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1 Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: A31 00004 Interviewee: C. Blythe Andrews Jr. (CA) Interview ers : Otis An thony (OA), Herbert Jones (HJ), Shirley Smith (SS) Interview date: February 15, 1978 Interview location: Unknown Transcribed by: Unknown Transcription date: Unknown Interview Changes by: Kimberly Nordon Interview Changes date: December 4, 2008 Final E dit by: Mary Beth Isaacson Final Edit date: January 15, 2009 Otis Anthony : We began about t he period of about 1500, okay? W e're doin' it sort of chronological and a kind of chronological history right now that sums up basic some of the cigar industry c oming of the railroads, and the black troops who came into Tampa with Roosevelt in 19 during the Spanish American War. So we're pretty much summin' up that section. We have a man by the name of Tony Pizzo who we're going to talk to about that. And we hav e all the materials o n that. When we get into the period of World War I and the 1920s we need to know if there are any old Sentinels that we can get into to help us assist us in that area. You go back that far? C Blythe A ndrews, Jr. : Well, we go back tha t far, but I wouldn't know OA : Oh, they did? CA: anything that we would have up until 1945. The paper is much older than that, but we don't have any old copies of OA : Oh, I see. CA: that dates back beyond forty five [19 45 ] OA : Okay. That's the i nformation too. We need to kno w how far we could go back in o kay, the other thing that we need to from you is when could we have, or could we have the opportunity to go through the old papers or old records, that type of t hing, and pick up w hatever relev ant information. CA: Yeah. OA : Okay.
2 CA: We'll set up some times that I'll be OA: (inaudible) CA: (inaudible) OA: Okay. W ell, what we decided to do was just ask everybody to just jot down o n a piece of the kind of question that they would like to as k you about the project. The main things that we want to get a history of the Sentinel okay, as part and parcel of the black media, and your feelings about its contribution. That type of thing. We want to get a biography o n you. We want to get a biography o n your father, so we may have to break this down into different sessions. I don't know. But however much time you have time today. And then we need to get an idea from you of the kind of people that you think we need to talk to really get a comprehensive history of black folk in this community. CA: Where do you want to start? OA : Well, let's start with the history of the Bulletin CA: All I'm going to tell you. OA : Okay (laughs). CA: I've come across something myself. I thought we dated back to 191 9, but I came across this little book here. And this guy here is the is suppos ed to have been the founder of t he Florida Sentinel back in the 1890s. The guy's name is Mathew Loui s Florida's first black newspaper. And he supposedly started this paper in 1 887, in Gainesville. OA : What did they call it then, t he Florida Sentinel ? CA: The Florida Sentinel OA : Twelve Histories by Dr. Muir. CA: Yeah. OA: And he was in material I've read something and they called it something else too around in the 1920 s or so. The Challenger or something like that? The Bulletin or it was CA: It was the Florida Bulletin OA : Was that true? Something like that? Was it in Jacksonville?
3 Herbert Jones : Okay, there was a paper that came out of St. Petersburg. It was a bl ack paper. What was the name of that one, do you know? CA: No, that paper's relatively new It was t he Weekly Challenger It's about eight years old. OA : Was the paper ever located in Jacksonville? CA: Yeah. That's where we date from. Where my daddy I mean my grandfather had it then, in 1919, i n Jacksonville. That's W.W. Andrews. In 1 931 the Depression took it (inaudible) in 1931. Then my daddy started it back in 1945. OA : What kind of atmosphere was there during that time for a black newspaper, start ing it or ? C. Blythe Andrews: I don't date back that far. I date back a long way but OA : No. I know you don't date back that but, I mean, you know, in terms of information that's been shared with me. CA: Well, it's the same problem that exi s ts today. People consider the advertisers consider a black paper and black radio stations as what they called a secondary medium. We get the "droppings" of adverti sing, the advertis ing budget. During those days circulation paid the bills for black newspapers. When i n all other newspapers advertis ing paid your profit, paid your bills, paid your (inaudible). So we re just the opposite. OA : Okay, so how did your dad go about starting t he Florida Sentinel ? CA: He was an official of Central Life Insurance Company. He so ld his stock in thirty nine [19 39 ] and became a writer for a real estate broker and a writer for the Tampa Bulletin He also had this lodge thing 1 and t he Tampa Bulletin was more or less associated with the Grand Union Pallbearers Paul Berry' s o rganiz s ti ll with h is organization and they refuse d to put out the news of what they were doing in the paper eve n though he was a columnist S o he started his own paper called the (inaudble) b ecause he'd been in it all his life except for that period from thirty on e [19 31 ] to forty five [19 45 ]. So OA : So he just started out as typin' and x eroxin' it, or mimeo g raphin' himself or else? CA: No. He brought a press, what you call a flatbed press and two linotypes and he had a building on Central so it was it would hav e been right around the corner from the building. And, of course, during those days, as I s aid earlier, the paper existed o n 1 The Lily White Lodge was an African American organization that provides burial benefits and health care. The Andrews family was highly involved, and C. Blythe Andrews, Sr., was the state organization's grand presiden t in the late 1950s.
4 circulation. Very little adverti s ing. You'll se e when you go through those issues back then, there's very little adverti s ing. OA : What was the main source of information given in the paper? CA: The s ame thing OA : Same thing that's (inaudible) now? CA: Church and social news, just a mirage of all types of news that the w hite papers wouldn't print and still don't print. OA : What r o le did t he Sentinel exhibit o n Tampa early history, particularly to economics and social aspects? CA: You mean you wa n t what role did that it played o n uplifting the community? What role did he [Andrews Sr.] see himself playin' or the paper playin'? OA : Well, at that time when there were no black policeman would got some old pictures here. The first black policeman back in fifty one [19 51 ] The first black policeman down CA: Of course they couldn't arrest any white folks you know. They just arrested blacks o n Central. OA : Yeah, pictures are gonna be another area that yo u could help us with on we really, really CA: I got a lot of 'em stored away. OA : Oh, yeah. (Several voices speak simultaneously) Shirley Smith: (inaudible) CA: That's at old Phillip s Field, you know where we used to play the all the ballgames. The campaign for street lighting, paved streets, which is during the (inaudible) thirties [1930' s ] P ause in recording OA : Were the black newspapers organized, in terms of were there publishers group s really communcating across the state or across the nation similar to what you have with the Publisher's Association (inaudible)?
5 CA: Yeah. We had it. It was a smaller association then, but it was very strong. OA : A state, or what? CA : Nationwide. It's the NNPA, National Newspaper Publisher's Association. Of course, that campaign went right through the fifties [19 5 0 s] fifty nine, t he Bulletin more or less, almost failed so we bought that's how we became from the Florida Sentine l to the Florida Sentinel Bulletin We star ted publishing twice a week in fifty nine [19 59 ] But the campaign since my time from when I got back here in fifty one [19 51 ] I used to work there when we first started when I was, you know, in junior and high school so t he campaign from forty five [19 45 ] through, say, to 1960 was the sure thing, more black policemen, more street lighting, more paved streets, playgrounds because we had none in those days and I know when I was in high school we played o n outdo or basketball courts. You know, we had no gyms for our high scho ols. And, we played basketball o n outdoor courts and so that was the campaign. And then in fifty nine [19 59 ] we started twice a week because of the well, the Bulletin was failin' and we had no way to get our funeral notices, the white papers wouldn't print funeral n otices. And they still don't, twenty almost twenty years later nineteen years later. So that was the reason we came out twice a week, to accommodate the funeral directors who wer e instrumental in gettin' us to come out with a weekend edition, to print their funeral notices. OA : I noticed something, I think I read i n one of your father's articles. W hat was the connection between the [Marcus] Garvey influence in the early part of t he fifties [19 50s ]? D id he ever talk about that? CA: Yeah, he talked about that a OA : Was that a real strong strand in his thinking and writing or was it was just a CA: What, back to Africa move? OA : something that dominated the period? Yeah. CA: No, I don't think so. Both he and I are differed. It's like, you know, because of the chronology of age. Just like you and I would differ because of o n certain issues because of age the age difference. But I h e never really h e was just a promoter of bla ck businesses and other things, as I told you, you know, I mean, and he used those as examples of what blacks had to do to get ahead in business. Because regardless of what many of u s think, this country is based o n economics. And the bad thing that I've a lways contende d is guys like Otis Anthony and like, these young people here are in divisions where there's really no money, you know? OA : Yeah.
