Lydia Lopez Allen

Citation
Lydia Lopez Allen

Material Information

Title:
Lydia Lopez Allen
Series Title:
Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida oral history project
Creator:
Allen, Lydia Lopez
Greenbaum, Susan D
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (72 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
African American business enterprises -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
Cuban Americans -- Florida -- Tampa ( lcsh )
African Americans -- Florida ( lcsh )
African Americans -- History -- Florida ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
interview ( marcgt )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Lydia Lopez Allen describes some of the businesses on Central Avenue, and discusses how the Afro-Cubans fit into the black community. Allen's uncle, Ferman "Chick" Mirabel, owned a popular bar called Chick's Lounge.
Venue:
Interview conducted July 9, 1994.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Susan Greenbaum.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
020799037 ( ALEPH )
436224006 ( OCLC )
A31-00070 ( USFLDC DOI )
a31.70 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

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segment idx 0time text length 133 [Transcriber's note: Lydia Lopez Allen's brothers Frank Lopez (FL1) and Ferman Lopez (FL2) are present during part of the interview.]
1195 Susan Greenbaum: This is an interview with Lydia Lopez Allen. It's July 9, 1994. Could you tell me a little bit about Chick's Lounge and El Chico and your uncle, and how the business got started?
2411 Lydia Lopez Allen: When my uncle and his two brothers, Clemente and Frank, my uncle-I should say my uncle's name was Ferman Mirabel, but everybody knew him as Chick. And so, in the middle of the thirties [1930s] they went to work for Charles Vanderhorst, better known as Charlie Moon, and they went to work there at his place, The Moon, that was right there on Central Avenue and-what is that street? Where the-
332 SG: Where the Kid Mason Hall is?
411 LA: Uh huh.
530 SG: Is that Harrison [Street]?
6422 LA: Harrison. The corner of Harrison and Central Avenue. And they worked for him until-let me see if that one has the correct year-to the late thirties [1930s], they worked for Charlie Moon. And then, in the late thirties, they bought Chick Lounge; that was on the corner of Scott-it was on Scott Street. 1007 Scott Street, almost to Central Avenue. And then the war started, World War II started, and he got drafted. And-
742 SG: So, Chick got drafted in World War II?
826 LA: In two. In two. Mm-hm.
983 SG: Do you know if they owned the building itself and the property? Or was it just-
1021 LA: Yeah. They owned-
1118 SG: -the business.
12238 LA: No. He owned the building. See over here, this wonderful-let's see-yeah, (inaudible). Rogers was the owner of that-see, this Moses White wanted to take control of everything. But they didn't come here till the middle forties [1940s].
1322 SG: The Whites didn't?
14295 LA: Mm-hm. I didn't want him to get credit for everything, so that's why I wrote this article on my uncle. It's a very interesting letter (inaudible) it brought many memories, and he wanted to take credit for it. I put-when my uncle, he started the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold in 1939. And, um-
15131 The Tilt of the Maroon and Gold was an annual football game in Tampa, which was played by Bethune-Cookman and other black colleges.
1631 SG: So this was before the war-
17LA: And he was-
18SG: -that he had started that.
1916 LA: Yes. Uh-huh.
20SG: So he was already-
21LA: In business.
2264 SG: -grown and in business and doing things when he got drafted.
2356 LA: He bought the building. He bought the building, and-
2460 SG: What happened when he went to war? How long was he gone?
2574 LA: Well, he served overseas three and a half years in Okinawa and Saipan.
2645 SG: Did his brother run the business for him-
2727 LA: While he was gone. Yes.
2823 SG: -while he was gone?
2986 LA: While he was gone, his brother was running the business. I said that in here, too.
30144 SG: I-we are-we're working a little bit with the [Florida] Sentinel Bulletin and we have access to all of their back issues, so I don't need to-
31pause in recording
32173 SG: So I took the date, and-let me see what page it was on just to make it easier to find. Page eleven. So we can go, and we possibly can get that-did I say eleven? (laughs)
3361 LA: Eleven. See, this paper was (inaudible) during that time.
34SG: Oh, really?
35LA: Mm-hm. Mm-hm. Mm-
3667 SG: But that's a nice photograph of him, especially in his uniform.
3734 LA: I have a photo of that-of him.
38137 SG: Better to be looked than overlooked. This is from the business card, Chick's Lounge: Beer wine and liquor at big savings, all kinds-
39LA: (inaudible)
4033 SG: -of sandwiches, short orders.
4129 LA: He was the owner of that.
4249 SG: And he bought the property from Charlie Moon.
4398 LA: No! I don't know who he bought it off. I don't know. He was working for Charlie Moon, so then-
4491 SG: I see. So he was working for Charlie Moon, but Charlie Moon didn't own that beforehand.
45LA: No. I don't know who were the owners. My uncle can tell you.
4692 SG: Did they-when did they stop working for Charlie Moon? Did they stop because he died, or-
47182 LA: They started working Charlie Moon-they didn't work for him very long. See, they started working for Charlie Moon, I think about-maybe-I don't know, in the early thirties [1930s].
4825 SG: The thirties [1930s].
49142 LA: And then they bought the place in 1936. I think it's 1936 when they bought the place. I don't know. My uncle can tell you the exact dates.
5035 SG: I'll save some of this for him.
5110 LA: Mm-hm.
52SG: Uh, who do you remember about it? Did you go there, ever, when you were young, or-
53132 LA: No, we didn't. See, the Spanish people, they're very protective of their women, you know, and we weren't allowed to go in there.
54SG: Did you ever see the inside of it, or-
55141 LA: Just when he first bought it, but to go there and-uh-uh. We weren't even allowed-my father didn't even want me to pass on Central Avenue.
5624 SG: (laughs) Oh, really?
5770 LA: Everything was crowded and there were all kinds of people. Oh, no.
58100 SG: Was it something that was more the Cuban families? Or was that a general thing where there were-
59LA: (inaudible)
60SG: -fewer women than men.
61246 LA: The Cubans-it was Daddy who said anything. But we just went there to the movies, but we'd better make sure to come back home because-not to wait for the bus or anything on Central Avenue, cause I mean, it was roaring with people all the time.
6228 SG: So, it's really crowded.
6377 LA: And drinking. And cursing. And that's why we weren't allowed to go there.
6471 SG: There were other businesses there, though. There was the drugstore-
65LA: Oh, yes. Now, when we went to the movies-
66SG: -the cleaners and-
67138 LA: -we were allowed to go to the Palace Drugstore, my cousin and I and a lot of my friends. But no, I never been allowed in a place like-
68SG: Never in the lounge.
69LA: -that. No, no, never.
70105 SG: When you got older, could you go there for the music that was there? Did you-could you go there with-
71LA: Not ever. I wasn't allowed to. At least, my father didn't allow it.
72SG: How about after you got married? (laughs)
73339 LA: Well, after I got married-I remember that, in that dilapidated auditorium off Collier, Pole Auditorium. It was on top of The Moon. My husband, he liked Big Joe Turner; he was a big fan. So we went over there and we-I told him, "My father never allowed me to go there." (inaudible) it's so dilapidated, and I'm pregnant, and everything.
74316 And so, my father was working for Clarence Prevette at that time; he was the manager of the wholesale place that-Clarence Prevette was right there on the bottom of the hotel. So we went there to see my dad first. And we told him, and my father said, "I really don't like it. She's never been to the Pole Auditorium."
7557 My husband said, "She's with me; nothing's going happen."
7690 He said, "You better not let nothing happen to her!" And so we went to see Big Joe Turner.
77129 (Door opens) I was telling him about (laughs)-I never go into that auditorium, the Pole Auditorium, cause Papa wouldn't allow it.
78Frank Lopez: (inaudible)
79LA: Yeah, you were boys, but him?
80FL1: Yeah, more or less teenagers.
8112 LA: (laughs)
8247 FL1: I was just stepping over there. I'm sorry.
83LA: I showed her this book about-
84FL1: Cause she has a lot of history, you know, from my grandmother.
85243 LA: Yes. And I'll never forget that time that Big Joe Turner came here and I was pregnant with Wayne, cause we went over there when Papa was working for Prevette at that time and we went-and I told him. I said, "[husband], we'd better not go."
8697 And he said, "What? You are married now. You don't have to do what your father used to tell you."
87And so we went over there, and Papa said, "What are you all doing around here at this time?"
8855 [Husband] said, "We're going to go see Big Joe Turner."
89And he said, "Man, are you crazy? And she's pregnant?" and everything. He said, "You think (inaudible) we're just going to go over there-"
90233 FL1: You know, when y'all was moving out of Ybor City, a guy was looking at the chest of drawers that I had. I had all those programs, Big Joe Turner, the Globetrotters, Elvis Presley-I even had Elvis Presley. And then Nat King Cole-
9143 SG: Elvis Presley played on Central Avenue?
92147 FL1: No, it was at the Armory on Howard and that was in fifty-four [1954] or fifty-five [1955], and I went to see him, and, uh, it was interesting.
93161 SG: I'll identify you on the tape. Frank Lopez has just joined the interview. So when they hear your voice they'll know whose it is. (laughs) And we are on tape.
94You were telling me about the Tilt and how that got started.
959 LA: Okay.
9637 FL1: The Tilt of the Maroon and Gold.
97LA: Okay. The first Tilt-
98FL1: It was in thirty-nine [1939], wasn't it?
99378 LA: It "took place on November 25, 1939, starting with a gay parade and many social dances and parties. This first Tilt of the Maroon and Gold was made possible by many of our old-timers of our city, one being Tampa's best known and oldest businessman of long standing, Mr. Ferman G. Mirabel, who is better known as Chick." He was also the first mayor of Central Avenue in 1939.
100221 Allen is reading from a letter she wrote to the Florida Sentinel Bulletin, which was printed on page 11 of that newspaper on July 24, 1971. In the letter, she discusses her uncle Chick and the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold.
101SG: I saw that on one of the ads.
102FL1: (inaudible)
103LA: Mm-hm.
104SG: What-how did he get to be mayor? What did that mean?
10572 LA: They just started-the businessmen said that they wanted to start it.
106FL1: Right. What I think it was-well, I don't know if it's in that book, but they had their own Chamber of Commerce and everything. I know at that time Hargrett's father was the president of the-
10794 SG: So that was the organization that he started, or that he was-we had an interview with him-
108FL1: It was a group of black businessmen that had their own Chamber of Commerce, and then, I guess they decided to say, Well, every two years we'll be mayor or we'll elect the mayor.
10979 SG: I see. So it was within the organization. You told me that before, I think.
110LA: Mm-hm.
11166 FL1: Right. Cause I know Kid Mason was the mayor at one time, and-
112SG: I think Watts Sanderson was, too.
113FL1: Right. Watts Sanderson, right.
114LA: But he was the first one.
115FL1: Did you ever get to talk to Robert and his brother-
11652 SG: We are. Cheryl Rodriguez has been in touch with-
117276 FL1: I know the one that's the psychologist, he's very interested in that, cause he always mentioned that-somewhere, wherever he is, he mentioned that about the old Central Avenue. He feels, like I do, that it still should exist, but I still say we would still laugh (laughs).
118206 SG: Well, that's one of the questions that I have, in terms of how the thing- What were the steps leading up to the destruction of Central Avenue, and how much opportunity did people have to object to that?
119149 FL1: Yeah. See, I didn't-I wasn't here at the time, but-in fact we were talking about this about a week ago. I'll have to talk to you about that off-
120SG: Okay. (laughs)
12119 FL1: -off the tape.
122SG: Okay. (laughs) Want me to turn it off?
123pause in recording
12453 SG: (inaudible) from what street? Jefferson [Street]?
125159 FL1: The street behind Central which is-what, Jefferson or Morgan [Street]? I think it's Jefferson. The first street after Central, I've forgotten what it was.
12614 LA: Jefferson.
127FL1: Yeah, Jefferson.
128120 LA: Jefferson. And across the street from the funeral home was a bungalow that was the first Clara Frye-the first Negro-
129SG: That was across from Pughsley [Funeral Home]?
130371 LA: Uh huh. It was a bungalow, and that was the first Negro hospital. They had taken him already over there, but you had to go over to Tampa General to go get the blood and the-what's that? The intravenous, you know? So my uncle took-he was passing by and he saw where he had been shot and everything, and he stopped, you know. He was going up the stairs to his new home.
131403 So then they took him over there to that bungalow, which was Clara Frye's first hospital, and so then they said, "We need blood to save him, and we need the IV and everything." So my uncle took off in his car. And the policeman stopped him, and so he said what he was doing. So they led him on. And see, the people at Tampa General knew Mr. Pughsley, because he had gone there to pick up so many bodies.
132172 So he said he just got shot, and he said, "Well, just follow us," and so my uncle just followed and that's what brought everything back to them, but they couldn't save him.
133FL1: But I thought he was refused from there.
1347 LA: No!
13546 FL1: I always heard he was refused from there.
136LA: No, no, no, no. He went over there to get the equipment that they needed over there at that bungalow where it was a hospital.
13751 SG: Who shot Mr. Pughsley? Was that Pearl [McAden]?
