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Tampa Bay history.
n Vol. 19, no. 2 (Fall/Winter 1997).
p (Download Complete Issue Adobe PDF version)
Tampa, Fla. :
b Dept. of History, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of South Florida.
c Fall/Winter 1997
Tampa Bay Region (Fla.)
Tampa Region (Fla.)
University of South Florida.
Dept. of History.
t Tampa Bay History.
FALL/WINTER 1997 VOLUME 19, NUMBER 2 CONTENTS Acknowledgements 2 From the Editors 4 ARTICLES "No Pasarn!" The Spanish Civil War's Impact on Tampa's Latin Community, 1936-1939 ....................................... by Ana M. Varela-Lago 5 "We Had To Help": Remembering Tampa's Response to the Span Civil War ................................................................. by Ana M. Varela-Lago 36 Tampa and the Spanish Civil War: A Photographic Essay ........................................................................................... by Ana M. Varela-Lago 57 "Tampa, Altar of Spain": A Spanish Republican View of Tampa in the 1930s ................................................................. by Marcelino Domingo 69 Bringing Justice to the Frontier: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Hillsborough County ............................................... by James M. Denham 77 BOOK REVIEWS Denham, "A Rogue's Paradise": Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 .................................................... by Robert P. Ingalls 92 Brady, Things Remembered: An Album of African Americans in Tampa ........................................................................ by Kathleen S. Howe 93 Announcements ................................................................................................................. ........... 95 Notes on Contributors ......................................................................................................... ......... 96 Copyright 1997 by the University of South Florida Typography and composition by RAM Printing by RALARD PRINTERS, Inc. San Antonio, Florida. (Color pages compliments of Ralard Printers.)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS We extend our appreciaton to the following people who have made special contributions to TAMPA BAY HISTORY. PATRONS Stephen M. Barbas, Esq. Andrew Barnes Buford and Louise Council John M. Hamilton, M.D. William R. Hough Robin Krivanek West B. Magnon, M.D. Mark T. Orr Angel Ranon Roland and Susan Rodriguez Mr. & Mrs. Sheldon J. Shalett Mr. & Mrs. Theodore E. Wade Bill Wagner SUSTAINERS June Alder James Apthorp Joan F. Berry George D. Curtis Frank De Benedictis Ferman Motor Car Company Sandra and Sol J. Fleishman, Jr. Carlos D. Gonzalez Michael J. Grattan James V. Hodnett, Jr. George Howell Dr. & Mrs. Robert E. King Mr. & Mrs. Solon F. O'Neal, Jr. David M. Rieth Mrs. Jean W. Robbins Roger and Deborah Rodriguez L. Gray Sanders Dr. Jaime Torner J. Thomas Touchton Virginia and Blake Whisenant Wilbert Wichers
FRIENDS Steven F. Anderson M. Craig Massey Cynthia Aprile W.S. McKeithen Ceta Armitage Lt. Col. George W. McRory William Barlow Mr. & Mrs. Sam Militello Bruce H. Bates James E. Mills Norman Lopez Bean Dr. W. Mahon Myers Shelby Bender Owen and Elvira Niles Deane R. Briggs, M.D. Mrs. Lester Olson Donald Buchanan Ferdie Pacheco, M.D. Ken Burke Lois Paradise Claire A. Cardina R. Rex Patrick Warren Cason John F. Pearce Selma Cohen Vernon Peeples H.L. Crowder, Jr. E.H. Price, Jr. C. Fred Deuel Harley E. Riedel, II Dr. Frank M. Edmondson R. James Robbins Mary Figg Sam Rosales John M. Fitzgibbons William E. Rumph Steffany Forr Martha Jane Ryan George E. Franchere Marsha Rydberg Robert G. Gadsden, III Arsenio Sanchez Howard L. Garrett James Shimberg Joseph Garrison R.E. Shoemaker William H. Gates Arthur W. Singleton Leon R. Hammock Dick and Raymetta Stowers Joseph Hanlon Maynard F. Swanson William N. Hayes Charlton W. Tebeau Mr. & Mrs. E.C. Ingalls Doris M. Telken Professor Eric Jarvis Dr. G.P. Thomas Samuel Johnson William A. West, D.D.S. Dr. & Mrs. Robert F. Landstra Charles L. Williamson Richard Lane William Wofford Marie Lopez Kathleen M. Wolan Roland Manteiga Mr. & Mrs. G. Pierce Wood Dr. & Mrs. Dean Martin
FROM THE EDITORS The slogan "Think Globally, Act Locally" reflects a new reality of the twentieth century. Revolutionary changes in communication mean that significant events are experienced worldwide, especially during wartime when conflicts have reverberations far from the actual battleground. Both world wars were certainly felt locally, but so too were smaller struggles that changed the lives of distant people who thought globally and acted locally. One such conflict was the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and this issue of Tampa Bay History is largely devoted to examining the impact of that struggle on residents of the Tampa Bay area. Sometimes referred to as the first battle of World War II, the Spanish Civil War was a complicated national conflict that was internationalized by the intervention of Hitler's Germany and Mussolini's Italy, which aligned themselves with opponents of the constitutionally created Republic of Spain. This produced an outpouring of support for the Republic from around the globe. In Tampa Spanish immigrants were joined by Cuban and Italian residents in a wide-ranging campaign to defend the Spanish Republic. The sixtieth anniversary of this heroic effort provides an occasion to relate the local impact of an international event that gripped Tampa's immigrant community during the 1930s. As the credits of the articles in this issue suggest, one person is principally responsible for reconstructing the history of the impact of the Spanish Civil War on Tampa. Ana Varela-Lago, herself an immigrant from Spain, has used her knowledge of Spanish history and Tampa's immigrant community to collect documentation from here and abroad, interview local participants, organize exhibits, and write the story of a crusade that had survived primarily in the memories of aging Tampans. In addition to the articles in this issue, three current exhibits in Tampa commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of American aid to the Spanish Republic. One, a locally created exhibit, is temporarily installed at the Centro Asturiano, located on the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Palm Avenue in Ybor City. A national traveling exhibit, entitled "Shouts from the Wall: Posters and Photographs from the Spanish Civil War," is on display at the University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum (813-974-4324) from November 10 to December 20, 1997. Finally, the Salvador Dal Museum in St. Petersburg (813-823-3767) is featuring an exhibition (until January 1), entitled "The Aura of the Cause: A Photo Album for North American Volunteers in the Spanish Civil War." This issue also includes an article by James M. Denham, entitled "Bringing Justice to the Frontier: Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Hillsborough County." The article forms part of a recent book that is featured in the book review section. The year 1998 will mark the anniversary of the Spanish-American War, another international event that had significant local repercussions in the Tampa Bay area. To commemorate the centennial the next issue of Tampa Bay History will be devoted entirely to articles, photographs, memoirs, and newspaper reports that tell the story of the impact of the Spanish-American War on the Tampa Bay area.
NO PASARN! THE SPANISH CIVIL WARS IMPACT ON TAMPAS LATIN COMMUNITY, 1936-1939 by Ana M. Varela-Lago Wherever two or more Spaniards gather the conversation soon turns to la revolucin. Having made the rounds along Bolita Boulevard to probe Ybor Citys reaction to the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, the Tampa Tribunes Scoop McGoop concluded that to our Latin citizens it is the ONE center of attraction the main topic of conversation that makes them forget the heat, the daily domino partido, their troubles, and Cuba. It would remain so for the next three years. But the war in Spain soon became more than a topic of conversation for the 30,000 members of Tampas Latin community (the term includes Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants and their descendants).1 The close-knit immigrant colony resided in Ybor City and West Tampa, the cigarmaking communities founded in the last decades of the nineteenth century when political unrest over Cubas independence prompted many cigar manufacturers to relocate in the United States. Immigrant life centered around the activities of the several mutual aid societies which provided instruction, recreation, and health services to their members. Spaniards usually belonged to the Centro Espaol or the Centro Asturiano, Italians to LUnione Italiana, white Cubans to the Crculo Cubano, and Afro-Cubans to La Unin Mart-Maceo. While these clubs helped preserve the cultural heritage of the different ethnic groups, the labor culture of the cigar industry acted as a unifying force within Tampas immigrant community, and Ybor Citys Labor Temple was a meeting place for all Latin workers, regardless of their particular ethnic identity.2 As immigrants confronted the onset of the Great Depression in the United States, they also kept abreast of developments in their countries of origin. While Italians and Cubans in Tampa looked to their countries with dismay, the 1930s seemed to offer a promising outlook for Spaniards. At a time when Cuba and Italy experienced the rule of right-wing dictators, Spain went in the opposite direction. In January 1930, the seven-year dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera came to an end. A year later, municipal elections brought about the advent of the Republic and the fall of the Bourbon monarchy. When the Republic was finally proclaimed on April 14, 1931, Spaniards in Tampa were ecstatic. Frenzied Vivas! for the new republic were heard from Madrid to Main street, West Tampa, declared the Tampa Daily Times .3 In the days that followed, the Spanish community set about to remove from Tampa all signs of the monarchy, including the local consul. The Spanish mutual aid societies promptly took down the portraits of King Alfonso XIII from their salons a nd, in simple but emotional ceremonies, hoisted the Republican flag outside their clubhouses. The local Frente Unico de Accin Republicana, the party of then Prime Minister Manuel Azaa, organized a signature campaign complaining of the treatment Spanish immigrants had received from Consul Andrs Iglesias and requesting that the new government expel him from the diplomatic corps. Iglesias left Tampa a month later, but his stormy relationship with the Tampa Spanish community would resume during the Spanish Civil War, when he organized local support for General Francisco Franco.4
The Spanish immigrants in Tampa held high expectations for the new regime. Many among the 5,000 native Spaniards living in Tampa in 1930 hoped that the Republic would address the conditions that had forced most of them to emigrate. The majority of the Spanish immigrants in Tampa came from the rural villages of the northern regions of Asturias and Galicia where peasants lived under miserable conditions brought about by overpopulation, heavy taxation, and a feudal system of land tenure. Asturians and Galicians had left their hamlets by the thousands to make America and help their families in distress in the homeland. Many very young emigrants left Spain to avoid the draft. Most peasant families could not afford to buy their sons out of military conscription. According to one historian, in Asturias avoidance of military service was a factor which contributed to very high rates of emigration. Galicia had the highest desertion rates in the country. So many of the Spanish immigrants in Tampa had evaded military service that the Spanish consul fought to have an amnesty decree originally drafted for deserters living in Latin America and the Philippines extended to the United States. Six months after the decree went into effect, the consul requested from 800 to 1,000 application forms to meet the anticipated demand of Spanish immigrants hoping to benefit from the amnesty.5 The army and the Catholic Church were the two institutions the Spanish emigrants most despised. Each working Spaniard carries upon his shoulders a priest and a soldier, read an The Centro Espaol of Ybor City in 1941. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
article in El Astur the official organ of the Centro Asturiano in Tampa, referring to the heavy taxes imposed on the working class to maintain these institutions. The discontent of the Tampa Spanish cigarworkers with the policies of the Spanish government had a long history. In the 1890s, when Cubans took up arms against Spain in the war of independence, Spanish anarchists in Tampa openly supported the cause of Cuba Libre In 1901, as part of a protest against the killing of workers by the police during general strikes in Spain, Tampa cigarworkers wished that the Spanish workers might soon shake off the tyranny of the rulers, the priests, and the bourgeois.6 In 1912, Manuel Pardinas, a Spaniard linked to an anarchist group in Tampa, shot and killed Spanish Prime Minister Jose Canalejas to avenge the execution of anarchist Francisco Ferrer. Ferrer had been accused of inciting the workers rising that led to the bloody events of the Tragic Week in Barcelona in 1909. In fact, the riots had been a spontaneous popular outburst brought about by the calling of the reservists to serve in the colonial war in Morocco. When Tampa Spaniards collected $3,000 to send as a Christmas gift to the Spanish troops fighting in Morocco in 1925, they made it clear that they did not do it for patriotism, but to honor the youth who fights and dies. Reluctant donors were reminded that had they not left Spain, they would have probably been among those fighting and dying.7 The Centro Espaol of West Tampa in about 1914. Photograph courtesy of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System.
News of the proclamation of the Republic in 1931 brought jubilation among Tampa Spaniards, but the transition to a republican system in Spain did not proceed as smoothly as they had hoped. The profound economic, social, and political problems affecting the country tested the new regime. In the first two years, a left-republican administration adopted several major pieces of legislation, including the separation of church and state, agrarian reform, and autonomy for Catalonia. These far-reaching initiatives alienated more conservative elements within Spanish society. At the same time, peasants and workers, experiencing the hardship brought about by the worldwide economic depression, and discontented with the slow pace of reform, turned to communism and anarchism. The divisions within the left led to the overwhelming victory of the right in the parliamentary elections of November 1933. The socalled two Black Years of 1934-1935 saw the dismantling of most legislation approved by the first parliament. This, in turn, provoked the reaction of the workers, and Asturian coal miners rose against the government in October 1934. The miners rising was ruthlessly suppressed by General Francisco Franco leading a force of Moorish troops and foreign legionaries. One may regard it as the first battle of the Civil War, according to historian Gerald Brenan.8 The Centro Asturiano in Ybor City still houses the offices of the 95-year-old society. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
Tampas Asturian community eagerly awaited news from Spain. Information from the wire services, reported in Ybor Citys Spanish-language newspaper La Gaceta sometimes included lists of victims, where readers might find the names of relatives, friends, or former neighbors. La Gaceta also published letters received by its readers with eyewitness accounts of the revolution. Soon, Tampa Latins began to collect funds to aid the orphan children of the miners killed in the repression. This was as much a political statement as a humanitarian act, for it countered the rightist governments calls to the citizens to support the orphans of the soldiers who died in the revolt.9 The aftermath of the revolution in Asturias and a series of political scandals brought down the government. New elections were set for February 16, 1936, and the Popular Front a coalition of left Republicans and Socialists won by a narrow margin. Following its victory, the coalition began to disintegrate, while the right started to conspire against the new government. On each side, groups of armed extremists participated in terrorist attacks and cold-blooded murders. As violence increased throughout the country, rumors grew of the imminence of a military uprising. The explosion took place in July. On July 12, 1936, Jos Castillo, a lieutenant of the Republican Assault Guards, was assassinated by members of the Falange, the extreme right-wing party. The following day, Jos Calvo Sotelo, the leader of the right-wing monarchists, was murdered in revenge. Four days later General Francisco Franco led a military uprising against the Spanish Republic from Morocco. On July 18, 1936, the rebellion spread throughout Spain. General Franco had expected to capture the capital in a swift campaign, but a quick victory was prevented by the overwhelming popular mobilization in support of the Republic. The result was a civil war which lasted almost three years and claimed nearly half a million lives. In his study of the Spanish Civil War, historian Hugh Thomas maintains that it was inevitable ...that the war which began in 1936 should become a European crisis. Despite the Spaniards subsequent accusations of foreign intervention the European powers became entangled in the war at the Spaniards request. As early as July 19, the Spanish prime minister turned to the French government for arms and planes to quench the military rebellion. At the same time, General Franco requested military aid from Hitler and Mussolini, particularly planes to transport the military force in Morocco to the peninsula. Stalin, though obviously not interested in a rebel victory, was not too eager to support the Republic. According to Thomas, he would not permit the republic to lose, even though he would not necessarily help it to win. Fearing that the conflict in Spain would provoke a European war, France and Great Britain tried to contain the war within Spanish borders by establishing a non-intervention committee and enforcing an arms embargo on both sides. However, this policy was a failure, and foreign assistance continued unabated. Germany and Italy sided with the rebel forces of General Franco, and Russia provided the main support for the Republican loyalists.10 The United States, in an isolationist mood, tightened its own neutrality law and created a policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of Spain. This started a course of action that many historians have considered the gravest error of American foreign policy during the Roosevelt Administration.11
In America, defenders of democracy in Spain began to organize to defeat the military rebels. On July 23, 1936, the Ateneo Socialista of Havana offered men and arms to the Republican government in Spain. In Chicago, a Comit pro Libertades de Espaa was organized and it published manifestos denouncing the uprising, while in New York the International Ladies Garment Workers Union made its first donation of $5,000 to labor unions in Spain which supported the Republic. Similar responses followed in Tampa, where the Latin community drew upon its tradition of mutualism and unionism to support their working-class brothers and sisters in their fight against fascism in Spain.12 A week after General Francos uprising, Victoriano Manteiga, the editor of La Gaceta declared that if it were possible to go to Spain in a few hours, hundreds of Tampans would take up arms in defense of the Popular Front. On July 28, La Gaceta reported that up to 150 Tampans had offered themselves as volunteers to fight for the Republic in Spain. On August 5, Consul Pablo de Ubarri telegraphed the Spanish Ministry of State for instructions regarding the Tampa volunteers. The following day he was directed to thank the volunteers but to decline their offer. The Tampa Tribune applauded the response of the Spanish government to the soldiers of fortune...who visualized themselves in hand-to-hand combat with women soldiers of the Spanish rebels. But the Tampa volunteers proved unwilling to follow the Tribunes advice and fight their battles in the imagination over coffee cups and domino tables.13 Of the 40,000 volunteers who joined the International Brigades to defend the Spanish Republic, close to 3,000 were Americans, serving in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. At least two General Francisco Franco working at his desk with a signed picture of Hitler beside him. Photograph from The Spanish Civil War, A History in Pictures
dozen came from Tampa, and more than a third of the Tampa volunteers were Cubans, who became members of the Antonio Guiteras company. The company left New York on January 5, 1937, and a month later they were fighting Francos army in the Jarama valley to defend Madrid. The Lincoln Brigade, then some 450 strong, was almost wiped out in this battle: 120 men were killed, and 175 wounded. Details of the debacle arrived in Tampa through letters from the convalescing volunteers. These were duly published in La Gaceta a pattern that would persist during the war. As the conflict progressed, several volunteers wrote more detailed chronicles, and one of them, Jos Garca Granell, became La Gacet s war correspondent. In Spain, the Tampa volunteers took every opportunity to publicize the actions of the Tampa Latin community in support of the Republic. A number of Spanish newspapers r an articles commending Tampas commitment to a Republican victory.14 The Spanish Civil War galvanized Tampas immigrant community. The first mass meeting in support of the Spanish Republic took place at the Labor Temple in Ybor City on August 3, 1936. Two days later, Tampa Latins organized the Comit de Defensa del Frente Popular Espaol (Committee for the Defense of the Spanish Popular Front). This group brought together leaders of the Latin (Cuban, Italian, and Spanish) mutual aid societies, labor unions, Socialist and Communist organizations, and Protestant churches to support the Republic against the military uprising led by General Franco and assisted by Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. Defining itself as humanitarian, democratic and antifascist, the committees stated goal was to gather funds to be used in Spain to support those who fight and suffer for the cause of the Republic and democracy.15 A group of American volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade in Spain in April 1938. Photograph courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.
