who betrays
the public trust to that extent.
B: My understanding is that Governor Kirk embarked on some subsequent court
action after this. Are you aware of any of that?
H: Not really. Like I said, after that I was back to my regular duties of all the different
patronage, and by then, we were basically on the last legs of Kirk's term. I was
handling a lot of other things close to the end of the administration, so I did not
follow that particular educational part.
B: At this point, I would like to talk a little more about the wider context of the whole
situation. You mentioned earlier that you felt that Governor Kirk did what he had
to do in following the proper protocol in standing up for his principals. Do you
stand by that? Do you wish that it had been handled in any different way?
H: I certainly wish that it had worked out better than what it did, but I do not know
that he had any other choice. The only way he could do it was to confront it, and
MCBC 8 page 22
at that particular time, I do not think anybody really wanted to hear that. They
wanted everything just status quo. Let normal procedure follow, like I said, the
case with Mecklenburg County. They just did not want to be bothered with the
case in Manatee County, and the governor was just bound and determined that
he was not going to allow the forced bussing if he could help it.
B: What did you think of his political address on the Sunday afterwards where he
bought television time and claimed victory for his handling of the situation?
H: Well, I am sure that a lot of people thought that was a stretch, but Claude was
flamboyant and he knew how to handle the press from his standpoint. I was
never surprised at anything that Claude Kirk did. He was different. There was no
question about that. A lot of people say he used the press any way he could just
to keep the headlines, but I think he was much deeper than that. I do not think
that it was all that. He believed in exactly what he was standing up for, and I
would be disappointed if I thought he did not.
B: I know that towards the aftermath of this situation, he was criticizing the press for
how they had handled the confrontation. Did you agree with that perception?
H: To some extent, yes. Again, on the other side, I understand that the press, you
know, that is their job and they are going to push as hard as they can and they
are going to sometimes distort it in some ways to their thinking. That is just life in
the fast lane, I think. I read stories all the time that do not come out the way I
think it was intended. I used to make a statement when I was in the governor's
office: those were not my views but my interviews. I remember one time
personally telling a reporter after he interviewed me not to ever come back again
unless he wanted to quote me and tell it like I had explained it to him, because
any resemblance between what I had said to him and what he wrote, you know,
it was unbelievable. I think some reporters, and I do not think very many of them,
have their own agenda, too, just like any other person. They slant and distort
facts sometimes to suit the particular cause. I am sure you see it all the time. I
mean, different newspapers took a totally adamant position against Kirk. The
Orlando Sentinel and others would take one in favor of what he was doing. You
always have that give and take or push and shove or whatever you want to call it,
but I think Claude Kirk sincerely believed he was doing what he thought
especially the people of Manatee County wanted.
B: And it is correct that he carried Manatee County in the next election, right?
H: Sure did. Right-o.
MCBC 8 page 23
B: Did you feel that the coverage of the Manatee County situation was
sensationalized by the press?
H: Well, I never thought that I would ever see my picture in Alaska and Hawaii and
all the different places, so it certainly did receive an awful lot of PR and hype or
whatever you want to call it. It certainly did.
B: But you do not remember specifically looking back on the newspaper accounts
and finding them distorted?
H: Well, I had read quite a few different versions and what have you, and like I said,
every editorial board has their own slant. I would have expected [that]. There are
predominantly Democratic papers and there are predominately Republican, so
you are going to get a different slant. But personally, I do not pay a lot of
attention to that. I try to just view what I think the problem is and what the
solution is. If certain people in the press disagree with it and slant it one way, you
know, that is their prerogative. That is America. That is what you do. What you
have to do then is to try to fight back and show them what your real views are
and hope it works.
B: You were talking earlier that you felt that Governor Kirk had at least a chance at
the vice presidential nod from Nixon. Could you elaborate on that?