138FL1: That's Pearl. (laughs)
13936 SG: Why did he do that? Do you know?
140166 FL1: I don't know. I think it had something to do with power, you know-like when the power structure of Tampa wanted somebody eliminated, I guess. That's what it was.
141SG: Was Pughsley being troublesome?
142LA: No.
14369 FL1: I don't know, cause I was too young, then, to realize, you know-
144LA: That is one word.
14548 SG: Do you remember Pearl? Did you ever see him?
14650 LA: (laughs) No. I don't want no trouble with him.
147FL1: I met him one time in my uncle's place, and I was too scared to look up.
148SG: (laughs) Well, I've heard lots of stories about him.
14988 FL1: Yeah. I'll never forget. He had a three piece suit, and he had that gun in his hat.
150LA: I seen it.
151FL1: Yeah. You're right. He was a-
152LA: As far back as 19-
153FL1: -good-looking man, too.
154LA: I saw him.
155SG: Was he large? Strong?
156115 FL1: Well, you know, I was a kid then, so he looked big to me. But he had to be over, I guess, about six feet tall.
157LA: (inaudible)
158SG: But he killed Charlie Moon, also.
159LA: Mm-hm.
160FL1: Right.
161342 LA: And the way he did it was really something in that (inaudible), cause everybody knows it. That's where you're getting mixed up about the blood and all of that. When he killed Charlie Moon, he got in the ambulance with Charlie. And when he went to the hospital, he dared-to Clara Frye Hospital-he dared those nurses to do anything for him.
162SG: So, he prevented him from getting any treatment.
163LA: He dared them. He wanted him to die. (laughs)
164SG: Why did they shoot Charlie Moon?
165LA: It was something about power, I think.
166FL1: That had to do with power, too. You know, like the bolita thing.
167108 SG: Well, and-when we were talking last time-I mean this is also something I'm interested to know about him.
168LA: That is one person, in terms of-
169SG: How black businesses got sort of squeezed out of the-
170FL1: Well, see, Charlie Moon was responsible for a lot of black businessmen. He had his business on Central Avenue.
171SG: Did he give loans to people or-
172101 FL1: I don't know about that, but somehow he had the power to, you know, help people get in business.
173111 LA: And he buried a lot of people, my uncle told me, cause people didn't have money to pay insurance, you know?
174SG: Mm-hm. So Charlie Moon was a generous man, was that his reputation?
175370 LA: Well, he helped a lot of the poor people, the black-I know that he would give them-when there wasn't any welfare or nothing like that, he would give them food and stuff. I mean, he would make the food at his place. And my uncle-my uncle Frank-he told me that he would make a big pot of soup-you know, give them bowls, the whole thing-and he would give them-you know.
176SG: Mm-hm.
17739 LA: That's what my uncle would tell me.
178168 SG: Do you know, or can you recall, any-how did the Cubans get along with the Americans on Central Avenue, your uncle being a Cuban businessman? Did that have any, uh-?
179288 LA: Well, see, he was-by my uncle being born and reared here in Tampa, you know, and then he started working for Charlie Moon with three others; they worked for Charlie Moon. See, my uncle's stepfather was-he raped her. He was a white Spaniard and he was a banker. He was a bolita banker.
180That's not being recorded, is it?
18162 SG: Oh, it is. (laughs) If you don't want it to be, I'll stop-
182pause in recording
183LA: He bought it. He bought it. It was his. El Chico-uh, I mean-
184FL1: (inaudible)
185LA: No, Chick's Lounge. No, Chick's Lounge.
186FL1: No, Chick's Lounge.
187LA: Chick's Lounge. You (inaudible)?
18884 FL1: See, Chick's Lounge was the one, you know, where-the beginning of the projects-
18917 LA: Yeah, that's-
190219 FL1: -and part of that land-yeah, I got one of those. And part of that land was taken for the projects, so he had to relocate onto Central Avenue. That's how he bought the El Chico. But the original was on Scott Street.
19163 LA: Yeah. Mm-hm. He was selling right as they changed the name.
192192 SG: But it is interesting because-I mean, my first thought, and it was wrong, was that it had started as El Chico's and it Americanized to Chick's, but it actually went the opposite direction.
193334 FL1: And, you know, it was interesting, but, uh-you know Mr. Rodriguez was in the audience at the African Museum. But it shows you that you got to keep up with the history, because Blythe Andrews's daughter was thinking that that was Moses White's place. I said, "No, no. That was my uncle's place. Moses White was across the street."
194SG: It was Palm Dinette.
195FL1: Right. So I had to straighten that out right there.
19673 LA: Mm-hm. That's right. And, you know, with the big riots that happened-
197SG: Sixty-seven. [1967]
198318 LA: -when Central got burned. Uh-huh. My two brothers were the ones that-they [the rioters] thought that my uncles were white, you know, that they weren't black and they were going to burn it. And we said, "Man, no! Don't you do that!" They said, "That's Frank and Ferman's uncles! No, no, man! Don't burn that place!"
199SG: So, did they not burn it, then?
20020 LA: No, they didn't.
201SG: Oh, really?
202LA: But we were (inaudible)-
20338 SG: One of the things that I've heard-
204LA: (inaudible)
205SG: -was that there was a real avoidance of doing damage to black-owned businesses.
206LA: Uh-huh. Yeah. Uh-huh.
20799 SG: So some of the businesses that were damaged that people thought were black-owned were actually-
208139 LA: The riots. That riot-that man that they called Mona Lisa. He died already, Mona. Mona Lisa was the one that was the head of everything.
209FL1: Of the riot?
210LA: Of the riot, mm-hm.
211FL1: You see, I wasn't there. I was-I was in the other riot.
212SG: (laughs) There were a lot of them to be found in that time period.
213LA: They were-they had big, uh, horns, you know?
214SG: Mm-hm.
215FL1: Bullhorns.
216130 LA: Bullhorns. And they would--they were saying on the bullhorns, "Don't you all do that, man! That's Ferman and Frank's uncle's!"
217SG: Was that the White Hats that were doing that, or-
21875 LA: Yeah, the White Hats. They the ones. See, they thought they were white.
219SG: Well, that's interesting.
220LA: Mm-hm. They were (inaudible).
22196 SG: After the riot was over, how much damage was actually done on Central Avenue? Do you recall?
222564 LA: Oh, a lot, yes. Especially the Palace Drugstore; it was really bad. That's the only place I was allowed to go. Spanish people would not-I never did go in Chick's Lounge. My mother didn't even-his two sisters didn't even-they had a thing about the women do not go in. The first fella that took me out for-to go to the movies and anything-was Eugene White, who, when we first came to Tampa, he was a-he married a friend of mine. His brother married a friend of mine. So I went to the wedding and met the White family. That's why they came here during the middle-
223SG: This was Moses White?
224179 LA: Yeah. One of them is married to my friend Carmen Valdez. And so, I met the whole family there. Eugene was the baby brother, and he went to Don Thompson and I was at Middleton.
225FL1: You know, they used to live around the corner from us on Tenth Avenue.
226LA: Yeah, but during that time, they didn't.
227FL1: Oh, really?
228LA: That time when Eugene, he was-
229FL1: What, they were living in West Tampa?
230LA: No. They were living in the projects. They all were project people. All of them Whites were project people-from the projects. So then, my father had Mr. and Mrs. White to come to my house, because he said, "I want to know your parents before I'll let my daughter go out with you," and all that like the Spanish people used to do. (laughs)
231SG: What did your father do? Where was he-
232LA: He was a cigar maker.
233SG: So he was still making cigars.
234LA: Yeah. And then, later on, he started working for my uncle, you know, and that was-
235SG: Is that after the cigar industry went down?
236171 LA: No. It was coming down, you know. I had an aunt-she's a little bit senile, but she worked for Perfecto Garcia since she was nineteen years old, until the embargo, and-
23778 FL1: Papa didn't want to learn how to make cigars, but he started making them.
238135 LA: Yeah, his father made them when he was twelve years old-she's been starting at the (inaudible). You know those two cigar factories?
239FL1: On Twenty-Second [Street], as you're going towards the bridge?
240LA: No, he didn't. And so, he always disliked the cigar factories, but that was a way of living then.
24176 SG: Did he dislike it because he wanted to do something different from what-
242LA: Yes. Yeah.
243SG: -his parents had done, or-
24489 FL1: I wish we had some of the things that he'd done, but (inaudible) messed all that up.
245LA: Mm-hm.
24644 FL1: But he was really-his thing was really-
247LA: Making-making-
248FL1: -wood, like, uh, carpentry.
249LA: -but making furniture. Making furniture.
250FL1: He was very-and furniture.
25140 LA: Mostly furniture. And, uh-and so he-
252FL1: We had that swing set that Papa made for (inaudible). He made-
253LA: Yeah. Yeah. He made a swing set.
254FL1: He made a swing set, you know, like the, the swing sets that he made 'em out of broomsticks.
255LA: Uh huh. And he made his playpens out of-
256165 FL1: And it had the platform and everything, the two seats, and then there was Lee-Lily-there was ours and there was my cousin's, so it went on down that same swing-
257LA: And his playpen was made out of broomsticks, too.
25865 SG: Was there a broom factory that he was able to get those from?
259LA: No. He just collected 'em. Just kept asking different neighbors and everything to give him the brooms, and then he bought some himself, too, and cut them-(laughs)-and cut 'em up.
260272 And so, finishing that story about Eugene White, which was Moses White's baby brother, my father told him, he said, "Listen. It's all right for her to go to the movies with you. You say it's going to be once a week. But I want to meet your parents before we go into this."
261164 So that poor lady, she was, "I heard your papa." Moses White's mother was real fat and she went up those stairs, cause we lived on the upstairs house, since we had-
262FL1: Two story.
263610 LA: -two stories, she had to go up the stairs. And so then, he told him another thing: "Uh, okay, I met your parents. We've got an agreement, but if anything happens to you, you're responsible for her," and all that. He talked all (laughs) that kind of stuff. So then, he said, "And another thing, when you get out of the movies, I don't want no waiting for the bus in front of that Johnny Gray's. I want you to go to Cass [Street] and Central and wait for it." That's how they were about things, Spanish people; they didn't allow none of their people to be on Central Avenue, none of their ladies. Mm-mm [no].
264121 SG: What about Ybor City, though? Could you do things on Ybor City that you would not be allowed to do on Central Avenue?
265LA: The Cuban Patio was a beautiful place. Oh, the Cuban Patio-you should see how nice it was. We had dances there-
266FL1: That should have been a landmark, now.
267251 LA: Oh, it was so beautiful. My daddy used to get off of Central Avenue, once he was working for my uncle, and then he used to park over there and go upstairs and he was playing dominoes and things with them. He was a member of the Cuban Hall. Mart-
268306 SG: Mart-Maceo. One of the things that I wondered about-during the fifties [1950s] and forties [1940s], there was a lot of Cuban influence on American music. Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Fuentes had come over. Was that-did that show up on Central Avenue at all, or was that all in Mart-Maceo where the Cubans-
269Sociedad la Unin Mart-Maceo, the club for the Afro-Cubans.
270LA: No, it was Mart-Maceo. Only in the Cuban-
271FL1: But not entirely, because Leon Claxton had a Cuban background, you know-
272LA: Oh, no. But that was in the band.
273FL1: -in his show, Harlem in Havana. This was a midway show Leon Claxton had, and I know in his show-you know, it was like a variety show-and some part in there he would always have the girls dressed like Spanish dancers. (inaudible)
274SG: Did he have any Cuban musicians that worked for him?
275FL1: I don't-I can't recall.
276LA: One. But he wasn't altogether Cuban. His father was Cuban-Yolanda's brother, Frank (inaudible), and Conchita Pinon's brother, also.
277FL1: Oh, okay. That's Yolanda, her stepsister-
278LA: Um, not-but he wasn't really Cuban, you know-
279FL1: -and Yolanda, her son (inaudible).
28058 LA: -and then his-he married a Cuban girl, but she wasn't-
281(Door opens)
28213 FL1: Come in.
28354 Ferman Lopez: Hello, everybody. How y'all doing today?
284FL1: Careful when you step right there. It's a cord.
285SG: I don't want to trip you.
286FL2: Oh, I'm sorry. You all were recording.
287125 SG: No, please join us. I'm just about to introduce you to the tape recorder. Uh, Ferman Lopez has just joined the interview.
28893 FL1: Yeah, we were talking about different things-you know, Central, Mart-Maceo, Ybor City.
289FL2: Y'all didn't go (inaudible)?
290FL1: No. No. (laughs)
291LA: But in this book it says something about Tampa, Florida, too.
292122 SG: I'm going to look that book up. I will find a copy of it. If I can't find it, I'll come back and ask you to borrow it.
293301 According to Greenbaum's notes from her interview with the Lopezes and their uncle Clemente Mirabel, which was also conducted on July 9, 1994, the book in question is Ruby McCollum: Woman in the Suwannee Jail by William Bradford Huie, which tells the story of a black woman who killed her white lover.
294286 LA: I have tried to get a copy ever since my uncle let me read it. When my uncle-I tell you, he was so crazy about this book, because nobody has this book. And he told me, he says, "You have to read it in one weekend, and bring it back to me." And I did. (laughs) I gave it back to him.
295SG: Well, we may have trouble tracking it down, but at the library they can put out a call to all the other libraries. So, if it's anywhere, we can find it and they'll send it to us.
296124 FL1: You know, it's ironic that a book like that exists, because a story similar to that happened in Sarasota, Dr. Chestnut.