As a first step towards this end, the committee decided to start a weekly collection among the cigar factories and commercial establishments of Ybor City and West Tampa. The Ybor City Chamber of Commerce readily lent its support to the collection, but the cigar manufacturers clashed with the committee on this issue. Citing the United States neutrality law, the board of directors of the Cigar Manufacturers Association resolved not to allow any collection of funds for the purpose of continuing the strife in Spain. The committee responded promptly by sending a telegram to the State Department inquiring whether the collection would violate the United States neutrality policy. The committee took issue not only with the manufacturers interpretation of the neutrality law, but also with their interpretation of the purpose of the collections. The collection is to defend liberty . not to continue civil wars, explained La Gacetas editor, who emphasized that the fascists started the war and the government is defending itself. Victoriano Manteiga then posed the question: Does the Board of Directors want the government to give itself to the fascists, when it was freely elected by the people?16 One of the staunchest defenders of the Spanish Republic, Manteiga became a key player in the founding of the Tampa committee and contributed enormously to its success. The red Manteiga...has been very damaging [to our cause] in the Spanish colony in Tampa, wrote Andrs Iglesias, the ex-Spanish consul in Tampa, in a report on his failed efforts to garner support for General Franco among Tampa Spaniards. Born in Cuba in 1895, Manteiga had arrived in Tampa in 1913 and started working as a reader in the local cigar factories. Nine years later, he founded the Spanish daily La Gaceta Well respected for his intellect as well as for his moral integrity, he became a prominent leader within the Latin community. During the Spanish Civil War, La Gaceta served as the official organ of the Tampa Committee for the Defense of the Spanish Popular Front. Information on the activities and decisions of the committee appeared under the telling title of La retaguardia de Tampa (Tampas rearguard).17 To the Spanish community fell the role of organizing support for the Republic. The Centro Espaol responded to the challenge by donating the proceeds of their annual September Festival, totaling $800, to the Spanish Red Cross. The Centro made a point of explaining that the donation did not have a sectarian political character, a response to those within the community who had reminded the Centro's leaders that the societys by-laws prohibited it from engaging in political activities.18 Victoriano Manteiga, editor of La Gaceta Photograph courtesy of Roland Manteiga.
The initially cautious attitude on the part of the Spanish societies to side openly with the Republic changed radically as the war wore on and the civilian casualties mounted. Particularly after the bombing of Guernica, in April 1937, a movement developed within the Tampa Spanish community against neutrality. The Loyal Knights of America [the Spanish Lodge] declared themselves antifascists and supporters of the loyal government since the beginning, La Gaceta reminded its readers; it is now time for the other Spanish societies to take the same decision, so that they cannot be called neutrals when Spain defends its existence against a foreign invasion. In May 1937, both the Centro Espaol and the Centro Asturiano declared their unconditional support of the lawful Spanish government, condemned the military rebellion, and defined the war in Spain not as a civil war but as a war of national independence against the forces of international fascism.19 On May 1,1937, a new Neutrality Act established the procedures regulating the delivery of humanitarian aid to war-torn countries. The Tampa committee set about to comply with the new law by changing its name from the Committee for the Defense of the Spanish Popular Front to the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain. While the funds of the old committee reached the Republican government through the Spanish ambassador in Washington, the new committee dispatched its funds directly to the Spanish Red Cross. To avoid any appearance of In a 1936 telegram, Jose Martinez, president of the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain, informed Alvaro de Albornoz, Spanish Ambassador in France, that $2,000 from Tampa had been sent to France. By the end of the war the Republic had received close to $200,000 from Tampa, the equivalent of $1.57 million dollars today. Courtesy of Roland Mantei g a.
illegality, the committee broke all official links with the Spanish consulate in Tampa. While the Popular Committee worked closely with other relief organizations, particularly the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy and the Medical Bureau of the American Friends of Spanish Democracy, it remained staunchly independent.20 Throughout its existence, the Tampa committee maintained a remarkable degree of unity and efficiency. This won it praise from the Spanish Red Cross, which presented the committee with a gold medal for its services. You have the best organization in the whole country, declared General Santiago Philemore, the General Inspector of the Spanish Red Cross, when he visited Tampa in 1938, because it includes all ideas and tendencies and has just one goal: to aid those who suffer and to help win the war.21 Spanish Republican leaders who visited Tampa as part of their speaking tours to garner support for the Republic in the United States also wrote favorably about the work of the Popular Committee. Marcelino Domingo, a former Republican minister and president of the Republican Left Party, referred to Tampa in glowing terms as the altar of Spain, while Republican Army Commissar Garca Maroto announced that Tampas rearguard should be called Americas vanguard, a phrase that Manteiga promptly added to the Popular Committees column in La Gaceta Even members of Francos diplomatic corps conceded that the reds in Tampa [had been] after the residents in New York . the ones who most contributed in the United States to the antinationalist campaign that was so harmful for us there.22 Not only Spaniards but also Cubans, Italians, and sympathetic Anglo-Americans helped the cause of Republican Spain. Most mutual aid societies and labor unions sent delegates to the Popular Committee. These organizations contributed cash and, equally important, they offered their leaders time and organizational skills, as well as their buildings and theaters for meetings, lectures, and other cultural and political events. The Italian Antifascist Group was particularly active in denouncing Mussolinis intervention in Spain, and together with the Popular Committee, organized lectures in Tampa by a number of prominent Italian antifascists.23 Individuals as well as institutions rendered services for free to support the committees work. At committee-sponsored picnics, bakeries offered free bread, restaurants contributed rice and chicken, and musicians played gratis. When the committee organized a drive to send cigars to the Loyalist soldiers, several cigar factories donated the tobacco, cigarmakers worked Sundays for free to make the cigars, and women sewed up to 20,000 tobacco pouches.24 The committee organized all kinds of events to collect funds for Loyalist Spain. Picnics on April 14 (the date of the proclamation of the Republic) and July 19 (celebrating the popular response against the military uprising) drew crowds of thousands. The proceeds from theater tickets, films, bowling, soccer, and baseball games, filled the committees coffers. Waiters at coffee shops and restaurants donated the tips earned at banquets honoring the Republic. Every Saturday, committee volunteers visited the cigar factories and commercial establishments to collect weekly donations from people whose names appeared in La Gaceta Through nickel-and-dime contributions the committee sent to Spain an average of $5,000 a month. It also shipped badly needed food, clothing, and medical supplies.
Every campaign organized by the Spanish Red Cross met with an overwhelming response of the Tampa Latin population. When the Red Cross asked for a shipment of canned milk and dried vegetables in December 1937, the committee immediately sent thirty tons of beans and a thousand cans of milk. A month later, the committee shipped close to $7,000 worth of medicines. In June 1937, in what La Gaceta dubbed the greatest romera [picnic] ever in the history of Tampa, more than 5,000 people attended a picnic to collect funds to purchase an ambulance for the Spanish Red Cross. The event raised more than $9,000, allowing the committee to purchase not one, but four ambulances; as well as the X-Ray equipment for a mobile hospital sent to Spain by the Medical Bureau of the American Friends of Spanish Democracy.25 The activities of the Tampa rearguard were well known in Republican Spain. You cannot imagine how [well] they treat us here in Catalonia...and the way people talk about Tampa, wrote an Asturian refugee from Barcelona to her brother in Tampa. The fall of Asturias and the subsequent flow of refugees put more strain on the already overcrowded facilities on the Republican side and on the Tampa Committee, as thousands of Asturian refugees looked to the Asturian clubs in America for support. The House of Asturias in Valencia, asked for help from Tampa, and so did the Centro Asturiano in Catalonia. It is heartbreaking to inspect the shelters, wrote the president of the Asturian delegation in Bordeaux, France, to the Centro Asturiano in Tampas Spanish Consul Gustavo Jimenez hoisting the Republican flag at the Centro Espaol of West Tampa on April 14, 1937, as part of the celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the Spanish Republic. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune April 15, 1937.
Tampa; I fear for the elderly....The children, lacking milk and medicines, die daily. So far, we have buried more than two hundred. In response to these calls for help, the Popular Committee organized a Week for Asturian refugees in Catalonia. All collections that week, a total of twenty-eight boxes of clothing and $4,000 in cash, were sent to them.26 Although men held the leadership positions in the Popular Committee as in most of the associations that sent delegates to the committee women and children played a prominent role in its success. A few weeks after the establishment of the Tampa Committee, women set up their own Ladies Committee, modeled after the Womens Auxiliaries of the mutual aid societies. But it was the bombing of civilians which prompted the women to take a more active role. Following the bombing of the Basque town of Guernica by Hitlers Condor Legion in April 1937, a group of female cigarworkers proposed that the Popular Committee organize a demonstration to protest the killing of noncombatants. Led by these women, more than 5,000 demonstrators marched from the Labor Temple in Ybor City to City Hall, where leaders of the Popular Committee presented Tampas mayor with a document protesting the ruthless killing of women and children by Francos forces. In September 1937, Tampa Latin women organized the Antifascist Womens Committee, which became the Womens Auxiliary of the Popular Committee.27 Latin women also spearheaded campaigns to collect clothing and milk for Spanish children. After a days work, the more than one thousand women of the Popular Committee, old and young, met in groups to sew and mend clothing. They formed almost a family, wrote a witness to these reunions, with each piece made...goes all the devotion, all the love, that only mothers can give. In just the month of November 1937, the Womens Committee sent 6,000 pounds of clothing to Spain. By the end of the war, more than twenty tons of clothing and several thousand cans of milk had been sent to war-torn Spain.28 In another effort, Latin women also exercised their activism through their role as consumers. They led the boycott campaigns against products from Germany, Italy, Japan and the areas of Spain held by Franco. Andalusian olive oil and the coveted Christmas turrn (nougat) were two of the articles absent from many a Tampa Latin household. Latin housewives also boycotted stores that did not contribute to the Popular Committee. (Those that did displayed a sticker from the committee signaling them as contributors.) The boycott extended beyond the household and into the entertainment arena. Theaters that showed films which Tampa Latins perceived as biased against the Republic were boycotted and forced to change their programs. The same happened with films whose actors were believed to be Franco supporters. By the same token, Tampa Latins heavily patronized films that supported the cause of Republican Spain.29 As mothers, women also played a fundamental role in educating the children, the future citizens, about the values of democracy. As one woman wrote, there was no better reward for the women of the Popular Committee than having their children ask them, as they shopped, did you check whether it was made by the bad guys? Latin mothers also removed their children from Catholic schools to protest the Catholic Churchs support of Franco.30 In addition, the women of the Popular Committee engaged in more traditional political activities. They joined women and men throughout the country in an intensive campaign to lobby
the White House, the State Department, and Congress to change the United States policies towards Republican Spain. They sent telegrams and wrote letters asking for the lifting of the arms embargo and the repeal of the neutrality law, and they joined delegates from Tampa who went to Washington to present their requests to the President and legislators.31 Young Latins and children also contributed to the committee. Members of the Juventud Democrtica Antifascista de West Tampa (West Tampa Antifascist Democratic Youth) collected old paper, sold it to businesses, and donated the proceeds to the Popular Committee. Children from the Lead Club gathered tin foil wrappers from cigarette and chewing gum packets. These were then melted and sold as fishing sinkers; the proceeds bought canned milk for the children of Spain.32 Women and children marched prominently in Labor Day parades, a forum of solidarity with Republican Spain. In 1938, the parade drew 10,000 marchers. Dressed up as Spanish milicianos (militiamen), but emphasizing their loyalty to the United States with visible American flags, Latin children carried banners that read: American children protest murder of mothers and children in Spain and China and Stop Hitler and Stop Bombing of Open Cities. Meanwhile girls The members of the New York delegation of the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain posed in front of the ambulances purchased in New York with funds raised by the Tampa Committee and sent to the four Spanish Red Cross in September 1937. Photograph courtesy of Aida Azpeitia.
circulated through the crowd with boxes in the Spanish colors, collecting funds for the Spanish Red Cross.33 Attracting American support for the Republic proved one of the most difficult tasks for the Popular Committee. In trying to educate their neighbors about the situation in Spain, Tampa Latins had to overcome a number of misconceptions held by Americans. These included stereotypical views of hot-blooded and bullfight-loving Spaniards whose character made them unsuitable to live in a democracy. A week after Francos uprising, a Tampa Tribune columnist informed his readers that Spanish revolutions are not new; they have them every now and again. The Tribune cartoonist depicted the revolution in Spain as Just an Old Spanish Custom, as old and as violent as bullfighting. The link between the war and the bullfight became even more explicit in the letters of some Tribune readers. One argued that with mob passions lashed to applaud with jubilant acclaim cruel death in the bull ring, its only a step to the unleashing of individual killing fever, curbed by law. Another reader put it even more bluntly when he stated that the people of Spain should be happy in the rivers of blood now streaking their cities and fair mountain sides, for blood-red fresh gore is what they traditionally love. The Tribune editorial pages at the A demonstration organized by women cigarworkers of the Garcia & Vega factory in May 1937 protested the killing of noncombatants by General Francos forces. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
beginning of the war carried tongue-in-cheek remarks about the Spanish c haracter. (Why cant the Spanish be calm like the Danish? read one of them.)34 Americans traditional perception of the Tampa Latin community as a focus of radicalism probably shaped their views that Latins supported communism in Spain. The association of the Republic with communism did not help the Popular Committees cause in a city where twice in 1936 the presidential candidate of the Communist Party had been prevented from speaking.35 Whatever their opinions on the war in Spain, Americans tended to perceive it as a foreign conflict, and they expected their Latin neighbors to do the same. The Latins overwhelming support of Republican Spain raised doubts in the minds of many Americans about the immigrants loyalty towards the United States. Latins befuddled their American neighbors, in the midst of the depression, by collecting for Loyalist Spain the biggest amount ever heard of in Tampa, according to a Tribune reader. Another reader criticized them for sending more money to Spain than the whole city can raise in a Community Chest campaign, while their own needy were allegedly draining the funds of local charities. Shouldnt our Spanish friends be taught that their first loyalty should be to their home town and country, the place where they make their living? asked the writer. A Tampa Latin replied, reminding Americans of the institutions Women of Tampas Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain in front of Ybor Citys Labor Temple with General Santiago Philemore, General Inspector of the Spanish Red Cross, and his wife Olga, in August 1938. Photograph courtesy of Se gundo A. Carreo.
Latins had built in Tampa and of their support of all charitable organizations, and asked, in turn, if, as a peace and liberty-loving people, at a time when the land of their fathers is being invaded by war-mad dictators, they rally and make sacrifices for its support, are they to be censored?36 Tampa Latins did not consider themselves un-American; to the contrary, they saw their support for the Republic as a demonstration of Americanism. The Popular Committee firmly stated that the people of Tampa and the whole trade union movement of the country will support the The first Tampa Tribune cartoon on the Spanish Civil War depicted the conflict in a bullfighting ring as Just an Old Spanish Custom. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune July 21, 1936.
struggle of the Spanish people for defense of the Republic, because it stands for democ racy. Tampa Latins reflected the observation of historian Allen Guttmann that American support for the Spanish Republic was not for the most part the result of a movement toward radicalism, [but] one more manifestation of the liberal tradition in America. As a Loyalist reader put it in praising the role of the American volunteers in Spain: the same echoes that resounded from Bunker Hill during the American Revolution are now heard in the Spanish Pyrenees.37 In reaching out to the American public, the Popular Committee relied on the support of Americans sympathetic to the Republican cause. Prominent among them were college professors of Spanish, knowledgeable about the countrys history and culture, and Protestant ministers, who dealt with the religious issue and reminded their compatriots that Francos crusade attacked two valued American principles freedom of religion and separation of church and state. One of the first efforts to bring together Latins and Americans was an event that took place in Plant Park on October 30, 1936. Organizers publicized the event in the local press encouraging readers to hear the true facts about the fascist insurrection against the legally elected democratic government in Spain. Victoriano Manteiga shared the stage with Professor Royal W. France of Rollins College, the Reverend Walter Metcalf of Tampas First Congregational Church, and Jose Martinez, a labor union leader and president of the Popular Committee. The event drew more than a thousand people, according to La Gaceta which dubbed the meeting a sound success. However, it did not receive any mention in Tampa's English-language press, which prompted Manteigas stern criticism. They are not interested in knowing the truth about what happens in Spain, Manteiga said of the Tampa editors, but if there would have been news unfavorable to the Republican Government, they would have found space for it in their newspapers.38 The Tampa press did cover the visit of Isabel de Palencia a month later. Palencia was part of a three-member delegation sent by the Spanish government to rally support for the Republic in the United States and Canada. A member of the Spanish Workers General Union, she traveled to Tampa, hoping to address the annual convention of the American Federation of Labor (AFL). Her request was not granted, but Americans did get a chance to listen to her at a mass meeting in Plant Park, co-chaired by the Reverend E. C. Nance of the First Christian Church. I am not a communist, she said to an audience of 3,000. In fluent English, she explained how the word communism is being used to describe everything democratic, everything opposed to fascism, and she reminded her American listeners how President Roosevelt himself . was called a communist by his political enemies. Palencia, a member of the League of Nations permanent committee for the protection of women and children, also addressed women delegates to the AFL convention at a luncheon organized in her honor.39 In January 1938 the Popular Committee sponsored the visit of George G. Pershing, field secretary of the Medical Bureau and North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. Two thousand people gathered at the Municipal Auditorium to hear Pershing and watch the film Heart of Spain, a documentary on the war made by the Medical Bureau. At the end of the event, the Tribune reported, names . were taken for the purpose of forming a committee to promote understanding between the Spanish and English speaking people in Tampa. This led to the establishment of a local chapter of the American Friends of Spanish Democracy two weeks later. The Reverend A. J. Phillips, superintendent of the Latin Methodist Missions of
Florida, was elected chairman, and Professor G. G. Becknell, of the University of Tampa, vice-chairman. The American Friends worked closely with the Popular Committee but focused their efforts on the American population. Their first public event brought a Spanish delegation of writer Ramn J. Sender, social worker Carmen Meana and journalist Oscar Preteicelle to a packed Municipal Auditorium. They collected close to $800 to buy an ambulance for the Medical Bureau and passed a resolution urging President Roosevelt to lift the arms embargo against Republican Spain.40 Reverend Phillips joined the Popular Committee and the Ybor City Chamber of Commerce in answering the slanderous statements of a small and unimportant Tampa weekly, the Evening News A few weeks earlier, this rabid anticommunist newspaper had run a series of articles headlined REDS MENACE YBOR CHURCH, and RED TERROR GRIPS YBOR CITY, in which it accused the Popular Committee of threatening a priest and forcing businessmen to contribute against their will. The committee responded to these charges in a full-page Appeal to American Public Opinion, published in both the Tribune and the Times The Popular Committee explained its origin and purpose, and denounced the Evening News for incit[ing] the American people to acts of violence against the Latin colony. The name of Tampa is revered . in Republican Spain, this emotional statement continued, emphasizing that, the word Tampa stands for justice and humanity in all the trenches, hospitals and homes of Loyalist Spain.41 For his part, Rev. Phillips addressed the Saxon Americans who, instead of being proud of the democratic and unselfishness of these Latins, undertake to besmirch our fellow citizens by attributing their efforts to communism. He pointed out that many American doctors, the most matter-of-fact men among American professionals, had gone to help the Spanish Republic, and asked: Why not join forces with our Latins? Why the apathy of Americans in Tampa? In spite of Rev. Phillipss best efforts, support for the Spanish Republic remained concentrated within Tampas immigrant community.42 Local Latins were often critical of the coverage of the Spanish Civil War in the Tampa press. As early as September 1936, the Times ran an editorial responding to criticism from the Spanish community that the newspaper was biased in its reporting of the conflict in Spain. The daily dispatches concerning the Spanish war news which appear in the Times come entirely from the Associated Press and are published without change in any way, explained the editor, assuring readers that only the facts . are transmitted over the AP direct wires to the newspapers served. A year later, the Times again addressed members of the Spanish community who had One of the first events organized to bring together Latins and Americans in support of the Spanish Republic took place in Plant Park in October 1936. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune October 30, 1936.
expressed their criticism and charges of prejudice because the news dispatches too frequently, in their opinion, recounted the advances of the insurgents. The papers editor repeated that the news dispatches are written in Spain by reliable correspondents not in Tampa.43 In part because they distrusted the American press and in part because most Spaniards at that time did not read English, the majority of them followed events in Spain through radio news from Madrid or Havana. La Gaceta described how most of this radio listening took place: Everyday scores of people gather to listen to the radio news from Madrid and Havana. In the office of the Cultural [Labor Temple], which is also the office of the Democratic Popular Committee, a hundred per cent loyalists gather and anxiously wait the news at 7 and 10 p.m. When the 7 oclock news is satisfactory, the showing for the 10 oclock news diminishes. When the 7 oclock news is pitiful the 10 oclock news crowd is bigger. It is hoped that the latest news will be better.44 The first public event organized by the Tampa chapter of the American Friends of Spanish Democracy took place in April 1938, the seventh anniversary of the proclamation of the Spanish Republic. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune April 14, 1938.