H: I had a lot of contacts in politics then, and I felt like Claude Kirk was probably
one of the top six people for consideration. But something happened, and I do
not know exactly what really brought it about, but all of a sudden there was just
some discourse, I think, between Nixon and Kirk. Kirk just refused to support him
at the convention, and I do not know if Claude Kirk had some insight that none of
the rest of us had because of the things that happened to Richard Nixon. He
may have been smarter than all of us put together because Richard certainly did
the damage to himself. I am not sure that Claude Kirk did not look at some of
those things and had more insight than some of the rest of us. I was appalled,
personally. In fact, in my scrapbook, I still have the note. I was [Kirk's] alternate
to the Republican convention. He was out with the riots [in Tampa]. In fact, it was
kind of humorous but not humorous, in a way. I had Chief Rocky Pomerance
from Miami come to me while I was on the floor and say, look, the governor
wants to talk to you on the telephone. I go in and Claude says, do you know
where I am at? I said no, but I know you are down in the riot area. He said yes, I
am pinned down behind a car, and they are shooting. He said, you go in there
and tell that delegation, if they have got as much guts as I have, they will vote for
Rockefeller. And you could hear cops, Highway Patrol people, laughing. And he
hangs up. He was funny. He could come up with some good ones. Well, I still
have the note that he left me. He wanted me to poll the delegation, and I refused
to do it.
MCBC 8 page 24
H: I just felt like that was the wrong thing to do. The delegation was solidly behind
Nixon, and it would just create more animosity to poll it and get very few votes for
Nelson Rockefeller. In fact, Nelson Rockefeller's key man in Florida came to me
and was just livid with me. He was right up in my face, and I told him to back up
or else. But I did what I thought was right for the governor. He never gave me a
bad time about it.
B: Do you think that Governor Kirk's chances for the vice presidential nod were
carried on after 1968?
H: I do not think so. I think it died shortly after that. It certainly was not in the vein it
was previous to that. I think he had a really good standing, but then when he just
insisted that he was not going to support Richard Nixon, then there was no way
that they were going forward with it then. His name kept cropping up. It even
appeared in paper, you know, that he would be considered. But I think after the
stand he took there, that took all the chances away.
B: At the convention or Manatee?
H: At the convention.
B: The reason why I am asking is because some people have surmised that maybe
the Manatee situation was connected to [Kirk's] vice presidential ambitions.
H: It could have been, and maybe the cartoon was correct. Nixon did not want to
talk about that anymore. I am sure he had knowledge of the 1968 work by 1970,
so he did not want to hear anymore.
B: Could you comment on whether Governor Kirk felt any pressure from the right
wing of his support base, from the real segregationists?
H: I am sure he did. In fact, I would say Pratt bordered right on that. I mean, he
really turned the pressure up and was just livid. Of course, Pratt was a
Democrat. I know that we certainly had people from the Republican side who
were adamant about it and certainly tried to influence as much as they could. As
usual, all special-interest type groups will do that. I am sure there was a
considerable amount of that.
B: Did you have any awareness of those sorts of groups down in Manatee County,
the Citizens' Councils types, the pseudo-Confederates?
H: I did not have any real contact with it. Like I said, I was there to just do one job.
But I know that people certainly were just solidly behind what the governor was
MCBC 8 page 25
doing. What their motives were, I was not privy to all that. I do not know whether
any of our legislators would be considered racist. But I think the governor did
what he thought the people of Manatee County wanted, and that is democracy.
When I was elected county commissioner, I felt like I was obligated in some
sense to support whatever I thought was the majority view of the people in my
district. I think a governor or any other legislator, you know, if it affects Manatee
County, it is a Manatee County issue, that you should take the pulse of the
county to see where they stand. And unless it is something really horrible, if it is
the majority view, why, I think that should get an overwhelming consideration.
They do not elect you to serve yourself. They elect you to serve them.
B: You mentioned earlier the use of force that you attributed to yourself. Certainly,
there were a lot of phrases like that which were bandied about that seemed to
H: Yes. I think the press overplayed that part of it, and the United States attorney
and them went out and told the press that they had been threatened, more or
less. Of course, that played big. But the truth was that my statements, two of
them-1 hope it does not come to that and I will use force to meet force-I just
meant cease-and-desist. You know, I am trying to get through this as amiably as
possible. I knew the federal marshals and the United States attorney had a job to
do and I had one to do, and I knew it was going to be a tough position to take but
I had to take it. I was just trying to tell him, if you keep pushing, there will be
problems. But I was not threatening to shoot him.
B: Did you feel like there were any other quotes that resulted in that situation,
because it seemed like the governor's staff had to backpedal from the spin that
the press was putting on it.