297LA: But, see, the-I understand why he couldn't sell this story to the movies. It would do injustice to the (inaudible) of the doctor.
298FL1: Oh, yeah. Back then, you know-
299LA: No, now! They wanted to buy the story from him.
300FL1: Oh, even now?
301LA: Now. And he wouldn't-and he was all-almost to sell it-the son-and then he backed out. That's why.
302FL2: Are there any of them still living?
303118 LA: Yeah. Has to be. What about this little girl, she's already as old as Wade-Loretta. No. She's older. She was born-
304Loretta was the daughter of Ruby McCollum and her lover C. Leroy Adams.
305FL1: No. She's older than Wade.
306LA: Yeah. She's older.
307FL2: So, what else is going on?
30881 FL1: You want go there and check 'em out first before we bring (laughs) Clemente.
309FL2: Yeah. We could do that.
310LA: Meet him.
311FL2: Yeah. You know, if he's not up, we'll have to help him out of bed and carry him out.
312SG: Would it be easier to go over there, or-
313LA: He couldn't walk over here, no. We'll have to go over there.
314FL2: So, if you'll just stand by, we'll go and get him up.
315SG: Okay. Okay.
316FL1: We're not taking too much of your time-?
317SG: Oh, no. I have all afternoon. I tell you, I'm going to take more of your time (laughs) than you're going to take of my time, so don't worry.
318FL2: All right.
319LA: I can't find that, but it says something about (inaudible)-
320FL2: Well, let me go ahead on and take this ice over there. I bought some ice at the store.
321LA: -and it talks about the (inaudible).
32241 SG: Mm-hm. Now this is something-turn it-
323pause in recording
324700 LA: My grandfather came in 1905, by himself, and got the job, and he found a job at Corina Cigar Factory on Twenty-Second Street, and he bought a home on Marconi [Street], right close to the cigar factory, which was in Palmetto Beach. And so, when he brought his family-in 1906-here, he had already joined the Centro Asturiano as a founder of the Centro Asturiano Hospital and Club, and then he-because of the Jim Crow laws, his wife could not belong to the Centro Asturiano, but at least he had hospitalization. He was already an old man, so he was grateful that he had hospitalization. So then in 1926, Dr. (inaudible) came from Cuba and founded (inaudible), and she joined there with her children.
325SG: Was she ever associated with Mart-Maceo at all?
326600 LA: No. No, she was always-the Spanish ladies, they were just for the house; that's why she never learned how speak English, because she was always in the house. But her children learned how to speak English. They came here as children, but my aunt, who was just a year and a half, she knew how to speak English fluently, better than my father and my uncle. But they knew how to defend themselves pretty good without English. (laughs) And so, they worked-they all learned how to make cigars at Corina Cigar Factory, where their father worked-all three of the children, including our older aunt, also.
327420 When my grandfather first encountered the Jim Crow laws was one day that my grandmother and him got on the trolley-the electric trolley that they used to have-and she was told that she-he was told that he was sitting in the wrong place, cause he was sitting in the back with his wife, and he didn't pay attention to the sign that says that whites sit from the front to the back and blacks sit from the back to the front.
328163 So there was a lady in the trolley that knew how to speak English and Spanish, and she said what the trolley conductor was saying, that he couldn't sit back there.
329He says, "Well, what, what is-" he answered in Spanish. "What is wrong with me sitting back here? I like to sit in the back, and this is my wife sitting next to me."
330And she says, "Well, you're not supposed-she can sit back there but you have to come to the front."
331155 So, he pulled the string that you pull to get off, and he says, "Let me off right here on this corner. I will never get on a trolley again." And he didn't.
332SG: (laughs)
333568 LA: So, when my father and his brother were teenagers, he bought them a Model T Ford, and that's how they traveled from Palmetto Beach to Ybor City. They liked the atmosphere in Ybor City very much. And then they were advised that, because they were a mixed couple and they didn't have that sort of thing here at that time, it would be best if they could move to Ybor City. So then they came to live in Ybor, Ybor Street-Ybor City-between Twenty-First [Street] and Nineteenth Avenue. And they left their home-that was theirs-to rent. And they lived in Ybor City, also.
33468 SG: So, they could live in Ybor City without anybody bothering them-
335LA: Bothering them.
336SG: But if they were in other parts of Tampa they were running a risk.
337LA: Because all the couples-it was all the couples like them, you know.
338SG: In Ybor City.
339347 LA: Mm-hm. There was mixed, you know, that they had come from Cuba-because in Cuba that's nothing, for a black man to marry, or a white man to marry a black woman and all that, you know. You would have seen couples like that, but not in Palmetto Beach. In fact, the KKs [Ku Klux Klan] used to meet at Desota Park. That's where their meetings were.
340SG: What-and Desota Park, is that in Palmetto Beach?
34182 LA: Yes, in Palmetto Beach, right before you get to Twenty-Second-to the Causeway.
342SG: Didn't they bother Cubans-white Cubans and cigar makers-too, though? KKK?
343LA: Yes, they did bother them, but see-they stayed, like I said, here in Ybor City-
344SG: They'd be okay.
345154 LA: It would be okay for them. They went in a lot of the areas to live, but Sulphur Springs or places like that they, uh-uh. That was a no-no. Mm-hm [no].
346SG: Was your family members of Mart-Maceo? Your father was?
347LA: My father was. Uh-huh. My father was.
348SG: So he had that hospitalization.
349LA: Yes. He had that hospital-uh huh. The patients would go to Gonzales' home.
350281 SG: One of the things that I've been interested in-and this is kind of off to the side-but Mart-Maceo had this insurance plan, basically, that was very beneficial for-if you got sick it would not only pay your medicine and hospital, but also give you some money to tide you over.
351112 LA: Yes. It's most-it was drawn just like the (inaudible). I'm going to bring you the booklets from (inaudible).
352pause in recording
353LA: (inaudible)
354pause in recording
355LA: The father's name and the mother's (inaudible).
356266 SG: Right. Francisco Lopez Garcia was your grandfather, and he was one of the founders of Centro Asturiano. There's a photograph of him here at-he's a (inaudible). That's very interesting. I didn't realize that they had done a history. I should see if I can find it.
357372 LA: This is a picture of him. You see my grandmother and the two aunts. This is 1927, Noche Bueno [Christmas Eve]. That's before my mother and my father got married. They got married in 1930. This is my father, and there's my mother, and there's his sister, and there's her husband, and that's my two aunts that I tell you that-they went for white. And that's (inaudible).
358SG: Was this just inside of your house in Ybor City?
359355 LA: My grandmother's house. This grandmother, my grandmother on my mother's side. And that's her husband, the one that she married after she became a widow. And then, that's my uncle, my daddy's brother, and this-she is my grandmother's daughter from her first marriage. And that's my Uncle Chick. And that's a friend of theirs. And that's my Uncle Frank.
360SG: It's not Frank that-which uncle have we interviewed?
361LA: Uh, Clemente, and he's not here.
362SG: So he's not in there.
363LA: Somebody had to (inaudible), so he's not here.
364258 SG: Let me go back, if I could-no, let me finish with this one thing before I forget it altogether. In the American community and the black American community, there were burial societies, or (inaudible). The Grand Union was one, I think, and the Lily White-
365LA: The pallbearers union. Right.
366158 SG: Do you remember, or did you know anything about them, and do you know how they compared to Mart-Maceo in a way-the family didn't belong to any of those?
367296 LA: (inaudible) See, see how the integration works? Now this is Wholesome Bakery. Now, they-all of these are employees, and their wives, of the Wholesome Bakery. Okay, they had an affair for Christmas. This was Christmas of 1954. They had this big affair that the black employees couldn't go to.
368SG: Could not go?
369LA: Mm-mm [no]. To the thing.
370SG: I thought maybe they were just sitting in a separate place-
371LA: No. Uh-uh.
372SG: -but they couldn't go at all?
373160 LA: No. He rented this auditorium for this, which was at the YMCA or somewhere that's small-but, see, that's (inaudible) the employees. And that is a big thing.
374SG: So who was the one who rented the hall for the separate one?
375LA: The owner of Wholesome Bakeries. In 1954.
376SG: Did somebody in your family work for Wholesome? Is that it?
377152 LA: Yes. Uh-huh. Yeah. My godson's parents. And I have a lot of my friends here, this lady; she died already. Violet (inaudible)-her father (inaudible).
378SG: (inaudible)
379LA: (inaudible) daughter. Mm-hm.
380SG: I interviewed her right before she died.
381356 LA: Uh huh. (inaudible)'s daughter. And that's her husband, here. And this girl, I know her, too. And that's her husband. This girl-this lady, they just had her funeral two weeks ago, Ruby Reece. That's her husband; he worked there. See? This is how ridiculous (inaudible). Now, he had to spend money for this auditorium, and then for this one. That is so-
382SG: Were there white people who came to Central Avenue? Were there white people who came to Chick's Lounge, do you know? Or was it-
383114 LA: Well, you know, who would go to the-like when Harlem in Havana had a show at the movie theatre, they would go.
384SG: So, they would go to those kinds of things. Did they go to see B.B. King down there? Or Ray Charles, or-
385LA: Very few. Very few.
386SG: So, it was mostly black people who went to the entertainment down there.
387LA: Mm-hm.
388SG: The, uh-tell me again about the Tilt. Would you describe what that was like, the day of the parade, and-
389527 LA: Oh, it was a gala affair. It was really, really (inaudible). Uh, it started, you know, in the morning. It was an all-day affair. The football game with the-it ended with the football, at the Phillips Field, which was right there on Cass and North Boulevard where the Riverfront Park is now, on the corner-that corner was Phillips Field, and all the football games were held there. And then they would have dances right there on Central; some would be at the Cuban Patio, and that's the one I would (inaudible) I went a lot.
390SG: So, the Cuban Patio also participated-
391LA: Oh, yes. Uh-huh.
392SG: Actually, the Cuban Patio then, wasn't that far away from Central.
393LA: Oh, yes, it was far away.
394SG: But it was-well, it was a few blocks away.
395LA: All the black clubs and societies, they all participated.
396SG: So, there were parades with floats and-
397LA: Yes. Uh-huh.
398SG: -and things like that? Was there a queen, or-
399LA: Yes. They would have a queen. Yes. Uh-huh. Queen of the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold, and then there was the queen of the school. She would always come, too, and the queen from the opposite team. But they would always play black schools; always black schools that I recall.
400SG: Do you remember the Greek Stand? Did you ever go to the Greek Stand, the place they called the Greek Stand?
401LA: Yes, but I-
402SG: Cause I haven't quite figured out why?
403LA: Well, the owners, they were Greeks.
404SG: They were Greek people. So that's why they called it the Greek Stand.
405LA: The Greek Stand, and they were very famous for the sandwiches, especially their Greek salad.
406SG: So the food was good there.
407LA: Yeah. The black people couldn't go anywhere else (inaudible). There was no McDonald's or nothing like that.
408102 SG: Or just a window in the back or something like that where they could get in, in other restaurants.
409LA: In other restaurants, a little window. Like (inaudible) and the Columbia Restaurant.
410113 SG: Were the Greeks who owned it-were they friendly people? Did they-were they liked by people on Central Avenue-
411LA: Yeah. Yeah.
412SG: -by people who worked there?
413211 LA: Yes, they were very much liked. In fact there was two brothers, the Solomon brothers-his wife still lives; she lives not too far away from here. They worked for them. They were brothers and they (inaudible).
414SG: What-tell me his name again, because-
415LA: Solomon.
416SG: Solomon. Okay.
417331 LA: Maybe one of 'em is still living. I know one of 'em died already, the one named Johnny Solomon-and I don't know what the other one's first name was. But his wife-of Johnny-still lives around here, and she could tell you more about the Greek Stand than anybody, cause they worked there, those two brothers, the Solomon Brothers.
418SG: That's a good suggestion. That's another one of the places we're going to show, and we don't know very much about it, so-
419LA: Ruby is her name, and she lives-she don't live far from here. So she could probably tell you a lot about it.
420SG: She's Ruby Solomon.
421LA: Solomon, uh-huh.
422SG: So, Johnny is dead, but Ruby is still alive.
423LA: Alive. I know where she lives and everything.
424SG: Think she's listed in the phone book?
425LA: I believe so. Mm-hm.
426SG: Oh, don't get up. I'll check it. If I can't find it I'll call you back about it for more information. (laughs)
427LA: (laughs) That's okay.
42859 SG: But, uh, I think we would like to contact her, because-
429LA: See, this is another good book.
430SG: Right. We have that, in fact. Otis Anthony is, uh-
431148 LA: You see, this-not that one. (inaudible) This article that came in this book tells you more about the Greek Stand. See? That's exactly how it is.
432SG: The Cubans and-have you seen the little book that I wrote on Mart-Maceo and Afro-Cubans here in Tampa?
433LA: No.
434SG: Afro-Cubans in Ybor City? I gave Frank one.
435LA: Oh.
436SG: I didn't bring one with me, but you might find it interesting. There are a lot of photographs and-