The Spanish community in Tampa relied on another important source of information: the first-hand accounts of family and friends. In the summer of 1936, a number of Tampa Spaniards were in Spain visiting relatives or living there in retirement after spending most of their working life in America. The war forced many to return to Tampa. Their first-hand testimony became one of the most valuable sources of information regarding the situation in Spain, together with letters from relatives still there. These letters were regularly published in La Gaceta One of the first eyewitness accounts to appear in the Spanish-language newspaper was that of Emilio Vias. He had lived in Tampa for several years and in 1934 returned to his native Galicia to retire. Galicia was one of the first regions to fall to Francos forces. Upon his return to Tampa, Vias told of his experiences as the repression mounted. On the road . one morning, I saw close to forty corpses of leftists who had been shot . .Two of them were still moving. . After that, I could not sleep, and I decided to return to the United States. Although Vias did not belong to any political party, he was at risk because he was a Mason. I am a Mason, and I burned a travel notebook of masonry fearing for my life, because the houses were searched daily. He saved his life thanks to the good offices of the United States vice consul in Vigo.45 Reports came from other parts of Spain as well. Enrique Rodrguez, a baker in Tampa, was visiting his native Barcelona in the summer of 1936, when the war broke out. He joined the militia, but when it became known that he had family in the United States, the militia helped him leave the country. Francisco Martnez, a naturalized American born in Asturias, had to pay a fine of 7,000 Spanish pesetas to be able to return to the United States. The roads have become cemeteries, he said upon his return, because those who do not think like them [the falangists] pay with their lives. Mariano Paniello left Palma de Mallorca fearing for his life after receiving threats for being a Mason. These and many similar accounts, coming from people known and trusted in Tampa, did much to strengthen local support the Republic already enjoyed.46 Some of these witnesses, like Mariano Paniello, went on to speak publicly at events organized by the Popular Committee. He helped to organize an antifascist committee in Detroit and returned to Spain to fight. The letters of the volunteers from Tampa who fought in the Abraham Lincoln Brigade also helped to keep the Republican fervor alive. When the Republic finally fell in March 1939, these letters were replaced by those of the thousands of Loyalists in French refugee camps who wrote for help.47 From the beginning of the war in Spain, there had been members of the Tampa Spanish community who opposed the Republic, but organized support for Franco did not begin until the summer of 1938. Before then, reports circulated that a group of fascists celebrated Francos military victories with dinners at a restaurant in neighboring St. Petersburg. There were also rumors that a Franco supporter returning to Spain carried a blacklist of Tampa Loyalists. La Gaceta voiced these rumors and warned that any reprisals against relatives in Spain would be met with appropriate response in Tampa. The first reports of a meeting of fascists in Tampa appeared in La Gaceta in May 1938. The paper did not provide the names of those in attendance, but mentioned their professions. The group, estimated at no more than a dozen people, included a cigar manufacturer, a salesman, a
bookkeeper, a printer, and an exconsul. They had met at the home of Andrs Iglesias, the ex-consul whose earlier conflicts with the Spanish community had led to his transfer in 1931.48 Andrs Iglesias had been Spanish consul in Tampa twice. He first came to Tampa in 1923, when the Spanish consulate was re-established following a long period as an honorary consulate in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War in 1898. In 1925 he left Tampa, but returned in 1929 for a second term and stayed until 1931. Then, following the proclamation of the Spanish Republic, elements within the Spanish community requested that the new government remove Iglesias from the consulate in Tampa, and even from the diplomatic corps altogether. Although he eventually left the consulate, he maintained close ties to Tampa, where he had established his family. During his first term as consul in Tampa, Andrs Iglesias had met Mildred Taliaferro, the daughter of a prominent Tampa family. They were married in Paris in 1925. Their only daughter was born in Perpignan in 1933, while he was consul there. As consul in Perpignan, he had sided with Franco from the beginning of the war, although he was being paid by the Republican government. His pro-Franco activities provoked his dismissal in November 1936. Among other Men of Tampas Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain in front of Ybor Citys Labor Temple with General Santiago Philemore, General Inspector of the Spanish Red Cross, and his wife Olga, in August 1938. Photograph courtesy of William F. Garcia.
things, he had denied passports to those who wanted to volunteer to fight for the Republic in Spain. He kept working for Franco in France until April 1937, when, with no funds and no clear job prospects, he returned to Tampa to rejoin his family. In Tampa, he proposed to work for Franco under the orders of Juan F. de Crdenas, the unofficial representative of the Franco government in the United States.49 To avoid calling attention to their activities, the Spanish Nationalists followed the Germans suggestion not to use the name shirts in their organizations. Instead, their clubs in the United States usually bore neutral names like Renovacin Espaola (Spanish Renewal) in San Francisco, or the names of historic Spanish figures, associated with Spains glorious past, a major theme in Francos crusade. In Boston and New York the clubs were named Isabel and Fernando, honoring the Catholic kings. In Tampa, the Nationalist Club was named after the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Soto.50 Iglesiass job proved a hard one. In April 1938, he wrote to one of Francos ministers, acknowledging that his activities in Tampa did not meet with much success: I have not been able to attract the majority of the Spanish element, made up mostly of cigarworkers who have always professed extremist ideas, but I have been able to bring together Spanish sympathizers with whom I work to convince the other healthy element within the Spanish colony.51 Among the Spanish sympathizers Iglesias included the Arango family. Francisco Arango, Sr., the owner of Arango & Arango Cigar Co., was a Franco supporter. His son, Francisco Arango, Jr., was, according to Iglesias, the person who has worked the most in favor of the cause, and he often wrote for nationalist newspapers. His column, carta de Tampa (letter from Tampa), written under a pseudonym, appeared regularly in Cara al Sol the Falangist paper published in New York. He also circulated Nationalist propaganda in Tampa and organized collections of clothing and cash for Francos Auxilio Social. Another member of the family, Manuel Arango, the foreman of the Arango cigar factory, became a protagonist in the most tragic episode involving the Spanish Civil War among Tampa Spaniards. He had often quarreled bitterly with his neighbor, a Republican supporter, about the situation in Spain. After one such an argument, his neighbor, Jose Alvarez, shot and killed Manuel Arango and then killed himself two more casualties of the Spanish Civil War.52 Not all cigar manufacturers necessarily sided with Franco. Manuel Corral, the head of Corral, Wodiska & Co., and his wife, were among the worst reds, according to Iglesias. A brother of Manuel Corral, who had been a manufacturer in Tampa before retiring to his native Asturias in 1920, had been forced to leave Spain and take refuge in France, fearing for his life. Joaquin Corral, a socialist, had been the mayor of the town of Arriondas since 1931, when the Republic had been proclaimed. Iglesias also disapproved of the conduct of Manuel Corrals son-in-law, Celestino Vega, Jr., one of those who has made the most propaganda in favor of the reds among the Americans and the Chamber of Commerce.53 The Catholic priests that ministered the Latin immigrant community looked at Franco with sympathetic eyes. In Ybor City, which Victoriano Manteiga described as an antifascist, but not antireligious community, relations between the Catholic Church and Republican supporters went smoothly until August 7,1938. On that day, Father John J. Hosey of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Ybor City and Father Wright of West Tampa used their Sunday sermons to praise
General Franco and ask for donations to help civilian victims in Nationalist Spain. The sermons caused a stir among the Latin community in Tampa, and the following day scores of people complained to La Gaceta about the priests injecting the matter of Spain into their services.54 The next day, La Gaceta sent a reporter to interview the priests, who stood by their actions. Manteiga claimed that Father Hosey was misinformed and took it upon himself to educate him and other Catholic priests on the reality of the situation in Spain. He invited Father Hosey to a public debate on the matter. Father Hosey declined the invitation, but he used the pages of La Gaceta to explain his position. The collection, he said, had been organized by the Bishop of St. Augustine and was meant to help all victims of the war. He claimed that he was neither a fascist, nor a politician, but he concurred with Franco that the conflict in Spain was a war against communism and that Spain was fighting the battle to save an entire civilization.55 Manteiga responded by mentioning a number of Catholic priests who had sided with the Republic and again tried to educate Father Hosey on what he considered to be the truth of the situation in Spain. But, aside from Father Hoseys private views on the war, what had particularly outraged Manteiga and apparently most of the Latin community was the priests lack of respect for the feelings of his parishioners. Latins responded swiftly, removing their children from local Catholic schools and boycotting the Catholic Church. As Manteiga reminded Father Hosey: In this land of freedom, the citizens have their own mind, and they do not go to church looking for political or social orientations.56 Francos victory, and the recognition of his government by the United States, made the lives of Nationalist supporters in Tampa a little bit easier. In 1939, the Hernando de Soto Club opened its offices, but far from the Latin communities, in downtown Tampa. Nevertheless, its membership rolls remained low, and letters to the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Spain revealed members frustration at the weak position they held against the overwhelming Republican majority within Tampas Spanish community. A year after Francos victory, the president of the club wrote to the Spanish ambassador in Washington about the sad spectacle of the Spanish mutual aid societies refusal to recognize the new regime or hoist the new Spanish flag in their clubhouses. He pleaded with the ambassador to reopen the Tampa consulate, which had been closed down by the Republic for lack of funds, and establish an official representation that would heal the divisions within the Spanish colony.57 In June 1941, following Iglesiass recommendation, Francisco Arango, Jr., was named honorary vice consul, but he resigned six months later, when the United States entered World War II. Although he claimed that time constraints prevented him from carrying out his duties, private consular reports pointed to Arangos fears that his post could cause him personal as well as commercial damage, a fear inspired by the attitude of nearly the whole of the .Spanish ...colony of that district, openly hostile to our cause and emboldened now with the entrance of this country in the world war and its tight collaboration with Russia. The offices of the consular representation in Tampa were eventually closed on December 31, 1941.58 Francos victory changed the way Tampa Spaniards related to their native country. In 1931 Spaniards had proudly hoisted the Republican flag, alongside the American flag, at the clubhouses of the mutual aid societies. In 1939, unwilling to recognize Francos forceful seizure
of power, Tampa Spaniards voted that the official flag of their societies would be that of the United States of America. Soon thereafter, in anticipation of Francos naming of a new consul, a general assembly at the Centro Espaol voted unanimously to remove from the societys bylaws the articles that gave honors to the Spanish representative in Tampa. From then on, the United States became their only country.59 How many of those who call themselves antifascists in Tampa will maintain their faith and their enthusiasm if Franco . were to triumph in Spain? a reader of La Gaceta had asked the paper's editor in 1937. Our fight would continue...A defeat...would be a partial defeat, Victoriano Manteiga replied, declaring that our fight is from yesterday, for today, and for tomorrow. The day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the Centro Asturiano adopted a loyalty pledge to the United States which stated that the citizens of Tampa of Latin descent were undoubtedly the first to recognize the aims of these barbarous hordes of Europe and Asia, having seen them commit their dastardly crimes on a number of defenseless countries, among them Spain, and have not lost time in warning our brothers of Anglo extraction. In the following days similar pledges were produced by the Centro Espaol and L'Unione Italiana. Tampa Latins drew themselves wholeheartedly into the war effort. But, while strongly committed to their adopted country, they never forgot those suffering in Spain. Like the Spanish crammed into Fernando de los Ros (right), the Spanish ambassador, meeting with a group of Tampa ministers to explain that religion was not an issue in the war because the Republic stood for religious freedom. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune November 3, 1938.
French refugee camps, they still hoped that the war in Europe would sweep the Franco regime away.60 In Tampa, as in the rest of America, the remnants of the organizations that had supported Loyalist Spain turned to alleviate the plight of the Spanish refugees. The Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain became the Popular Committee to Aid Spanish Refugees and, later, a branch of the Junta de Cultura Espaola, an organization headquartered in Mexico which provided assistance to the Spanish refugees. In 1942, Tampa Spaniards welcomed Galician agrarian leader and Republican exile Basilio Alvarez. His poor health confined him to a room at the Centro Espaol Hospital where he died the following year. Covered with the Spanish Republican flag, he was buried in the cemetery of the Centro Espaol where his gravestone reads: From the friends of an illustrious Spaniard who fought for his country and for mankind. The Tampa committee collected more than $50,000 to aid Spanish refugees and continued operations until 1970, when many of its founding members, as well as the thriving Latin community which had supported it, had all but disappeared.61 As Franco lay dying on November 20, 1975, eighty-year-old Jose Martinez, the president of the Popular Committee in the 1930s, had reservations about the democratic future of Spain. He Members of Ybor Citys Centro Espaol in the club's cantina in 1941. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
angrily reflected on what Franco had done to his country: It was a free country changed to a slave state. In 1976, forty years after the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, democracy was finally reestablished in Spain.62 This article has been excerpted from Ana M. Varela-Lago, La Retaguardia de Tampa: The Response of the Tampa Latin Immigrant Community to the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 (M.A. Thesis, University of South Florida, 1996).
Tombstone of Spanish Republican exile Basilio Alvarez in the cemetery of Tampas Centro Espaol. The inscription reads: From the friends of an illustrious Spaniard who fought for his country and for mankind. Photograph by James P. DEmilio.
1 The Tampa Morning Tribune (hereafter TMT ), July 30, 1936. 2 On the origins of the Tampa immigrant community, see Gary R. Mormino and George E. Pozzetta, The Immigrant World of Ybor City. Italians and Their Latin Neighbors in Tampa, 1885-1985 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987). 3 The Tampa Daily Times (hereafter TDT ), April 15, 1931. 4 TMT April 15, 1931; La Gaceta May 4, 10, 19, 1931. 5 Adrian Shubert, A Social History of Modern Spain (London: Unwin Hyman, 1990), 17475; J. Merundano to Ministro de Estado, April 22, October 1,1926, Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores (hereafter MAE), Madrid, Archivo Histrico, Correspondencia Consular, Tampa, legajo 2074. 6 J. Fueyo, Rosas y Espinas, El Astur May 11, 1928 (first quote). For Spanish anarchism and the Cuban movement for independence in Tampa, see Gary R. Mormino and George E. Pozzetta, Spanish Anarchism in Tampa, Florida, 1886-1931, in Struggle a Hard Battle. Essays on Working-Class Immigrants ed. Dirk Hoerder (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1986), 18284; Joan Marie Steffy, The Cuban Immigrants of Tampa, Florida, 1886-1898 (M.A. Thesis, University of South Florida, 1974) 64-71. Manifiesto Tampa, July 5, 1901 (second quote), microfilmed copy in University of South Florida Library, El Internacional . Assorted Manifestos and Other Newspapers. 7 For Manuel Pardinass links to Tampa anarchists, see Constant Leroy [pseud.], Los secretos del anarquismo (Mexico: Librera Renacimiento, 1913), 17-29. Following the execution of Ferrer, anarchists in Tampa organized the Institucin Francisco Ferrer, and tried to establish a Escuela Moderna (Modern School) modelled on those Ferrer had founded in Spain. Institucin Francisco Ferrer, Boletn Oficial, March 26, 1910; April 8, September 9, 1911, microfilmed copy in University of South Florida Library El Internacional . Assorted Manifestos and Other Newspapers. (quote from La Gaceta October 25, 1925. 8 Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth: An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Spanish Civil War 2d ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1950), 284. On conditions in Asturias on the eve of the Spanish Civil War, see Adrian Shubert, The Road to Revolution in Spain: The Coal Miners of Asturias, 1860-1934 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987). 9 La Gaceta November 3, 14, 21, 1934. 10 Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War 4th ed. (New York: Touchstone, 1994), 336, 339. 11 F. Jay Taylor, The United States and the Spanish Civil War (New York: Octagon Books, 1971), 8. 12 La Gaceta July 23, 28; August 3, 1936. 13 La Gaceta July 23 (quote), 28, 1936; Pablo de Ubarri to Ministro de Estado, A ugust 5, 1936; Ministro de Estado to Pablo de Ubarri, August 6, 1936, MAE, Archivo de Barcelona, caja RE. 156, carpeta 12; TMT August 16, 1936. 14 Ramn Nicolau Gonzalez, Cuba y la defensa de la Repcblica Espaola (19361939) (Habana: Editora Poltica, 1981),177-79, 250-55; Peter N. Carroll, The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Americans in the Spanish Civil War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), 98-106; Thomas, Spanish Civil War 595; La Gaceta March 30, April 5, 6, August 20, December 27, 1937; February 4, 1938. 15 La Gaceta August 6, 1936. 16 TMT August 14, 1936; TDT August 14, 1936; La Gaceta August 13, 1936.
17 Andrs Iglesias to Juan G. de Molina, May 17, 1941, Archivo General de la Administracin (Alcal de Henares), Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, Embajada en Washington (hereafter AGA-MAE-EW), caja 8896. 18 La Gaceta August 8, 1936. 19 Ibid., May 3, 6,11,1937. Centro Asturiano de la Habana, Delegacin de Tampa, Juntas Generales 1933-1953 May 10, 1937, Centro Asturiano Papers, Special Collections, University of South Florida Library. 20 Ibid., May 4, 1937; TMT May 12, 1937. 21 Ibid., July 25, 1938. 22 Marcelino Domingo, El mundo ante Espaa: Mxico ejemplo (Paris: La Technique du Livre, 1938), 390; La Gaceta May 17, 1938; n.d n.s., MAE, Seccin personal, legajo 469, expediente 33764. 23 La Gaceta October 12, 14, 16, 1936; May 14, 1937; December 5-8, 1938. 24 Ibid., November 15, 1938; TMT August 5, 1938; TDT December 21, 1938. 25 Ibid., June 14, August 31, 1937; TMT April 30, September 26, 1937. 26 Ibid., December 13, 1937, February 26, 1938; David Alonso Fresno to Centro Asturiano de la Habana in Tampa, February 10, 1938, Centro Asturiano Papers, Special Collections, University of South Florida Library. 27 Ibid., April 30, September 16, 1937; TDT May 7, 1937; TMT May 7, 1937. 28 El Internacional April 1, 1938. 29 La Gaceta October 2,1936; May 16, 1938. Among the films more popular with Tampa Latins were: Espaa en Llamas, Frente Popular, Last Train From Madrid, The Spanish Earth, and Blockade. 30 El Internacional January 28, 1938. 31 TMT January 4, March 5, 1939; TDT January 7, 1939. 32 La Gaceta November 11, December 6, 1937; February 23, 1938; TMT July 29, 1990. 33 TMT September 6, 1938. 34 Tobacco Leaf July 25, 1936 (first quote); TMT July 24, 1936 (second quote); December 13, 1936 (third quote); August 14, 1936 (fourth quote); A ugust 14, 1936 (fifth quote). 35 Robert P. Ingalls, Urban Vigilantes in the New South: Tampa, 1882-1936 (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1988), 200-02. 36 TMT August 8, 1938 (first quote); January 19, 1938 (second quote); January 23, 1938 (third quote). 37 Tobacco Leaf August 22, 1936; Allen Guttmann, The Wound in the Heart. America and the Spanish Civil War (New York: The Free Press, 1962), 3; TMT February 6, 1938. 38 La Gaceta October 28, 31, 1936. 39 TMT November 25, 1936; TDT November 25, 1936; Isabel de Palencia, I Must Have Liberty (New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1940), 255-57. Shortly after the meeting; Rev. Nance used the press to defend himself against charges of radicalism, TMT December 17, 1936; TDT December 16, 1936.