H: I know the governor, and I explained to him there was nobody threatening to
shoot them. I was just joking when I made the statement, I hope it does not
come to that. I mean, he never expected me to be armed, and I am sure he [the
marshal] was surprised that I was authorized to even carry a gun. It was just a
remark that got carried a lot farther than what the intention was. Of course, I saw
in the paper where even some of our legal people, in making their arguments
before the court, that, you know, it is getting really desperate and bad things can
happen, and there might be shots fired or something to that extent. I never saw it
to that extent, but maybe I was a little blind myself. But when the federal
marshals start to come in to take somebody out, they are going to do it. If it takes
it, I guess they would do whatever is necessary. It has been done in the past. But
I never thought that it would come to that. I felt like we would get to a point where
we would certainly come to some kind of legitimate solution based on law and
not on force. I really hated it, it made me feel bad for those kind of comments to
come out because that really was not what I was trying to do for the governor.
Like I said, the one about the gun threatening to shoot, that was really off the
MCBC 8 page 26
wall. That was never a statement that was made.
B: Could you comment on any sort of interaction with African-Americans that you
had during the Manatee County situation. Were they present at all?
H: Very few, really. I had interaction with black police officers in the sheriff's
department, and I had no problem there whatsoever. I think everybody
understood, from my standpoint at least, that forced bussing was the issue. It
was not anything else. That is not the perception of all the people out in the
community, of course. In fact, that is the one thing I feel like I have always had, a
good relationship with the black community, even to this day, in Manatee County.
I mean, I supported black school board members who are on the Democratic
ticket, and I have been Mr. Republican in one sense in Manatee County,
because I have always felt like they deserve the same kind of support and
treatment if they are honest and good at their job as anybody else. I do not let
party lines step in the way of that.
B: I understand there was some picketing going on by those who were present?
B: Was that ongoing, or was it just a particular moment?
H: It was off and on. I was so busy inside and what have you, I really could not see
how much it went on because, like I said, I was almost like in prison myself, and
the only way I could get out at times was for them to put me in a patrol car and
dash me out and change me into someplace else. So, I was outside very little,
most of the time inside the school office.
B: Are you familiar with any sort of influence of the desegregation center based at
the University of Miami?
H: No. I am sure Maloy and others would be, but I was not.
B: How do you feel about the comparisons that the press made of Governor Kirk,
comparing him to Ross Barnett, Orval Faubus, George Wallace [segregationist
governors of Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, respectively]?
H: I really felt like that was not a fair comparison, at least from where I sat as the
governor's chief of staff. I felt like Claude Kirk was trying to do what he thought
was right. I am sure the others felt they were doing the same thing, but I do not
think he intended, starting out, that we were going to face federal marshals and
what have you. That was just a byproduct of how the situation unfolded. I do not
think he really saw himself standing in the doorway. I do not think that was his
motive whatsoever. I do not even like the thought of him being presented that
MCBC 8 page 27
way. As I said before, the federal marshals said to me, you know, normally in
these situations, the person has backed out of the way and we have gone right
on in, and we did not do that. But we did not do it trying to make a name like
Orval Faubus and others, and [Lester] Maddox [Georgia segregationist governor]
and some of the others. They had their reasons and the governor had his, and I
did not see it in that vein. I just felt like he was trying to stop forced bussing, and I
agreed with that philosophy even though, as I said, it was not my fight. It was his
fight. As governor, he represented the people of this state, and he felt like the
people of this state, that was what they expected from him. I think today, if you
took a poll, he would be right, and the others would have been wrong. I think that
would be overwhelming today.
B: So do you feel that he had other options where he could have stood up for his
principles without resorting to this?
H: To tell you the truth, I do not see where he could have and put any kind of real
emphasis on it because from everything that I gathered as we started, they did
not want to hear about the Manatee County plan. They had other plans [arising
from the contentious busing dispute in] Mecklenburg County and Charlotte [North
Carolina], and they did not want to get this plan anywhere close to getting in the
way. That was the only fight that Claude Kirk had, to stand on what his principles
were, and he did it. It did not go down well, I am sure, with some national people,
but he did it anyway.
B: How did you feel that Manatee County affected him politically?
H: From a standpoint of re-election and what have you, I am sure that people would
have voted for him and did vote for him. I cannot remember his original election
how strong his vote was, but I sincerely believe and they did when he went for
re-election that the vote was much heavier than it was originally. I would think
that they did appreciate what he stood for, at least a majority of the people, and I
can understand. As I said before, the black community at that stage in history
supported that view, that they wanted the forced bussing. They wanted equal
opportunity on the different schools. But today, if you interviewed those people, I
believe they would tell you that was a mistake.