6 CA: And that people like you, are better minds I'm trying to say. Well, you take those y ou take everybody you can think of, Goosby [Jones] Augusta [Thomas] all of us, see, are not in the main they' r e in the mainstream of middle class income, see, but the y' r e not we re not in the mainstream of upper middle class and wealth because we aren't in businesses. See? A nd this is what, one of the few things I agreed with him on, you know, that our better minds Well, even during the sixties [19 60s ] the fights during the sixties [19 60s ] y ou take James Ham mond you take Goosby Jones, the guys that were in the forefront of the fight of the sixties [19 60s ] the early sixties [19 60s ],well, hell, they're down they' r e hired by the power structure now and they can only do so much to better conditions of not only their people, but themselves also. OA : Because we don't have tha t kind of independence. CA: Right. But then o n the other hand you have to look at these banks aren't gonna loan you any money, you know, to go into business. And we re just in a vis e. You know, we re really in bad shape in this country. HJ : That's what we were talking about, remember? CA: We're in bad shape. I went down this will be personal a nd I went down the other day and Columbia Bank that's where we do all of our banking and I said, "I need $10,000 ." [Bank worker : ] "O h, no problem." So I went to si gn the papers and my wife just goes in and comes in after school and signed it. And I went in and she s aid; "We l l, look here we've got a mortgage on your property over here o n 14th Street." I said, "You're a damn liar if you're puttin' a mortgage o n my pr operty." And the president of the bank told me, he said I can get the money uncollateralized, you don't put up nothing. "Oh, I'm sorry." You know. Well, I say, okay. I turned out the b a nk, the branch bank over there o n Adamo, that's about three weeks ago He called me, "You act like a redneck." I said, "Listen, Mr. Grimaldi I run $1.5 million through that da m n bank every year. You know, I've got the maximum in savings in there, in that bank, and I want to be treated just like Dr. Stoto and Dr. Loto and a ll them others. I was tellin' about all the rest of them who got some money in your bank and I'm not gonna mortgage anything for a lousy $10,000. [Banker: ] "Come o n in and get the money." But I didn't have h aven't had h adn't had any money in there t hat's we didn't I'm ta lkin' about checkin', now. W e run that kind of money through in checking, a year, from the three businesses : Tampa Park, this one and the [Lily White] Lodge. He told me to go to hell. OA : So every black startin' up could actually forget a bout it. CA: So you can imagine what I'm talkin' about.
7 OA : Yeah, I see. CA: You go in there to get $500 they're gonna want the car or a second mortgage o n your house. And I know some teachers right out in my neighborhood who have come across that kin d of thing. And that's not right. See. It's j ust not right. So We're off o n a tangent now but the mainstream is that we just aren't in that It's just y ou don't know what we go through here to get adverti s ing A nd people tell you all kinds of things, li ke Pantry Pride. T hey've got a big s tore out there, blacks doin' all kinds of business there. I was in the grocery business so I know they must be doin' $40,000 a week there. If we were doin' $25 [thousand] a week over there, I know they're doin' $40,000 there. "Oh, Andrews, we're havin' budget is just down to nothin' and well just have to put you in next year, in seventy nine [19 79 ] ." They dropped out. Now, you're talkin' about a $16,000 a year account. They don't give a damn about us. You're secondary. E ckerd Drugs, the same thing. You remember when, last year, we had Eckerd Drugs. The s ame thing. OA : Yeah. CA: Here's a company doin' right at a billion dollars a year and blacks buy like hell there, but you're secondary. The newspaper is secondary. Black newspapers are secondary to white folks. So that's another about $18,000 a year we lost in s o you're talkin' about $34,000 a year in adverti s ing revenues that we lost but they don't give a damn about us. OA : I believe that. I once read a statistics once I think the w hat's the group that prints this Focus ? What's the group? The Center for prints Focus I think they had a statistic in there once that said that all the black business assets combined does not amount to the assets of the last of the Fortune 50 0, list of Fortune 500 businesses. CA: Who are your biggest black businesses? It's Motow n and they do about $50 million, Motown records. Oh, you can think of ten, fifteen businesses right here in Tampa that do that kind of money. Singleton Shrimp, $60 mil lion. They had the big s tory in the paper. Singleton Shrimp Company is bigger than our biggest business in the whole United States. So we just make up one percent of the per capita income, businesswise, in this country, all the black businesses combined. B ut it's not because we aren't serving, it's because they have the capital the money to spend. And if they don't spend it with black businesses, if they don't give the Otis Anthonys a chance, if we've got an idea If a white boy goes in there with a ide a he ll get the money without all this mess that they put blacks through, i f Otis Anthony's got a hell of an idea, he's a young man with a bright future, they should let you have the money. B ut they won't do it. Got a program here, just came in this mornin g, about Minority Bank Credit Line, Borg Warner, Million Dollar program. This is the la rgest black bank in the country, Independence, in Chica go. They're puttin' $9.6 in blac k banks. That's a drop in the bucket. OA : It is.
8 CA: And they've got Popular Ban k here, of Tampa, who have a million dollars to loan somebody. The Popular Bank of Tampa is one of sixty minority owned banks. I don't know where in hell they get that "minority owned ." OA : That's what I was (inaudible). CA: (inaudible) You know, this i s "bull man. OA : Okay, you mentioned that you used to work from time to time with the paper after fifty one [19 51 ] What role, after the let's say for example, the Brown decision, can you remember what role the Sentinel played in terms of that historic decision? That type of thing. CA: Well, we re fightin' as you'll see in the old bound copies we were fightin' for the implementation of that which they (inaudible) took, i n Tampa, how many years, about seventeen years, didn't they, to implement. OA : Any thing that you can think of you can mention to us in that period, you know, from the Brown decision up to the present in terms of the Sentinel 's role. CA: You know we've got copies back to forty five [19 45 ] You can go through there and OA : Okay. CA: I know when I first got back, of course it was before t hat decision, see, that was in fifty four [19 54 ] wasn't it? OA : Um humm. CA: Before I got back I know, I'd just come out of the A rmy and I got back with a masters degree in journalism I went down in to the city court to start coverin' the incidents down there. And Judge Johnson had just gotten on the bench Bob Johnson. I went walkin' up there, man, you know, where th e other white reporters were. What's you doin' up here boy? Get back there in the ba ck. You know. I never forgot that as long as I live, you know. S o, then I worked out a system. I said I wasn't gonna be outdone. I worked out a system with o ne of the officers down there white officers to get the reports. Then I'd just have to sit in the back of the courtroom and strain and listen to the results of the cases, you know. Sittin' in the back in the what you call the buzzard's roost, in those days, i t's a hell of a thing, man. And the country was worse. See, the count y was worse. They wouldn't even give you the you know, "Oh, the 'nigger' newspaperman." But, those are experiences that I encountered as a reporter back in those days. And it went
9 o n through all the fifties [19 50 s ] And they'd j ust insult you, man, j ust officers, white o fficers, the j udges and all just insult you, m an, just So OA : One other thing we were thinking about, we'd probably find this into w hat do you think were the most significant elections and the kind of political figures that were involved that sort of cou ld show a pattern of blacks comin' into any kind of political maturity in this community? And it just seems that it let's say, the Poe election. W e had come to maybe some sign of political maturity at that point and we wanted to CA: We l l, we had OA : A nd we wanted to try to trace that in terms of history. CA: We had some pol itical maturity that backfired o n us. I'll tell you what happened. In 1956 w ell, it was the old idea that a lot of people still try to pull on y ou have the Latins over here and then the blacks. So Nick Nuccio, who was a county commissioner at the time, came to us and said, "Okay, don't you worry about a thing if I get into office. Now, we re all minorities. Crackers, he said it just like that, "[are] trying to take over the town. Bu t if we get together we can run this town. If I get elected I'll take care of y'all." Typical, yo u know, same thing that's gone o n over the years. OA : That's right. CA: Nick Nuccio got in there and did not hin'. All right, 1960 election Julian Lane came o n the scene, picked by the power structure to help try to get the Latins out of office, the top office in town. And I never will forget it as long a s I live. It was in fifty nine  All the blacks were all with Nuccio. And Geddy B. Wilde and his 77th Club were the only people o n Julian Lane's side. You know they were runnin' a gamblin' house over there o n Howard Avenue. And I think Julian Lane got maybe two hundred black votes out of that election. OA : That was in 1960? CA: But he won. OA : But he wo n? CA: Yeah. The white folks, all the Anglo S axons ganged up and beat the Latins and the black. So now we've got Julian Lane in office. Julian Lane comes out, gives us this OA: That would be fifty nine [19 59 ] CA: Yeah. Gives us some street paving. Giv e u s lights. He gave us the other nine holes of the city dump out there at Rowlett Park. They had a big dedication ceremony out there to dedicate the new city dump for the other nine holes for a black golf course. So the man sold himself to blacks. Now, we all get together down at Perry's place, all the