40 TMT January 25, April 14, 16, 1938; TDT April 15, 1938. 41 TDT September 28, 1938. 42 Ibid. 43 TDT September 5, 1936, June 23, 1937. 44 La Gaceta February 2, 1938. 45 Ibid., October 8, 1936. 46 Ibid., October 10, 1936, January 2, 18, 1937. 47 Ibid., February 8, March 30, April 6, 14, 28, June 5, 1937. 48 Ibid., May 18, 19, 23, 24, 25, 1938. 49 MAE, Seccin Personal, legajo 469, expediente 33764. 50 Allan Chase, Falange. The Axis Secret Army in the Americas (New York: G. P. Putnams and Sons, 1943), 211; Lorenzo Delgado Gmez-Escalonilla, Imperio de Papel. Accin cultural y politica exterior durante el primer franquismo (Madrid: Consejo Superior de I nvestigaciones Cientficas, 1992), 142. 51 Andrs Iglesias to Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores (Burgos), April 8, 1938, MAE, Seccin Personal, legajo 469, expediente 33764. 52 Juan F. de Crdenas to Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores (Burgos), March 7, 1939, MAE, Seccin Personal, legajo 469, expediente 33764; Jos M. de Garay to Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores, July 22, 1940, MAE, Seccin Personal, legajo 361, expediente 24.991; TMT February 7, 1939; TDT February 7, 1939. 53 Andrs Iglesias to Pelayo G. Olay, May 8,1939, AGA-MAE-EW, caja 8977. According to one of the characters in Jose Yglesias's novel The Goodbye Land the mayor of Arriondas saved his life because he tricked the Nationalists into believing that he was an American citizen, showing them a voting registration card that had been illegally issued in Tampa. So, you see. Those crooked elections [in Tampa] were of some use after all, reflected a character in the novel. Jose Yglesias, The Goodbye Land (New York: Pantheon Books, 1967), 24. 54 La Gaceta August 9, 1938. 55 Ibid., August 12, 1938. 56 Ibid., August 13, 1938. On the efforts of the Spanish Republic during the war to appeal to American Catholics see Jos M. Snchez, Suspended Priests and Suspect Catholics: Visitors From Loyalist Spain to America, The Catholic Historical Review (April 1992): 207-217. 57 Manuel Fernndez to Juan F. de Crdenas, March 1, 1940, Club Hernando de Soto, Tampa, Florida, AGA-MAE-EW, caja 8840, legajo 2014. 58 E. Abella to Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores, January 1, 1942, MAE, Seccin personal, legajo 361, expediente 24.991. 59 Centro Asturiano de la Habana, Delegacin de Tampa Juntas Generales 1933-1953 May 20, 1939, Centro Asturiano Papers, University of South Florida Library, Special Collections; La Gaceta May 20, 1939. 60 La Gaceta November 22,1937 (first and second quote); TMT December 9, 1941 (third quote).
61 La Gaceta March 9, 1942; November 15, 1943; TMT November 17, 1943. 62 TDT November 20, 1975.
WE HAD TO HELP: REMEMBERING TAMPAS RESPONSE TO THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR by Ana Varela-Lago Its a shame that you could not have done this, oh God, ten years ago, when all these people were alive, Mrs. Aida Azpeitia observed as we were looking through photographs of the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain taken in the 1930s. Mrs. Azpeitias comment is one I often hear when I interview participants in the Spanish Civil War Oral History Project. True, much has been lost in the sixty years since the Spanish Civil War started, as the thriving immigrant community that supported the Republic in the 1930s dwindled, and their descendants moved from the original immigrant settlements to new areas. But, acknowledging and regretting this loss should not prevent us from appreciating and enjoying what has indeed been preserved for the past six decades. This has been one of the goals of the Spanish Civil War Oral History Project. Participants in the Spanish Civil War Oral History Project share their memories in the boardroom of the Centro Asturiano, where the flag of the short-lived Spanish Republic still hangs on the wall. Left to right (seated): Aida Azpeitia, Melba Pullara, and Angeles Marti; (standing): Alice Menendez, William Garcia, Ana Varela-Lago, Frank Gonzalez, Jose Oural, Anthony Granell, Amalia Owens, Gus Jimenez, Alice Perez, Grace Pelaez, and Angel Raon. Photograph by Debe Phipps.
The original impulse for undertaking this project stemmed from plans to bring to Tampa the traveling exhibit Shouts from the Wall: Posters and Photographs Brought Back From The Spanish Civil War By American Volunteers, organized by the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Spanish Civil War. With the help of Fraser Ottanelli, Associate Professor of History and member of the ALBA Board, and Gary Mormino, Professor of History and authority on Tampas immigrant history, I designed a project aimed at both highlighting the response of the Tampa immigrant community to the Spanish Civil War and also preserving this important chapter of local history. In addition to the support provided by the University of South Florida, the project was awarded $17,000 in grants from the Florida Humanities Council and the Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States Universities. The cornerstone of the project is the oral history component. Since January 1997, I have been conducting interviews and meeting regularly at the Centro Asturiano with community members who have shared their memories and memorabilia of the impact of the Spanish Civil War in Tampa. These meetings have facilitated the gathering of photographs, documents, and memorabilia related to the Spanish Civil War from personal collections. The project will culminate in a community exhibit to run concurrently with the ALBA exhibit from November 8 to December 22, 1997. The community exhibit will be held, appropriately, at the Centro Asturiano, seat of the ninety-five-year-old Spanish mutual aid society where many events in support of the Spanish Republic took place in the 1930s. Finally, the transcripts and tapes of the oral histories, as well as material (or reproductions) from personal collections will become part of a permanent Spanish Civil War collection housed at the University of South Florida Library Special Collections Department. Many of these items are already available to a worldwide audience through the internet. At the University of South Florida library they have been scanned into a web page [www.lib.usf.edu/spccoll/guide/s/spncwohp/guide.html]. This was made possible by the support of the head of the library's Special Collections Department, Tom A. Kemp, and the expertise and enthusiasm of its web developer, Richard Bernardy, Jr. Among the documents scanned into the web page are a recording of the songs that used to be sung at pro-Republican gatherings in Tampa, as well as an eight-minute video copy of a home movie made in 1938 by the late Armando Mendez. The film shows demonstrators in a Labor Day Parade carrying placards referring to the Spanish Civil War, and it also shows some of the activities of the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain in West Tampa. Although much has been lost, a significant part of what the Spanish Civil War meant to Tampas immigrant community has been preserved by those who participated and their descendants who have kept alive the memory and spirit of the effort to save the Republic. Every time we meet at the boardroom of the Centro Asturiano we are greeted by the Spanish Republican flag that flew over the building from 1931 when the Republic was proclaimed until 1939 when a victorious General Franco announced the end of the Spanish Civil War. And one does not have to do much prompting to have community members sing No Pasarn! (They Shall Not Pass), declaring defiantly that Francos forces would not be able to conquer Madrid.
Alice Perez (left) and her sister Grace Pelaez remember dressing up as milacianas and singing No Pasarn! at fund-raising picnics in West Tampa. Alice is shown at one such picnic in 1937. Photograph by Debe Phipps.
The Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain was truly a grassroots movement, where everyone, including children, participated in different capacities. In many ways, what survives is the story of the impact of the Spanish Civil War in Tampa as seen through the eyes of children. William Garcia was six years old when he demonstrated for lifting the U.S. arms embargo on Republican Spain. Alice Perez and Grace Pelaez were five and seven years old when they dressed in overalls and sang No Pasarn! at the picnics organized by the Popular Committee. Gus Jimenez was eight when he helped his grandfather, the Spanish Republican consul, move the flags across the map of Spain and asked innocently: When are we gonna win, Grandpa? Children were ever present at these activities with their families. Wherever my parents went there we went; there was no such thing as a babysitter, explains Amelia Menendez, who was seven years old when the war started. When I was little, the children were not sent to a room to play. We all took part in everything that was happening. Because of their participation, they provide a link to what Tampa was like at the time of the Spanish Civil War. We are fortunate that these children have preserved this important part of Tampas history, and we are thankful that they have agreed to share their memories. The following excerpts from oral histories have been organized by themes in an effort to provide a narrative from the reminiscences of those Tampans who experienced the effects of the Spanish Civil War in a number of ways. Tampas Latin Immigrant Community Ybor City was so much like a family and so many people knew each other and helped each other. People shared...we were like one big happy family; I dont care whether you were Italian or Spanish or Cuban...we were all just close. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) I never talked English until I went to school, and I believe the majority of the people that were in West Tampa and Ybor City were in the same boat as I was. If you came to Ybor City [for] anything, you need[ed] an interpreter. (Mr. Andrew R. Espolita) I remember a very close-knit community where everybody knew each other. We visited a lot back and forth in the neighborhood, and there was always this feeling of helping each other, of unity.... There was also the feeling of belonging to these clubs. Also the fact that the clubs had these medical programs. I remember when I went to high school I was shocked. I took it for granted as a child that whenever I was sick Id go to the clinic with the recibo thats the receipt that you paid every month, 25 cents or 50 cents. I went to high school and the kids were very sick and Id say: Well did you go to the doctor? Well no I cant.... we cant afford it. It took me awhile to understand how come I could go to a doctor. And my parents were poor too in a sense.... There was that aspect. Not only the social aspect of the clubs, which tied this community together the Cuban, the Italian, the Spanish. (Mrs. Delia P. Sanchez) We were in the middle of the depression. I remember my mother making underwear out of the sacks that the flour for the restaurant came in, or that rice for the restaurant came in. Theyd bleach it first to get rid of labels. And then make slips. And in the summertime you never wore
any shoes. You would w ear shoes until you wore a hole through them, and then youd put cardboard inside, and wear them some more and then take them to the shoe shop for half soles, and wear them again. (Mr. William F. Garcia) When my father wasnt drilling wells, he was going around to the different shipyards to find out if they had any piecework that he could do. I remember my father drilling wells maybe for a grocer, or for a milkman and many times they couldnt afford to pay him. So we took it out in trade. Sometimes we got groceries for a number of weeks in payment for my fathers work. And the same thing with the dairies. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) When my dad had the coffee mill, he used to deliver coffee, and before we went to a certain house we would buy a quart of milk and a loaf of bread because he thought probably this was the only dinner or food that they had in a couple of days. It wasnt like now that you can get food stamps, but there were soup kitchens all over the place....For a small city, it was really bad. (Mr. Frank A. Gonzalez) My father was a reader in a cigar factory. The workers paid his salary. When the depression came, he was out of a job. So, what little money he could put together he got an old beat-up truck and ha started delivering ice; he bought a cow to feed me and we had chickens and this is how we survived the Great Depression. (Mr. Joaquin de la Llana) The Centro Espaol Sanatorio provided medical services to club members. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
1936: The Spanish Civil War Begins The revolution started in 1936. In August or September of 1936 I received papers to serve [General Francisco] Franco, because I was living in Galicia [Spain]. My mother wrote my father about it and my father made all the provisions for us to come to the United States. Now, when we were there we didnt see any battles, but we did see the Moors, los moros They had gone in there, brought in by Francos army, the rebel army. And I was very impressed with them. I guess I was not impressed but more or less afraid. We were all forced to line the streets up, to watch them go and give the Nazi salute, the right hand up salute. (Mr. Jose R. Oural) My mother and I went on to Gijn [Spain] to get an English cargo ship, and they [Francos forces] threw 15 bombs at the ship, but they didnt hit it at all. It took us five days to get to France. My mother thought that we could just get off of that ship, and go on into France; into Paris, to claim my father and my sister and my aunt. But they didnt let us. They had gendarmes Jose R. Oural and his sister Melba in Galicia in 1936, two weeks before General Francos uprising. They lived with their mother in Galicia while their father remained in Tampa. Photograph courtesy of Jose R. Oural. Ramon Oural reunited with his wife Josefa and their children Melba and Jose when they returned to the United States in November 1936. Photograph courtesy of Jose R. Oural.
and doctors giving us all kinds of shots, because they were afraid that we would bring diseases from the war. They took us into a train and they closed all the doors on the train. They put gendarmes around all the coaches, and they didnt let us get out of there. We stayed over there for about a week. They would bring us a loaf of French bread every morning and a can of foie gras and thats what we had all day to eat and we had to drink the water out of the lavatory. We were there for eight days. And then the train took off and took us back to Spain. But in the meantime, Franco took possession of Asturias. So they took us to Puigcerda in Catalonia. We couldnt get in touch with my father, and there was no way to get in touch with us, at all. So my mother wrote her mother and her brother in Tampa. And they would write to us, and we would know how everybody was through that. They wrote us from Tampa saying that my father had died, on the 3rd of June . What I learned later on is that when he went to see his hotel, that had been destroyed, and was talking to somebody, the Fascists came and beat him up, and left him just about dead, and then, of course, he died. In the meantime, we had all these bombings everyday, everyday, and my mother and I we just prayed and hugged each other and let it come down. Because it was a mess. People over there Aida Prida (right) in Asturias in 1936. She returned with her mother to the United States in 1938. Photograph courtesy of Aida P. Gonzalez. Lino Prida, the father of Aida, was a Tampa businessman who returned to his native Spain, became the first Republican mayor of his town and was killed during the war. Photograph courtesy of Aida P. Gonzalez.
were crying and screaming and fainting. You were scared to death because the bombing was terrible. Youd go down the street, and youd see a head over here rolling, because, sometimes, by the time the sirens let you know that they were going to bomb, they were already bombing. The Republicans didn't have any way of defending themselves. The Russians sent some planes and stuff like that, but they didnt fight themselves and Mussolini and Hitler sent a lot of stuff to the Fascists. It was the trying ground for World War Two. Our coming here had to be by my mother regaining her citizenship, because shed married in 1919, and she lost her citizenship. [Mrs. Gonzalezs mother had been born in Tampa but her husband was Spanish.] But in 1920 anew law was passed that said that if you married a foreigner, you still remained with your native citizenship. It took some time to get it all fixed up ....We went to Barcelona, and then to France because they had already paid from Tampa. My uncle had it all arranged for us to get on the Normandy to come to the United States, but when we went to get the ship, they told us that we were refugees and if we came to the United States the government would have to take care of us, and that they couldnt do that. So my mother told them that we had family over here, but they wouldnt hear of it. So they didnt let us go into the ship. The ship left and we were there. In the harbor. It was just my mother and I, and we'd just cry. Wed spend our time crying. Just like Mary Magdalene. I mean just crying all the time. My mother called that [Asturian] Senators son on the phone, and he came over and took us to the shipline to see what was wrong. And of course he was translating French to Spanish, back to Spanish. So my mother kept quiet all the time, you know, just taking it. And then she asked him: Does anybody speak English over here? And he asked, and they said yes. So my mother really gave them the one-two-three. When they saw that she was speaking English, they didnt know what to do. And she explained what they had done to her because at the ship we couldnt talk, because everything was French and we didnt speak French. So, somebody over there said: Okay, were gonna fix it up, dont worry about it, were gonna fix it up. And they took us to a hotel, and we were there a little over a week....Then we came to New York; we got in this country the 19th of December, 1938. (Mrs. Aida P. Gonzalez) Tampans React to the Bombings I still remember, it is still implanted in my mind. Im not sure if it was a picture in a magazine or in the newsreel. When they were bombing the city, an elderly man holding a little girl and looking up. Ill never forget that. And another one was after the Rebels were practically winning the war. Some of the Republicans were crossing through the Pyrenees, trying to get into France. Another man holding, I dont know if it was a boy or a girl, on his lap. And he would put his hand over the fire, the flames, to warm it and then rubbed the kids legs with that. (Mr. Modesto J. Garcia) Henry Fonda. I was a kid during the Spanish Civil War. He made a film called Blockade and that stayed in my mind all these years....I remember the bombings. I remember the destruction. And the children, sitting there by these buildings. Crying. Without a home. Because, lets not forget that it was the test time in the history of the world that bombs were dropped from planes ....And Blockade was pretty much telling that story of all the suffering and Barcelona and all that occurred.(Mr. Joe C. Maldonado)
Blockade (1938) was one of several movies made about the Spanish Civil War. Photograph from 1936-1939: La guerra de Espaa en la pantalla
The minute that we knew there was a war on, and how bad it was going for the people, not for the military, but for the people that were not in power. And it was really going real bad for them. So everybody started, as they always do when somebody is in trouble, they all go to help the person that is in trouble. And of course, the bigger the war got, and the fighting, the worse it got. Then we knew that it wasnt enough just to listen to what was happening and be interested, that we had to help. So thats when everybody started to help. All the clubs here in Tampa, they started to help. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) Tampa Volunteers Join the Fight We started hearing about a lot of men that volunteered to go and fight in Spain. And a lot of them went on their own, and a lot went with this brigade that they formed [the Abraham Lincoln Brigade]. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) When the Civil War broke out, Pepe [Jos Garca Granell] left, went to New York, got in the Lincoln Brigade and went back to his old country. I became aware of the civil war in Spain ...when I heard that Pepe was leaving... se va pa Espaa [hes going to Spain]. What is he going to do in Spain? Theres a conflict in Spain. A civil war in Spain. Thats when I learned about that. Then, later on they learned that the youngest brother [Oscar Garca Granell] was also involved, but with Franco. . Pepe was a POW for eighteen months....Oscar managed to go to this camp after the war to get his brother out of there, and hide him some place in Pravia [Asturias]. Because if his brother wouldnt have done that, they would have killed Pepe. Pepe was very outspoken, very devoted for his cause....He was injured; he died and hes buried in Spain, and Im pretty sure he was buried in Pravia. (Mr. Anthony Granell talking about his uncles, Jos and Oscar Garca Granell) I remember seeing the men; I remember this particular man who came back and had been injured. I remember the top of the ear being missing, from a bullet I guess, and I think he also had an arm wound. I think he couldnt move one arm very well. And I know he had been to the war in Spain. I know that there were several others, but this is the one, I dont remember his name. But it seems that I can remember his face so clearly. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) When the volunteers came back they were heroes in the community. They had gone to fight for liberty and for what was right. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.) The Spanish Consul in Tampa I never considered my grandfather [Gustavo Jimenez] to be a liberal my grandfather was very, very conservative. Very Victorian. I guess he felt the Republic was the right thing for Spain at that particular time. Since all the rest of the world was democracies, and they were getting rid of all the royal houses at that time. And supposedly, since Mussolini had taken over Italy during the s, I guess he preferred that to Fascism. Grandfather, I still see him as a conservative. He was anti-Communist, for sure.
I distinctly remember the arguments between my grandmother and him. She would look at the purple flag and shed say, That flag doesnt do a thing for me. The yellow one raises flutters in my heart. And he would yell across, Youre nothing but a Fascist! And she would yell back, And youre just nothing but a Communist! And hed pound the table with his fist and all the plates would jump up and down. And two seconds later they were fine, there was no problem. But every so often they had to have one of those outbursts. I remember helping him cut things out of the newspaper. One of the things he had to do was read anything that was published that came across his desk or he could buy that had anything about the war. Or about the Republic. Good or bad. Clip it. No copy machines. He had to buy two of everything. He would keep a copy, and he would send another copy to Madrid, I suppose. Or wherever he had to send things. He usually did most of his business in the house on Columbus Drive. I can remember the room just like were sitting here, and one whole wall was a map of Spain. With a ladder, a small ladder to go up. And thats where he kept track of the progress of the war. And I used to change the flags back and forth and I'd always ask him: When are we gonna win, Grandpa? and he would say, Dont worry, we are gonna win. Well he died before the war ended, which is just as well, because it would ha crushed him to know that. He was so sure that there was going to be victory. (Dr. Gus R. Jimenez) News from Spain My father had a short-wave radio at home. And every night of the week hed sit by the radio and listen to the news from Madrid. I think they used to start the newscast by saying Aqu Madrid, and then they went into their newscast. It probably wasnt very long. Probably maybe 30 minutes or so. And they gave statistics of how many people were injured and how many were killed and how many airplanes were shot down and that sort of thing. (Mr. Angel Raon) [This family bought a short-wave radio] and a lot of people from the neighborhood used to go over to their house at night when the news from Spain came in, to listen to all the noticias Its time for the noticias now. So we would all shuffle over there to listen to all the news to see if we had good news or bad news....I remember when they were bombing certain places and how the people who had families in the places where the news came from. That they had bombed here Jos Garca Granell, one of the Tampa volunteers who joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Photograph courtesy of Mrs. W.C. Dickey.
and there. They felt pretty bad because they knew that eventually they would lose some member of the family if the war didnt stop soon. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) Usually when they got together at the Labor Temple [which served as headquarters of the Tampa Committee in Ybor City], many times the whole auditorium was full. And, many times, people standing in the back, they couldnt get a seat. . .The whole community came together. Very much so. Mainly through word of mouth, through the cigar factories. And also at the time there used to be these panel trucks with the loudspeakers. Theyd go up and down the neighborhoods, with the loudspeakers, maybe announcing a meeting that was coming...whatever the item of the day was...that there would be a meeting or there would be a social function of some kind. And the people would just line up. Anytime, every time there was anything like this going on, any function of this type, it would always fill the theaters. Whatever theater it was. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) I remember the grown-ups all talking about Don Fernando de los Ros and [Marcelino] Domingo, and La Pasionaria and so many of these people went all over the country, talking to people to get them involved in what was taking place in Spain. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) We had some prominent Spanish, like the Ambassador, Fernando de los Rios, and everybody that was Spanish would want to go hear him, and hed tell them what was happening over there. We had a woman...I think she was a senator [Isabel de Palencia], and she was a very good speaker, and Marcelino Domingo, and they would tell what the situation was, and that they all thought that the government would prevail. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.) Perceptions of the War My ideas reflected my parents feelings, and my parents feelings were that the Republic was a legally instituted government and they should have been given the opportunity to rule the country according to democratic principles. Like this country. They fought for the same principles: liberty, and the pursuit of justice. (Mr. Angel Raon) Gustavo Jimenez (shown with his wife in the 1930s) served as Spanish consul in Tampa. Photograph courtesy of Gus R. Jimenez.