437LA: That book tells exactly (inaudible).
438SG: In fact, tomorrow morning on television, on Channel 13-do you ever watch the Denise White show?
439LA: Oh, yes.
440SG: I'm going to be on there tomorrow. Juan Majella-do you know Juan Majella?
441LA: Juan Majella, yeah.
442SG: He's on, too, and some other people, Chloe Cabrera and two other Cubans that I didn't know before. But it's all about Afro-Cubans, and uh-
443463 LA: (inaudible) it's-the Hispanic people-see, this is the part that I like the most. See, Hispanics does have a strong African heritage, the experience of black Americans in the United States. Many Hispanics (inaudible) have not accepted who they are and who can pass for whites are ignored-um, ignorant. (laughs) Ignored, I wanted to say. They ignore the fact that they have African in them, of the fact-deny it, or aren't willing to accept it. That's the truth.
444156 SG: That was not so necessary in Ybor City, though, was it, because of Mart-Maceo and because there were a lot of people here who were Afro-Cuban and who-
445412 LA: You know what I have? I looked into-it was a time when things were-were better, you know, but as time passes the other generations came to be-you know, they thought different. Because I remember the Fuentes-Renee Fuentes, who used to have a band, his family lived next door to my grandmother-on my daddy's side-and we were just like a family, you know. They went for whites, but we were very close, you know.
446SG: Then it got less so.
4478 LA: Yes.
448SG: That's-I mean, you think about things getting better rather than worse, but that's kind of the opposite direction. Do you think that as, uh-
449LA: We used to be like a family, you know. Um, it looks like mostly-this neighborhood was mostly Italians, you know. Now, the Italian old people still treat me the same and everything, but you see, the grandchildren, when they come there to visit, they don't want to be bothered, you know. They don't-
450SG: So, you think as they became more American, they became more prejudiced?
451119 LA: Uh huh. I believe so. Something happened, because they don't treat me the same way as when I was a child, you know.
452328 SG: Let me ask you just two more things about Central Avenue, and this may be hard because you didn't spend as much time there as Frank. Do you-there were not just Cubans and Americans, but there were also some Jamaicans and some Bahamians and some people from other parts of the Caribbean. Did you know any of those people, or-
453LA: My grandmother's people, you know-my mother's side, they-my grandmother used to-that's my great-grandmother up there.
454SG: She's very beautiful.
455604 LA: She was from Nassau, her mother. So that's why-I have a lot of people in my family that are-they're from the islands and Nassau. And my grandmother, she didn't know how to speak Spanish when she married my grandfather. That was my grandmother on this side, and that was my mother's parents; that's my mother's parents. See, he died when he was just thirty-two, and my mother was just seven years old. So that's why my grandmother remarried this white Spaniard. But she used to say, "That's the only reason I married him, because he raised my children," cause there was no welfare, no nothing to help.
456252 But you know what I find out, that this generation now-they're not like they were when I was a child; we were just like a family. I see a lot of the grandchildren-the mother still speaks to you and everything, but the grandchildren, they don't want to.
457SG: I think I've asked you all the questions. (laughs) But let's talk a little more about Ybor City and about what it was like growing up there.
458214 LA: You see, this is the thing that we gave my grandmother, Olivia (inaudible); she was my great-grandmother and she was the founder of St. James Episcopal Church-the black woman there, she was one of the founders.
459SG: So she was an American.
460417 LA: Yes. And she married-when she came from Nassau to Cuba, my great-grandmother, and there she had four girls, which were (inaudible) sisters of my grandmother. They were from the islands, mostly. And so, when she came from Key West, she met my grandfather, who was a Cuban Indian, and she married him and she had three more daughters and-which was my grandmother. But, Olivia, she never spoke Spanish. She was from-
461SG: So she came here and she lived here-
462LA: In Tampa.
463SG: -but she didn't speak Spanish.
464LA: No.
465SG: So she was part of the black American community-
466LA: Mm-hm. Yeah.
467SG: -eventually.
468LA: She went to St. James Episcopal, and the American people mingled with her, the black-
469SG: Were there other West Indians in the St. James Episcopal Church?
470LA: Oh, yes. Uh huh.
471SG: Was that part of the reason she joined that church?
472461 LA: Yes, but that church is mostly of that (inaudible). St. James Episcopal Church-it explains to you that it-the story of this church is that-that's another person that preaches (inaudible) Herman Monroe. He has a mostly-he's trying to get photos and everything of the first Episcopal church, but he hasn't been so successful to get it, because this church was started with a mixture of people from the islands and Cubans and everything. The Episcopal Church.
473SG: Where was that located?
474198 LA: Now it's located on North Boulevard but-I thought it was in the story here of when it started. And this is an interesting tidbit. This is the project (inaudible) how it was burnt and everything.
475387 SG: They were, uh-they had their hundredth anniversary in either this year or ninety-three [1993], and they were writing a history. I don't know if it's been finished. Eighteen ninety-four was their-1893; late 1893 was when they began. But you know, there's very little that has ever been written about West Indians in the early part of Tampa. There's more knowledge about that now, but-
476LA: Mm-hm. But Herman Monroe can give you a portion of it.
477SG: Herman Monroe is the pastor at-
478492 LA: No, he's the historian at the church. He gathers all the histories and things of the church. I have given him a lot of my family's pictures. My grandmother's niece married there in, um, 1913. It's the first Episcopal Church within West Tampa (inaudible) and that's where she married. And I was able to give him that, and he took all of that into consideration. He was a good friend with the history. But it was mostly people from the islands and people from Cuba that went to that church.
479SG: So, Protestants who went were from Cuba.
480LA: Uh-huh. Yeah. Of course, it's very-see, most of these-they were Cubans from Key West, you know, because that's where the problem comes in. Mostly all the Cubans are Catholic, but when they came to Key West, some of 'em-they couldn't find a Catholic church, so they joined the Episcopal church. Those are similar to the Catholic. But, my grandmother, she was from the islands and she always went from the-you know.
481245 SG: There was-in some of the interviews that I've read, the guy who founded the longshoremen's union, originally, in Tampa, was Jamaican. This was before Perry Harvey-this is before your time, so you may not remember or know anything about that.
482LA: But Herman is a good one for you to in with about people from the islands.
483SG: I was wondering if maybe there were more West Indians who were longshoremen. That was something that was a connection, anyway.
484LA: No.
485257 SG: Cause the longshoremen-the longshoremen's union was down there on Central Avenue, and Perry Harvey became the president of the longshoremen's union. His son is still the president. And that was something else that we were trying to find something about.
48687 LA: I don't know. But I know that Herman could probably give you a good thing about it.
487SG: Herman-what was his last name again?
488210 LA: Herman Monroe. His mother was Hispanic, and they've been all-they were very well versed on the history of the people that belonged to-St. James was a mixture of people from the islands and Cubans, you know.
489SG: That's very interesting. Let me go back a little bit to Ybor City and to growing up in Ybor City and being a Cuban, and when you started- you've been out with Americans. You went out with Moses White's brother, and married an American, did you not?
490LA: Yeah, I married one of the Allens (inaudible).
491SG: How did your family feel about you going out with Americans?
492LA: Well, they came to accept it better later on, but at the beginning, mm-mm [no].
493SG: So, they did have some objections.
494LA: Oh, yes.
495SG: Most of the Cuban families that I've heard of-
496LA: But they wasn't-but there weren't too many black Cubans, you know, that had funds available and all of that, so that's when we decided-we'd be, like, "Fine-"
497SG: So, this was in the forties [1940s] that you're talking about. So-
498322 LA: Uh-huh. Yeah. Like Carmen White-Carmen Valdez, the Valdez family-now that's a good family to talk to. Her father-her grandfather, Francisco Valdez, was a real founder of the Labor Temple in Ybor City, and they-when he died, they laid his body at the Labor Temple. And for the sake of it, have you ever met (inaudible)?
499SG: Oh, yeah.
500LA: He knows a lot, too.
501SG: He's still down at the Labor Temple.
502LA: Mm-hm. Yeah.
503SG: There were-lots of Cubans left Ybor City in the thirties [1930s]-
504LA: Oh, yeah. There were-
505SG: The size of the population really dropped.
506232 LA: That's where the problem came in. While we-the Spanish families accepted a lot of Americans fellows into the family and things like that-and vice-versa, the American girls-because a lot of these people had moved to New York, so-
507SG: So, it's harder to find-
508LA: New York and Chicago, because of the relief funds-you know, they were given relief funds cause things were really bad during the Depression, and they left.
509SG: Do you remember Sylvia Grin and Jose Grin, when they had the Pan-American Club in the Mart-Maceo? Do you know them?
510LA: Mm-hm. Yeah. I participated in one of those plays. I've got the thing here.
511SG: You don't-oh, my.
512LA: They were really good starting that club, because of that. We were getting away from our heritage, you know.
513400 SG: So, this was a way, as Sylvia has explained it-I knew her very well, and she had talked about that. She was saying that it was a way to keep kids in the club, in the Mart-Maceo, but still to come to terms with the fact that there had to be interaction with Americans, because it would-otherwise they'd lose 'em altogether. Was that a sense that-and did you know that, or feel that, at the time?
514LA: Yes, to keep us together, yes, mm-hm. We were losing out, both sides, to keep our heritage. I have some cousins, my aunt's daughters; they don't speak Spanish or anything. My two boys, they got the American name, Allen, and they speak Spanish fluently; but my brother's children, they speak English. They got the Lopez name.
515SG: But they don't speak-they're Lopez and they don't speak Spanish, and yours are Allen and they do speak Spanish. (laughs)
516249 LA: That's cause my mother kept my children, you know. I always worked. I'm still working. I'm trying to get out of the-stop working. I'm almost ready to retire, but that Medicare, you know-if you don't have good hospitalization, what am I gonna do?
517SG: Yeah, I know. I hope they get this healthcare reform done in time to do some of us good.
518106 LA: See, I don't-this year I'm going to be sixty-four, but you can't get Medicare until you're sixty-five.
519SG: We have to keep working on it.
520LA: I work for the Health Department, so they-but, uh, Sylvia was right. Sylvia really tried to keep us together.
521SG: Were you aware of the conflict that she and Jose had with Juan Garcia? Did you know Juan Garcia?
522LA: Yes. (inaudible)
523SG: Cause that was what really killed it, eventually, was that they had an argument. He was the treasurer.
524LA: Yes, uh-huh.
525SG: Um, I often wondered, and you may not know this-
526LA: It's too much (inaudible). You know, last time I-
527pause in recording
528LA: -at the clubs, he just paid his dues and he just kept himself home, because he said he don't like controversy and they have too much controversy over there.
529SG: What was the controversy about?
530LA: Mostly money.
531241 SG: Was there any politics in it? That was getting to the time of the revolution in Cuba, and I know that there were some people in the club who were supporters of Batista and there were some people in the club who were supporters of Castro.
532248 LA: (inaudible) but my father, he-you see, when they sold the building, a lot of 'em didn't want to, because that would've been a historical place. They could've built around it. They could've built around that place, but no, they wanted the money.
533SG: Do you remember when that got torn down-the old Mart-Maceo?
534LA: It was, um, a lot of-
535SG: It was sixty-five [1965], was when it happened, but-
536LA: That's when my father died, yeah. My father stopped going, cause my father did not agree with it. Cause they wanted to sell it.
537SG: But they had-I mean, I know a little bit about that. They had gotten-
538LA: Now, that they-look at that place they have. Do you think that, with the money that they got from this, that it compensates for that little building they burned?
539SG: Nope. I'd say you're-
540pause in recording
541209 LA: -with Mr. M-the late Mr. Martinez is the only Martinez (inaudible) and he told him, he said, "I'm not going back. I don't like what they're doing, and so I'm going to let them do whatever they want to do."
542SG: (inaudible) was the one who wanted to close it down. And then there was-
543429 LA: Mm -m. Mm-hm. Oh, yeah, cause he was so old and he didn't care. And Aurelio Fernandez had a very good idea, cause he met with us. He wanted to turn it-the old building, he wanted it to turn it into a nightclub, you know, where we could make money. "Oh, no, no. No, no, no. (inaudible) No, no, no." Cause that would've been good, had a swanky nightclub in the bottom with dancing upstairs, the Patio; they talk about some. .
544end of interview
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Sociedad la Unin Mart-Maceo, the club for the Afro-Cubans.