10 blacks. So Nick's run nin' for re election now, it's sixty three [19 63 ], runnin' for re election. W e're gonna show Nick Nuccio that we've got us a good man now, you know. We raised close to $4,000 for Julia n Lane. I ran a big story about it, which was a mistake, because the white folks said, "Oh, he's a 'nigger lover' now see. They read the paper, he's a "nigger lover" now. And Nuccio won that race. So now blacks o n the outside again because Lane was def eated. And here we had put all this money in the campaign. We made some bad mistakes by publicizing that. We made Hammond and myself and two or three others, Perry Harvey, you know, the usual crew, we just w e did the right thing in raising and not acceptin g money from these politicians. But it backfired o n us because the w hite community didn't like it. So there we got defeated again. So now we were faced with Nuccio who did nothin' until Greco came on. Political obligations, we just felt that the power str ucture just never liked Nuccio and they fought him every little thing he did. Every time he put in a sidewalk they "Hey, this man, all he knows how to do t his town is growin' and all he knows how to do is put in sidewalks and build benches with his, you kn ow, with city money." So the paper didn't go with him. We went back with Nuccio. But the power structure went with an Italian this time, Greco. And that's how Greco won. So we had Greco and bring it right o n up to current times. OA : So out of that exper ience a lot was learned, you say. CA: Oh, yeah. OA : And what do you think about the most recent election, the national election, in terms of Carter, in terms of the black community coming to political maturity? CA: I don't think we (inaudible) a thing. We demonstrated that. OA : Did you think it also trickled down to the local level? CA: In time, hopefully. See, it's not a good thing. A lot of people think I don't know it all, but I've been out here twenty eight years, been a man twenty eight years it's not a good thing. I'm not mad with Otis Anthony or this lady if she's with Joe Blow out there and I'm with somebody else. You know, blacks have a tendency, and I've seen it over the years, don't speak to people and, you know, cause he's o n somebody's sid e I don't want to speak to him he ain't got no sense ," and all that kind of w e need that in politics. We need it. If you're with Joe Kotvas and I'm with Billy Poe and you were with somebody else runnin' in the race so what ? You know? OA : That's right. C A: Why should I get mad with him or you or anybody else because somebody else has
11 different idea from mine? See? Do you see what I'm sayin'? And blacks have a tendency, not only here, but I understand nationwide, some of these national leaders I've talked with, will get angry as hell with somebody I mean get angry with friends because they're with somebody else, you know. An d, locally, it's a good thing, y ou know. We've got a situation now, I'm not gonna call any names, but one person in a family is for o ne person and the other person in the family's with the othe r person. So they called me and (inaudible) I said, "M an, so what ?" Why argue, you know, and fight among yourselves, you know? If both of 'em got a good chances to win at least one of you all be o n somebody's side one will be a l oser and one will be a winner. As long as you don't sell your people down the river for some racist. You know, now, I'm not talkin' about y eah, I'm gonna be mad with you if you're with George Wallace. OA : Yeah. CA: You k now, but I mean with a good viable candidate, so what. OA : But what about, then, the old concept of the coalition between Latins, blacks and whoever? Is it workable? Can it work in reality? CA: No it can't work. OA : Can't work. CA: I don't think so. I t can't work. These people, I've found, don't keep their words. A man, if a man's word is nothin' he's nothin'. I don't care who he is nor what his status in life is. If his word i f I'm committed a nd these candidat es comin' in here everyday now Bruce Smat hers, the biggest racist in the state of Florida sat right there where that lady's sittin' yesterday, and oh, he said I just listened to him. And I told him that I've got an editorial board and I'm not makin' decisions myself. I'll have the final sa y, but I want somebody else in o n it. That's the way I got rid of him. And I'm tellin' 'em all that. I'm gonna have Rudolph Harris in here. I'm gonna have the lady that's the managin' editor here. I may have (inaudible) in. They've got ideas, and if they've got q uestions, just like the Tribune and the rest of 'em do, you know, rather than being a one man show. OA : Yeah, I see. CA: He sat an hour with all that bull, man, just going in one ear and right out the other. He had his whole entourage here. But I ai n't i nterested in that racist, a bout his dad and all that. And his dad is the one that beat [Claude] Pepper you know. 2 And that racist those racist tactics in the fifties [19 50 s ] And he's just like his daddy. He's just thirty four years old, a real tall hands ome cat and he thinks the women gonna just women go for them 2 Bruce Smathers was a state senator and FL Secretary of State in the 1970s. He was the son of Senator George Smathers. Andrews is referring to the 1951 election for senator, in which George Smathers defeated Claude Pepper.
12 good lookin' candidates. He's gonna get a lot of women's votes. And he may win, but I ain't gonna be with him. Not me. Tape 1, side 1 ends; tape 1, side 2 begins CA: Williams gonna be tough be cause he's got the governor's staff behind him. Not the staff, but he's got the governor's machine behind him. And, of course, the man that's the big man in that race, Nelson d'Itali ano, who wants to stay in power, typical Italian, he runs the Sp orts Autho rity with iron hand. He tries to run p atronage in this county with an iron hand and always whi sperin' to you about what he's d one for black people and you ought to be here and there. And, you know, and I haven't shown up to any of those things that he's in vited me to because I ain't interested in no Williams. There's a man worth $5 or $6 million dollars, no kind of personality, you know, and hates black people, you know. H e fought the human rights thing. OA : Yeah. CA: You know, and so what the hell I look like goin' to some function for him? Showin' up, you know i t's best to w hat I'm tryin' to say is take a stand and stick with it even if you l ose. OA : I see. CA: And a lot of people haven't learned that, you know, they get mad with you and politicians ge t mad with you, but I just can't help it, y ou know. Because I'm not gonna sacrifice my prin ciples for a racist out there, o r these Italians, most of 'em, whose word ain't worth a quarter, named Bob Bon di 3 Look what he did down there at the Commission, ta lkin' about runnin' for mayor. A lot of black peo ple gonna be o n his side. He put that woman out of business out there. He fought that affirmative action thing down there. He's done a lot of things. And he's o n the Sport s Authority. And he and I had it d own there. Why, you've probably read it in the Tribune Speakin' for me, you don't speak for me, you know, o n a issue. But I ain 't lookin' for no recognition, you know. See, h e ought to be gettin' recognition as head of the so and so. And then he went to t he Italians, Agliano, and got that fish market down there you know, they ain't recognizing h e's trying to speak for all the minorities o n the Sports Authority and I just told him off right there in front of the press, everybody. I just ain't got no confide nce in 'em 99 percent of 'em. OA : Okay. Another thing, what about the issue of single member districts? W hat kind of future do you think it has in the community? CA: We're gonna have to sue over it. Somebody's gonna have to sue to get single member. That 's the only way we're gonna ever get anybody elected. I'm not talkin' about these super blacks now. R ev. Lowry is overly qualified, y ou know. But for the average 3 County Co mmissioner (1974 1979), lost mayoral race in 1979.
13 Joe Blow out there, for me, you, or this man or this man or this lady to get elected we're go nna have to have single member districts. E very local election, and o n a national basis too, you know, we're gonna have to sue to get it. Because the white folks ain't gonna give it till we take it. OA : Do you think we can put faith in a justice departmen t type suit or we need something a little more outside, say ACLU [American Civil Liberties Union] type of suit or something like Julian Bond's S outhern (inaudible)? Y ou think either one of 'em gonna go through? CA: Either one. Now, if you go through fede ral courts it'll be four or five years. OA : Yeah, that was my opinion. You know, when it came in, I figu re that's gonna take too long, s till be goin'. What would have to happen, we'd have to sue as a group or we need some individual black to bring the sui t in their name? CA: A class action suit or an individual. An individual or a class action suit. OA : But we'd have to raise the money to put that suit, that's the thing, right? CA: Any of these black lawyers who weren't so money hungry OA : They could take it on CA: take it right o n through and we pay their expenses. And we wouldn't need a whole lot of money. OA : And it has been done in other places. CA: It has been done in other places. They did it in Jacksonville. OA : I heard something about th e State Constitution revision committees debating the issue and the governor supposedly come out in support, is that true? Single member districts? CA: Well, you're talking about a lame duck governor [Reubin Askew] Yeah, he would come out and OA : Say a nything. CA: say anything now. Yeah, I'm for it. But he's goin' out of office. Of course, the man has been fa ir, reasonably fair, you know, o n black appointments, political (inaudible) and something like that. Some people Black s shouldn't forget Jan Pla tt, now. Had all those t hey had it, single members districts. S he got it changed and with the help of the Tribune you know, all that publicity and everything they got those people back down, the committee back down and changed a lot of the clauses in ther e that's over ruled single
14 member districts. OA : That was w ho was that? CA: She's a member of that committee you know. OA : She was? No I didn't. CA: Sure. Jan Platt, that's the one that fought it. OA : That fought it, huh. CA: And she got the Tribune behind her because they don't want any blacks elected. You know, they're gonna use Rev. Lowry as the "last t his is what can happen with the right candidate." See? OA : Yeah. CA: It's "tok enism." And just like they put me o n the Sports Authority. They put Alton [White] up in the mayor's office. They elect Rev. Lowry. It's "tokenism." You know it's just sickening. OA : And then, people like, for example, Representative Joy Sheldon, they came out for it, right? CA: Um hmm. HJ : Those guys, you've got to p ush. OA: Okay. H ave you had a chance to attend any of the recent meetings of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, that type of thing? CA: No, I haven't been to one, honestly, since sixty four [196 4 ] when Johnson came into office. We had a meeti ng up there and met him and all that. I haven't attended one. I haven't been able to leave here. OA : Have you got any indication whether they are taking any new directions in terms of the black media or what their thrust is going to be politically? CA: T hey send out, in fact I got one a couple days ago, they send out newsletters, you know, what's goin' an and w e have a dynamic leader now. His name is Dr. Carlton Goodl ett, who is a Ph D and a M.D., a psychiatrist out in San Francisco. He's worth $2 or $3 million dollars, very wealthy S o b ut he's the one that you see all the national adverti s ing we're gettin' now, these cars and all that, he's directly responsible for that. OA : Oh, I see.