The fact that it was a matter of fighting for freedom and against Fascism is what I most remember. The Loyalists were accused in many places of being Communist. The people here were not Communist per se. They really werent. They didnt belong to the Communist Party. (Mrs. Delia P. Sanchez) In college we had a professor, and he made a statement in class that the Republic was Communist. And I remembered my grandfather. I banged the desk. He looked at me shocked. I said: Sir, where do you get those facts? I said: I want you to know my grandfather was the consul for the Republic and we were no Communists. He said: Well, I'll research that. And he researched it and he came back and he apologized in front of the whole class. He said: The Communists did back the Republic, and the Spanish Constitution allowed the Communists to have seats in the Republic, but that didnt make the whole government Communist. I said: Thats what I was trying to tell you. (Dr. Gus R. Jimenez) My father wasnt a communist or a socialist, he was just Republican. He had the ideas of a democratic government like they have over here. He had been exposed to this, and he liked it. And thats what he wanted a democracy. And he figured the Republic, the Republicans were the ones to give it. (Mrs. Aida P. Gonzalez) The Catholic Church My father, as many of the men that came from Spain, had become very anticlerical. (Mrs. Delia P. Sanchez) The theater of the Centro Asturiano packed with people commemorating the anniversary of the Spanish Republic in April 1939. Photograph from Castelao, a U.P.G. e outras memorias
I was baptized in the Catholic Church but my father had no interest in the Catholic Church and it went back to Spain. When he was in Spain he was an altar boy, and he saw a lot of things that went on behind the scenes in the Catholic Church that he disapproved. And so consequently he never went back to church. (Mr. Joaquin de la Llana) My family left Spain because in Asturias, in the village they were in, if they didnt attend certain masses, their family was fined; they had to pay a fine. So my grandmother decided that she just wanted to migrate to the New World. As a matter of fact, they were so upset with the Catholic religion that when they came to Tampa they never set foot in a Catholic church. However, they believed in God and they prayed at home, and did all the things that they normally would have done in church. (Mr. Joe C. Maldonado) The only recollection that I have of the church participation was a newsreel of Pope Pius [XI] blessing some Italian warplanes. Whether they were going to bomb Spain, or whether it was Postcards that circulated in Tampa carried the images of General Jos Miaja and Dolores Ibarruri ( La Pasionaria ), the fiery Communist leader who coined the phrase No Pasarn! The postcards were sold at fundraising events. Photographs courtesy of Amalia Owens.
during the Ethiopian campaign...I dont remember. But I do remember the Pope blessing, in this newsreel, the Italian warplanes and the reaction that it got from the audience which was very negative. Booing and hissing and even back then I thought how inappropriate it was for a church leader to be blessing a war machine. Whenever he appeared on the newsreel he was hissed, booed, in the neighborhood theater. (Mr. William F. Garcia) The Catholic Church in Ybor City, one Sunday in August, announced that the next Sunday there would be a special collection for the Red Cross in Spain. Well, that was like a bomb had hit this community. Everybody got so upset because they said this Red Cross meant Franco Spain. So that Sunday most of these people did not let their children go to church, and two weeks later we were supposed to go to [church] school. The greater part of the students never returned. They went to public school. My recollection is that there were about 900 students in the school, and it got down to about 90. There were 10 students in my class, in ninth grade, and it came down to three. It was tremendous. If it wasnt the ratio that I remember, it was somewhere close. (Mrs. Delia P. Sanchez) The Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain The cigarworkers were paid in cash on Saturdays, and on the way out there would be people standing there with small cigar boxes asking for their contributions, and they would give twenty-five cents, a dollar, depending on how much they could afford. They collected that money every week. And that money was used to buy blankets and medicines and bandages and stuff. These were then packed and sent to [Spain]. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.) We collected every Saturday at the foot of the cigar factories, and actually times were very bad; a nickel was a lot of money then. We gave them a receipt and everything, and we went to the houses, we had addresses. [On a typical Saturday we could collect] maybe fifteen dollars. (Mrs. Angeles D. Marti) As young as I was, I had what you call a collectors route. It was right from 26th Avenue all the way to Martin Luther King [Buffalo Avenue]. I had to walk a long way. This was a business collection. Every week I went. Joe gave me a quarter. The guy in the grocery store gave me fifty cents, and they were just as poor as everybody else. The poultry market used to give me a dollar. Oh, I was rich, with a dollar. A big feed company always gave me five dollars. Oh man, I used to be in seventh heaven. So, then my daddy and I, wed walk all the way up here to Eighth Avenue to the Labor Temple. Thats where they had their office. And give our money out. (Mrs. Aida Azpeitia) We sold churros [fried pastry]. Every Saturday youd get anywhere from 10 to 15 women making them. We used to go out with two baskets. I think they put five in each little bag. I had Seventh Avenue, and we used to yell Churros! We started early, and we stayed there until 9:30, until all the stores closed. We sold churros from 22nd street to Nebraska, and very few people said No....We would get anywhere from a nickel to a dollar, and it was not just Seventh Avenue and Ybor City. People used to go to West Tampa, and wherever they could sell it, they would sell it. I dont know what other part of Tampa they went to, but I know in Ybor City and West Tampa, we churroed them out! (Mrs. Melba Pullara)
My mother was very active mainly sewing and mending clothes that had been donated to send to Spain. All this through the Labor Temple. All this went to the Loyalists. My house had turned into a warehouse. Everything was separated: childrens clothes, womens clothes, mens clothes and so on. And a lot of people would come over....Encarnacion Rosete had the most. In fact, it was when her house overflowed that my house became a warehouse. And people would go over there to pick up items of clothing to mend, and also if any of the clothes were soiled or anything they were all made presentable. And they were fixed at both these houses. The people would take them and fix them, maybe wash them, iron them, bring them back all folded and nice to be able to pack and send away. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) I remember how upset everybody was and how they felt like they had to do something. My mother, for instance, who was a seamstress, used to do a lot of sewing. She would sew from remnants the little short pants for the boys and the little shirts, and the little dresses for the little girls to send to Spain....The labor union and the different organizations would send boxes, and my mother, after she got through working and sewing to make a living, she would sew. And of course we attended so many of the fundraisers that they had here at the Centro Asturiano. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) The clubs started to have different kinds of benefits, plays, and picnics all kinds of things that they had to make money. And they did make a lot of money. I know that we made a lot of money because of the sums that I have read in newspapers. According to the size of the city, we Members of the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain on the steps of the Vicente Martinez-Ybor factory in Ybor City. Photograph courtesy of Angeles D. Marti.
did as much, if not more, than other bigger cities with bigger populations. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) Carmen Ramirez was in charge of the plays and the people. And those people had to work. They worked in the factories. And then at night theyd practice until all hours of the night. And they all had families, so it goes to show you what enthusiasm they had here. (Mrs. Aida Azpeitia) One of the things that the cigar manufacturers would do, is that they would take the scrap tobacco and cut it up and make it into fine tobacco, and then they would package that in small little bags with a drawstring. And they would get cigarette paper and put it on, so they could roll their own. And that was shipped to the Spanish government soldiers. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.) I was about fifteen, sixteen years old when the war started and, the thing that I remember the most was when they would get together at a storefront on Seventh Avenue, mostly the women, and they collected clothing to ship to Spain. And I sometimes went down there to help. And one of the things that I did was help them pack cigar cuttings so that the Republican soldiers could have cigarettes to smoke. And they put them in little bags, cloth bags, and all that went to Spain. And I remember the collections that they used to make at the steps of the cigar factories, and outside as well, and when cigarmakers came out of the cigar factories, they always had a quarter or fifty cents, or whatever they felt they could afford. And that was all used to buy things to send to Spain, medical supplies. And I believe they also collected enough to where they were able to buy four ambulances that also went to Spain.(Mr. Angel Raon) We were so happy when we sent those ambulances! That was a big thing! A lot of money was collected a lot of money. When you stop to think that these people that were giving the money werent making much money themselves. They were barely making a living. (Mrs. Aida Azpeitia) I do remember my father being very upset about the condition in Spain and very extremely concerned about his family. He had received mail from them and they spoke of such deprivation and hardship. Both he and my mother would gather whatever clothes they could find and they would buy new clothes and wash them so that they didnt appear to be new because you werent supposed to send new clothes. And I remember wrapping them in burlap sacks and being sent directly to the family in Spain. And whether they got all of them I dont know; I do know that they got some of them because they received letters saying that they had received the clothes and what a blessing it was. (Mrs. Dolores L. Garcia) There were a lot of protests and demonstrations, and I was involved, as a child, dressing up in the miliciano outfit. I was about seven years old. And it was very emotional. I loved it. We learned the song No pasarn! and wed sing it. Then we would make these signs [raising the fist] and marching, and it was a lot of fun. It was something really to look forward to. (Mrs. Grace L. Pelaez.) I remember my parents talking about] the picnics, the fundraisers that were coming up and that we needed uniforms and that we needed to learn songs and how terrible Franco was. And
that was the extent of it that I remember as a five-year-old. I mean, the excitement was getting uniforms and learning the songs. And I remember my father was always very emotional about it, and every time I sang those songs I got chilled, very emotional about it. Because thats when I could feel, more than listen or understand. It was this feeling that youngsters get about things that are emotional around them.(Mrs. Alice L. Perez.) The children were taught that this was a very important thing that was going on in Spain, and we heard the talk all the time. So we did all these things with a lot of willingness and enthusiasm.... We learned all the songs that they taught us, and we learned dances that they did in Spain to do at the picnics. (Mrs. Alice Menendez) The kids all used to get together. We used to collect newspapers and we used to collect the foil. And I understand that they made sinkers and things for fishing and would sell them. And I had a friend that I think must have stripped his mothers lemon tree because he was always selling lemons to collect money. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) We would gather those packs of cigarettes that were discarded and open them up and peel off the lead foil. And the same way with the chewing gum wrappers and make them into a ball and the word was that they were going to take this tin-foil and make it into bullets. It wasnt until very recently that I discovered they were using it to make sinkers. (Mr. William F. Garcia) I remember seeing the demonstrators, and they had little pins with the Republican flag that were put on them, and then there was a big drive when the Fascists were trying to take Madrid, and they would have this song, that all of them would sing in the Centro Obrero [Labor Temple], in the streets, and everything: Pero a Madrid, pero a Madrid, no pasarn!(Mr. Joaquin de la Llana) The cigarworkers where my mother worked in Garcia & Vega got together and they formed a committee, and they said: Lets have a march to protest, and ask Roosevelt to lift the embargo and to help the poor children that are suffering so much in Spain. And it was organized in the Labor Temple in Ybor City, and we marched from there down to City Hall. And I remember participating in that march, and the people were holding hands, going with posters and so forth. Children dressed up as milictanos at a West Tampa picnic organized to aid Republican Spain. Photograph courtesy of Grace L. Pelaez.
It was a very impressive demonstration. And when I went to the City Hall, and I dont recall who spoke, but they did speak there, and they asked the mayor and others to send a telegram to Roosevelt to please lift the embargo so those people could at least have arms to defend themselves. (Mr. Joe C. Maldonado) The first political demonstration that I can remember was a march from Ybor City and the Centro Obrero to downtown Tampa to support the Republic. I wasnt quite seven years old. There were women standing on porches and applauding and cheering and waving. And the chant was Lift the embargo against Loyalist Spain. The men all marched first in one group, and then the next group were the ladies and then the next group were the children. (Mr. William F. Garcia) In the restaurant we always had posters for Franklin Roosevelt, and whenever he appeared on the newsreel in the neighborhood theater, everybody cheered. And when he was speaking, your parents wouldnt let you get up to go to the restroom. You had to wait until after he finished; it was disrespectful to get up when he was on the newsreel. (Mr. William F. Garcia) In May 1937, women cigarworkers organized and led a demonstration protesting Francos bombing of open cities. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune May 7, 1937.
Everybody was very upset, as much as we loved Roosevelt, we were very upset with that embargo that he had. They had one demonstration about that, and they went all the way downtown protesting it. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) Latins were very disappointed [about the United States neutrality law]. I remember them talking. They said: If they don't help now, theyre going to pay later. And it was prophetic. They knew it was a mistake for them not to send at least money or technical help. Had we had sent something to tell the Republican Army what was going on with the Fascists, they wouldnt have won the war. (Dr. Gus R. Jimenez) I dont think they were very pleased with the part that the United States played.Hitler tried out a lot of his new equipment in the Spanish Civil War. A lot of good people died as a result of his trying out his new fighting equipment, which later he turned on the American people. So, maybe the world may have taken another turn if instead of throwing in with the Fascists they would have thrown in with the Republicans. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) 1939: The End of the War Some of the clubs refused to fly the new Spanish flag, and they kept their old flag flying over their buildings. There was a feeling of let down. It took many years before they were able to bring themselves to go back to Spain, even for visiting. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.) I think my father would have gone back to Spain if the Republic would have won, but with [Francos victory] he lost complete interest of ever going back to Spain. Even in later years when they retired, my mother wanted to go and he wouldn't go. (Mr. Joaquin de la Llana] Everyone had family in Spain. And they complained that people were disappearing; sometimes people would disappear in the night. People never forgot. A sort of calm came over people. And people just accepted what had happened in Spain; you had to accept it. A lot of people didnt want to go because Franco was in power. My own family didn't go until 1958, because Franco was in power. (Mrs. Amelia B. Menendez) A lot of Spaniards came over with the idea of going back of retiring, going back home with money and I guess when they saw Franco take over, they figured: Were not getting back. And I remember people getting information for citizenship papers almost constantly. Grandfather [who had served as the consul] was dead, but they would come just to have my aunts write the papers, or see if there was any record. (Dr. Gus R. Jimenez) After Franco took over, a lot of people had to leave Spain or they would be imprisoned or persecuted or prosecuted in Spain. After the war ended in Spain, there was a new group formed [in Tampa], which was a take-off from the Frente Popular. It was referred to as Junta de Cultura Espanola. They collected money by holding dances and so forth. And that money was sent, spent, in helping the refugees who had left Spain, who were either in France or Mexico, Cuba, wherever they had gone to. (Mr. Frank J. Perez, Sr.)
The Lasting Impact of the Spanish Civil War I became very fond and loved and enjoyed the reading of Ernest Hemingway, and one of the reasons that I enjoyed him was because he was a Republican, and anybody that associated themselves with Spain and the Republic was a friend of mine. The Spanish Civil War brought me close to Spain because I became involved in something outside of here, the United States, and something that I put my heart into the Spanish Republic, and it made me a little closer to Spain along with the family there. (Mr. Joaquin de la Llana.) The fact is that at my age I dont know how I saved all of this stuff. I guess because it was so important to my family and to my mother. Whatever I got my hands on, I saved because it was important to them, it was important to me. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) The war in Spain, that was what everybody talked about and everybody worried about, and especially being first generation American, my parents had family over there. So it was something that you almost lived with every day. Definitely, and I guess it colored a lot of the things that you did. Even though as young as I was, the Spanish Civil War was the theme of most of our conversations, and I think later on when I was older I realized that what I think angered me was being called reds. The Republicans were called reds mostly by the Americans. Now that used to make me angry!...And then I realized that really the world war started there. (Mrs. Amalia L. Owens) The impact was more perhaps in terms of really being concerned about democratic principles and about what can happen. When I was in college, I ran into people that very much remembered the civil war in Spain, and I was surprised I guess in my world I thought that it was just here in Tampa....I had a Jewish roommate and her family had been very aware of what was happening in Spain. And she grew up with strong feelings about democracy and the fact that you have to be aware and listen and look, so that we dont have these things happening here. (Mrs. Delia P. Sanchez)
TAMPA AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: A PHOTOGRAPHIC ESSAY by Ana Varela-Lago Despite the onset of the Great Depression, the decade of the 1930s started auspiciously for Tampas Spanish immigrants. In 1930 they rejoiced at the fall of the seven-year dictatorship of General Primo de Rivera. In 1931 they celebrated the countrys return to democracy and the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic ending the rule of the Bourbon monarchy. By the end of the decade, their expectations had been shattered. In 1936, a military uprising threatened to overthrow the Republic. In 1939, after three years of war and half a million deaths, the Spanish Republic fell, and Spain again became a dictatorship under General Francisco Franco. Spanish immigrants in the United States sided overwhelmingly with the Loyalists and responded to General Francos revolt by setting up anti-fascist committees to support the Republican war effort. In Tampa, the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain worked tirelessly in support of the Spanish Republic, organizing weekly collections in cigar factories and business establishments; sending shipments of clothing, food and medicines; demonstrating Pablo de Ubarri, the Spanish consul in Tampa, reading about the war in Spain during July 1936. Three months later Ubarri resigned his post and returned to Spain to work for Franco's National Movement. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune July 21, 1936.
against the indiscriminate bombing of civilians; and urging the United States to lift the arms embargo against Republican Spain. When the Republic fell in 1939, they turned their efforts to aid the thousands of refugees who fled the country. The accompanying photographs are testimony to the commitment of the Tampa Latin community to support democracy in Spain.
Gustavo Jimenez in the Spanish consular office in the First National Bank Building. Following Pablo de Ubarris resignation, Jimenez was named interim consul of the Spanish Republic. He served from 1936 until his death in 1938. Photograph courtesy of Gus R. Jimenez. Alvin D. Pasternack, one of several Tampans who joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade to defend the Spanish Republic against General Francos rebel forces. He was killed on October 17,1937, while fighting on the Aragon front. Photograph courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.
Blanca Valls contributes to the Tampa Committee for the Defense of the Spanish Popular Front in Ybor Citys Labor Temple, while its president Jose Martinez (left) and Victoriano Manteiga look on. Two weeks after its foundation the Committee sent $2,000 to Republican Spain. During the three years of the war, it contributed close to $200,000 to the Spanish Red Cross. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune August 21, 1936. Republican supporters celebrating good news that was received from Republican Spain on short wave radio in Ybor City streets. People gathered daily at the Labor Temple to listen to radio broadcasts from Madrid and Havana reporting on the progress of the Spanish Civil War. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune August 22, 1936.
