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Clarence Love

Clarence Love was born in Florida on March 20, 1929. His father, Ben, worked as a farmer in the Florida groves, and his mother, Alberta, worked as a domestic to support their large family of six children. The outbreak of World War II compelled Love to drop out of school and search for work to help support his family. During the next four years, he took a series of odd jobs and sent his paychecks home to his parents. Following the end of the war, he returned to school, at the age of sixteen, continuing where he left off in the seventh grade.

Following graduation, Love married and settled in Bradenton, Florida. In Bradenton, he continued to work a series of odd jobs from cleaning buildings to delivering papers. In 1960, he began collecting rent for a local property owner who rented nearly eighty apartment units throughout the city. He continued to serve as rent collector until 1973, when he purchased the apartments.

Love ran successfully for city commissioner, winning the election by eighteen votes. As city commissioner, he was responsible for a number of Section VIII programs and community redevelopment initiatives. Love was also instrumental in getting sidewalks and streetlights installed in some of the city's poorest communities. Love, now retired, has turned his property management business over to his son.

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Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

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There's No Such Thing As You Can't Do It.

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City commissioner Clarence Love (1929 - ) served one term as the Bradenton, Florida city commissioner and was responsible for a number of Section VIII programs and community redevelopment initiatives. Love was also instrumental in getting sidewalks and streetlights installed in some of the city's poorest communities.


City of Bradenton, Florida

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<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Clarence Love's Interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Clarence Love lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Clarence Love lists his parents and siblings</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Clarence Love describes his mother's side of the family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Clarence Love describes his father's side of the family</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Clarence Love describes his father's personality</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Clarence Love recalls stories of violence against blacks in Baker County, Georgia</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Clarence Love describes his mother's personality</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Clarence Love describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Clarence Love talks about his mother's farm</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Clarence Love shares how his parents met</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Clarence Love describes his household growing up</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Clarence Love describes his personality as a child</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Clarence Love describes how his parents influenced his parenting style</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Clarence Love describes his neighborhood in Palmetto, Florida in the 1930s</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Clarence Love describes attending Washington Park Elementary in Palmetto, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Clarence Love talks about his teachers in Palmetto, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Clarence Love describes the sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Clarence Love talks about the black community in Palmetto, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Clarence Love remembers his adolescence</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Clarence Love talks about working while attending school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Clarence Love recalls his plans after high school</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Clarence Love describes how he changed his manner of speaking</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Clarence Love talks about personal responsibility</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Clarence Love talks about his wife</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Clarence Love talks about buying an apartment building in Bradenton, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Clarence Love explains land contracts</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Clarence Love discusses being a black businessman</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Clarence Love recalls his election to become the first black city commissioner in Bradenton, Florida</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Clarence Love describes his accomplishments as city commissioner</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Clarence Love discusses the role of race in his political career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Clarence Love remembers his activities during and after his political term</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Clarence Love recalls the challenges of being a property manager</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Clarence Love recalls the evening he was robbed and shot</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Clarence Love recounts how his shooter was apprehended</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Clarence Love describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Clarence Love shares his advice to black business owners</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Clarence Love reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Clarence Love talks about how he would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Clarence Love narrates his photographs</a>







Clarence Love recalls stories of violence against blacks in Baker County, Georgia
Clarence Love explains land contracts
But there were other stories that are more tragic. When they were living in Georgia, they worked for a man whose--I right call, his name was Mr. Halex (ph.). And this was Baker County, Georgia--that the reason they came down here (sic), because all people sharecrop. I thought it was just Blacks, but all poor folks sharecrop. This concerns me more than what happened else (sic). That he'd worked several years tryin' to pay off the debt, and so, one year he decide he would go up and try to settle up his debt. He told the son who was overseer at the time, Mr. Halex's son, that "I'm here to settle up." So when they look at the book, Mr. Halex has all these extra charges. He said, "Mr. Halex, I paid you these." Mr. Halex cursed him out, told him, "You didn't do that." So the father intervened. And said, "Yes son, Ben paid you that, I remember." He cursed his father out, and told Ben, "If you spute (ph.) my word, I will take my (unclear) and burst your brains out." That put the fear of God in him. Later on he sneaked out of Georgia, like many others did, and came down to (unclear), Florida. And later on he was able to go back up and sneak the family out. That's how we got into Florida. