Interview with Ed Gardner

Now you said also, you told me once that you had meetings here on your company grounds of people who wanted to be involved. Tell me.


Well keep in mind, we were never involved in politics. We knew nothing about the Democratic Party or, or the various segments of it or strength of the, of the Black politicians. We heard their names but we didn't know who were the power movers and shakers in the community. Ah, so you see, you're going into that arena, you know, Soft Sheen Products Company but we wanted to get folks registered. Ah, it was a difficult period of time because, ah, Operation PUSH had been registering folks for some time. Now, you know this idea of, of Soft Sheen becoming the, the lead segment of voter registration was really started by our community, I mean by our business and that was by my son Gary and our advertising department, Brainstorm Advertising, which my daughter runs and our marketing department. They wanted to do this project. They did not want to become part of PUSH's program. And we met Reverend Jackson, we told him that, Reverend Jackson, we know Operation Push has their voter registration drive but, drive but our folks are Soft Sheen, we want to do this our way. We feel we have the expertise and the dollars and we want to control the situation so, ah. He understood. I don't whether he liked it not. But he probably prefers in Operation Push but he accepted that. And we began to hold meetings here on our ground, on Soft Sheen Products Company, and we brought business leaders from all over the city who never before met with this young upstart Soft Sheen Products Company to get involved in politics. But they respected us. They respected our leadership. And for the first time they were not so much in competition. You weren't competing with Push versus a West Side Politician, so forth. You had this, this new leadership developing and they all rallied around us and they just did a marvelous job of helping to make that, that whole drive successful. We put the dollars, we put the creativity but the little people got out there and did the street work that had to take place for registration to be successful.


OK, let's stop down.