Fernando de los Ros, the Spanish Ambassador, first visited Tampa in November 1936, and during the course of the war, he returned several times. In 1938, he presented the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain the gold medal of the Spanish Red Cross for its outstanding humanitarian work. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune November 20, 1936. Front page of a program commemorating the sixth anniversary of the Spanish Republic. The program design resembles the Spanish Republican flag. Throughout the war, Tampa Spanish immigrants continued to celebrate the anniversary of the Spanish Republic every April 14. Courtesy of A lice Menendez.
Pablo Picassos Guernica represents the destruction of the Basque town of Guernica by the German Condor Legion on April 26, 1937, one of the first saturation bombings of a defenseless town in Europe. Reproduction from the Centro de Arte R eina Sofa, Madrid. The bombing of Guernica provoked international outrage. In Tampa, 5,000 demonstrators marched from Ybor Citys Labor Temple to City Hall to protest the ruthless killing of women and children by Francos forces. Photograph courtesy of La Gaceta
Posters of the Spanish Civil War portrayed the popular defense of Madrid against Francos forces during the first months of the war. These posters featured images of women donning dungarees and fighting side by side with militiamen in the trenches. Photograph courtesy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives.
Powerful images of the Spanish Civil War resonated in Tampa, where children dressed as milicianos sang the song No Pasarn! at fundraisers of the Tampa Committee like this picnic at La Columna Park in West Tampa circa 1937. Photograph courtesy of Grace Pelaez. Children were key participants in the activities of the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain as it can be seen in this Labor Day demonstration through Ybor City in 1938. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune September 6, 1938.
Children raised money for the Republic by collecting the tin foil from chewing gum wrappers and cigarette packs. The tin foil was made into fishing sinkers, like those pictured here, that were sold locally to buy canned milk for Spanish children. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections. Members of the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain at the Labor Temple preparing to send one of many shipments of clothing to the Spanish Red Cross. During the war, the Tampa Committee shipped more than 20 tons of clothing to Spain. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune November 28, 1937.
Flier announcing a play, Los Hroes de Madrid, written by a Tampa cigarmaker and performed at the Centro Asturiano. Proceeds from the performance were used to purchase sewing machines to send to Republican Spain. Courtesy of Alice Menendez.
Volunteers from the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain packing some of the more than 6 million cigarettes made with tobacco donated by the Raul Garcia Co. to be shipped to the Spanish Red Cross for use by the Loyalist soldiers. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune December 21, 1938. As the Spanish Republic collapsed in March 1939, demonstrators gathered in front of Tampas courthouse to ask for the lifting of the arms embargo. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune March 5, 1939.
In this cartoon depicting the fall of Madrid in March 1939, George White acknowledged the role of foreign intervention in Francos final victory. Photograph from the Tampa Tribune March 29, 1939.
Around half a million Spanish Republicans fled to France after Francos victory in 1939. The organizations that had supported the Spanish Republic turned to alleviate the plight of the thousands of Spanish refugees crammed into French refugee camps at the start of World War II. Photograph from The Spanish Civil War: A History in Pictures The membership card of Ceferino Lpez for Tampas Junta de Cultura Espaola, the organization that replaced the Popular Committee when the Spanish Civil War ended in 1939. The Junta de Cultura Espanola collected more than $50,000 to aid Spanish refugees and continued operations until 1970. Courtesy of Grace Pelaez.
TAMPA, ALTAR OF SPAIN: A SPANISH REPUBLICAN VIEW OF TAMPA IN THE 1930S by Marcelino Domingo Translation and introduction by Ana Varela-Lago* [Introduction: The commitment of the Tampa community to help the Spanish Republic during the 1930s made an impression on several of the Republican representatives who visited the city under the auspices of the Tampa Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain and the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy. Some of them, like Marcelino Domingo, mentioned Tampa in their memoirs of the war years. A teacher, journalist, politician, and author, Marcelino Domingo was one of the most prominent figures of the Republic to visit Tampa. He was president of the Republican Left Party and had served as Minister of Education and Culture and as Minister of Agriculture, Industry and Commerce. When the war started in Spain in 1936, the government sent Marcelino Domingo as part of a delegation to garner support for the Republic in America. From his experience on these American tours he wrote two books: Espaa ante el Mundo (1937), and El Mundo ante Espaa (1938). The latter includes his recollections of his visit to Tampa in September 1937. During his stay in Tampa, Domingo felt overwhelmed by the outpouring of Republican support, not only among local Spaniards, but among Italians and Cubans as well. He compared this united front in the 1930s to Tampas earlier outpouring of support for Cuban independence in the 1890s. After his last American tour, Marcelino Domingo returned to Spain in October 1937. He died in exile in France in March 1939. The following excerpt comes from his book El mundo ante Espaa (Paris: La Technique du Livre, 1938), pages 390-98.] From the moment of my arrival in the United States, the organizer s of the Tampa Committee to Aid the Spanish People solicited my presence. They addressed themselves to me directly, as Spaniards, as Republicans, and some of them, as friends. They pressed the North American Committee to Aid Spanish Democracy to include Tampa in their propaganda tours. They requested time and time again the intervention of our embassy in Washington to see to it that I would travel to Tampa. When I left the United States to go to Mexico, there I received the same requests. Finally, when news reached Tampa of my planned trip to Havana, their appeals were made in terms that were impossible to ignore. Theirs was not the burdensome insistence of mere stubbornness, small-town pride, or whim; it was testimony to the magnificent will to serve and defend the Spanish Republic that existed in this American city. Here, on the coast near Cuba and Mexico, in the heart of Florida, populated by families of Italians, Cubans and Spaniards, together referred to as Latins, Tampa looks more like a Mediterranean city than a piece of Yankee territory. On my way from Mexico to Cuba, I stopped in Tampa, to satisfy at last the desires that I shared with those who had requested my presence. Even before I could step off the train, I could sense the excitement and emotion of those who awaited me and who demonstrated their fervor for the *The author thanks James P. DEmilio for his help in translating this document.
cause of Spain. Long live the Spanish Republic! they shouted when they saw me, with the same passion with which it could have been uttered on the home front or in the trenches. A sea of arms stretched out to embrace me and to warmly express their affection. The introductions took place on the platform, with the hastiness and confusion that reveal the fervor of the spirit. There were the presidents of the Spanish Clubs, of the labor unions, of the Italian and Cuban Clubs, reporters, and authorities. A little old man, hat in hand and holding back tears, stepped forward. He was the Spanish Vice-Consul, the official representative of the far-away fatherland. I emphasize this both because of the ethical quality of the person and because there are still places where the Spanish official Marcelino Domingo (left) greeted upon his arrival in Tampa by members of the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain: Mariano Rodriguez (treasurer, center), Pedro Ramirez Moya (secretary) and Jose Martinez (president, right). Photograph from the Tampa Tribune September 4, 1937.
representation does not conduct itself in this way. In Saltillo, for example, one of the last Mexican cities I visited, the Spanish Vice-Consul, personally notified of my arrival, did not come to receive me (although I was received by the mayor, the presidents of the Spanish Clubs and hundreds of people). On a visit to an establishment, I was told who he was, but he remained seated, staring at me, without showing the courtesy extended by the others in attendance. Saltillo is not the only example of this. This shows that, after several months of war, the Republic has within itself, either ready to betray it or in open disaffection, many false servants collecting salaries. Those who serve, with honorary title, should not be exempt from the duty to serve with honor. With honor means with loyalty. I stayed in Tampa three days. During that time I delivered speeches at the Labor Temple, the Masonic Lodge [the Loyal Knights of America], the Centro Asturiano, the Cuban Club, the House of Italy [Societa di Mutuo Soccorso Italia], the Italian Club, the Centro Espaol, the Centro Espaol Hospital, the Centro Asturiano Hospital, and a farewell speech again at the Labor Temple. The speeches at the Labor Temple and the Masonic Lodge were delivered the night of my arrival. I thought that these visits would be just social calls. At the Labor Temple there were thousands of people; the traffic on the street had been stopped. There was an electrified, impassioned, inflamed mass of men and women. When I appeared on the platform, the acclamations to the Republic and to Spain were endless. I was moved by this unexpected demonThe Labor Temple in Ybor City vas the headquarters of the Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain. Photograph courtesy of USF Special Collections.
stration, by the emotion stirred up in me by that magnificent popular response. Once again I understood the spiritual values that the name of Spain creates in the world and the need to nurture those spiritual values, so that territorial Spain may find in this immense spiritual Spain support, defense, and the best fruit of her martyrdom. From this birth of Spain, painful to the point of death, comes to life a spiritual Spain of dimensions and creative powers that Spain never had and never imagined. The strengthening of this new spiritual Spain and the realization of its extraordinary possibilities already constitute the transcendental historical responsibility of Spain. If Spain, having gained a military advantage on the battlefield, were to lose this spiritual Spain, which might be the greatest Empire any country has ever had, not only would she have won nothing, but she would have lost everything. Above all, she would have lost the opportunity for an effective influence in the political destiny of the world. At present, this spiritual Spain is the invisible battlefield where Fascism, by its own actions, has been stripped of moral authority, discredited, eradicated, vanquished. There, Fascism has already lost the war, and what is worse for Fascism, it has lost the future. The Spanish Republic, for its part, has earned the merits that entitle her to triumph in the war....That is a lot already. But, the Spanish Republic must think, first, about sustaining this spiritual Spain which sustains her, and, second, about acting to ensure that Spain gains the future that Fascism has lost. If the Spanish Republic were to win the war with heroism at home and inspiration from abroad, with the irresistible thrust of the Spain of steel and the growing force of the spiritual Spain, but she were not to preserve or take care of the future, that loss would be a greater catastrophe for Spain than the collapse of her colonial empire. One can have colonies and lack moral influence. One can have moral influence without colonies. It is this moral influence, which no colonies can grant, that Spain can win right now. Never has Spain, so rightly preoccupied with the present, had to think more about the future. Never has Spain, so deeply rent by her internal drama, had to extend her eyes to the exterior so far beyond the horizon. Spain is today, again, a point of reference for the world. She could still be one tomorrow. It depends on her, and on her alone. Why did the scene in Tampa arouse in me this obsessive and tormenting idea? I do not know. In Spain one thinks of the war. One must think of the war so much that one must not stop thinking about it. One thinks also of the revolution. What greater revolution than the war? What more victorious revolution that victory in the war? However, one must also think of this spiritual Spain, of such extraordinary expanse throughout the world, which offers war-torn Spain, for tomorrow, when we can build in peace, possibilities of international action as it never had before. To realize a great historical destiny is, for a people at war, the highest conquest that war can bring. After the Labor Temple, where I delivered a speech about this spiritual Spain, I went, at midnight, to the big building of the Masonic Lodge. The street was again packed; children, women and men awaiting me formed an imposing crowd. I thought that the Lodge would be a small place, secluded, ceremonious and intimate. No. The crowd was huge there too. Girls dressed in white with a sash decorated with the three colors of the Spanish flag; boys dressed in blue with the Spanish flag in their hands; on the platform, united, the American and the Spanish flags. One of these girls, bursting into tears, sang to Spain; an old man, his voice trembling with emotion, remembered Spain; and of Spain I spoke. In the early morning hours, the Himno de Riego brought the event to a close, and that music that many times had seemed to lack feeling
and energy, brought to me the echoes and resonances of those hymns which beauty, history or hopes have made universal. Of the remaining speeches, the main one was delivered at the Centro Asturiano Theater. All the rooms of this huge building were full of people, and there were loudspeakers in the street for the multitude who had not been able to secure a spot inside. There were other speeches, brief and specific, at the Centro Espaol and the Spanish hospitals. The most important was the one at the Centro Espaol, before thousands of people. But the three that I delivered with most intensity were at the Cuban Club and the two Italian Clubs. In the Cuban Club, before the apostolic image of [Jos] Mart, and in the Italian Clubs, where I was surrounded by Italians who greeted me in Italian and told me that they were not to blame for the conduct of the Italian state, and that there was an Italian majority who wished for the freedom of Spain to win, then, the freedom of Italy. The Cuban Club brought me memories of the Cuban war for independence, where Mart found his death at the hands of Spaniards of the same ilk as those who launched the war against this Spain of 1936 which, like the Cuba of 1898, wants to be free. The Italian Clubs reminded me of the aggression of the dictatorships against the democracies. Cuba, Spain, Italy. Cuba and Spain were at war then. Spain and Italy are at war now. However, Spain, Italy and Cuba are united here, holding hands, uttering the same words. In the past, it was not the Spanish people, but the Spanish State, which attacked Cuba. The Spanish State, represented then by the same who now attack the Spanish people and who, if yesterday bled Cuba, tearing it from Spain, today bleed Spain, trying to strip it of the sovereignty she had won. The Italian State attacks the Spanish Members of the Popular Democratic Committee to Aid Spain, in front of the Labor Temple, circa 1937. Photograph courtesy of Aida Azpeitia.
Liberals as it has been attacking the Italian Liberals. It was not Spain that fought against Cuba, and it is not Italy that fights against Spain. In 1898, at the time of the war in Cuba, Spain confronted the same problem of independence against her state that Italy confronts today. In a Spanish Republican of today, a Cuban sees a fighter against the same things he had to fight yesterday, an Italian sees a fighter against what he will have to fight tomorrow. In these clubs of Tampa is where history, seemingly contradictory, achieves its most clear and profound interpretations. But supporters of the Spanish Republic in Tampa do more than express their enthusiasm verbally. They demonstrate their solidarity in more effective ways. Through permanent and organized individual contributions they have already sent to the Spanish government $80,000 and to the Spanish battlefields four ambulances. You must visit the cigar factories when they collect the money for Spain, it was suggested to me. Your visit will be appreciated, acclaimed and effective. So I did. Saturday afternoon I made the runs of the cigar factories. They are brick buildings red and big. Some of them have the venerable authority of the oldest buildings of Tampa. The entrance is usually one-story high with an ample stone staircase. At the bottom of the stairs, or at the landing, were the people assigned to make the collections. With a stub-book in their hands, they handed over a ticket for the amount of the contribution made. From the factory came men and women, Latins and Americans, blacks and whites. For Spanish Democracy! For Spanish Democracy! cried out the bearers of the stub-book. There was no worker who did not contribute something. But the donations were not given as one gives alms, or meets an obligation, or pays a tax, or bears a heavy tribute with resignation; they were given with the expression, demeanor, and tone of one who proudly fulfills a higher duty. In one of those cigar factories I shook the hand of a humble worker who, from the beginning of the war, has donated five dollars every week. In another cigar factory, I was introduced to a woman who gives to Spain as much money as she used to save before. Since the war started, she tells me there are no movies, no theaters, no cafes, for the workers in Tampa. Nothing. The money that used to be spent on entertainment or put away in savings is now sent to Spain. In another cigar factory I was directed to an old colored man, who had served under [General Antonio] Maceo during the Cuban war for independence, and who has not let a week pass without contributing. When I pressed his hand between mine, he smiled. Under his black skin, his immaculately white teeth shone. Spain! Spain! he groaned, and I dont know whether he felt nostalgia, anguish or hope. And in a low voice, he uttered these profound words: I too fought for Spain. I fought for Spain with Maceo and against [General Valeriano] Weyler. I fought for the Spain that now fights. Yesterday I gave her my blood and perhaps she thought I was her enemy; today I give her my money and she knows that I am her friend. I was as much a friend of Spain yesterday as I am today; as much
an enemy today as I was yesterday of the Spaniards who do not want to let Spain live. You are fighting for the same ideals and against the same enemies that we fought th en... In front of the Martnez Ybor factory, the first one built in Tampa, they showed me the steps that spread over to the street like the seats of a small amphitheater. From these stairs, a Cuban who accompanies us tells me, Mart spoke in Tampa about the independence of Cuba. Mart spoke, as you do now, of his fatherland. He spoke of Cubas right to be free, as you speak of the right of Spain to be free. From these stairs he inspired, he taught, and he uncovered the truth. He persuaded. He created a spiritual Cuba, as you create a spiritual Spain. Mart did for Cuba what you are doing for Spain. Indeed. Mart spoke from this platform. He spoke from these stairs and at the Ignacio Agramonte Club with its glorious past. It was here that his friends realized that Mart had lost weight, and grown pale and old. It was here that he delivered his famous speeches With Cuba, for Cuba, and The New Pines. It was here before the envious, the slanderers, the incredulous, the lukewarm, and those poisoned by base ambitions that he said: For suffering Cuba, the first word. Cuba must be an altar where we offer our lives, not a pedestal to raise ourselves above her. An altar, not a pedestal. Is that holy invocation of Mart what created the civic and patriotic religion that today has united, with the same fervor, Italians, Cubans, and Spaniards and that, forty years after Marts death, in this land of Tampa where far away Spain cannot be a pedestal, has made her an altar? Mart taught us to revere generously the peoples who give their lives for freedom. It is because of Marts teachings and the luminous example of Spain that Tampa, in this vast spiritual Spain that finds its home in the whole world, has acquired the imposing majesty of a temple in which even the humblest stones have been made sublime by faith. Tickets certifying the amount donated to Tamp as Democratic Popular Committee to Aid Spain. Courtesy of the Luis Soto Fernndez Collection, Archivo Histrico Provincial de Orense, Spain.