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].



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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.

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! Otis R. Anthony African Americans in Florida O ral H istory P roject Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: A31 00070 Interviewee: Lydia Lopez Allen (LA) Interviewer: Susan Greenbaum (SG) Interview date: July 9, 1994 Interview location: Tampa, Florida Transcribed by : Arlen Bensen Transcription date: March 20, 2009 Audit Edit by: Mary Beth Isaacson Audit Edit date: April 22 23 2009 Final Edit by: Christine Toth Final Edit date: May 7, 2009 [Transcriber's n ote: Lydia Lopez Allen's brothers Frank Lopez (FL1) and Ferman Lopez (FL2) are present during part o f the interview ] Susan Greenbaum: This is an interview with Lydia Lopez Allen. It's July 9 1994. Could you tell me a little bit about Chick s Lounge and El Chico and your uncle a nd how the business got started? Lydia Lopez Allen: When my uncle and his two brothers, Clemente and Frank, my uncle I should say my uncle's name was Fe rman Mirabel bu t everybody knew him as Chick. And so, in the middle of the thirtie s [1930s] they went to work for Charles Vanderhorst better known as Charlie Moon and they we nt to work there at his place, The Moon, that was right there on Central Avenue and what is that street? Where the SG: Where the Kid Mason Hall is? LA: Uh huh. SG: Is that Harrison [Street] ? LA: Harrison. The corner of Harrison and Central Avenue. And they worked for him until let me see if that one has the correct year to the late thirties [1930s] they worked for Charlie Moon. And then, in the late thirties they bought Chick Lounge ; that was on the corner of Scott it was on Scott Street 1007 Scott Street, almost to Central Avenue. And then the war started World War II started, and he got drafted. And SG: So, Chick got drafted in World War II? LA: In two. In two. Mm hm.

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! # SG: Do you know if they owned the building itself and the property ? O r was it just LA: Yeah. They owned SG: the business. LA: No. He owned the building. See o ver here, this wonderful let's see yeah (inaudible ). Rogers was the owner of that see, this Moses White wanted to take control of everything. But they didn't come he re til l the middle forties [1940s] SG: The White s didn't? LA: Mm h m. I didn't want him to get credit for everything, so that's why I wrote this article on my uncle It's a very interesting letter (inaudible) it brought many memories, and he wanted to take credit for it. I put when my uncle, he started the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold in 1939. 1 And, um SG: So this was before the war LA: And he was SG: t hat he had started that. LA: Yes. Uh huh. SG: So he was already LA: In business. SG: grown and in business and doing things when he got drafted LA: He bought the building. He bought the building and SG: What happened when he went to war ? How long was he gone? LA: W ell, he serve d overseas three and a half years in Okinawa and Saipan SG: Did his brother run the business for him LA: While he was gone. Yes. SG: while he was gone? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 The Tilt of the Maroon and Gold was an annual football game in Tampa, which was played by Bethune Cookman and other black colleges.

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! $ LA: While he was gone, his brother was running the business. I said that in here, too. SG: I we are we're working a little bit with the [ Florida ] Sentinel Bulletin and we have access to all of their back issues, so I don't need to pause in recording SG: S o I took the date and let me see what page it was on just to make it easier to find. Page eleven. So we can go and we possibly can get that did I say e leven? (laughs) LA: Eleven. See this paper was (inaudible) during that time. SG: Oh, really? LA: Mm hm Mm hm Mm SG: But that's a nice photograph of him, especially in his uniform. LA: I have a photo of that of him. SG: Better to be looked th an overlooked. This is from the business card, Chick s Lounge : B eer wine and liquor at big savings, all kinds LA: (inaudible) SG: of sandwiches, short orders LA: He was the owner of that. SG: And he bought the property from Charlie Moon. LA: No I do n't know who he bought it off. I don't know. He was working for Charlie Moon so then SG: I see. So he was working for Charlie Moon but Charlie Moon didn't own that beforehand. LA: No. I don't know who were the owners. My uncle can tell you. SG: Did they when did they stop working for Charlie Moon? Did they stop because he died, or LA: They started working Charlie Moon they didn't work for him very long. Se e, they started working for Charlie Moon, I think about maybe I don't know, in the early thirt ies [1930s]

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! % SG: The thirties [1930s] LA: And then they bought the place in 1936 I think it's 1936 when they bought the place. I don't know. My uncle can tell you the exact dates. SG: I'll save some of this for him. LA: Mm hm SG: Uh, who do you remember about it? Did you go there, ever, when you were young, or LA: No we didn't. See, t he Spanish people, they're very protective of their women, you know, and we weren't allowed to go in there. SG: Did you ever see the inside of it, or LA: Just when he first bought it but to go there and uh uh. We weren't even allowed my father didn't even want me to pass on Central Avenue. SG: (laughs) Oh, really? LA: Everything was crowded and there were all kinds of people. Oh no. SG: Was it something tha t was more the Cuban families? Or was that a general thing where there were LA: ( i naudible) SG: fewer women than men. LA: The Cubans i t was Daddy who said anything. But we just went there to the movies but we'd better make sure to come back home beca use not to wait for the bus or anything on Central Avenue cause I mean, it was roaring with people all the time. SG: So, it's really crowded. LA: And drinking. And cursing. And that's why we weren't allowed to go there. SG: There were other businesses there though. There was the drugstore LA: Oh, yes. Now, when we went to the movies SG: the cleaners and

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! & LA: we were allowed to go to the Palace Drug s tore, my cousin and I and a lot of my friends B ut no, I never been allowed in a place like SG: Never in the lounge. LA: that No, no never. SG: When you got older, could you go there for the music that was there? Did you could you go there with LA: Not ever I wasn't allowed to. At least, my father didn't allow it. SG: How about after you got married? (laughs) LA: Well, after I got married I remember that, in that dilapidated auditorium off Collier, Pole Auditorium. It was on top of T he M oon. M y husband, he liked Big Joe Turner; he was a big fan. S o we went over there and we I told him "M y father never allowed me to go there. (inaudible) it's so dilapidated, and I'm pregnant, and everything A nd so, my father was working for Clarence Prev ette a t that time ; he was the manager of the wholesale place that Clarence Prevette was right there on the bottom of the hotel S o we went there to see my dad first. And we told him, and my father said "I really don't like it. She's never been to the Pole Auditorium." My husband said, "She's with me; nothing 's going happen. He said, "Yo u better not let nothing happen to her!" And so we went to see Big Joe Turner. ( Door opens ) I was telling him about (laughs) I never go into that auditorium, th e Pole A uditorium, cause P apa wouldn't allow it. Frank Lopez : (inaudible) LA: Yeah, you were boys, but him? FL 1 : Yeah, more or less teenagers. LA : ( laughs) FL1: I was just stepping over there. I'm sorry. LA: I showed her this book about FL 1 : Cause she has a lot of history, you know, from my grandmother

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! LA: Yes. And I 'll never forget that time that Big Joe Turner came here and I was pregnant with Wayne, cause we went over there when Papa was working for Prevette at that time and we went and I told him. I said, [husband], we'd better not go." And he said, "What? You are married now. You don't have to do what your father used to tell you." And so we went over there and Papa said, "What are you all doing around here at this time?" [Husband] said, "We're going to go see Big Joe Turner." And he said, "Man, are you crazy? And she's preg nant?" and everything. He said, "You think (inaudible) we're just going to go over there FL 1 : You know when y'all was moving out of Ybor City, a guy was looking at the chest of drawers that I had. I had all those programs, Big Joe Turner, the Globetrotters, Elvis Presley I even had Elvis Presley And then Nat King Cole SG: Elvis Presley played on Central Avenue? FL 1 : No, it was at the Armory on Howard and that was in f ifty four [1954] or f ifty five [1955] and I went to see him, and uh, it was interesting SG: I 'll identify you on the tape. Frank Lopez has just joined the interview. So when they hear your voice they'll know whose it is. (laughs) And we are on tape. You were telling me about t he T ilt and how that got started. LA: Okay. FL 1 : The Tilt of the Maroon and Gold. LA: Okay. The first T ilt FL 1 : It was in t hirty nine [1939], wasn't it? LA: I t took place on November 25 1939 starting with a g ay p arade and many social dances and parties. Th is first T ilt of the Maroon and Gold was made possible by many of our old timers of our city, one being Tampa's best known and oldest businessman of long standing, Mr. Ferman G. Mi r a bel who is better known as Chick. He was also the f irst mayor of Central Avenue in 1939. 2 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2 Allen is reading from a letter she wrote to the Florida Sentinel Bulletin which was printed on page 11 of that newspaper on July 24, 1971. In the letter, she discusses her uncle Chick and the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold.

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! ( SG: I saw that on one of the ads. FL 1 : (inaudible) LA: Mm hm SG: What how d id he get to be mayor? What did that mean? LA: They just started the businessmen said that they wanted to start it. FL 1 : Right. What I think it was well I don't know if it's in that book, but they had their own Chamber of Commerce and everything I know at that time Hargrett's father was the president of the SG: So that was the organization that he started or that he was we had an interview with him FL 1 : I t was a group of black businessmen that had their own Chamber of Commerce and then, I guess they decided to say, W ell, every two years we'll be mayor or we'll elect the mayor. SG: I see. So it was within the organization You told me that before, I think. LA: Mm hm FL 1 : Right. Cause I know Kid Mason was the mayor at one time and SG: I think Watts Sanders on was, too. FL 1 : Right. Watts Sanders on right. LA: But he was the first one. FL 1 : Did you ever get to talk to Robert and his brother SG : We are. Cheryl Rodriguez has been in touch with FL 1 : I know the one that's the psychologist, he's very interested in that cause he always mentioned that somewhere, wherever he is, he mentioned that about the old Central Avenue H e feels like I do that it still should exist but I still say we would still laugh ( l aughs). SG: Well, that's one of the questions that I have, in terms of how the thing W hat were the steps leading up to the destruction of Central Avenue and how much opportunity di d peo ple have to object to that?