15 CA: Gettin' that for black papers. OA : Yeah. CA: Because he went to the boards of these companies, personally, and s old 'em, you know, as a national ad. There's a national ad. He's directly responsible for that. And he doesn't bite his tongue. He just h e's probably the most brillia nt man I've ever met in my lifetime, y ou know OA : Uh huh. CA: black or white. And he carries these figures in his head. He's just a genius, man. Doin' business and knowin' what to say and what not to say and when to say it. He's just a master at it, you know. He's got about seven or eight papers out there in California. He's buyin' up everything out there, you know, black papers. OA : Um hmm. CA: It's just a sideli ne with him. You know, he's got plenty of money and he doesn't have to do what he's doin' because he's so wealthy himself, but he's doin' this for black papers in the country. And they y ou know, you're gonna have to just n obody's thinkin' about runni n' against him anyway, you know. B ut we just hope that he ll stay there and not resign or something like that, you know, get tired, s ee, because he means so much to all of us. When he speaks that's it, man. Y ou can hear a pin drop. OA : Do you all have any more questions? HJ: What is your viewpoint o n the black community, say, in the sixties [19 60s ] ? The actions? CA: Well, that was a period of change. They had the sit ins. They had the police brutality cases. They had changed from a totally segregated society to a society of partial segregation is what I call it. And we're still in that stage. OA : Yeah. CA: With the cost of livin' l ike it is now it's hard for even a middle class black to enjoy the fruits of what's transpired in the fifties [19 50s ] and the sixties [19 60s ] If you go and get a hotel room or go to dinner somewhere it's gonna cost you $18 to $20 a good dinner, you know other than Morrison's and blacks just can't enjoy those. The majority, I'd say 90 percent of them, can't enjoy what integration has brought us. So we r e in a, as I said earlier, a vise, you know, a vise, man. W e just in the grips of economic disaster. T he kind of programs that you promote, if we didn't have those I don't know what we'd do. You know, you and Campbell over ther e have to fight to get the few j obs that are available. If get funding for 'em, we'd be i n a man, we'd be we'd be o n the verge of
16 a nother revolution There's no question about it. B ecause it's bad. It's bad out here. HJ : It's serious CA: The white man is sayin' that I've got you where I want you. You're poorer than you were in the fifties [19 50s ] and the sixties [19 60s ] because o f inflation. A man makin' $7,000, a man makin' $15,000 which is like I'm tellin' you. Like, in the fifties [19 50s ], I started off with a master's degree at $35 a week, man, and that's what my daddy started me off with in 1951. I moved here was sent throug h college here, I made it, you know. I didn't have no car or anything, you know, but I made it with a new wife and everything. But, hell, man, you know y ou can imagine that's maybe like $100 a day, you know, $100 a week. That's the way I equate it, you kno w, I say things up at least three times or two times what it was then. So I just figure that $35 is like $100 today. OA : Yeah. CA: And I was scufflin' then so I can imagine what a person makin' $100 or $125 tod ay is, you know. H e just can't make it. OA : That's right. When you consider the poor carryin' these high utility bills and unemployed and being laid off, it seems ridiculous that people could even survive. CA: That's right. HJ : (inaudible) Do you have a real biography, you know, where any progra m you've been o n someone did a biography for you, introduced you, or maybe a written biograp hy of your father, or somethin'? H ow could we get that? CA: I've got one ar ound here somewhere of my daddy. I ca n give you that. I've done one o n myself some and a few of 'em. I've got 'em around here somewhere. I can get it up for you. HJ : Okay. All right. CA: But, anyway I can help you (inaudible). OA : You also affiliated with the Lily White Lodge and CA: President, yeah. OA : (inaudible) Yeah. Okay. CA: I w as the project manager. I'm very familiar over there. OA : Okay. You said you had three businesses. W hat are they?
17 CA: The Lodge, Tampa Park and this. OA : Tampa Park, housing? CA: Apartments, yeah. OA : Oh, yeah. Would the Lodge have any historical rec ord that you think would be important to us. Like, records of minutes or anything that would help us in terms of CA: I do n't know a They did a story in the Tribune about us a couple of years ago. See the lodge, all lodges now are not black lodges are no t what they used to be because back in the thirties [1930s] and forties [194 0s ] you couldn't buy insurance. You know, blacks couldn't buy insurance from Metropolitan, Prudential or any of the se insurance companies and the L odge was a stop gap for black ins urance. In other words, a ll the L odge is, even today, is a small insurance company. You pay so much and get so much a debt. We used to have hospital benefits. We used to have a small hospital. We used to have an old folks home for the old members. We had an ambulance at one time go all over the state pickin' up patients and bringin' 'em back to our hospital. We're talkin' about in the fifties [1950s] now. But, we haven't been able to keep up with the trend now because Otis Anthony and this man here and th is young fellow wouldn't be interested in a $350 death benefit when he died. So we aren't gettin' the younger people. We've got 10,000 members, but all I'm the youngest thing in there and I'm nearly fifty I'm forty eight you know. And I would say you don 't have well, other than our juniors and we've got maybe 2,000 juniors but the adult s in there, I would say, is not peop le in there younger than I am, s ee? Because the younger people aren 't interested. They just aren't i nterested in a $3 50 death benefit. See? But you d on 't pay but $20 a year for that. See? OA : Yeah. CA: And when we ha d a hospital you paid an extra d ollar or quarter which was $4 a year and you go t a hospital bed for $7 $10, you know, a nd free medical care. A nd i t damn near broke us. You k now before we realized what was happenin', you know, we had to close up the hospital. Of cou rse, when integration came that was another forty jobs gone because we had forty people workin' over there. The hospital no longer served its purpose. It couldn't serve the purpose. OA: (inaudible) hospital w hich hospital was that? CA: The Lily White H ospital. OA : The Lily White Hospital. I've heard of that. Clara Frye [Hospital] was what, state owned, or something? CA: That was operated by the city.
