Interview with Clyde Killens
QUESTION 13
JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

In the mid '60s or so with integration, Black people started to leave Overtown and Liberty City one of them was Frank Legree. Tell me the story of Frank Legree.

CLYDE KILLENS:

Well, he--

JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

State Frank Legree.

CLYDE KILLENS:

Frank Legree, this house was for sale and I--

JAMES A. DeVINNEY:

Can I start one more time. Frank Legree was.

CLYDE KILLENS:

Frank Legree was the Black guy that bought the home in a White neighborhood. And they didn't want him there. But he insist on staying. And it then got harder and harder by him staying, they began to break the windows out of the house and so on. And, ah, he got a job as an MC dancer, on, on 79th Street Causeway. And they got to the owner, threatening him and he had to let him go. So he didn't have a job. So, he don't have a job, don't have nowhere stay, because they staying with the Carvel. He's not paying his rent. He not paying his mortgage. So the owner of the property got after the bank. It was financed through the bank. Bank was handling the money. So the bank give him a certain time, pay up or get out. So, he was in the radio station, which was WMBM, which Butterball was a fantastic disc jockey at the time. He was there telling him about it and I had an appointment with Butterball to play a record for me that was new, too new for my club and I wanted him to heat it up on, on the radio. Play it a while and let them get used to it then we'd come back. And I walked in, he spoke, "Mr. Clyde, you got the record?" I said, "Yes." He said, "You know Lou Legree don't you?" I said, "No, I don't know him. I read about him." He said, "Well this is Frank Adams[SIC], I don't know what else." I say, "What's the matter?" He say, "Man, he got to get out of the house." I say, "Why do he got to get out of the house?" He said, "'Cus he ain't paid no mortgage since God knows when." And he say, "He only have a couple days to get out of there." He said, "If he could stay there about ten more days, we could win this thing." I said, "How much is the mortgage?" He told me. I thought for two seconds and I, I said, "Tell you what, come by the club tomorrow at 10:30. I'm going to give him the mortgage money." And, ah, he said, "Sure enough?" I said, "Yes." He said, "When Clyde tell you that, you go by there." So he came by. But before he come by when I walked out of the station, I walked across the street and they had a little drug- store by the name of, of, of the name of Sparkley and I went to her and I told her about the story. And I said, I'm going to collect this money from the public, to get him to pay this and so she gave me five dollars. I went to Garve Reeve[SIC] whose the publisher of Miami Times. His daddy was in charge a block from there. He gave me five dollars. I went to the Commody[SIC] Drugstore, which is owned by Ward, he gave me ten. My next stop was a, a Jewish place, Jack's Clothing Store. I went to him and I was saying about it and he gave me a lot of lip. So, I said, "Jack, let me tell you something, I've been here." I say, "I saw when the Warner Plaza Hotel on Miami Beach when they're saying, no Jews and that meant you." And I said, "But y'all fought back and scratched and now y'all own the beach." I said, "This is what we're doing." "OK, then, if I give a hundred- I make a check for a hundred dollars?" I say, "Fine." So, I took his check and went to the other joints, I went to Dugas, I went to Rix Department Store, Ken the Taylor and I collect more money until I got the money that I invested in, Frank mortgage. And I got the name. When, I, I went out the next day and went to work too and so the next day I saw him and I had all the people I got donation from and so I told him, I said, "Frank, put on your clothes. Go to everyone of these places, introduce yourself and tell them who you are and thank them for the contribution they give you for this, for this house." He did that. Then he come back the next day. He says, "Some people wasn't there." I said, "Go back. I had to go back two or three times." So, then the people began to call me and thank me for, for asking them for donation since they didn't know him and he went to see them and thank them for the donation. And things started breaking down. Everything started changing now. It looked like things started breaking down. It changed. The White security to the Black security. There were White Citizen Council, they come into town and put them in jail. The newspapers started breaking down, shortly after that, you saw some signs going up for sale here and there and the people got interested and went there with whatever money they had, the would accept it and take the mortgage, you see. And they started moving north. And the Black people started moving in.