The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 12, 1976 · Page 55
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 55

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 12, 1976
Page 55
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C4 Palm Beach Post-Times, Sunday, December 12, 1976 'They call this wino city, or wino town, on the CB radio. There's some of them that would like to call it the garden city on the radio, but it's not catching on. Until they clean it up, it's still going to be wino city.' C.W. Miller, Stockade Guard jpi'"iin & - s 0 11 ,?rl 1 9I ' vf -xjwr-t, ... - n ,i u in mi in iiwr i1 t , ' .- - -. , - I . r - n , i ! I . r ;i i ! Willi mini uumT'.LUWjiIii iiiiiiiiiii-T ' 'The first man I arrested in Immokalee was a wino who was chasing another wino down the street with a big piece of chain, trying to hit him. He's running a halfway house here in town now. He came to the jail the other day to get some alkie out, and I gave him the chain back. He's one of those cases that the Myers Act helped.' - Sgt. Jim Bradley, C6llier County Sheriff's Office Staff Photos And Captions By Ken Steinhoff L c ' , -jfe . I i T ) vw"- (f. ' . . : 1, It (Ml iflif Jl PL xfS. - ' Ms w , I' - 1 J 'What do you call a wino? What's your the big church man for help 'cause he won't definition? Is he one of those guys passed out give it to me; I don't call up the newspaper- alongside the road with a bottle next to him? man for help 'cause he won't give it to me. A guy who's up there in front of the bar But I can ask one of these tramps for help everytime the window goes up? Let me tell because he's been there before. He'll help you, if you're ever hungry, you go up to one me. - A.C. (Al) Lewis of those tramps and they'll get you something . . . I've been hurt, but I don't call up Immokalee From CI what our problems were, how poorly we were paid, our living conditions. Even today, I don't believe anyone is doing very much for the poor." Mrs. Ayala did point out that Latin families were also indifferent to the outside world. She has learned through her work that they do not seem to want assistance. "The other day 1 left this office to visit a family. When I walked into their house I saw bare electrical wires, holes in the walls and ceiling, cockroaches walking over the kitchen counter and a rat running under a bed. "I asked the family if there was anything our office could do for them, if they had any problems. They told me they didn't have any problems. 1 don't think it was their pride talking. They honestly thought they had no problems. They didn't know life could be any better. "Now that I think of it, when 1 was a kid living in that one room with 10 people, I didn't think we had any problems either." Adequate housing is a major problem in Immokalee and the problem is not limited to migrant workers. "We need housing to attract light industry, which we need badly to supply em Jerry LeCount, white and the head football coach aUImmokalee High School, said, "Our team has groups and perhaps they are racially divided. We don't have an overall team leader, but we do have leaders of the individual groups. "But I believe this division is by interests rather than by prejudices. White kids have different interests in music than black kids or Latins. The black kids like to do different things on the weekends than the whites or Latins. The Latin kids might be joined together because they feel more comfortable speaking Spanish than English. "This is not to say the groups don't mix socially and I feel this team has played all year as a team. And while there may be divisions you can hardly see, there hasn't been any racial trouble," LeCount said. Although she welcomes Immokalee's racial compatability, Mary Ayala of Florida Hural Legal Services Inc. said it may have developed through indifference. "I came from a very poor Latin family," Mrs. Ayala said. "Our family rented one room and it housed 10 people. All of us worked very hard in the fields, even the kids when it wasn't a school day. "But bad off as we were, nobody came around to help us. No one tried to learn ployment year-round here," said James Waller, Immokalee's postmaster. "But light industry won't come without housing, and more housing won't be built until something like light industry gets here. It's a vicious cycle." Since housing is scarce, rents are high. A quarter of a run-down duplex two rooms rents for $130 per month. A comfortable apartment, of which there are extremely few due to the lack of people who can afford them, rents for $220 or more. Whatever attractiveness Immokalee has, it is blighted by its slum, shared by whites, blacks and Latins. It is further blighted by its winos, who are also of all races. "We might have the most winos per population than anyplace else," Cureton said. "It's funny and shameful at the same time. If you've ever been down by the bars you'll see those winos stumbling all around at all hours of the day and night and it's quite a show. It almost makes you want to laugh. "But I've seen a poor drunk fall down, throw up all over himself and lay in the street in the heat of the day with flies all over him just lay there for hours. "You feel sorry for them and you might want to do something for them, but they'd just go back through the same routine tomorrow." Immokalee itself has had a daily routine that has remained relatively unchanged for more than a decade. There are signs of growth which are unacceptable to a few longtime residents. For others, they are coming too slow. An answer might lie in incorporation. But every time it has been placed on the ballot, it has been voted down. There are those who say that whites who, despite being a minority, have the greatest number on the voter registration rolls have stopped incorporation out of fear they some day may be governed by Latin Americans or a Latin-black coalition. Others disregard this theory as ridiculous. "It would be easy to say that Immokalee could and will just stay on the same course it has for years," Postmaster Waller said. "But eventually those slum houses will either collapse or burn down and then where will those people live? Machinery will eventually replace the worker in the fields. Then what kind of work will they do? "Changes are coming, but they are coming too slow. If they don't come faster, it may be too late to save what I think is a fine community in which to live." "I believe prejudices are built up among people when they have little or no contact with other groups," said Jones, a black who has lived in Immokalee 12 years. "But here, everybody is living side by side. Maybe some of them don't do it by choice, but this is a small, racially mixed community and contact with other peoples is unavoidable." "When school integration came here a few years ago, there were problems, but no trouble," said Bethune School Principal Florence Jelks, a black who has lived in Immokalee 10 years. "There was nothing like buses being blown up or children being withheld from school. "It seems everyone gets along fine. 1 have white friends and Latin-American friends and I visit them and they visit my home. Many many other people do the same and nobody thinks it strange. I find the people warm and receptive, and for that reason, I haven't left here, though I've had opportunities to do so," Jelks said. Gerald Crawford, white and the owner of Fred's Supermarket, said, "These people eat together, work together and do most everything else together. If they didn't get along, there would be no way they could live together."

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