Interview with Frank Legree
QUESTION 4
MADISON DAVIS LACY:

All right, um, all right, now, let's start on your story, brother. Tell me, why, what possessed you to buy a house in Liberty City in 1957? Start there.

FRANK LEGREE:

Well, well, I planned just at first, ah, my mother and my step-father, he passed, he expired. She was living in Tennessee. You know, I was in New York at the time, so when I went there and found out that she wanted to, you know, to leave. Her health wasn't that good, and they suggested that, "Wait, why don't you go to a warmer climate?" You know, and I talked it over with my mother, she said, "Well," you know, "We might as well go back home," which was Miami, you know, so, we come home to Miami. So after getting here, we got into an apartment, you know, and we said, "Well, we'll get out and start looking around to see can we find a comfortable home." Not too expensive because we didn't have the bread, you know. So anyway, we started looking, and finally we went in to a couple called Erikken[SIC] and Zuckerman, which was two lawyers, ah, that had a house, and they said it was in Liberty City and it was on 55th Street, so, "Hey!" All I knew was it's 55th Street, and this was the house. So they agreed to go show it to us, and we went out, we looked at the house, the house looked good. Three bedrooms, one bath, and, ah, it was only $12,500. So this was really what we were looking for, and the house wasn't bad, and, and the neighborhood looked pretty good, so I agreed. So he told us to come in the next day, we'd fill out the papers, which we did, we went in, signed all the papers, got it all straight, I said, "Well, what we'd like to do is is, you know, get the place cleaned up first, and then we'll move in." He said, "No problem." So, we went on and went the next day, scrubbed, got the place looking, my wife was happy, and my mother saw it. She said, "Oh, this is so nice. We were so lucky to get in here." You know, so nobody said anything, one of the neighbors I saw, which was White, the lady came and said, "Y'all going to move in?" I said, "Yes, we trying to get it straight." They were very nice people as far as I'm concerned. No problem at all. So, we got her in the house, and after going into the house, we, ah, I'd say, at least two weeks after we moved in, we were sitting out on the porch one day and then the mailman came to give us a letter. I thought about it, said, "Hey, who know where we live at already?" And when I opened the letter it said, "Nigger, get out!" I said, "Isn't this something?" So we laughed about it, it was nothing, you know, because we didn't pay any attention to it. Except my mother, she said, "Oh, this don't sound too good." I said, "Oh, don't worry about it." I said, "It's just somebody, you know." So anyway, two weeks later, after we received this letter, I came home one night and they called me and said, "Hey, your windows is all knocked out." I said, ["Windows, my pane? You know, the glass?" They said, "Yes.] Somebody threw a brick and knocked the windows out." [You know, so now this is beginning, now I'm getting a little upset from the corner, I said, "I don't know what's going on, but I think I better contact the police, and notify them what have[SIC] happened, you know, here." So I called the police, was the, Chief Headley was the chief of police at that time. And by calling him, he said, "Well, did you see who did it? When it happened?" I said, "No, I wasn't home, but when I come home, then," I said, "I need some protection or something going on, you know." So he said, "There's nothing I can do," you know, he said, "if we catch anybody around there, then we can do anything." I said, "Oh, OK." SO I ran into a friend, which was Dr. Brown and also a fellow named Butterball, which was a Disc J- DJ that I know, I had met, so he told me, he said, "Why don't you talk with father Gibson and Attorney Graves with the NAACP and let them know what happened?" I said, "What good is that going to-?" He said, "Well, hey, talk to them anyway," he said, "because you're new in the neighborhood, you know, and they doing these kind of things, I think you ought to talk to them." So I did. I went and talked with Attorney G.E. Graves, because he said, "Oh", he said, "we're glad to know this," he said, "hey, we want to get with you, we're going to have a meeting." I said, "Meeting about what?" He said, "About your house." I said, "I don't need a meeting, this my house!" You know what I mean? He said, "Oh, no, no," he said, "what we're trying to do is we're trying to find someone, ah, you know, that will stick because we're tired of the way they're doing here. We've been trying to integrate the golf club, the golf course, we've done tried to do this, and we haven't been able to get nothing going. This is the thing what we need, right here, to stand by." I said, "Whatever you want to do, because I'm not going. This is my home, I'm going to stay there, you know?" So this was it. This is the beginning of us going into, to this house. And I was looking for no problems at all because we weren't looking for that. We didn't know anything about what they were trying to call us as Black-busters, blockbusters. I said, "What is that, what you call it?" They say, "Wait, we trying to get in there and, you know, and start, ah, some kind of--" I said, "Not me, this wasn't my idea.] Only thing I wanted was a home for my mother and my family to live. And this is all." [You know, whether it's White, Black, blue, or green, I didn't know. We weren't looking for nothing like this. So, this is the way it happened**

MADISON DAVIS LACY:

Let's stop down. I'm going to see where we are on this camera roll.

MADISON DAVIS LACY:

We have about 75 feet. Um, what, about two minutes.

MADISON DAVIS LACY:

Um, in this two minut-