18 OA : By t he city. CA: The s ame thing happened to it. When integration came nobody was goin' to Lily White Hospital or Clara Frye when they could go to Tampa General or Centro Asturiano, or any of these other big hospitals around where you got better care, better nursing, you know, better everything. It's a better facility. OA : So, integration has had a both a positive and a negative kind of affect an us in terms of our (inaudible). CA: Of course, if you look at it, if you get past Wilson's Funeral Home, Central Life and Community Federal and this business here, that's it in Tampa that's doin', say, half a million dollars or more a year in gross revenue. Jus' ain't no more. Back in the old days, in the forties [19 40s ] fifties [19 50s ], we had maybe another five o r six The hospital was doin' that kind of money. You had two or three businesses o n Central. Hell, we don't have but one bar owned by a black now. One! That's Grace over there. All the rest are owned by white folks. OA : It's hard to get a liquor license CA: In the fifties [19 50s ] when I came back here, we had Buddy's Bar down o n Central. We had Charlie Moon's old place his wife owned it. Johnny Gray had a bar. Brown down there had a (inaudible) a bar. Lee Davis had a bar. And Watts Sa nder son had a bar all right there o n Central. Then when they started that mess about cleanin' up Central and everything we had to move out here I 'm talkin' about sixty two  now And Buddy moved o n Seventh [Avenue] He died right after that, see, and Shields took it over. And then since then they've just been Shields, when he got sick, just sold it, man, tryin' to get some money, y ou know, t o get money out of it. I think he got $40,000 for his license. And that's gone, s ee? Then when Grace came to town she bought the Ace from a white guy over there. That's the only bar we've got owned by a black in Tampa, i n the whole city where you've got 90,000 black people. OA : Are there any possibilities with what is happening in Tampa, with the Development Authority doin' all the about developing the city and opening up the airport to Europe, can we if we were thinking can we see any benefit to us, if they were re ally planning and thinking in th e process of any of that? CA: What benefit? OA : For black people, if we were thinking. CA: So your white folks have forgot about u s. They just act and say "W ell, they're just out there and don't think J ust like
19 OA : That's what I get the feelin'. Everything i s ju st planned around us. HJ : Planned around us, you know. OA : And I'm tryin' to figure out y ou thi nk there's such a possibility? Y ou've been here a long time. I'm tryin' to figure out, you know, being so close to downtown I just wonder, CA: Well, they need s ee, they realize that they've got to have s ee, tha t's been the problem downtown. T hey don't have any housing. You take Jacksonvi lle, you take New Orleans, they 's people have got big h ousing developments just like right in a downtown area. Because people are livin' in suburbia now. There's no need for them to come dow ntown. That's why downtown dies. So they're gonna leave Central Park there. They're gonna leave Tampa Park there. Because you've got nine hundred families between the two of them. HJ : Then they're gonna build some higher income apartments close to CA: H igher income apartments closer to that development and then downtown will be revitalized. That's why they're fightin' so for that hotel. But they, just like you say, Otis, they are plannin' everything around us. OA : Are any black folks o n the Development Authority? CA: Mm hmm t hey have took Chuck Smith off the Sports Authority. He resigned and now he's chairman of that downtown developm ent. A big old cracker, about six foot, eight inches Chuck Smith Charles Smith. But he's a contractor. And he's gonna get some of that action down there when they go to buildin'. OA : And that seems to be a pattern around the state, r eally, because they're really tryin' to attract that business from the north and that weather even as far as Europe. CA: We're in bad shape to say the least. We're in bad shape. I went up to a United Negro College Fund meeting the other day. I saw Otha Favors. H e wasn't goin' there, but I jus t saw him. I looked around me. M an, you had Max Hollingworth of Winn Dixie, multi millionaire, he's t he chairm an, Charlie Lykes, Charlie Lykes of Lykes Brothers, that's one of the richest families in the whole United States Eugene Dodson of WTVT, he's the general manager Junior Lane, he's a millionaire, dairy T hey made their money when they sold all t hat land out there they built that subdivision, g oin' o n the way, where you used to go to Walker's Lake, o n the left there, that dairy over there? OA : Um hmm. CA: He sold all that, $3 or $4 million, to a developer to put house. And so he's a mil lionair e. All them millionaires (inaudible). Fredrick Hearns, and Clifford sittin' up in there. And that 'nigger' that's the head excuse me, you know, that's we're all black
20 but that's what I said, the guy that's head of the whole fund in the state, he actin' lik e a jackass up there, you know, beggin' for money. Oh, Mr. S o and So J ust Uncle Tom and they it was sickening, y ou know? It was sickening. Are right, you tell Holloway, you know he's Gasparilla king a couple years ago, about sixty five years old. "You te ll Lee Roy Selmon we want him o n this committee." Well, Art Wiggins y ou know Art Wiggins senior vice preside nt of the First National Bank, we're in that big board room. M an well, o ne black did get a job up there bu ilt that big conference table, t hat co nferenc e table longer than this room, r ugs that thick on the 34th floor. Y ou can just see the whole city of Tampa. Oh, look at these white folks I say to myself, you know, "You tell Le e R oy Selmon [football player] we want him o n this committee." And A rt Wiggins got some kind of financial tie to him. "There'll be no problem. We want him to work the football teams and the coaches and everything. And t here'll be no problem. He'll be o n this committee." And I looked around and I said they got us. And they know it. "Blythe, anything I can do for you just let me know." This Charlie Lykes, oh it's cracker, man. But we had to go to them to get money for Bethune Cookman and the black colleges tha t are in the Florida Memorial, b ecause, see, they are the ones gonn a give the big money. I'm gonna give $500, that's all I can stand. You see what I'm sayin'? OA : Yeah. CA: This business will give $500. But the Lykes Brothers gonna give $5 or $10 a nd Winn Dixie, when we got ready for the luncheon, "Don't worry about it, we'll pick up the tab, the 'beef people' will pick up the tab." That's how it works. So you're talkin' maybe a thousand or more dollars right there. And plus they're gonna give $5 ,000 or $10,000 But that goal that they'v e got s o what the hell you gonna do? You got to go to the white folks to get money because we ain't got none. HJ : Pitiful, man. We're in bad shape, economically. OA : What direction do you think we should take to a ssure more economic stability? CA: Man, we could talk about that all nig ht. Well, the first thing we've got to do is what Otis mentioned about getting some political power. We don't have any elected not one elected official, o ne. So we've got to file suit. You'd be surprised that the money that's that a politician can throw y our way, c ontracts. Poe's insurance company is twice as big as it was when he went in o ffice. You know that don't you? Why? Because he's the mayor of the city of Tampa and everybody wants to get in with the mayor. So he ain't got to be there. They talk ab out he's losin' money. Everybody knows better than that. Man, he made a hundred and some thousand dollars a year before he went into of fice. I think it was about $101,000 a year, s ee? But his insurance company is twice the size as it was when he went in o f fice. Because everybody is gonna run down there and get some kind of insurance from the mayor's company. See, that's why he took that job. And it just goes right down the line of what they can do for you, t hrow contracts your way, you know.
21 HJ : That's rig ht. CA: Throw business your way. So if we have some po liticians down there doin' the s ame thing that would be a start. Otherwise, we ain't got no bank, no commercial banks and we ain't got no way to get n o money, so we've got to make a s tart. And I think that would be the best start in politics. File a damn suit. Go o n and get OA: For s ingle member districts. CA: Wait it out and get s ingle member districts where we can get two or three councilmen down there. We'd be on the mainstream, a couple of count y commissioners. They're talking about makin' it part time now, $25,000 a year. Part time And you can count the blacks o n your hand in this town that make $25,000 full time doin' anything. They talk about makin' it part time. So we can get a couple of co unty commissioners. They'd throw 'em business all kinds of ways. You saw t hat mowin' scandal. Big money, m an, you're talkin' about big money. I'm talkin' about doin' it legally, now I ain't talkin' about no "hanky panky." But we could throw blacks give blacks some jobs. The white folks don't count none about that money. I don't care what anybody says. I learned it the hard way because I was a militant in the fifties [19 50s ] and the sixties [19 60s ] till I realized I got in my fortie s and I realized, "Damn boy, you ain't got a quarter yourself. How can you go down there makin' demands and doin' this and doin' that. You know, and you ain't got nothin' yourself," see? So the past ten years I've been tryin' to accu mulate somthin' myself a nd get a little money and then, you know, gain a degree of some independence and other things. That's why a lot of people you take Moses White. A lot of people don't like him. But see he can do the things he does and talk big and talk trash because he's got some money. My daddy could do the same thing because they knew he had some money, and worth, because of his paper. They don't give a damn about me now. And I ain't foolin' myself they do. But they respect the paper. HJ : When I was at the South Florida (inaudible) Unkn own Person : Yeah? HJ : And that was when I was protesting and readin' all those newspapers. That's right. CA: See that day is gone. You've got to come in the back door now. That protest thing y ou saw what happened ou t here, the Penny Saver thing. They p ut a big suit to them, what a $3 mil $2 million dollar suit. OA : They did the same thing as this CA: See they've got you blocked.