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! ) FL 1 : Yeah. See I didn't I wasn't here at the time but in fact we were talking about this about a week ago. I'll have to talk to you about that off SG: Okay. ( l aughs) FL 1 : off the tape. SG: Okay. (l aughs) Want me to turn it off? pause in recording SG : (i naudible) from what street? Jefferson [Street] ? FL 1 : T he street behind Central which is what, Jefferson or Morgan [Street] ? I think it's Jefferson. The first street after Central, I've forgotten what it was. LA: Jefferson. FL 1 : Yeah, Jefferson. LA: Je fferson. A nd across the street from the funeral home was a bungalow that was the first Clara Frye the first Negro SG: That was across from Pughsley [Funeral Home] ? LA: Uh huh. It was a bungalow and that was the first Negro hospital T hey had taken him already over there, but you had to go over to Tampa General to go get the blood and the what's that? The intravenous you know? So my uncle took he was passing by and he saw where he had been shot and everything, and he stopped, you know. He was going up the stairs to his new home S o then they took him over there to that bungalow which was Clara Frye's first hospital and so then they said, "We need blood to save him and we need the IV and everything. So my uncle took off in his car. And the policeman stopped him and so he said what he was doing. So they led him on. And see, the people at Tampa General knew Mr. Pughsley, because he had gone there to pick up so many bodies. So he said he just got shot and he said, "W ell, just follow us ," and so my uncle just followed and that's what brought everything back to them but they couldn't save him. FL 1 : But I thought he was refused from there. LA: No! FL 1 : I always heard he was refused from there.

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! LA : No, no, no, no. He went over there to get the equipment that they needed over there at that bungalow where it was a hospital. SG: Who shot Mr. Pughsley ? Was that Pearl [McAden] ? FL 1 : That's Pearl (laughs) SG: Why did he do that? Do you know? FL 1 : I don't know. I think it had something to do with power, you know like when the power structure of Tampa wante d somebody eliminated, I guess. That's what it was. SG: Was Pughsley being trouble some ? LA: No. FL 1 : I don't know cause I was too young, then, to realize, you know LA: That is one word. SG: Do you remember Pearl ? Did you ever see him? LA: (laugh s ) No. I don't want no trouble with him. FL 1 : I met him one time in my uncle's place and I was too scared to look up SG: (laughs) Well, I've heard lots of stories about him. FL 1 : Yeah. I'll never forget. He had a three piece suit and he had that gun in his hat LA: I seen it. FL 1 : Yeah. You' re right. He was a LA: As far back as 19 FL 1 : good looking man, too. LA: I saw him. SG: Was he large? Strong? FL 1 : Well, you know, I was a kid then, so he looked big to me. But he had to be over, I guess, about six feet tall. LA: (inaudible)

PAGE 11

! "+ SG: But he killed Charlie Moon, also. LA: Mm hm FL 1 : Right. LA: And the w ay he did it was really something in that (inaudible), cause everybody knows it. T hat's where you're getting mixed up about the blood and all of that. When he killed Charlie Moon, he got in the ambulance with Charlie. And when he went to the hospital, he d ared to Clara Frye Hospital he dared those nurses to do anything for him. SG: So, he prevented him from getting any treatment. LA: He dared them. He wanted him to die. (laughs) SG: Why did they shoot Charlie Moon? LA: It was something about power, I think. FL 1 : That had to do with power, too. You know, like the b olita thing. SG: Well, and when we were talking last time I mean this is also some thing I'm interest ed to know about him LA: That is one person, in terms of SG: How black businesses got sort of squeezed out of the FL 1 : Well, see, Charlie Moon was responsible for a lot of black businessmen He had his business on Central Avenue. SG: Did he give loans to people or FL 1 : I don't know about that, but somehow he had the power to, you know, help people get in business. LA: And he buried a l ot of people, my uncle told me cause people didn't have money to pay insurance, you know? SG: Mm hm So Charlie Moon was a generous man was that his reputation? LA: Well he helped a lot of the poor people, the black I know that he would give them when there wasn't any welfare or nothing like that, he would give them food and stuff. I mean, he would make the food at his place. And my uncle my uncle Frank he

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! "" told me that h e would make a big pot of soup y ou know, give them bowls, the whole thing and he would give them you know SG: Mm hm LA: That's what my uncle would tell me. SG: Do you know, or can you recall, any how did the Cubans get along with the Americans on Central Avenue, your uncle being a Cuban businessman? Did that have any, uh ? LA: Well, see, he was by my uncle being born and reared here in Tampa, you know, and then he started working for Charlie Moon with three others ; they worked for Charlie Moon. Se e, my uncle's stepfather was he raped her. He was a white Spaniard and he was a banker. He was a b olita banker. That's not being recorded, is it? SG: Oh, it is. (l aughs) If you don't want it to be, I'll stop pause in recording LA: He bought it. He bought it. It was his El Chico u h, I mean FL 1 : (inaudible) LA: No, Chick's Lounge. No, Chick's Lounge. FL 1 : No, Chick's Lounge. LA: Chick's Lounge. You (inaudible)? FL 1 : See, Chick's Lounge was the one, you know, where the beginn in g of the projects LA: Yeah, that's FL 1 : and part of th at land yeah, I got one of those A nd part of that land was taken for the projects, so he had to relocate onto Central Avenue. That's how he bought the El Chico B ut the original was on Scott Street. LA: Yeah. Mm h m. He was selling right as they changed the name. SG: But it is interesting because I mean, my first thought, and it was wrong, was that it had started as El Chico's and it Americanized to Chick's, but it actually went the opposite direction.

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! "# FL 1 : And, y ou know, it was interesting, but, uh you know Mr. Rodriguez was in the audience at the African Museum B ut it shows you that you got to keep up with the history because Blythe Andrews' s daughter was thinking that that was Moses White's place. I said, "No, no. That was my uncle's place. Moses White was across the street." SG: It was Palm Dinette FL 1 : Right. So I had to straighten that out right there. LA: Mm hm That's right. And, you know, with the big riots that happened SG: Sixty seven. [1967] LA: when Central got burned. Uh huh. My two brothers were the ones that they [the rioters] thought that my uncles were white, you know, that they weren't black and they were going to burn it And we said, "Man, no Don't you do that They said, That's Frank and Ferman's uncles! No, no, man! Don't burn that place! SG: So, did they not burn it, then? LA: No, they didn't SG: Oh, really? LA: B ut we were (inaudible) SG: One of the thin gs that I've heard LA: (inaudible) SG: was that there was a real avoidance of doing damage to black owned businesses. LA: Uh huh. Yeah. Uh huh SG: So some of the businesses that were damaged that people thought were black owned were actually LA: T he riots. That riot that man that they called Mona Lisa. He died already, Mona. Mona Lisa was the one that was the head of everything. FL 1 : Of the riot? LA: Of the riot, mm hm. FL 1 : You see, I wasn't there. I was I was in the other riot.

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! "$ SG: (laughs) There were a lot of them to be found in that time period. LA: They were they had big, uh, horns you know? SG : Mm hm FL 1 : Bullhorns. LA: Bullhorns A nd they would they were saying on the bullhorns, "Don't you all do that, man That's Ferman and Frank's uncle' s SG: Was that the White H ats that were doing that, or LA: Yeah, the W hite H ats. They the ones. See, they thought they were white. SG: Well, that's interesting. LA: Mm hm They were (inaudible). SG: After the riot was over, how much damage was actually done on Central Avenu e? Do you recall? LA: Oh, a lot, yes. Especially the Palace Drugstore; it was really bad. That's the only place I was allowed to go. Spanish people would not I never did go in Chick's Lounge. My mother didn't even his two sisters didn't even they had a thing about the women do not go in. The first fella that took me out for to go to the movies and anyth ing was Eugene White who, when we first came to Tampa, he was a he married a friend of mine H is brother marr ied a friend of mine So I went to the wedding and met the White family. That's why they came here during the middle SG: This was Moses White? LA: Yeah. One of them is married to my friend Carmen Valdez And so, I met the whole family there. Eugene was the baby brother and he went to Don Thompson and I was at Middleton. FL 1 : You know, they used to live around the corner from us on Tenth Avenue. LA: Yeah, but during that time, they didn't. FL 1 : Oh, really? LA: That time when Eugene, he was

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! "% FL 1 : W hat, they were living in West Tampa? LA: No. They were living in the projects They all were project people. All of them Whites were project people from the projects So then my father had Mr. and Mrs. White to come to my house because he said, "I want to know your parents before I'll let my daughter go out with you, and all that like the Spanish people used to do. (laughs) SG: What did your father do? Where was he LA: He was a cigar maker. SG: So he was still making cigars. LA: Yeah. And then, later on, he started working for my uncle y ou know, and that was SG: Is that after the cigar industry went down ? LA: No. It was coming down, you know. I had an aunt she's a little bit senile, but she worked for Perfecto Garcia since she was nineteen ye ars old until the embargo and FL 1 : P apa didn't want to learn how to make cigars but he started making them. LA: Yeah, his father made them when he was twelve years old she's been starting at the (inaudible). You know those two cigar factories? FL 1 : On Twenty S econd [Street] as you're going towards the bridge? LA: No, he didn' t. And so, he always disliked the cigar factories, but that was a way of living then. SG: Did he dislike it because he wanted to do something different from what LA: Yes. Yeah. SG: his parents had done, or FL 1 : I wish we had some of the things that he'd done, but (inaudible) messed all that up. LA: Mm hm FL 1 : But he was really his thing was really LA: Making making FL 1 : wood, like, uh, carpentry.

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! "& LA: but maki ng furniture. Making furniture. FL 1 : He was very and furniture. LA: Mostly furniture. And, uh a nd so he FL 1 : We had that swing set that P apa made for (inaudible). He made LA: Yeah. Yeah. He made a swing set. FL 1 : He made a swing set, you know, like the, the swing se ts that he made em out of broom sticks. LA: Uh huh. And he made his playpens out of FL 1 : And it had the platform and everything, the two seats and then there was Lee Lily there was ours and there was my cousin's, so it went on down that same swing LA: And his playpen was made out of broomsticks, too. SG: Was there a broom factory that he was able to get those from? LA: No. He just collect ed em. Just kept asking different neighbors and everything to give him the brooms and then he bought some himself, too, and cut them (laugh s ) and cut em up And so, finishing that story about Eugene White which was Moses White's baby brother, my father told him, he said, "Listen. It's al l right for her to go to the movies with you You say it's going to be once a week B ut I want to meet your parents before we go into this." So that poor lady, she was "I heard your papa." Moses White's mother was real fat and she went up those stairs, cause we lived on the upstairs house, since we had FL 1 : Two story. LA: two stories, she had to go up the stairs A nd s o then, he told him another thing : "Uh, okay, I met your parents. We've got an agreement but if anything happens to you, you're responsible for her and all that. He talked all (laughs) that kind of stuff. So then he said, "And another thing, when you get out of the movies, I don't want no waiting for the bus in front of that Johnny Gray's. I want you to go to Cass [Street] and Central and wait for it." That's how they were about things Spanish people ; they didn't allow none of their people to be on Central Avenue, none of their ladies. Mm mm [no] SG: What about Ybor City, though? Could you do things on Ybor City that you would not be allowed to do on Central Avenue?

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! "' LA: The Cuban Pa tio was a beautiful place. Oh, the Cuban Patio you should see how nice it was. We had dances there FL1: That should have been a landmark, now. LA: Oh, it was so beautiful. My daddy used to get off of Central Avenue, once he was working for my uncle, and then he used to park over there and go upstairs and he was playing dominoes and things with them He was a member of the Cuban H all Mart’ SG: Mart’ Maceo 3 O ne of the things that I wondered about during the fifties [1950s] and forties [1940s] there was a lot of Cuban influence on American music. Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Fuentes had come over. Was that did that show up on Central Avenue at all, or was that all in Mart’ Maceo where the Cubans LA: No, it was Mart’ Mace o. Only in the Cuban FL1: But not entirely because Leon Claxton had a Cuban background, you know LA: Oh, no. But that was in the band FL1: in his show, Harlem in Havana This was a midway show Leon Claxton had and I know in his show you know, it was like a variety show and some part in there he would always have the girls dressed like Spanish dancers (inaudible) SG: Did he have any Cuban music ians that worked for him? FL1: I don't I can't recall. LA: One. But he wasn't altogether Cuban. His fa ther was Cuban Yolanda s brother, Frank (inaudible) and Conchita Pinon's brother also. FL1: Oh, okay. That's Yoland a her stepsister LA: Um, not but he wasn't really Cuban, you know FL1: and Yoland a, her son (inaudible). LA: and then his he married a Cuban girl but she wasn't ( Door opens ) FL1: Come in !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 Sociedad la Uni—n Mart’ Maceo, the club for the Afro Cubans.