B: So you feel that the support for Kirk in the Manatee County situation was
genuine, but yet he still did not win the following election.
H: Correct, but no Republican...he was the first one. It was a fluke in one sense that
he got elected the first time. If it had not been for the conservative Democrats,
Haydon Burns and what have you, he would have never made it. As much I
loved Claude Kirk and what have you, I sat at the airport with Reubin Askew long
before the election was held. I told him, Reubin, I know you know you will be the
next governor, because that is just the history and that is exactly what is going to
MCBC 8 page 28
happen, as much as I would like to see Claude Kirk re-elected and what have
you. The Demo-Kirks are not there anymore, and the numbers do not add up.
So, I personally in my mind knew that was the end of the administration. In fact, I
already positioned myself, because I knew it would be over, to go back to private
B: Some people have suggested that the Manatee County situation came about
because of a clash of egos between Judge Krentzmen and Governor Kirk.
Would you agree with that assessment?
H: I do not think I would. I think both of them had big egos, but I think both of them
had a job to do. They both did their job in the way that they thought was the best
way to handle it. Claude Kirk did not have the law on his side at that point, so he
had to be dramatic and different and chose to be tough. I can understand why a
judge would do everything he did to us. You know, you are looking at two
philosophical sides of something. Even if Krentzmen did not necessarily
personally believe in forced bussing, that was basically the law of the land at that
point, and it was happening everywhere. I think he would have looked at it from a
standpoint of what the previous legal decisions were. I am sure he did not want
to take the position he knew would get overturned. So, he did what he thought
was right with the court, and Claude Kirk did what he thought was right for the
B: Other people have suggested that they felt that Governor Kirk's involvement in
the Manatee situation was perhaps unduly influenced by certain aggressive
members in his circle of advisors. Would you agree with that assessment?
H: No, I do not think I would agree with that. I think the governor just looked at the
particular situation. I do not know of anybody in our administration who was really
from Manatee County. Not an aide whom I can think of was from Manatee
County, at that point, and most of the legislators from Manatee County were
Democrat. I think he felt like that was what the people wanted him to do, and he
did it. I did not see the Manatee County legislators really fighting it. In fact, I
would say almost all of them were really on his side. They certainly did not try to
overturn him, and the senators, Ralph Haben and all those, could have easily
turned around and vetoed his decision.
B: There is a certain characteristic that has been imparted to Governor Kirk. He is
called the "Politician of Confrontation." You do not see any influence on his aides
in fostering that sort of mentality?
H: I was there with him for four years, and I know he gets adamant about his views,
but I have never really seen him where I really thought that he was just [there] for
PR sake. He was dang good at manipulating his position at times, but I think he
certainly felt strongly about them. I think his nature as an old Marine was to hit
MCBC 8 page 29
everything head on, and he was not bashful about that. He had quite a wit about
him, but he could be sarcastic at times, too, against the people who tried to go
against him. I guess he probably received more publicity than any governor that I
can ever remember in Florida. I am sure he enjoyed some of that from a
personal standpoint. I am sure he thought that being able to outwit them just a
little bit with humor was part of his character. He was impassioned. Pulling jokes
on anybody he thought he could get away with.
B: Do you feel there is a way that a Republican, practically speaking, could be
genuinely for civil rights and still maintain true to his conservative beliefs in
curtailing government involvement? Do you think there is a way to reconcile
H: I am not an historian in one sense from all these political ideals, but I would hate to
think that Republicans could not deal with that in a proper way. That would be hard
for me. We are all equal, and they deserve to get exactly what any of the rest of us
get. There are ways to deal with those things. I am conservative, fiscally at least, but
I feel strongly that every minority and every race in America should get equal
schooling, equal rights of every kind. Women should be treated just like men in the
workplace. If Republicans cannot understand all those things, they will suffer in the
long run because we are such a diversified nation now, with so many different
views. I mean, look at Miami and Elian [Gonzalez, Cuban refugee boy]. We got
citizens in the community clashing with each other up and down the streets,
shouting at each other. But that is democracy in action, as long as they keep it
under control. But I think all the people have a right to the same treatment. I can
understand watching the Elian case, the law is the law, and that is what this nation
is based upon. It may not be popular, the decisions that the Justice Department and
others made. I was not too happy about some of them myself, but the law is the law
and that is what this country needs to abide by, and all the people and all the races.