22 OA : Could you give us some idea in terms of how the paper has expanded now, in terms of circulation, places, your mach inery, equipment ? CA: We got new equipment Otis. We had to get new equipment in 197 4. We got $200,000 worth. I'll s how you. OA : Okay. CA: Before you leave. We got $200,000 worth of new equipment because we had to. The old press was printin' bad and p eople complainin' you couldn't read the print and that kind of thing so we had to go modern. And we did it just in the nick of time. It was costin' us a lot. And since an ad like those ads I show all you do is p aste 'em up and take a picture of it. Just put some chemicals over it and you've got your plate. Before you had to put it in hot metal and then somethin' would go wrong. Just an old process. We were one of the few black papers in the country that has a press of its own. Most of 'em, even the Chic ago Daily Defender the biggest black paper in the country it's a daily paper sends the paper out to be printed. They don't have their own press. So it's a big investment and most black papers can't make that investment because it costs too much. A press costs $100,000, a nd that's a small press. A four unit press costs you $100,000. I understand now the price is about $138,000. It's changed that much in four years. It went up to $38,000 more. Equipment wise, that answers your quest ion equipment wise. Cir culation wise, all black papers are strugglin' because black people are movin' out to the suburbs, m ovin' in all types of areas W here in the glory years of the fifties [19 50s ] and the sixties [19 60s ], all of us were congregated in specific areas. And as a result you had no problem gettin' to 'em. No problem to circulation and billing. But now you just have to use t he white papers been catchin' the sure hell. That's why you have the Tampa Neighbor and these other little papers springin' up givin' the daili es here Because white people are doin' the s am e thing, you know, more than they did back in the fifties [19 50s ] and the sixties [19 60s ] They're movin' out, away from us. You know, gettin' out in places suburbia, s ee? And circulations problems are problem s of all newspapers, particularly black newspapers. OA : I guess it's a problem of cost or logistics and all that kind of CA: All that combined. And we've run all kinds of little gimmicks and we've run contests and that kind of thing, but t hat's a subscr iption contest where a guy brings in twelve (inaudible) paper twice a week for a year. And we do quite well with that to keep our circulation stable, at least, you know. HJ : So how do you handle the area near USF [ University of South Florida ] ? CA: We hav e a couple of stands out there, but that's about it.
23 HJ : Because the apartment complexes out there are filled with black people. CA: Yeah. This is what I was sayin', you know, it was just a Tape 1, side B ends; tape 2, side A begins CA: circulation f or a newspaper. Here we have people w e have five people who run the routes, but they work o n a regular basis J ust on Tuesdays and Fridays they run the paper routes. Then, of course, you have the news boys and the elderly people who make a subsistence on i t, you know, retired people. And this is the b ulk of our circulation output, s ee? That's the way we get it out. OA : Do you have a mailing process? CA: Yeah, we have an address o graph machine for subscriptions. And we've built that quite a bit since we g ot this new equipment. It used to be the girl would have to type every subscriber's name twice a week. And you can imagine how long and we just had one girl just doin' nothin' but that. But with that address o graph machine it's just automatic. You get you r changes, you just take one card out and type up another one and put it i n your address o graph machine and just go right on. Say your subscription's expired, just take it out. You know, we notify you in a day and if you don't write back in two weeks we just take it out, you know, and go on with the others, see. B ut we used to type every one of 'em b ecause I used to do it myself. And it's antiquated. That's an antiquated system. pause in recording CA: I think a lot of Mr. Harris and I think a lot of Mr. Kinsey. Mr. Kinsey is more or less what you call in newspaper lingo "a (inaudible) ." OA : I'd agree with that. C A : He walks the line and wavering a little over on the militant side and then a little t he next column will be on the conservative side. Where in, Rudolph was militant right down the line, you know, raisin' hell about somethin' all the time. Only he's right most of the time. With those two guys and myself, you know, bein' older and well, not too much olde r than Rudolph but he's you know, we were the s am e age and with the young lady I have here she's about thirty one comin' in and doing the work has a lot of good ideas. She's OA : Well, I just mentioned it 'cau CA: It's gonna be straight from now on like that. Whoever we decide on as a politica l candidate that'll be it. OA : Well, anytime, (inaudible) then I'd love to. That's fantastic. Okay, we didn't get a
24 chance to talk about the staff and, in terms of your staff and what your breakdown is like, in terms of (inaudible) department and all tha t kind of thing. CA: I've got seventeen people here, which is too many. But a s ee, what we just talked about would tie in with circulation and the regular work. I could really cut I had a newspaper broker to come in here to appraise this business for m y daddy's estate about six months ago and he looked around and said, "I've never seen this many people workin' on a paper this size." And he said, "You've got too many people." I said, "We l l, look, He went through department I mean, this guy appraised th e Coppley Newspapers which is about forty or fifty papers out in California so he's one of the best in the country. But I can't I told him I should cut four people. Get down to thirty percent of the income. That's the way h e put it. And I'm up to about th irty five to thirty six percent of the income in labor costs. But, see I said, "You've been dealin' with white papers an d black papers, but I've got four people or five people runnin' paper routes that work all du ri n' the week regularly at a job and then on Tuesdays and Fridays they run the paper routes for me I can't cut 'em. T hat's number one, because I would have to hire somebod y to run these routes, separate," s ee? I can't affo rd a full time circulation man. I tried that in the early seventies [1970s] and that didn't work out. But, then I got all my I'd say out of the seventeen people fourteen of 'em been here fifteen years or more. See? I don't have much turnover here. This lady out front, this dark ski nned lady, been here twenty years. The o ther lady been here nineteen years t he other lady up front. You can't cut people like you know, unless you facin' collapse. You know, unless you've just got to, you know just cut to stay alive. I've pondered this thing for m any hours, but those two ladies n ow this lady handles like on Wednesdays I cut back to four week, everybody but six people. You've got to pay minimum wage and you've got pay reporters. When you pay a reporter, a girl like I've got now, that I've trained, been here ten years and she's be en through the whole operation from clerk to copyographic setter to everything you can think of, you've go t to pay her $180 $190 a week b ecause if you lose her you're hurtin'. OA : That's right. CA: See? Where o n a white paper, you know, they see guy s com in' in there applyin' for j obs everyday, you know, graduate journalists, see most of whom aren't worth a da m n, incidently. OA : That's true. CA: So, when you get a girl like this, can type about 100 words a minute turn out a story as quickly as anybody y ou want to see and knows she's in there settin' type now because I'm on a four day week on Wednesday. See, all but five people are off today. See what I'm saying? OA : Yeah.
25 CA: She's in there settin' now, tomorrow she becomes a reporter. Do you see what I'm saying? OA : Oh, I see. Yeah. CA: So you can't cut somebody OA : Where is she from? A black paper, it's a different animal. CA: She's from M acon, Georgia. She's been here ten years. And she went two years at Talladega and met this Tampa boy and th ey got married and she never went back to school. But she's a hell of a gi rl. She took Martha's place in you know, when Martha died. OA : Do you have something you can give us where all of the staff can you breakdown o n some of them? CA: Yeah, that's what I'm saying. T his girl here, she gets part paid for the dark skinned girl gets part paid from the Lodge because she knows as much about the Lodge as I do. Do you see what I'm saying ? B ecause she was with the old man [his father] The old man hired her ye ar s ago. So I got to keep her, s ee? Because all these programs I got to get out in the next month, you know, she knows what to do and how to do it, you know, better than I do. Do you see what I'm saying? About gettin' the choirs, the preachers, the prizes up the money that we give to the guys who've worked hard during the year and all t hat, the plaques and all that, s ee? So she gets a salary from here an d a salary from out there, part time salary from out there. This other lady sets type and handles the f ront office. Miss Crutchfield is strictly society. She goes home half a day. I've got to pay her full tim e because she's old now, about sixty, and been here since fifty seven [19 57 ]. T hat's twenty one years. And you just have to make her e very Tuesday at t welve o'clock she'll go on right out the door. Every Friday at twelve o'clock she goes right out the door. Her work is complete. HJ: Mr. Andre ws, do you think that this is well, I guess it couldn't be a fault or in black businesses but I've noticed if thi s had happened to a white man and someone had come in and appraised him and he had said, "Well, you know, you need to get rid of so and so and so or else, you kn ow," or "This would give you an increase in productivity, a nd not productivity, as far as inco me is concerned, right? they would have probably let them go regardless of how many years they've been there. But I've noticed that black people have this CA: Affinity for their own. OA : Right. Right. And do you think this i s good for business or bad or h ow do you see it?
