Interview with Dr. John O. Brown

Do you mind saying, "yes, the underclass existed--"


Yes, the underclass existed when I came here and there was a great gap between the have and the have-nots. Ah, the Blacks, contrary to what people want to believe about the South, about Miami, ah, Blacks did not hold the, the jobs at the hotels, the domestic jobs, the bell captains, the bell porters, the chambermaids and things. Blacks were not working in those hotels on the beach nor in downtown Miami. These were the, the work was done by Whites in this community. Unlike Atlanta, Birmingham and Memphis and those places where that was 99 or 100 percent Black work force for that. We didn't have that here. And, ah, we've heard so much talk about Cubans taking the jobs from Blacks when they came in here. They did not take jobs from Blacks. We set up an agency and office over in Overtown that was sponsored by the Community Relations Board, when the Cubans first started coming in 1959, 1960, to, ah, receive complaints. Any Blacks who complained that their job had been taken by Cubans, we certainly wanted to look into it. Over one year period of time we got three complaints. So that should be some indication that Cubans were not taking jobs from Blacks.