All the parties certainly need to abide by that, where everybody is treated right and
equal. This stuff of ultraconservative and ultraliberal, sometimes I have a hard time
following that. I have seen issues that all of a sudden, oh, that ultraliberal, I am not
sure what that really means. To one person, that might mean he is really in the
center, but it does not come out that way. I hate those kind of tags all the time,
ultraliberal and ultraconservative. Really, I do not think that necessarily covers a lot
of people. They get tagged with those kinds of things, but I do not think it is
B: What significance do you think the Manatee County situation has for Florida
H: Other than the fact that, after all these years, that if you took a vote, I think they
would say Claude Kirk was right in the forced bussing, other than that, I do not think
it means a whole lot. People forget. You could go do a poll in the rest of the state,
and nobody would hardly ever remember Manatee County. They just move on past
MCBC 8 page 30
those kinds of things. You could go out and do a poll and say, do you remember the
Manatee County situation? And I bet you there would not be hardly any except in
Manatee County to remember that. But you could go around the state and say, do
you believe in forced bussing? And you would get plenty of nos, even fromthe black
community now. Again, they should get equal schools and equal opportunities
without having forced bussing. The neighborhood school concept. It is like right
where I am at now. It was the old Bradenton Elementary School. When they started
to give that to the sheriff's department and to the sheriff, the building had been
vacant for four years and nobody acted like they had any interest in it whatsoever.
As soon as we got it and turned it into a Police Athletic League, the next thing I
knew, the black community wanted it as an elementary school because it had been
an elementary school previously. But nobody came forward until we started working
with it. Well, we now have an elementary there and a middle school and high
school. But issues just kind of fade away and kind of get lost, and then all of a
sudden they bubble back up again. That was just another incident that reminds me
that the black community looks at their neighborhood school, and they want that
neighborhood school. Now, before, they were willing to bus them all overthe county,
but now they want that school back in the black neighborhood. That proved to me
that we should have never destroyed those neighborhood schools the way we did,
bussing them all over the place and riding for hours. You start moving 2,600 school
children into different parts of the county riding for an hour, and that was in 1970,
you can think of what the expense is of bussing those kids when we could have still
had schools in the neighborhoods of choice. I think the end result would have been
basically the same thing. Like in our school now, we have probably 45 percent black
and we probably have 20 percent Hispanic. I do not see any conflict with it. They
accept that they all come together, and we do not have any real problems, even
though they are at-risk kids. I think it would have eventually worked itself out, but the
courts were trying to do certain things. Like I said, that was kind of the trend and law
of the land at that time. It has come back around, I think.
B: Is there anything else that I missed that I should have asked you about?
H: I do not think so. It has been a long time, and it is hard to recall some of the things
that happened. I sat for a little while after you contacted me and tried to kind of
remember some of the things that happened, but when you think back how long ago
that was, sometimes I think I am starting to slip in the mental capacity there,
Alzheimer's or something, because it is hard to recall a lot of the things that
B: You have done a lot better than a lot of other people I have talked to, I can assure
you of that. Are there any particular anecdotes or memories that you harken back
to that you associate with this?
H: The only one that always strikes me when I think of Colonel Beach, and he is dead
now, was he really sincerely thought I was going to get hurt, and, boy, he was trying
MCBC 8 page 31
every way in the world that he could to protect me, hoping that there would be a
solution, that a lot of good people in law enforcement and also on the Kirk staff
could get hurt because they felt like that it was vastly escalating into a real
confrontation. Like I said, when they started bringing in all the federal marshals, they
were just flying in. I mean, we would get reports they were coming in from all over
the country. We knew that the chips were down, and then we really got a sober
feeling. We felt like, and I am sure Kirk did too, we fought the battle as well as we
could, but the time had come that something had to stop because somebody was
going to get hurt, probably bad. I do not think Claude Kirk ever wanted it to get to
that standpoint, but he felt like he had to hold out as strong as he could. But I met
a lot of nice people there. Like I said, I never thought I would ever be back there,
and all of a sudden, I wound up coming back in 1971 to Manatee County. It was a
pleasant surprise to see a lot of the same people I met under adverse conditions.
B: Pretty ironic how all that works.
H: Yes, it sure was. Not in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would end up in
B: If there is nothing else, I thank you for your time.
H: I enjoyed it, and if I can ever be of other service, if anything comes up, I am sure I
could research my old files.
B: All right. This concludes the interview.
[End of Interview.]