26 HJ : You said he's still pondering that. CA: Well, yeah, I've been pondering that. I would say l et me give you an answer like this. If this was my only business I'd probably cut six people b ecause all it means is w hen you take withhol ding taxes out I was takin' with all this full time staff, before I cut back to four, I was takin' $2,000 the, government requires you to send their money, withholding taxes, when it gets up to business this size, $2,000. When it gets up to $2,000. That wa s happenin' to me every three weeks. I had to send the government $2,000 withholding taxes, which was killing me. Since I cut back to four days it's every five weeks. So I can live with that. Make my little salary, you see, and keep my people that have b een here and count o n this busine ss for a livin'. I don't count o n it because I've got my own personal property that brings me in $15,000 a year. I've got a big salary out at the Lodge, you know. So I'm way up in the upper 10 percent of income people in th e whole country white and black because of side businesses. You see what I'm saying? It's about to kill me because I don't take any vacations I just go the year around. You hav e to, you know. But I enjoy it. A nd as long as I can keep my people who've bee n with me a long time without goin' under I'm gonna do it. OA : I see. CA: You see what I'm saying? The paper is not makin' t he corporation, let me say that. I'm gettin' a salary and we re breakin' even. The corporation is not making any money. But, you know, drop below that line where we start losin' money, yeah, I'll do it then, s ee? But my certified public account ant says that h e gives me hell too. Just like h e asks the same question, see. He says the corporation is not making what it should b e making you know. But I say, "W ell, as long as I can pay the government and pay my people that have been here all these years and keep 'em goin' And I talk to all of 'em just like I'm tellin' them the sure thing, that one day it may come, but I'm gonna try to make it you know, without lettin' my fifteen to twenty year people because you can't find people that can do this work, man, you'd be surprised. OA : That's right. I believe it. CA: I tried to y ou know, we've got a white we've got a white pressma n. OA : I believe that? CA: Now you would think that a guy that's been back there twenty some years helpin' that white man run a press and then when we put the new press in a factory man came in and stayed here a month that he would learn how to run that press. T he guy that's been back there, my top man back there, "I got it. I know how to run it. You can let 'em go. Let 'em go." I'm payin' those guys a year two hours a day I pay 'em $40. Two of 'em, a man and his eighty year ol d father in law. So I'm out $80 for two hours wor k twice
27 a week. That's a $160. I say, man, I don't mind. I'd give you $100 of that money, you know, a week, extra if you'd just run the press, l earn how to run it. He went over to Plant City two weeks after the factory man was here. When he got back he said, "Turn 'em loose." I said, I told 'em, man, I was so glad to get rid of those "crackers". Because they've been here before I got here, twenty some years. Just do yeah Waste up a lot of paper. They don't give a damn, you know. Man, we wer e four o'clock tryin' to get out of here We was supposed to be out at twelve The man didn't know. And I had to eat "crow" and call 'em back. And he told me, you know, the "crackers", when he came back, "You can't teach no old man like that how to run no press. You h av e to get you a young boy." And all that kind of his talkin' bigger then, you know. But I had to eat "crow" to get 'em back to get the paper out. So it shows ya T he point is that nobody's interested in the jobs that really pay money like ru nnin' the press, plumbin' a plumber makes $18 an hour, electrician $20 an hour and different things you know. W e all went to college to get a degree to teach and, you know, be a lawyer and a doctor and most of us can't be lawyers or doctors so we in som OA : Teaching. CA: teaching and little penny ante jobs when the trend now is to get you a trade and be proficient at it and make yourself some money. So it's the same with this pr that girl. Now, any girl that can type real well can learn how to run that copyographic machine. But you get these young people in here that want to "bull skate", clamor and carry on so I stay with my older people, you know, and runnin' those machines. And pastin' up is nothin', but it's hard to get peopl e to do that. You know, pastin' that's al l that this paper is. And I'll s how you when we go around here. Just pastin' a dag gone headline. You know, makin' sure it's level, like that. Puttin' this in is nothin'. See? And it's a good payin' job. But blacks aren't in it. They jus t aren't in it. And so if you talk about lettin' somebody go it's got to be a disaster facin' you in this business, you know. Because of the trade qualities that are involved. You know, like runnin' the press, runnin' the copyographic machine, somebody tha t knows how to write a decent story. And most of us comin' out of college now can't write a decent line. OA : Right. CA: See. And you get a girl like I got there, you know, I've got to pay her to keep her because she's goin' somewhere else, y ou know. OA : Yeah, that's true. They'll be after her. CA: They'll be after her. I know, they're after her now. OA : They'll be after her.
28 CA: Because she's a good writer. She com es to work everyday, you know, on time, a nd you just don't find people like that now. I haven't. I've bee n gettin' people from Campbell o n almost a weekly basis and a n ow, Miss Crutchfield is a person that's been here twenty some years, has got all the contacts in all the clubs, the social clubs, the fraternities, e verything. And when she's o n vacation, man, we're scufflin' like mad just to get all that stuff together, you know, and this one do in' somethin' or I'm doin' it, y ou know. Because they call Miss Crutchf ield, see, somebody been here twenty one years. OA : Yeah. HJ : We probably need to talk to her about organizations and stuff, interview her. Because we need to get a history of organizations. OA : There's some other lady that he mentioned too. Oh, did you have you Grace (inaudible) finished? (inaudible) HJ : Oh, yeah. SS: Your pape r only circulate through Hillsborough C ounty? CA: No. Tuesday's paper goes statewide. OA : Yeah. SS : Oh, does it? CA: You see tha t's a funny thing, I'm gonna tel l you a little secret. When I first got back with all this rote le arning and knew everythin g, I said, "W hy do you I told my dad, "Why do you run all these da m n churches? It's not that I don't believe in God, but I just don't believe in all these churches." OA : That's right. CA: Why you runnin' criminal news? Why you run this? Why you run t ha t?" The man just laughed at me. I said, "I'm gonna take all that stuff out and make 'em pay for it." "Get out my office son." "What you mean get out the office?" "I don't even want to hear that nonsense." But it was a learnin' process. That's what I'm tryin' to sa y. You take your churches out, y ou take your the little bit of I've cut down o n it a lot. You take your criminal news out. I try to run a strong social column with Miss Crutchfield and the stories I get from you and other people and just make it a good cross section of all kinds of n ews. Because when you s tart foolin' with changin' your news style, you know, it's just like the Daily News the biggest circulated newspaper in the country t he New York Daily News T heir format has been the s ame for ever since I can remember., s ee? They run a cross section of all that stuff. And no
29 advertis ing, because the circulation is about three million, see. So they survive o n nothin' but circulation. The National Enquirer the s am e way. All that junk. People call it "junk ," s ee? But they start foolin' with that format and man you're in trouble. And o n Fridays now, be nothin' but maybe three or four pages of church ads. It's piled up out there now o n the desk. You start foolin' with out, you get them church peo ple against you, you're dead. OA : I can believe that. CA: And I wanted to charge it. Most newspapers charge for your church to run a little you know them little ads about Sunday School nine o'clock, morning service 11:00, evening s ervice Shoot, man, I've made some feelers and, man, them people holler and say well, just forget it Rev erend You know, you can just forget it. Because all that stuff should be paid for. But the format has been like that when I got here and it's got to stay and you got to f eed it like that. And now, to get back to your question; Tuesday's paper goes all over the st ate. And the reason is all the L odge people handle it in all the various communities of the state. See, it goes back to what I told you earlier when they couldn' t get their news in the Tampa Bulletin back in the forties [1940s] So the old man said, "W ell, we ll start u s a paper. I'll start a paper. W e ll get our news in that paper. We were in the building process of building up this big 10,000 membership then, s ee? And so they started sellin' the paper because of that back before I even got here. And then we still had that circulation in almost every little nook and corner of Florida where there's a L odge. OA : That's true because I knew somebody takin' it way do wn in Daytona. HJ: Yeah, (inaudible) it comes to Tallahassee. CA: Friday's paper OA : The Florida Sentinel ? HJ : Yeah. CA: Yeah, Tallahassee. Friday's paper is a three county area paper, more or less. OA : Do you think that you expand your county d o yo u think that it would eventually go statewide for both of 'em? Or just y ou gonna keep it at the three counties? CA: No. What I'm gonna try to concentrate w hat I've bee n tryin' to concentrate on, say the past seven years is gettin' saturation in Hillsboro ugh County, y ou know, the populous areas of central city. That's where your strength lies. It goes back to what you asked about earlier. I t's a trick of the trade. See, middle class people don't read this paper. If we had to depend o n middle class people w e would've closed the doors a long time ago.
