Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bob Graham once credited St. Augustine Record's owners (partially) with his very existence. (SAR)

Update: was former Governor and Senator Bob Graham just a bit too-cozy with segregationists? Wow.  How did the late Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham feel about the powerful local St. Augustine and St. Johns County, burghers, the A.H. "Hoppy" Tebeault family, and their St. Augustine Record newspaper's longtime support of Jim Crow segregation in St. Augustine?  A.H. Hoppy "Tebeault" was later the Vice President of Flagler College, liaison to local business owners, and assiduous censored of the nascent Flagler College newspaper, whose drafts he would ball up and throw in the trash if there were anything offending his tender white male white supremacist opinions.  Creepy. 

I wrote in 2018:

In the 1960s, the Record's rebarbative then-owner, A.H. "HOPPY TEBEAULT, JR." was a brute force for evil and against civil rights, printing locations of KKK rallies in advance, printing Mayor Shelley's fatwa against demonstrations, threatening students with arrest and lifetime blacklisting, and printing the names and addresses of black children desegregating local schools, resulting in firings, evictions and firebombing. 

A.H. "HOPPY" TEBEAULT, JR. was later Vice President at Flagler College, hired as a liaison to the "business community" and advising students, including future Record Opinion Editor JAMES SUTTON, censoring the Flagler College student newspaper like Republican Lord of All He Surveyed.

As this blog reported seven years ago, "A.H. "Hoppy" Tebeault was a vicious Jim Crow segregationist and white supremacist whose St. Augustine Record called civil rights activists "outside agitators" and worse, allying itself with corrupt Sheriff LAWRENCE O. DAVIS, publishing the names and addresses of African-American school children desegregating local schools (resulting in parents being fired, blacklisted and firebombed). 
Neither "Hoppy" Tebeault nor the successive corporate owners of the august St. Augustine Recordever apologized for being a propaganda organ for the Ku Klux Klan, providing advance notice of KKK rallies and giving front page notice of Mayor Joseph Shelley's threats that students protesting records would have criminal records and never get a job. Because when you're the unhappy mentee of an unhappy, uncouth, unkind, uncaring, radical reactionary rebarbative right-wing retromignent redneck peckerwood newspaper publisher -- and utterly and hopelessly provincial -- the last thing you ever want to do is admit error.  Right, Jim?Personally, I'm relieved that St. Augustine is now officially a "Compassionate City" and no longer qualifies to be a "redneck city."

]Enough censorship in St. Augustine, please.

From the incredible shrinking St. Augustine Record:

Bob Graham once credited St. Augustine Record's owners (partially) with his very existence

Special to The Record

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Bob Graham, U.S. Senator from Florida, for The St. Augustine Record’s 1994 centennial. He told the story in a 1992 official visit to the Castillo de San Marcos. Then-Managing Editor Margo C. Pope covered Graham’s 1992 visit and asked him to write the story for The Record Centennial in 1994. Graham died April 17 in Gainesville.

My father Ernest Graham had lost his first wife to cancer in the early 1930s, leaving two sons and a daughter, 18, 16, and 8.

My mother, Hilda S. Simmons, had graduated from Florida State College for Women in 1928. She then returned to her home in DeFuniak Springs and began teaching at Walton County High School. By 1934, the Depression had reached such a point that Walton County was unable to pay its teachers and my mother decided that she’d better seek alternative employment. To do so, she enrolled at Jones College in Jacksonville to pursue a secretarial career. At the end of school in the summer of 1934, she took a bus from DeFuniak to Jacksonville. As chance would have it, my father, also bound for Jacksonville, got on that same bus in Tallahassee and sat down next to Hilda.

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham speaks during an appearance at the 2007 Leadership Florida conference in Orlando. Graham, who also served as Florida's governor from 1979 to 1987, died April 16 at age 87.

There has been a long-running family joke about that coincidence. Father contended that the only empty seat on the bus was next to my mother. Mother felt it was her charm and beauty that attracted him to sit with her.

In any event, it turned out they both knew the Tebaults (A.H. “Hoop” Tebault Sr. and Beth, then owners of The St. Augustine Record) – my father through his political activities – he having served as member of the State Road Board under Gov. (Doyle) Carlton and she, through a distant family relationship. For reasons that I am not certain but for which I am most appreciative, the Tebaults invited Ernest and Hilda to come to St. Augustine, and it was there that their chance association moved toward romance. They were married in January 1936 and on Nov. 9 of that year, I was the happy beneficiary of The Record’s contribution to happiness ever after.

Who is Bob Graham?Here’s what to know about the former Florida governor and senator

Personal MentionReprinted from The St. Augustine Record, July 28, 1935.

E.R. Graham of Miami, formerly a member of the State Road Department, was a visitor here yesterday.

Miss Hilda Simmons of DeFuniak Springs, who is taking a business course in Jacksonville, was a visitor here yesterday.

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