BRINGING JUSTICE TO THE FRONTIER: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN ANTEBELLUM HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY by James M. Denham In the spring of 1846, Hillsborough County was preparing to hold its first circuit court in Tampa. Since 1834, when Floridas legislative council created the county, residents had attended court in Newnansville, in faraway Alachua County. Hillsborough County was sparsely populated. The 1840 census showed 452 citizens, only ninety-six of whom could be identified as civilians. The Second Seminole War (1836-1842) ironically brought more prosperity and settlers. By 1850 there were 441 residents of Tampa, and 2,377 in Hillsborough county as a whole. By 1860 Tampas population had doubled while the county total stood at approximately 3,000. This figure, of course, does not reflect the true extent of growth, since in 1855, Hillsborough County had lost approximately half of its land area, owing to the creation of Manatee County to the south.1 In the fall of 1846, however, county authorities moved briskly if not always smoothly toward meeting the countys administrative and judicial responsibilities. The organization of the countys judicial structure proceeded with difficulty, however. A jail and courthouse had to be built. Criminals had to be prosecuted. Sheriffs, judges, and other civil officials worked under primitive conditions. On July 27, 1846, E. A. Ware, clerk of the circuit court, wrote the Florida comptroller that the state had yet to pay expenses incurred during Hillsboroughs first term of the circuit court. Even though for some unknown reason one judge had dismissed all the indictments brought forward in the first session of court, the unpaid accounts were still due. Wares criticism of the state did not end there. Complaining of his difficulties, Ware attributed much of the confusion to negligence at the state level. When I took office, there were neither books, forms nor anything else! Two books are used one for all the dockets and the other for the minutes of court. I want several other books, but am unable to learn the proper person to apply to for them. I had to rent an office and furnish it entirely with desks, tables, etc. which I understood the law makes no provision for and I never have received any laws until recently, and being entirely unacquainted with the routine of such matters errors in form are unavoidable at the outset. I made out my a/c [account] under the instructions of the judge and solicitor, and if you think it necessary to curtail it you must do it though as the duties were performed therein charged I should think it rather hard upon an officer, whose office is by no means a sinecure one...There was no law books nor advice to be queried by which will in measure account for the looseness manifested in making out the accounts.2 As hinted by Ware's narrative, the scene in and around Tampa Bay was both disorderly and raucous. Hillsborough Countys first grand jury inveighed against the number of vagrants living among the citizens and recommended their expulsion. The jurors suspected the vagrants, who were holdovers from the recent war against the Seminoles, of gambling, stealing, and selling liquor.3 By 1850 crime had become an even greater problem. That year the grand jury recommended an increase in vigilance on the part of the civil officers.4
Fort Brooke, the local military establishment and the nucleus around which the town emerged, also presented problems. The site housed military personnel even after the Second Seminole War ended in 1842, and while it provided a source of revenue for Tampa, the fort fostered friction between military personnel and local citizens. Such friction sometimes met with deadly results. In 1849, for example, Jos Perfino, a Hispanic sailor, was charged and convicted of murdering a soldier named Cline at a Tampa oysterhouse. Epperfino would have been the first person hanged in Tampa but for his escape only a few days before his scheduled execution. His flight was only temporary, as he was captured by a military posse and brought back dead to Tampa.5 Such violent incidents continued to plague the village. In times of emergency, Fort Brooke served as a makeshift jail. In 1848, Judge George W. Macrea ordered Michael Ledwith confined in the fort in lieu of payment of a $100 fine for an assault and battery. Ledwith could neither pay his fine nor find anyone to act as a security in the case. Though Judge Macrea had no power to order the forts commandant to lock up Ledwith, he requested that arrangements be made for use of the Guard House. Ledwith remained in custody for several days but, according to Sheriff John Parker, he managed to escape, even though, as Parker told the judge, he was guarded by one or more soldiers day and night. Deputies pursued Ledwith for two or three days, even traveling as far as his residence at Manatee, but to no effect. An investigation was launched, and Parker, though indicted for malpractice, was acquitted.6 Ledwith was no stranger to violence. Only six years earlier a Leon County jury had sentenced him to death for his involvement in the cold-blooded murder of U. S. Marshal Leigh Read in the streets of Tallahassee. Only days before his scheduled execution, Ledwith was pardoned by Governor Richard Keith Call in a controversial move. Shortly thereafter Ledwith migrated along with his wealthy father-in-law to the Manatee River area.7 The Hillsborough County Circuit Court was attached to the Southern Judicial Circuit. Congress had created the district in 1828, primarily because of extensive admiralty operations taking place at Key West, the county seat of Monroe County. At that time the lower peninsula was practically uninhabited, but Key West possessed a population of about 600 persons. Surrounded by dangerous waters, the town became a center for extensive wrecking activity, and the commerce required close regulation. The towns growing population, its exposed position atop the Caribbean, and its tendency to attract a floating population of potentially disorderly mariners from distant ports of call all required the vigorous enforcement of United States authority. Until 1851 the northernmost county in Floridas Southern Judicial Circuit was Benton (later Hernando) County, whose grand jurors in 1846 congratulated fellow citizens on the few crimes committed in such a new country as theirs. Strict enforcement of the penal enactments, they advised, was the surest guarantee of our continued advancement and prosperity. The jurors also advised the county commissioners to begin building a suitable court house for the county.8 However, deciding on a permanent county seat was not easy. Between 1843 and 1856, when the permanent location of Brooksville was agreed upon, Benton County Circuit Court met in varying places, including Chocochattie, DeSoto, Bayport, and Pierceville. Benton County was named for Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, the sponsor of the Armed Occupation Act, which, along with Indian removal, spurred immigration to South Florida. Land was plentiful, settlers flowed in, and the lower peninsula soon required extension
of judicial processes. By 1856 the Florida legislature had created Manatee and Brevard counties, which essentially blocked off the peninsula between Hillsborough and Orange counties to the north and Monroe and Dade counties on the South. Manatee County was settled primarily by Middle Florida planters who came south to establish sugar plantations along the Manatee River. Inland settlers, however, drove large herds of cattle south along the route of the Peace River to Charlotte Harbor. By the eve of the Civil War, a lucrative trade with Cuba had been established. Beginning in 1858, the town of Manatee (later Bradenton) became a regular stop on the Southern Judicial Circuit.9 Along with farmers and cattlemen came lawyers. In 1849, court minutes listed seven attorneys and counselor at law admitted to practice in the Hillsborough County Circuit Court.10 Among these were future Supreme Court Judge Bird M. Pearson and future Circuit Judge Thomas F. King. James Gettis and Hardy D. Kendrick later became solicitors. Then as now, members of the bar succumbed to conduct unbecoming to the profession. In the spring term of 1856, a lawyer named John R. Cox was brought before the court for a dishonest attempt to bribe a witness. After a careful investigation of the matter, Judge Jessee J. Finley ordered that Coxs name be erased from the roll of practicing attorneys.11 Hillsborough Countys early lawyers must have been a hardy set. Throughout Florida the rigors of riding circuit during these years wore many a good man down, but the perils were even greater in the Southern Judicial Circuit. Nevertheless, Ossian Hart, elected solicitor of the Southern Circuit in 1849, seemed to enjoy the experience and often took his wife with him in his travels throughout the South Florida frontier. New Jersey-born Katherine Hart did not share her husbands enthusiasm for life on the sandy trail, and she often complained of her hardships to friends and relatives. Late one evening while traveling toward their destination, the couple had almost given up hope of finding a place to rest for the night; when they discovered a light faintly glimmering through the trees. The one-room log house contained a fireplace and three beds. Inside was a man, a woman, and five children. Mrs. Hart was appalled at the sleeping conditions. The beds were filthy, but worst of all, the wife made her sick husband surrender up his bed to the exhausted couple. The man was suffering from chills and fever and, when they lay down, it was, as Kate Hart remembered, hot from the fever the man had; and the fleas were so thick we could not rest a minute, so we did not get any Ossian B. Hart served as Solicitor of the Southern Judicial Circuit from 1849 to 1853. Photograph courtesy of the Florida Supreme Court.
sleep that night. On a previous leg of their journey the Harts stayed at another cracker house about thirty-eight miles north of Tampa. This family was better fixed for boarders. Mrs. Hart described the house as a log pen with two rooms in it, and small room put up in the yard separate from the main house for the accommodation of travelers. The bed, she remembered, was tolerably comfortable...the cleanliness of which will not bear the test of examination. Still Mrs. Hart could not sleep, owing to the smell of feathers of which the pillows were made.12 An additional hardship was the alternating system, which required circuit judges, despite their appointment to specific circuits, to attend court in all the circuits on a rotating basis. The proponents of this system contended that it would promote impartiality. From the very beginning, however, the difficulties of travel, especially in the Southern Circuit, where all the meeting places had to be reached by water, placed excessive hardships on judges. As a result, Governor William Moseley urged the Legislative Assembly to consider abolishing the system and at least exclude the Southern Circuit from the process.13 Many saw the implicit hardships in the alternating system. Just as the system was about to be implemented, a correspondent to the Tallahassee Floridian reminded the public that as far as the Southern Circuit was concerned, a judge in time must become a practical sailor, and egad, a bold one; for many is the man who would face a cannon or meet his particular friend at ten paces, without the slightest tremor of nerves, but would still falter and hesitate at making a trip to Key West, in a sail boat with an inexperienced crew. Finally, the dour critic recommended that the Legislative Assembly appropriate money for Life Preservers, instead of a Law Library, and clothe judges in Indian Rubber rather than ermine.14 By 1846 nearly everyone was calling for the systems repeal. Citizens in the Southern Circuit were particularly vocal. In November 1845, for example, citizens in Key West petitioned the Legislative Assembly to repeal the system, claiming that judges attending courts in Hillsborough, Benton, Monroe, and Dade counties had to travel more than fifteen hundred miles by sea, besides considerable distance by land. Times for holding court could not be guaranteed unless judges were provided with a vessel of suitable size to make their voyage. The petitioners estimated that it would cost $1,200 to hire such a vessel to operate four months during the spring and fall terms. The petitioners also complained that the plan would keep judges almost constantly from home so as to prevent applications for orders at chambers.15 Yet the alternating system operated for two years. When the first circuit court met at Tampa on April 17, 1846, Judge Thomas Baltzell of the Middle Circuit presided. Thomas Douglas of the Eastern Circuit presided in the fall term, followed by Southern Circuit Judge George Macrea, who arrived in April 1847. The rotation was complete in October of that year when Western Circuit Judge George S. Hawkins presided over the fall term.16 By that time a large number of citizens were complaining that the difficulties of water travel and communication destroyed all certainty of the sessions. Interested parties must await the arrival of judges and must be necessarily subjected to great loss of time, and pecuniary sacrifices. By 1847 the complaints against circular judges had become so general, even from northern constituents, that the Legislative Assembly abolished the alternating system.17
The brief experience with the alternating system was probably positive in the long run because it highlighted the difficulties of travel throughout the state. As judges, solicitors, and their entourages rode circuit on horseback, wagons, or boats far and wide throughout the Florida frontier, it became immediately necessary to provide easier access to these isolated areas by building more roads and improving the ones that already existed. This no doubt stimulated demand for better stage and water travel. Even after the alternating system had become an unpleasant memory, travel between Key West and other stops on the Southern Circuit travel was uncertain. Calamities often resulted in judges and others missing their court terms. Travel between Key West and the mainland was particularly precarious. In May 1852, for example, Judge Joseph B. Lancaster missed an important court session in Monroe County. In April of that year, after presiding over the Hillsborough and Hernando Circuit courts, Judge Lancaster, was scheduled to take a steamer to Key West, but he was stranded in Tampa for two weeks before the vessel arrived. As he explained to the clerk of the Monroe County Court, it was impracticable, or perhaps even impossible, for me to be at Key West, at the time required to enable me to hold the May term.18 In seeking to bring law and order to Hillsborough County and Tampa, local citizens faced difficulties similar to those experienced in other Florida counties. Law enforcement was haphazard and punishment uneven; nevertheless, court officials and settlers sought to secure life and property in their frontier society. Before Florida became a state, the official ultimately responsible for law enforcement in the Tampa Bay area was the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Florida. (Hillsborough County was not attached to the Southern Circuit until after 1845). During the late 1830s and early 1840s, that man was Joseph S. Sanchez of St. Augustine, and his jurisdiction stretched from the Atlantic to the Gulf and north to the Suwannee River. Sanchez rarely visited Tampa Bay, and most of the law enforcement responsibilities likely fell on the shoulders of the various military commanders at Fort Brooke on an ad hoc basis. When Florida became a state in 1845 the situation changed radically. The state legislature provided that the sheriff, elected at the county level, assume full administrative and law enforcement responsibilities. On the civil side, the sheriff collected taxes, opened and closed court, and attached and supervised the selling of property under court order. As the chief law enforcement officer, the sheriff captured and housed Joseph B. Lancaster served as Judge of the Southern Judicial Circuit from 1849 to 1853. Photograph courtesy of the Florida Supreme Court.
lawbreakers, presented them to court for trial, executed writs, summoned witnesses, and, of course, administered punishments. From 1845 to the outbreak of the Civil War, six sheriffs served Hillsborough County. The first was John B. Parker, a native of North Carolina, who had migrated to Columbia County in the 1830s. After fighting in the Second Seminole War and receiving an Armed Occupation Grant in 1843, Parker settled in Simmons Hammock, near present day Seffner. Following his two-year term as sheriff, Parker moved to Manatee County and became one of Floridas leading cattlemen. Henry Parker, the young ward of John Parker, was later elected sheriff in 1855. Orphaned at an early age in Columbia County, Henry Parker was listed in the 1850 census as a nineteen-year-old student in John Parkers Hillsborough County household. Three other men served as sheriff between the Parkers. John I. Hooker was elected to the office in 1847. A native Georgian born in 1822, Hooker also fought in the Second Seminole War before receiving an Armed Occupation Grant near Pearl Creek. Hooker became one of the first settlers of Fort Meade and like Parker became a large cattle owner. Edward T. Kendrick, who served as sheriff from 1853 to 1855, had migrated from lower Georgia to Columbia County and then finally to Hillsborough County. Also a veteran of the Second Seminole War, he established himself along Lake Thonotosassa where he operated a sawmill. Kendrick served in the Mexican War (1846-1847) and then returned to Tampa to open a butcher shop, which he operated while serving as sheriff. Like his predecessors he actively pursued the cattle business. Benjamin Hagler preceded Kendrick in office and was the only antebellum sheriff elected to two consecutive terms (1849-1853). Born in Tennessee, Hagler engaged in a number of pursuits in Tampa, but the 1850 census listed his occupation as sheriff. Hillsborough Countys last antebellum sheriff was William S. Spencer. Elected in 1858 at the age of forty-eight, Spencer, his wife, and seven children lived on a farm near Fort Brooke.19 Like most of their neighbors, the majority of Hillsborough Countys antebellum sheriffs were natives of lower Georgia and came directly to the county from either Columbia or Alachua county. Following a well-traveled path of settlement from the Georgia border through Columbia and Alachua counties to Hillsborough County, most supplemented whatever income they made as sheriff by farming or raising cattle. Sheriffs collected no salaries. Financial rewards of the office were minimal, consisting mainly of fees for services rendered. With dangers many and rewards few, it is surprising that such good men were willing to serve. Though some prestige redounded to holders of the office, the job offered little except danger, inconvenience, and even financial disaster if records were not kept carefully. Sheriff John Parker. Photograph courtesy of Hillsborough County Historical Museum.
What kinds of crimes were most common in Hillsborough? How successful were sheriffs and other law enforcement officials in prosecuting lawbreakers? Surviving court records indicate that between 1845 and 1861 prosecutions for crimes against persons outdistanced crimes against property by eighty-three to thirty. (See table 1.) Court records also reveal thirteen murder prosecutions and sixty-seven prosecutions for violent assaults. Of the thirty prosecutions for crimes against property, twenty were for larceny, nine for fraudulently marking cattle and one for forgery.20 Hillsborough County was similar to other antebellum southern jurisdictions in that only about half of those cases prosecuted ever reached a verdict. Of the eighty-three prosecutions for crimes against person, for example, only forty-one reached a verdict (twenty-nine guilty and twelve not guilty.) The percentages for those prosecuted for crimes against property were similarly inconclusive. Only sixteen (four guilty and twelve not guilty) of thirty reached a verdict. There were a number of causes of this inefficiency. The lack of an adequate jail was a serious defect, but probably it was the frontier nature of society, combined with the lack of professionalism among law enforcement officers, that best explains this apparent inefficiency. Likely, the reality with regard to Hillsborough County was that few antebellum Floridians were willing to pay taxes for law enforcement beyond the bare minimum that was absolutely necessary. In developing communities such as these, the primary needs simply lay elsewhere. Table 1 CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS FOR HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY (1846-1861) CRIMES AGAINST PERSON No. Guilty Not Guilty No Verdict Murder/Manslaughter 10 3 2 5 Assault and Battery 56 21 8 27 Assault w/intent to kill 11 3 0 8 Rape 1 0 1 0 Robbery 1 0 1 0 False Imprisonment 1 0 0 1 Total 80 27 12 41 CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY No. Guilty Not Guilty No Verdict Larceny 20 4 10 6 Forgery 1 0 0 1 Fraudulently Marking Cattle 9 0 2 7 Total 30 4 12 14 CRIMES AGAINST MORALITY/PUBLIC ORDER No. Guilty Not Guilty No Verdict Adultery and Fornication 22 2 0 22 Aiding a Prisoner to Escape 2 0 0 2
Allowing a Negro to Carry a Gun 1 0 0 1 Bigamy 4 0 1 3 Carrying Arms Secretly 13 1 3 9 Conspiracy to Obtain Money by a Trick With Cards 4 0 0 4 Cruelty to a Slave 1 0 0 1 Disturbing Religious Worship 3 1 0 2 Employing Slaves on Sabbath 1 0 0 1 Gambling, Gaming, Betting 3 0 0 3 Keeping a Gaming Table 11 0 0 11 Keeping a Gaming, Disorderly House 8 0 0 8 Libel 1 0 0 1 Malfeasance of Public Official 4 0 2 2 Maliciously Killing Animals 4 2 1 1 Open Lewdness 1 1 0 0 Perjury 2 0 0 2 Practicing Medicine W/out License 2 1 0 1 Retailing Liquors to a Slave 4 2 2 0 Retailing on the Sabbath 2 0 1 1 Riot, Affray, Mayhem 13 4 4 5 Selling Liquor to Indians 1 1 0 0 Selling Liquor w/out a License 27 6 10 11 Selling Unwholesome Provisions 2 0 0 2 Shipping Cattle from County w/out Inspection 1 0 1 0 Trading with a Slave 2 0 0 2 Total 139 21 25 93 CRIMES COMMITTED BY SLAVES AND FREE BLACKS No. Guilty Not Guilty No Verdict Murder 3 2 0 1
Many scholars have speculated as to why southern society was so violent. The impact of the frontier, honor, slavery, and even the violent heritage of the South's predominant ethnic group the Scotch-Irish are among the causes commonly cited, but alcohol, then as now, also contributed to an excess of violence.21 Hillsborough County Judge Simon Turman certainly understood the link between alcohol and homicide. While quarreling with the state comptroller over nonpayment of a coroner's inquest, he condemned the legislatures failure to regulate the out-of-control traffic in liquor. We have had a large supply of whiskey shipped to Tampa this year and I look for a large harvest by way of inquisitions, he declared in 1855. I am sorry the state does not pay coroners fees....If the practice of retailing spirituous liquors, is suffered to continue in our state, those who profit by the traffic should pay for burying their own dead as they are licensed to kill. Inquisitions are useless.22 Liquor may have been the deadly ingredient in a disagreement between two Tampa men, Ely Stephens and John Stewart, who contested a contract in 1854 for providing the federal government with roof shingles. They fought one morning, and Stewart, the loser of the fracas, was rather roughly handled. Later that day, Stewart, fortified with ammunition and ardent spirits, sought out his antagonist and demanded satisfaction. Stephens shot him as he approached and then fled. Hillsborough Sheriff Edward F. Kendricks negligence may have contributed to Stevens remaining forever at large, because Kendrick forgot to enclose copies of an inquest and other supporting documents in a letter to Governor James Broome. By the time Kendrick learned of this deficiency, Stephens had already left the state. I can not officially issue a proclamation prior the finding of an grand jury, Broome explained to Sheriff Kendrick, as I would have nothing to base a proclamation upon, should the party be arrested beyond the limits of the state.23 The most numerous prosecutions in the Hillsborough County Circuit Court were for crimes against public order and morality. Leslie A. Thompson, the state's early compiler of laws, organized crimes against public order and morality into several broad categories, including Crimes Against Religion, Chastity, Morality, and Decency; Offenses Against the Public Peace; Offenses Against Public Justice; Offenses Against Trade, Public Highways and Navigation; and Malicious and Fraudulent Mischief. There were instances of at least twenty-five different crimes prosecuted in Hillsborough County under this heading for a total of 139, including twenty-two for adultery and fornication, thirteen for carrying arms secretly, eight for a keeping gaming and disorderly house, and twenty-seven for selling liquor without a license. These crimes accounted for approximately fifty-five percent of all prosecutions in the county.24 Gambling was a constant source of irritation to Hillsborough Countys public officials. Court records and travel accounts reveal that residents of Hillsborough County, and especially Tampans, gambled on the gait of a horse, the turn of a card, and the eventual resting place of a faro wheel. Ten pins and billiards were especially popular, and wagering added even more excitement to the games. Another popular game was keno, which resembled modern-day bingo. This game was popular among soldiers and blacks at Fort Brooke.25 Gambling activity in Tampa, as in other Florida villages, seems to have fluctuated. In 1854 the grand jury formally indicted forty individuals for gaming and three for keeping a gaming house. Two days later the solicitor either withdrew or quashed all the indictments. During the same term fifty-one other indictments, most of which differed-from the previous list, were all styled Not a True Bill.26 Perhaps the
grand jury and solicitor reasoned that the indictment process alone was enough of a deterrent to justify the actions against individuals. In addition, gambling indictments were difficult to sustain. Most witnesses were the accused themselves, and even if this were not the case, social values would have made it unlikely that friends or acquaintances would testify against their companions. When it came to the punishment of offenders convicted in Hillsborough Countys circuit court, sheriffs inflicted the types of punishment that were common in early nineteenth-century America. Murder was a capital offence, but so was rape, arson, and the theft of a slave. Those convicted of violent, nonlethal assaults were usually fined and released, while stripes, the pillory and perhaps a fine were in store for those who stole. Incarceration expensive and essentially impossible in such primitive surroundings was a luxury for which few were willing to pay taxes. When it came to capturing and guarding violators of the law, Hillsborough County lawmen expected and received far greater assistance from settlers themselves than would be imaginable today. Often citizens went to great lengths to capture lawbreakers. In the spring of 1858, for example, a party of Tampans traveled over 150 miles over a three-week period in pursuit of two men accused of stealing jewelry, and horses. The party tracked the fugitives to a hideout along the Suwannee River, shot one of the thieves, recovered the jewelry and tracked the other robber through the woods, capturing him near Jasper. Newspaper accounts hinted that both men were summarily executed.27 Unfortunately, this was not the only time Hillsborough County citizens took the law into their own hands to execute lawbreakers. That same year, for example, four other men were reportedly lynched under mysterious circumstances.28 And in 1860 a black man named Adam was lynched as he awaited word of an appeal after his conviction on a murder charge. This outrage came just after the hanging of George Buckley, a white man convicted of murdering his father-in-law, the only man legally executed in Tampa before the Civil War.29 As the settlement of South Florida quickened, settlers turned to the judicial system as a way of preserving their communities. Settlers faced a number of obstacles as they struggled to protect life and property, not the least of which was the frontier. And it was South Floridas frontier status which determined the enforcement and administration of the law. Judges, lawmen, and members of the bar had to cope with difficulties that today seem unimaginable. Despite the physical barriers of South Floridas harsh geography, they often succeeded. The history of Hillsborough Countys judges, lawyers, sheriffs, juries, criminals, and settlers makes up a vital part of the social history of Florida in the fifteen years before the Civil War.