PAGE 18

! "( F e rman Lopez : Hello, everybody. How y'all doing today? FL1: Careful when you st e p right there. It's a cord. SG: I don't want to trip you. FL2: Oh, I'm sorry. You all were recording. SG: No, please join us. I'm just about to introduce you to the tape recorder. Uh, F e rman Lopez has just joined the interview. FL1: Yeah, we were talking about different things you know, Central, MartÂ’ Maceo Ybor City. FL2: Y'all didn't go (inaudible)? FL1: No. No. (laughs) LA: But in this book it says something about Tampa, Florida too SG: I'm going to look that book 4 up. I will find a copy of it. If I can't find it, I'll come back and ask you to borrow it. LA: I have tried to get a copy ever sin ce my uncle let me read it. When my uncle I tell you he was so crazy about this book because nobody has this book. And he told me, he says, "You have to read it in one weekend and bring it back to me." And I did. (laugh s ) I gave it back to him. SG: Well, we may have trouble tracking it down but at the library they can put out a call to all the other libraries. So, if it's anywhere, we can find it and they'll send it to us. FL1: You know, i t's ironic that a book like that exists because a story sim ilar to that happened in Sarasota, Dr. Chestnut. LA: But, see, the I understand why he couldn't sell this story to the movies. It would do injustice to the (inaudible) of the d octor. FL1: Oh, yeah. Back then, you know LA: No, now They wanted to buy the story from him. FL1: Oh, even now? !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 According to Greenbaum's notes from her interview with the Lopezes and their uncle Clemente Mirabel, which was also conducted on July 9, 1994, the book in question is Ruby McCollum: Woman in the Suwannee Jail by William Brad ford Huie, which tells the story of a black woman who killed her white lover.

PAGE 19

! ") LA: Now. And he wouldn't and he was all almost to sell it the son and then he backed out. That's why. FL2: Are there any of them still living? LA: Yeah. Has to be. W hat about this little girl, she's already as old as Wade Loretta 5 No. She's older. She was born FL1: No. She's older than Wade. LA: Yeah. She's older. FL2: So, what else is going on? FL1: You want go there and check em out first before we bring (laugh s) Clemente FL2: Yeah. We could do that. LA: Meet him. FL2: Yeah. You know, if he's not up we'll have to help him out of bed and carry him out. SG: Would it be easier to go over there, or LA: He couldn't walk over here, no We'll have to go over there. FL2: So, if you'll just stand by, we'll go and get him up. SG: Okay. Okay. FL1: We're not taking too much of your time ? SG: Oh, no. I have all afternoon. I tell you, I'm going to take more of your time (laughs) than you' re going to take of my time, so don't worry. FL2: All right. LA: I can't find that, but it says something about (inaudible) FL2: Well, let me go ahead on and take this ice over there. I bought some ice at the store. LA: and it talks about the (inaudible). !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 Loretta was the daughter of Ruby McCollum and her lover C. Leroy Adams.

PAGE 20

! "* SG: Mm hm Now this is something turn it pause in recording LA: My grandfather came in 1905, by himself, and got the job, and he found a job at Corina Cigar Factory on Twenty S econd Street and he bought a home on Marconi [Street], right close to the cigar factor y which was i n Palmetto Beach And so, w hen he brought his family in 1906 here, he had already joined the Centro Asturiano as a founder of the Centro Asturiano Hospital and Club, and then he because of the Jim Crow laws, hi s wife could not belong to the Centro Asturiano but at least he had hospitalization. He was already a n old man so he was grateful that he had hospitalization. So then in 1926 Dr (inaudible) came from Cuba and founded (inaudible) and she joined there with her children. SG: Was she ever associated with Mart Â’ Ma ceo at all? LA: No. No, she was always t he Spanish ladies, they were just for the house ; that's why she never learned how speak English, be cause she was always in the house. But her children learned how to speak English. They came here as children but my aunt who was just a year and a half, she knew how to speak English fluently, better than my father and my uncle. But they knew how to defend themselves pretty good without English. (laugh s ) And so, they worked they all learned how to make cigars at Corina Cigar Factory where their father worked all three of the children including our older aunt also. W hen my grandfather first encountered the Jim Crow laws was one day that my grandmother and him got on the trolley the electric t rolley that they used to have and she was told that she he was told that he was sitting in the wrong place cause he was sitting in the back with his wife, and he didn't pay attention to the sign that says that whites sit from the front to the back and blacks sit from the back to the front. So there was a lady in the trolley that knew how to speak English and Spanish and she said what the trolley conductor was saying, that he couldn't sit back there. H e says, "Well, what, what is h e answered in Spanish "What is wrong with me sitting back here? I like to sit in the back and this is my wife sitting next to me." And s he says, "Well, you're not supposed she can sit back there but you have to come to the front." S o, he pulled the string that you pull to get off and he says, "Let me off right here on this corner. I will never get on a trolley again." And he didn't. SG: ( laughs )

PAGE 21

! #+ LA: So, when my father and his brother were teenagers, he bought them a Model T Ford and that's how they traveled from Palmetto Beach to Ybor City T hey like d the atmosphere in Ybor City very much A nd then they were advised that, because they were a mixed couple and they didn't have that sort of thing here at that time, it w ould be best if they could move to Ybor City. So then they came to live in Ybor Ybor Street Ybor City be tween Twenty F irst [Street] and Nineteenth Avenue. And they left their home that was theirs to rent. And they lived in Ybor City, also. SG: So, they c ould live in Ybor City without anybody bothering them LA: Bothering them. SG: But if they were in other parts of Tampa they were running a risk LA: Because all the couples it was all the couples like them, you know. SG: In Ybor City. LA: Mm hm There was mixed, you know, that they had come from Cuba because in Cuba that's nothing for a black man to marry, or a white man to marry a black woman and all that you know. You would have seen couples like t hat, but not in Palmetto Beach. In fact, the K Ks [Ku Klux Klan] used to meet at De sota Park. That's where their meetings were. SG: What and Desot a Park, is that in Palmetto Beach? LA: Yes, in Palmetto Beach right before you get to Twenty Second to the Causeway. SG: Didn't they bother Cubans white Cubans and cigar makers too, though? KKK? LA: Yes, they did bother them but see they stayed, like I said, here in Ybor City SG: They'd be okay. LA: It would be okay for them They went in a lot of the areas to live but Sulphur Springs or places like that they, uh uh. That was a no no. Mm hm [no] SG: Was your family members of Mart Â’ Maceo ? Your father was? LA: My father was. Uh huh. My father was. SG: So he had that hospital ization. LA: Yes. He had that hospital uh huh. The patients would go to G onzales' home.

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! #" SG: One of the things that I've been interested in and this is kind of off to the side but Mart Â’ Ma ceo had this insurance plan, basically, that was very beneficial for if you got sick it would not only pay your medicine and hospital but al so give you some money to tide you over. LA: Yes. It's most it was drawn just like the (inaudible). I'm going to bring you the booklets from (inaudible). pause in recording LA: (inaudible) pause in recording LA: The father's name and the mother's (inaudible) SG: Right. Francisco Lopez Garcia was your grandfather and he was one of the founders of Centro Asturiano. There's a photograph of him here at he's a (inaudible). That's very interesting. I didn't realize that they had done a history. I should see if I can find it LA: This is a picture of him. You see my grandmother and the two aunts. This is 1927, Noche Bueno [Christmas Eve]. That's before my mother and my father got m arried. They got married in 1930 This is my father and there's my mother and there's his sister and there's her husband and that's my two aunts that I tell you that they went for white. And that's (inaudible). SG: Was this just inside of your house in Ybor City? LA: My grandmother's house. This grandmother my grandmother on my mother's side. And that's her husband, the one that she married after she became a widow. And then, that's my uncle my daddy's brother, and this she is my grandmother's daughter from her first marriage. And t hat's my U ncle Chick. And that's a friend of theirs. And that's my Uncle Frank. SG: It's not Frank that which uncle have we interviewed? LA: Uh Clemente and he's not here. SG: So he's not in there. LA: Somebody had to (inaudible), so he's not here SG: Let me go back, if I could no let me finish with this one thing before I forget it altogether. In the American community and the b lack American community, there were burial societies or (inaudible) The Grand Union was one, I think, and the Lily Whit e

PAGE 23

! ## LA: The pallbearers union. Right. SG: Do you remember or did you know anything about them and do you know how they compared to MartÂ’ Maceo in a way the family didn't belong to any of those? LA: (inaudible) See, see how the integration works? Now th is is Wholesome Bakery. Now, they all of these are employees, and their wives, of the Wholesome Bakery. Okay, they had an affair for Christmas This was Christmas of 1954. They had this big affair that the black employees couldn't go to. SG: Could not go? LA: Mm mm [no] To the thing. SG: I thought maybe they were just sitting in a separate place LA: No. Uh uh. SG: but they couldn't go at all? LA: No. He rented this auditorium for this which was at the YMCA or somewhere that's small but, see, that's (inaudible) the employees. And that is a big thing. SG: So who was the one who rented the hall for the separate one? LA: The owner of Wholesome Bakeries In 1954. SG: Did somebody in your family work for Wholesome ? Is that it? LA: Ye s. Uh huh. Yeah. M y godson's parents. And I have a lot of my friends here this lady; s he died already Violet (inaudible) her father (inaudible) SG: (inaudible) LA: (inaudible) daughter. Mm hm. SG: I interviewed her right before she died. LA: Uh huh. ( i naudible)'s daughter. And that's her husband, here. And this girl, I know her, too. And that's her husband. This girl this lady, they just had her funeral two weeks ago Ruby Reece That's her husband ; h e worked there. See? This is how ridiculous ( i naudible) Now, he had to spend money for this auditorium and then for this one That is so SG: Were there white people who came to Central Avenue? Were there white people who came to Chick's Lounge, do you know? Or was it

PAGE 24

! #$ LA: Well, you know who wou ld go to the like when Harlem in Havana had a show at the movie theatre, they would go. SG: So, they would go to those kinds of things. Did they go to see B.B. King down there? Or Ray Charles, or LA: V ery few. V ery few. SG: So, it was mostly black people who went to the entertainment down there. LA: Mm hm. SG: The uh tell me again about the Tilt Would you describe what that was like, the day of the parade, and LA: Oh, it was a gala affair. It was really, really (inaudible). Uh, it started, you know, in the morning. It was a n all day affair. T he football game with the it ended with the football, at the Phillips Field which was right there on Cass and North Boulevard where the Riverfront Park is now, on the corner that corner was Phillips Field, and all the football games were held there. And then they would have dances right there on Central ; some would be at the Cuban Patio, and that's the one I would (inaudible) I went a lot. SG: So, the Cuban Patio also participated LA: Oh, yes. Uh huh. SG: Actually, the Cuban Patio then, wa sn't that far away from Central. LA: Oh, yes it was far away. SG: But it was well, it was a few blocks away. LA: A ll the black clubs and societies they all participated SG: So, there were parades with floats and LA: Yes. Uh huh. SG: and things like that? Was there a queen, or LA: Yes. T hey would have a queen. Yes. Uh huh. Queen of the Tilt of the Maroon and Gold, and then there was the q uee n of the s chool. She would always come, too, and the queen from the opposite team. But they would always play black schools ; always black school s that I recall.