30 OA : That's true. CA: I'm not sayin' all middle class people, I'm sayin' the majority of 'em don 't. So you have to concentrate o n the people in the projects and your w hat you call your under class people. They' re the people that support everything though, your nickel and dime stores, the insurance companies and everything. See, when I s ee b ecause I've got a master's degree and you've got you all got degrees y ou know, I read United States News and World Report Fortune m agazine and Time and Newsweek and all the and New York Times and the Washington Post which are the best papers in the country dailies St. Pete Times and the Tribune and all that, you know. Y ou ain't got time for the little Florida Sentinel So w e concentrate o n gettin' that clientele in the projects and your under class people. They're the people that support you. The nucleus of your support. When you lose them you're dead because there ain't enough middle class people to support newspap er or any thing that counts on numbers, s ee? You k now, you get a lot of criticism, "Oh, man, why do you put something like in there?" Why w e upgrade the society columns. We upgrade the feature stories. We upgrade your deaths and everything but that little column ove r there o n two and three we have to put that in too. Because if there was any way you could get it out, I would have figured out a way to get it out. You know, but if you do that you're gonna lose that under class person, s ee? That's what they want to rea d about. Because we're talkin' about fifth to eigh th grade mentalities. HJ: Okay. A nd with knowing that it's the lower class people that get your subscription that CA: Not subscriptions now. OA : Okay. Well do CA: The middle class people, you know, t hey're the ones that can afford $12.50 pay in advance, so to speak, for your subscription. OA : Okay, you know, your master things is with the lower income people, right, your project areas and stuff like that. Okay, have you h as the Sentinel done anything within a certain area of the projects, like a special event, maybe, or a picnic for the children or just stuff like that? CA: We gave Christmas bicycles and that kind of thing with those kids over at Central Park, n ot this past summer I mean, not this p ast Christmas but the Christmas before last. Then Ms. Reeve had a lot to say about it. So it looked like I had to do it, t hat kind of thing And then we didn't. So I had 'em over to my house to a pool party. We had about forty boys over there from Cent ra l Park, w ent to a pool party. Served 'em hot dogs and let 'em swim, y ou know, play
31 records and that kind of b ut it got discouragin' as hell so you know, with all this flack so b ut we I'm not gonna give up. You know, I'm gonna have another one this summer. This summer and try to a nd we've gotten to some of those boys over there because they were headin' in the wrong direction. You know, these kids thirteen fourteen HJ : That's where you live isn't B ? CA: p oppin' drugs and not goin' to school. There's one of 'em over there that's a leader, a natural born leader, a little old guy, man, t he smartest one of 'em, you know. He has a phobia about white kids, you know. (laugh s ) Hell, they put him out of school every week. HJ : (inaudible) like that, right. CA : R ufus Lewis came over tellin' you know, the cop? H e works over at their school, the junior high, as an officer over there. And he said, I just don't understand, you know, we had him in the office over there. We have a t his little guy, man, you kno w, he don 't weigh eighty pounds, man. Man, I hit him right there and he went down and then I pushed the I put the Central Park stomp on him." You know, he's talkin' about a white kid. Every week they're puttin' him out school, but i t's a wonder they haven't suspend ed him. But, Rufus says the boy's a br illiant boy, mental, you know. B ut he just hates white people, y ou know? HJ : There's a lot of 'em. There's a lot of them the same way. CA: But all those kids follow him. You know. And he's got maybe fifteen little bo ys that follow him a nd believe everything he says, a natural leader, man. All we've got to do is just channel him in the right direction and he'd be one of our upcomin' young young because he's about fifteen years old now you know. He looks like he's ten but he's fifteen years old. But, we aren't gonna give up on those kids, man, because you'd be surprised at how smart some of 'em are and the aptitude that they have, you know, for learning. B ut you've just got to channel 'em right. You know, they don't h ave any fathe r s most of 'em. They don't have any kind of home life and you've just got to try to We're gonna start a golf program too. A nd I'm gonna donate, personally, a couple of sets of clubs. And a we're gon na get, maybe, fifteen of 'em out there, or twenty as many as want to go, you know, our club. And we're gonna o f course, we've got to go beg. Those golf clubs are expensive. You know, we're talkin' about $250 to $300 for a set, see? But I can get some from Winn Dixie and Charlie Lykes and crac kers like that to donate clubs to help those kids. Because that's a good clean sport. And they've got no black kids a re in anywhere in the country, k nowin' we could do it. None of 'em. White boys are makin' all that money out there on the golf tour and the y started when they were seven, eight, nine years old, like [Jack] Nicklaus and all those boys. But we're into basketball, baseball and football. HJ : That's right.
32 CA: We can get all messed up and all hurt up OA : We're accustomed to tennis. CA: but in golf, there's big money in it and blacks just aren't in it yet, s ee? OA Not only that, but we've got a lot of decisions to make. CA: It's a good concentration game. We're gonna get some of those kids out there this summer. We gave a tournament last we ekend a nd made, maybe, $1100 or $1200. S o we're gonna take those funds and put into clubs for those kids, golf clubs. I guess we have to get cars to take them out there, you know. Summers, you know, we get the longer days where they can ge t classes, you k now, in group get the pros out there to teach 'em. And once a kid gets interested in that, boy, that's he can go. Our tournament this weekend, all the white boys won the top prizes. A boy from the University o f South Florida, Joe Hard, nineteen years old shot that course in one under par. And that's a tough course. My brother was in there, and my brother's probably the best black amateur in the city, and he was say yeah, man, a fanatic. Scufflin' with that white boy, hell, he's forty seven years old, you know, you lo se it just like in any other athletics. You know, you l ose it when you get a certain age. Man, he say, "Man, them boys puttin' some shots on me." Just hung in there. He finishe d 5th. But the top prizes were four places. So he finished 5th yo u see? Them four white boys, picture s will be in the paper Friday, won the top prizes, a nd all of 'em young. One boy from M acDill look like he was about twenty But they've been playin' golf since they nine, ten years old, s ee? And that ain't right. We oug ht to have some black boys in there takin' those prizes. OA : Well, can you think of anything that we've missed in terms of the paper? We've talked about the staff, circulation, history, to some extent. Can anybody think of anything else? HJ : Well, I wan t to know why the price on the paper's so low. CA: Well, let me tell you abou t that now. We started out at ten cents in the 1950s. To make a long story short, I'm scared to raise the price another nickel. See, what we do now, we get twelve cents for each paper and the agent gets eight cen ts, see? When we went up from fifteen to twenty, we lost 3,000 circulation. They resent price increases. Black people resent flat price increases of any kind in the newspaper busine ss. We had to raise our advertis ing rates but 98 percent of our adverti s ing comes from white folk. And very few of them kick. But when talk about the buying public out t here, that lower class or under class or under privileged person, you raise it another nickel you ma y lose a couple thousand mo re, s ee. Now that would solve my problems over night. See, if I raised it to twenty five cents I'd
33 get fifteen and give the boys ten see, for each paper sold. No problem. Because you're talkin' about 27,000 there's two no, three that's $810 extra per ed ition. So you're talkin' about two times that. T hat's $1,620 extra money I'd take in just from circulation alone in a week. That'd solve all my problems. And I've thought about that too. And that's a hell of a question h e asked. We should be gettin' twent y five cents They're gettin' twenty five cents in Miami and they're gettin' it everywhere else. But Tampa is a funny town. OA : It is a funny town. CA: It's a hell of a town. HJ : It's somethin' else. CA: Man, you'd be surprised. Like, downtown newsstan d, they sell two hundred papers a issue. When we raised that price from fifteen to twenty cents they went down to 115. That's the way it was droppin' off everywhere. "Hey, we ain't gonna make those 'niggers' rich." Hey, so and so and so OA : Yeah, they r un that. CA: So a nd we're talkin' about six or seven years ago that we raised the price. We should have raised y ou should raise your price The ways things are goin' now, you know, the Tribune raises it about every four or five years. We should raise it e very three or four years too, s ee? But you can't do it. You have to try to get your revenu e. We raised our rates, maybe fifty cents what they call fifty cents an inch and no problem, man. In fact, the national people our national representatives there's a group of national advertisers in New York t hey're based in New York and Chicago say, "H ell man, your national rate is too low. Get it up," you know. We can get it, y ou know. This came from Cutler's office. We can get it, man, from the big national adve rt isers. So we raised the rate fifty cents an inch. You're talkin' about that's a big hike. And no problem, man. Those checks come in here every month from the national advert isers, man, I be just smilin', y ou know, because there's no problem. But you talk a bout raisin' your end of interview
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Andrews, C. Blythe,
C. Blythe Andrews
h [electronic resource] /
interviewed by Otis R. Anthony and members of the Black History Research Project of Tampa.
Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Tampa Library,
1 sound file (95 min.) :
digital, MPEG4 file +
e 1 transcript (digital, PDF file)
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Other interviewers for the Black History Research Project of Tampa were Fred Beaton, Joyce Dyer, Herbert Jones, and Shirley Smith.
Interview conducted February 15, 1978.
C. Blythe Andrews, Jr. discusses his family's newspaper, the Florida Sentinel Bulletin. He also comments on the effects of integration and Tampa politics.
Andrews, C. Blythe
Florida sentinel bulletin (Tampa, Fla. : 1945).
Anthony, Otis R.
Black History Research Project of Tampa.
University of South Florida Libraries.
Florida Studies Center.
Oral History Program.
University of South Florida.
y USF ONLINE ACCESS