A public proclamation advertising a reward for the capture and safe delivery of Ely Stephens.
1 U. S. Census, 1840 and 1850 (Hillsboro ugh County); Karl Grismer, Tampa: A History of the City of Tampa and the Tampa Bay Region of Florida (St. Petersburg: St. Petersburg Printing Company, 1950), 302. 2 E. A. Ware to N. P. Bemis, July 27,1846, State Comp trollers Correspondence, RG 350, Ser. 554, box 1, fo. 2. Florida State Archives, Tallahassee, Florida (FSA). 3 Tallahassee Floridian May 16, 1846. 4 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1846-1854, 145, Hillsboro ugh County Records Annex, Brandon, Florida. 5 For the prosecution of Jos Perfino, alias Indio, see ibid.,125,137-38,151; Benjamin Hagler to Thomas Brown, May 18 and 22, 1850, Offices of the Governor, Correspondence of Thomas Brown, 1849-1853, RG 101, ser. 755, box 1, fo. 6, FSA; Tallahassee Florida Sentinel June 4, 1850. 6 For Ledwiths prosecution and escape from Fort Brooke, see Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1846-1854, 32, 62-63. 7 James M. Denham, The Read-Alston Duel and Politics in Territorial Florida, Florida Historical Quarterly 68 (April 1990), 444. 8 Tallahassee Florida Sentinel June 16, 1846; Tallahassee Floridian June 13, 1846. Governor James E. Broome. Photograph courtesy of the Florida State Archives.
9 An excellent series of articles by John S. Otto sketch out the growing cattle industry in Hillsborough County. See Hillsborough County ( 1850): A Community in the South Florida Flatwoods, Florida Historical Quarterly 62 (October 1983): 180-93; Floridas Cattle Raising Frontier: Hillsboro ugh County, ibid., 63 (July 1984): 71-83, and Open Range Cattle-Herding in Southern Florida, ibid, 65 (January 1987): 317-34. For the settlement of the Tampa Bay and Peace River areas era, see Canter Brown, Jr., Floridas Peace River Frontier (Orlando: University of Central Florida Press, 1991); Janet Matthews, Edge of Wilderness: A Settlement History of Manatee River and Sarasota Bay (Tulsa: Caprine Press, 1983); Gary Mormino and Anthony P. Pizzo, Tampa: The Treasure City (Tulsa: Centennial Heritage Press, 1983). 10 Those admitted to practice from April 14, 1846 to October 13, 1849 were Thomas F. King, Bird M. Pearson, James T. Magbee, Alfred Gale, James Gettis, David Provence, and Hardee D. Kendrick. See Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1846-1854, 23. 11 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1854-1866, 159. 12 Kate Hart to Lottie, November 29, 1852, Dena Snodgrass Collection, P. K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida, Gainesville. For Ossian Harts tenure as solicitor of the Southern Circuit, see Canter Brown, Jr., Ossian Bingle y Hart: Floridas Loyalist Reconstruction Governor (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997), 73-80. 13 Tallahassee Floridian November 29, 1845. 14 Ibid., November 1, 1845. 15 Petition of the Citizens of Key West to Legislative Assembly of Florida, November 17, 1845, Nineteenth Century Florida Legislature, RG 915, Ser. 887, Box 1, fo. 5; Resolutions of the Meeting in Hillsboro ugh County Touching the Alternating System, October 12, 1846, ibid., Box 3, fo. 4, FSA. 16 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1846-1854, 1-44. 17 Hillsborough County GJP, November 3, 1845, in Tallahassee Floridian December 13, 1845; Tallahassee Florida Sentinel December 16, 1845; Columbia County GJP, May 1846, in St. A ugustine, Florida Herald and Southern Democrat June 2, 1846. See also public meeting in Chocochattie in Benton County, October 21, 1847, in Tallahassee Floridian November 13, 1847. 18 Joseph B. Lancaster to James M. Bracewell, May 10,1852, Monroe County Case Files, Monroe County Public Library. 19 Sheriffs are listed in Works Progress Administration, Roster of State and County Officers Commissioned by the Governor of Florida, 1845-1868 (Jacksonville: Florida Historical Records Survey, 1941); Florida Sheriff: Yearbook of the Florida Sheriffs Association (1958): 23-88. Most of these biographical sketches were taken from U. S. Census, 1840 and 1850 (Hillsboro ugh County) and Julius J. Gordon, Biographical Census of Hillsborough County, Florida-1850 (typescript, 1989), 233, 272, 308, 466-67, 496, 552. 20 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1845-1854; Hillsboro ugh County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1855-1866. 21 For an analysis on the causes of southern violence, see James M. Denham, A Rogues Paradise: A History of Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997), 12-23, 61-66. On the frontier as an instigator of violence, see Canter Brown, Jr., Floridas Peace River Frontier (Orlando: University of Central Florida Press, 1991); Eugene W. Hollon, Frontier Violence: Another Look (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974). On southern honor and its connection to violence, see Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Honor and Violence in the Old South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986); Edward Ayers, Vengeance and Justice: Crime and Punishment in the 19th Century American South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984). On slavery as a cause of Southern violence, see John Hope Franklin, The Militant South 1800-1861 (Cambridge: Harvard
Univer sity Press, 1956). For the Souths predominant Scotch-Irish ethnicity and its connection to violence, see Grady McWhiney, The Ethnic Roots of Southern Violence, in A Master's Due: Essays in Honor of David Herbert Donald edited by William Cooper, Jr., Michael J. Holt, and John McCardell (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985), 112-37; idem, Cracker Culture: Celtic Ways in the Old South (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1988). On alcohol, see W. J. Roraba ugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979). 22 Simon Turman to T. W. Brevard, March 5,1855, State Comptrollers Correspondence, RG 350, Ser. 554, box 2, fo. 1, FSA. 23 Proclamation for the arrest of Ely Stephens in Tallahassee Floridian and Journal May 20, 1854; James Broome to E. F. Kendrick, April 3, 1854, Office of the Governor, Letterbooks, 1836-1909, RG 101, Ser. 32, vol. 5, p. 285, FSA. 24 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1845-1854; Hillsboro ugh County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1855-1866. 25 Grismer, Tampa 125-26. 26 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1846-1854, 379-89, 395-400. 27 (Tampa) Florida Peninsular April 24, 1858, quoted in Ocala Florida Home Companion May 1, 1858. For more on this incident, see Robert P. Ingalls Lynching and Establishment Violence in Tampa, 1858-1935, Journal of Southern History 53 (November 1987), 613-15. 28 S. T. Bowen in a letter to the Savannah Republican dated June 24, 1858, reported that the four men were lynched because of their Know-Nothing political affiliation, but the lynching can not be verified. Several newspapers proclaimed the story a hoax. See Tallahassee Floridian and Journal July 10, 1858. 29 Hillsborough County, Minutes of the Circuit Court, 1854-1866, pp. 440, 443, 449, 499; Fernandina East Floridian January 5, 1860; (Tampa) Florida Peninsular January 21, 1860; Brown, Ossian Hart 94-106.
BOOK REVIEWS "A Rogue's Paradise": Crime and Punishment in Antebellum Florida, 1821-1861 By James M. Denham. Tuscaloosa, 1997. University of Alabama Press. xii, 385 pp. Illustrations. Appendices. Notes. Bibliography. Index. Cloth $39.95. The history of Florida since 1821, when it became part of the United States, long remained a little charted frontier that attracted few scholars. However, this era of Florida history is attracting a growing number of historians. One of them is James M. Denham, a fifth-generation Floridian who has written an engaging study of the forty-year period prior to the Civil War. Focusing on the nature of crime and punishment, Denham provides a lively portrait of lawbreakers, victims, lawmen, judges, and citizens involved in the effort to establish a system of criminal justice in the new U.S. territory that became a state in 1845. Denham's narrative draws on extensive research in court records, newspapers, and unpublished manuscripts, through which the author has constructed a statistical profile of crime. However, he wisely relegates useful tabulations of his data to appendices, where they can be consulted without interrupting the flow of his narrative. (For a sample of Denham's approach, see his article in this issue of Tampa Bay History .) In chapters organized topically around types of crime and forms of law enforcement, Denham emphasizes the diversity of communities and experiences in Florida. For example, port cities like Tampa and its sparsely settled hinterland faced problems that differed from those in the more densely populated plantation areas of Middle Florida. While noting some significant differences around Florida, Denham also identifies several important patterns in crime and responses to it. First, crimes against persons were far more common than crimes against property. However, the punishment for property crimes was more severe than for violent crimes, except in the case of murder. Whereas people convicted of personal violence usually paid a fine, sometimes as low as a few cents, thieves received jail sentences or corporal punishment, commonly a whipping. In choosing among possible explanations for this apparent anomaly, Denham stresses the impact of southern notions of honor which not only excused but mandated personal violence whenever certain values were violated. According to this code, a violent response to a verbal insult went unpunished, but violations of community standards, especially theft and crimes against public order and morality, were punished, often in public rituals that used whippings and pillories to shame perpetrators of crimes considered dishonorable. Denham also points to Florida's sparsely settled frontier as a reason for its problems with law enforcement. His research indicates, for example, that the majority of indictments never reached a verdict. That is, most cases were dismissed or disappeared from the record because of the difficulties associated with rounding up the accused, holding them in insecure jails, and securing witnesses. The frontier not only created physical barriers to effective law enforcement, but it also "shaped the way people thought, acted, and responded" (3). In addition, Denham notes that Florida's vast frontier provided a haven for debtors, thieves, and other criminals. This led one Pensacola journalist to describe Florida as "a Paradise for Rogues" (13).
Denham's book is a judicious and well written account of how Floridians defined crime, dealt with obstacles in punishing it, and created the beginnings of a criminal justice system. In addition, it provides a revealing view of everyday life as Floridians struggled to bring order to "A Rogue's Paradise." Robert P. Ingalls Things Remembered: An Album of African Americans in Tampa By Rowena Ferrell Brady. Tampa, 1997. University of Tampa Press. 216 pp. Illustrations. Index. Cloth $34.95. Rowena Brady's pictorial collection showcasing Tampa's black community effectively illustrates African Americans' varied experiences and contributions to the city's past. Though not a historical essay, this work shares images of the African-American experience in Tampa and, in the process, illuminates a dynamic community that has not been well documented in the past. This pictorial account contains many photographs never before available to the public. Brady adds substance to this collection through explanations of photographs that help the reader understand the context of the times and events. Many activities and people depicted will be unfamiliar to the audience, which is precisely what makes this an important project. What strikes the reader most is the vision of a parallel African-American community existing alongside, but very much separate from, the white community. The work opens with explanatory comments by Brady and a short description of African-American history in Florida contributed by Cantor Brown, Jr. This provides perspective for succeeding chapters, which generally follow a chronological order. Brady moves through the nineteenth century quickly, concentrating primarily on the period from the early 1900s through the 1960s. She chooses 1970 as the end of her chronology because, as she says, by then urban renewal and the negative impact of desegregation "undermined and eventually physically destroyed much of this community." The final two chapters of the book focus respectively on the history of St. Paul's A.M.E. Church and notable individuals and groups in Tampa's more recent past. This work provides insight into many aspects of African-American life in Tampa an experience highlighted by strong social, religious, and economic ties, but often characterized by inequalities of opportunity, pay, and status. Through pictures painstakingly gathered from personal collections and public archives, Brady gives us a sense of the daily lives of blacks in Tampa, although admittedly the book "concentrates on individuals who made contributions of substance." The importance of these individuals notwithstanding, the contributions of blacks from all walks of life were important in building and shaping both the African-American community and Tampa in general. It is particularly important to realize that within marginalized groups, economics was often less a determinant of social status or contribution to the community. Since the early days of Reconstruction, Tampa's African-American community leaders have come from many walks of life. Although largely marginalized by whites throughout the city's history, the black community nurtured an independent spirit that insulated blacks to some extent from the racism around them. This book clearly documents the successes and pride of that "community within a community,"
largely invisible to whites, that characterized the African-American experience. Perhaps surprising to white readers, Brady offers a different perspective on segregation. Many of us share memories that center around the African-American struggle for equality and access. Brady shows that, for all its ills, segregation gave black businesses an opportunity to flourish within their own community and African-American children had classroom experiences less marred by racism. This noted, pictures showing black children gazing through the fence of a "whites-only" playground provide a haunting reminder that segregation carried a high price for blacks. This album of African Americans in Tampa will help round out existing Tampa histories which have often overlooked or ignored the accomplishments of the black community. Brady's work should serve as a reminder to researchers interested in Tampa that the African-American community deserves a place in any history of the city. If the vitality and scope of African-American contributions to Tampa's history surprise some, they serve notice that our view of history is shaped by whom we include or exclude as contributors. It is time we more fully acknowledged African-American contributions to Tampa's development. Since the beginning of the city's history, blacks and whites worked along side each other to build the community. Hopefully, Brady's work will inspire increased efforts to more completely document the role of African Americans in Tampa. Kathleen S. Howe
ANNOUNCEMENTS The following events are scheduled in the Tampa Bay area to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of the Spanish Civil War and local efforts to support the Spanish Republic. November 10 December 20 SHOUTS FROM THE WALL: Exhibit of Spanish Civil War posters, photos, memorabilia brought home by veterans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade. Symposium to be held November 14, 10:00 a.m. to noon, University of South Florida (FAH 101) with Cary Nelson and Brad Nickels. Sponsored by Hillsborough County Arts Council. Opening reception: November 14, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa. Phone 974-4133. November 8 December 22 NO PASARN! TAMPA AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR, 1936-1939: A community exhibit of local artifacts, photos, music, memorabilia, including Armando Mendez's film of a 1938 Labor Day march in Ybor City, Tampa. Sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and the Centro Asturiano de Tampa, Inc. At Centro Asturiano, Nebraska and Palm Avenues, Ybor City. Phone 224-9185. November 8 January 1 THE AURA OF THE CAUSE: A photo album by North American volunteers in the Spanish Civil War. Opening reception, November 15. Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 3rd Street South, St. Petersburg. Phone 823-3767. November 12 FOREVER ACTIVISTS: WMNF 88.5 FM (12:30 to 2:00 p.m.) Radioactivity features Rob Lorei's interview with Abraham Lincoln Brigade veterans. November 13 LITERATURE OF THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: Lecture by Cary Nelson (author/literary critic) and Larry Broer (professor of English). Thursday, 7:00 p.m., at USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa. November 20 THE UNITED STATES AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: Lecture by Peter Carroll, historian, Stanford University, author of The Odyssey of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Sponsored by University Lecture Series and Florida Humanities Council. Thursday, 4:00 p.m., at USF Campus, Grace Allen Room, LIB 407. November 20 POSTERS WARS! Lecture by art historian Brad Nickels on, art posters of the Spanish Civil War and other wartime propaganda images. Thursday, 7:00 p.m. at USF Contemporary Art Museum, Tampa. November 21
THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR REMEMBERED Lecture by Peter Carroll, historian, and panel discussion of Tampa's role in the Spanish Civil War. Sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and the Centro Asturiano de Tampa, Inc. Friday, 7:00 p.m. at Centro Asturiano, Palm and Nebraska Avenues, Ybor City. Phone 224-9185.
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS JAMES M. DENHAM, an Associate Professor of History at Florida Southern College, recently had published a book entitled "A Rogue's Paradise": Crime and Punishment inAntebellum Florida, 1821-1861 (University ofAlabama Press). In 1992, he won the Arthur W. Thompson Prize for the best article in the Florida Historical Quarterly. KATHLEEN S. HOWE, a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, recently completed an M.A. in history at the University of South Florida. Her thesis is entitled "Stepping into Freedom: An Analysis on the African-American Community in Hillsborough County, Florida, during the Reconstruction Era." ROBERT P. INGALLS, a Professor of History at the University of South Florida, is managing editor of Tampa Bay History ANA VARELA-LAGO earned a bachelor's degree from the Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in Spain and a master's degree in history from the University of South Florida. Her thesis, entitled "`La Retaguardia de Tampa': The Response of the Tampa Latin Immigrant Community to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)," was selected as one of the university's outstanding theses for 1996. She is currently the project coordinator for the Spanish Civil War Oral History Project, based in Tampa and funded in part by the Florida Humanities Council.
TAMPA BAY HISTORY Published Semi-annually by The Department of History College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida Tampa, Florida Managing Editor ........................................................................................ ROBERT P. INGALLS Associate Editor ............................................................................................... GARY MORMINO Administrative Editor .......................................................................................... SYLVIA WOOD Administrative Assistant ........................................................................................... GAIL SMITH Graduate Assistant .......................................................................................... SHEILA B. COHEN SPONSOR COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES University of South Florida Correspondence concerning subscriptions, contributions, books for review, and all other editorial matters should be sent to the Managing Editor, Tampa Bay History Department of History, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100. (Telephone: 813-974-2807). ISSN:0272-1406. Manuscripts from potential contributors should be typed and double spaced with footnotes, also double-spaced, placed at the end and prepared in conformity with the style used by the journal. The subscription rate is $18 for one year. Single issues and back files are available. Printed semi-annually, in the spring/summer and fall/winter. Tampa Bay History disclaims responsibility for statements made by contributors. Tampa Bay History is indexed in Historical Abstracts, America: History and Life Programs, activities, and facilities of the University of South Florida are available to all on a non-discriminatory basis, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, or disability. The University is an Affirmative Action, Equal Access Employer.
COVER: Tampa Children in a 1938 demonstration protesting the bombing of Spanish civilians by German and Italian troops during the Spanish Civil War. See "Tampa and the Spanish Civil War," page 57. Photograph courtesy of the Tampa Tribune
BOARD OF ADVISERS HAMPTON DUNN .......................................................................................................... Histori an KENDRICK FORD ................................................................ Pinellas County Historical Museum LELAND HAWES .................................................................................................. Tampa Tribune STEVEN F. LAWSON ............................................................................... Department of History, University of North Carolina, Greensboro HARRIS H. MULLEN ......................................................................................... Ybor Square Ltd TRAVIS J. NORTHCUTT, JR ................................................................................ Dean Emeritus University of South Florida CARL RIGGS ..................................................................... Center for Excellence in Mathematics University of South Florida ROBERT SAUNDERS ............................................................................ Tampa Branch, NAACP CATHY SLUSSER ...................................................................... Manatee Village Historical Park TERRY A. SMILJANICH ................................................................................................. Attorney JACKIE WATSON .................................................................................. Pioneer Florida Museum
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