PAGE 25

! #% SG: Do you remember the Greek Stand? Did you ever go to the Greek Stand, the place they called the Greek Stand? LA: Yes, but I SG: Cause I haven't quite figured out why? LA: Well, the owners, they were Greek s SG: They were Greek people. So that's why they called it the Greek Stand. LA: The Greek Stand, and they were very fam ous for the sandwiches, especially their Greek salad. SG: So the food was good there. LA: Yeah. T he black people couldn't go anywhere else (inaudible). There was no McDonald's or nothing like that. SG: Or just a window in the back or something like that where they could get in, in other restaurants. LA: In other restaurants, a little window. Like (inaudible) and the Columbia Restaurant SG: Were the Greeks who owned it were they friendly people? Did they were they liked by people on Central Avenue LA: Yeah. Yeah. SG: by people who worked there? LA: Yes, they were very much liked. In fact there was two brothers, the Solomon b rothers his wife still lives ; she lives not too far away from here. They worked for them. They were brothers and they (inaudible). SG : What tell me his name again, because LA: Solomon. SG: Solomon. Okay. LA: Maybe one of em is still living. I know one of em died already the one named Johnny Solomon and I don't know what the other one's first name was. But his wife of Johnny still lives around here, and she could tell you more about the Greek Stand than anybody, cause they worked there, those two brothers the Solomon Brothers

PAGE 26

! #& SG: That's a good suggestion That's another one of the places we're going to show and we don't know very much about it, so LA: Ruby is her name and she lives she don't live far from here. So she could probably tell you a lot about it SG: She's Ruby Solomon. LA: Solomon, uh huh. SG: So, Johnny is dead but Ruby is still alive. L A: Alive. I know where she lives and everything SG: Think she's listed in the phone book? LA: I believe so. Mm hm. SG: Oh, don't get up. I'll check it. If I can't find it I'll call you back about it for more information. (laughs) LA: (laughs) That's okay. SG: But, uh, I think we would like to contact her because LA: See, this is another good book SG: Right. We have that, in fact. Otis Anthony is, uh LA: You see, this not that one. ( i naudible) This article that came in this book tells you more about the Greek Stand. See? That's exactly how it is. SG: Th e Cubans and have you seen the little book that I wrote on Mart Â’ Ma ceo and Afro Cubans here in Tampa? LA: No. SG: Afro Cubans in Ybor City ? I gave Frank one. LA: Oh. SG: I di dn't bring one with me but you might find it interesting. The re are a lot of photographs and LA: That book tells exactly ( i naudible)

PAGE 27

! #' SG: In fact, tomorrow morning on television, on Channel 13 do you ever watch the Denise White show? LA: Oh, yes. SG: I'm going to be on there tomorrow. Juan Majella do you know Juan Ma j ella ? LA: Juan Maj ella yeah. SG: He's on, too, and some other people, Chloe Cabrera and two other Cubans that I didn' t know before B ut it's all about Afro Cubans, and uh LA: ( i na udible) it's the Hispanic people see this is the part that I like the most See, Hispanics do es have a strong African heritage t he experience of b lack Americans in the United States. Many Hispanics (inaudible) have not accepted who they are and who can pass for whites are ignored um, ignorant. (l aughs) Ignored, I wanted to say. They ignore the fact that they have African in them, of the fact deny it, or aren't willing to accept it. That's the truth. SG: That was not so necessar y in Ybor City, though, was it, because of Mart Â’ Ma ceo and because there were a lot of people here who were Afro Cuban and who LA: You know what I have? I looked into it was a time when things were were better, you know, but as time passes the other generations came to be you know, they thought different B ecause I reme mber the Fuentes Renee Fuentes, who used to have a band his family live d next door to my grandmother on my daddy's side and we were just like a family, you know. They went for white s, but we were very close, you know. SG: Then it got less so. LA: Yes SG: That's I mean, you think about things getting better rather than worse but that's kind of the opposite direction. Do you think that as, uh LA: We used to be like a family, you know. Um, it looks like mostly this neighborhood was mostly Italians, you know. Now, the Italian old people still treat me the same and everything but you see, the grandchildren, when they come there to visit they don't want to be bothered, you know. The y don't SG: So, you think as they became more American they became more prejudiced? LA: Uh huh. I believe so. Something happened, because they don't treat me the same way as when I was a child, you know.

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! #( SG: Let me ask you just two more things about Central Avenue, and this may be hard because you didn't spend as much time there as Frank. Do you there were not just Cubans and Americans but there were also some Jamaicans and some Bahamians and some people from other parts of the Caribbean. Did you kno w any of those people, or LA: My grandmother's people, you know my mother's side, they my grandmother used to that's my great grandmother up there. SG: She's very beautiful. LA: She was from Nassau, her mother. So that's why I have a lot of people in my family that are t hey're from the islands and Nassau. And my grandmother, she didn't know how to speak Spanish when she married my grandfather. T hat was my grandmother on this side, and that was my mother's parents ; that's my mother's parents. See, he di ed when he was just thirty two and my mother was just seven years old. So that's why my grandmother remarried this white Spaniard But s he used to say, "That's the only reason I married him, because he raised my children," cause the re was no welfare, no n othing to help. But you know what I find out, that this generation now they're not like they were when I was a child; we were just like a family. I see a lot of the grandchildren the mother still speaks to you and everything but the grandchildren they don't want to. SG: I think I've asked you all the questions ( laughs ) But let's talk a little more about Ybor City and about what it was like growing up there. LA: You see, this is the thing that we gave my grandmother, Olivia (inaudible); she was my gre at g randmother and she was the founder of St. James Episcopal Church the black woman there, she was one of the founders. SG: So she was an American. LA: Yes. A nd she married when she came from Nassau to Cu ba, my great grandmother, and there she had four girls which were (inaudible) sisters of my grandmother. They were from the i slands, mostly. And so when she came from Key West, she met my grandfather who was a Cuban Indian and she married him and she had three more daughters and which was my grandmo ther B ut, Olivia, she never spoke Spanish. She was from SG: So she came here and she lived here LA: In Tampa. SG: but she didn't speak Spanish. LA: No.

PAGE 29

! #) SG: So she was part of the b lack American community LA: Mm hm. Yeah. SG: eventually. LA: She went to St. James Episcopal, and the American people mingled with her, the black SG: Were there other West Indians in the St. James Episcopal Church ? LA: Oh, yes. Uh huh. SG: Was that part of the reason she joined that church? LA: Yes, but that ch urch is mostly of that (inaudible). St. James Episcopal Church it explains to you that it the story of this church is that that's another person that preaches (inaudible) Herman Monroe He has a mostly he's trying to get photos and everything of the first Episcopal church but he hasn't been so successful to get it because this church was started wit h a mixture of people from the i slands and Cubans and everything. The Episcopal Church SG: Where was that located? LA: Now it's located on North Boulevard but I thought it was in the story here of when it started. A nd this is a n interesting tidbit. This is the project (inaudible) how it was burnt and everything. SG: They were, uh they had their hundredth anniversary in either this year or ninety three [1993] and they were writing a history. I don't know if it's been finished. Eighteen ninety four was their 1893 ; late 1893 was when they began. But you know, there's very little that has ever been written about West Indians in the early part of Tamp a. There's more knowledge about that now, but LA: Mm hm. But Herman Monroe can give you a portion of it. SG: Herman Monroe is the pastor at LA: No, he's the histori an at the church. He gathers all the histories and things of the church. I have given him a lot of my family's pictures. My grand mother's niece married there in um, 1913. It's the first Episcopal Church within West Tampa (inaudible) and that's where she married. And I was able to give him that and he took all of that into consideration. H e was a good friend with the history. But it was mostly people from the i slands and people from Cuba that went to that church.

PAGE 30

! #* SG: So, Protestants who went were from Cuba LA: Uh huh. Yeah. Of course, it's very see, most of these the y were Cubans from Key West, you know, because that's where the problem comes in. Mostly all the Cubans are Catholic, but when they came to Key West some of em they couldn't find a Catholic church so they joined the Episcopal church. Those are similar to the Catholic. But, my grandmother, she was from the i slands and she always went from the you know. SG: There was in some of the interviews that I've read, the guy who founded the longshoremen's u nion, originally, in Tampa, was Jamaican. This was before Perry Harvey this is before your time, so you may not remember or know anything about that LA: But Herman is a good one for you to in with about people from the i slands. SG: I was wondering if maybe there were more West Indians who were longshoremen. That was something that was a connection, anyway. LA: No. SG: Cause the longshoremen the l ongshoremen's u nion was down there on Central Avenue and Perry Harvey became the president of the longshoremen's u nion. His son is still the president. And that was something else that we were trying to find something about. LA: I don't know. But I know that Herman could probably give you a good thing about it. SG: Herman what was his last name again? LA: Herman Monroe. His mother was Hispanic and they've been all they were very well versed on the history of the people that belonged to St James wa s a mixture of people from the i slands and Cubans you know. SG: That's very interesting. Let me go back a little bit to Ybor City and to growing up in Ybor City and bei ng a Cuban and when you started you've been out with Americans. You went out with Moses White's brother and married an American, did you not? LA: Yeah, I married one of the Allens (inaudible). SG: How did your family feel about you going out with Amer icans? LA: Well, they came to accept it better later on but at the beginning, mm mm [no] SG: So, they did have some objections.

PAGE 31

! $+ LA: Oh, y es. SG: Most of the Cuban families that I've heard of LA: But they wasn't but there weren't too many b lack Cubans, you know, that had funds available and all of that, so that' s when we decided we'd be, like, "Fine SG: So, this was in the forties [1940s] that you're talking about. So LA: U h huh. Yeah. Like Carmen White Carmen Valdez, the Valdez family now t hat's a good family to talk to. Her father her grandfather, Francisco Valdez, was a real founder o f the Labor Temple in Ybor City and they when he died, they laid his body at the Labor Temple. And for the sake of it, have you ever met (inaudible)? SG: Oh yeah. LA: He knows a lot, too SG: He's still down at the Labor Temple. LA: Mm hm Yeah. SG: There were lots of Cubans left Ybor City in the thirties [1930s] LA: Oh, yeah. There were SG: The size of the population really dropped. LA: That's where the problem came in. While we the Spanish families accepted a lot of Americans fellows into the family and things like that and vice versa, the American girls because a lot of these people had moved to New York, so SG: So, it's harder to find LA : New York and Chicago, because of the relief funds you know, they were given relief funds cause thi ngs were really bad during the D epression, and they left. SG: Do you remember Sylvia G ri–‡ n and Jose G r i –‡ n when they had the Pan American Club in the Mar t’ Maceo? Do you know them? LA: Mm hm Yeah. I participated in one of those plays. I've got the thing here. SG: You don't oh, my. LA: They were really good starting that club, because of that. W e were g ett ing away from our heritage, you know.

PAGE 32

! $" SG: So, this was a way as Sylvia has explained it I knew her very well, and she had talked about that. She was saying that it was a way to keep kids in the club, in the Mart Â’ Ma ceo, but still to come to terms with the fact that there had to be interaction with Am ericans because it would otherwise they'd lose em altogether. Was that a sense that and did you know that, or feel that, at the time ? LA: Yes, to keep us together, yes, mm hm. We were losing out, both sides, to keep our heritage. I have some cousins, my aunt's daughter s ; they don't speak Spanish or anything. My two boys, they got the American name, Allen, and they speak Spanish fluently; but my brother's children, they speak English. The y got the Lopez name. SG: But they don't speak they're Lopez and they don't speak Spanish and yours are All en and they do speak Spanish. (l aughs) LA: That's cause my mother kept my children, you know. I always worked. I'm still working. I'm trying to get out of the stop working. I'm almost ready to retire but that Me dicare, you know if you don't have good hospitalization, what am I gonna do? SG: Yeah, I know. I hope they get this healthcare reform done in time to do some of us good. LA: See, I don't this year I'm going to be sixty four but you can't get Medicare until you 'r e sixty five. SG: We have to keep working on it. LA: I work for the Health Department, so they but uh, Sylvia was right. Sylvia really tried to keep us together SG: Were you aware of the conflict that she and Jose had with Juan Garcia? Did you know Juan Garcia? LA: Yes. (i naudible) SG: Cause that was what really killed it, eve ntually, was that they had an argument. He was the treasurer. LA: Yes, uh huh. SG: Um, I often wondered and you may not know this LA: It's too much (inaudible). You know, last time I pause in recording

PAGE 33

! $# LA: at the club s, he just paid his dues and he just kept himself home because he said he don't like controversy and they have too much controversy over there. SG: What was the controversy about? LA: Mostly money. SG: Was there any politics in it? That was getting to the time of the revolution in Cuba and I know that there were some people in the club who were support ers of Batista and there were some people in the club who w ere supporters of Castro. LA: ( i naudible) but my father, he you see, when they sold the building, a lot of em didn't want to because that would've been a historical place. They could've built around it. They could've built around that place, but no they wanted the money SG: Do you remember when that got torn down the old Mart Â’ Ma ceo? LA: It was, um, a lot of SG: It was s ixty five [1965] was when it happened, but LA: That's when my father died, yeah My father stopped going cause my father did not agree with it. Cause they wanted to sell it. SG: But they had I mean, I know a little bit about that. They had gotten LA: Now, that they look at that place they ha ve. D o you think that, with the money that they got from this th at it compensates for that little building they burned? SG: Nope. I'd say you're pause in recording LA: with Mr. M the late Mr. Martin ez is the only Martinez (inaudible) and he told him, he said, "I'm not going back. I don't like what they're doing and so I'm going to let them do whatever they want to do." SG: ( i naudible) was the one who wanted to close it down. And then there was LA: Mm m. Mm hm. Oh, yeah, cause he was so old and h e didn't care A nd Aurelio Fernandez had a very good idea cause he met with us. He wanted to turn it the old building, he wanted it to turn it into a nightclub, you know, where we could make money "Oh, no, no. No, no, no. (inaudible) No, no, no." Cause that would've been good, had a swanky nightclub in the bottom wit h dancing upstairs, the Patio; they talk about some. e nd of interview


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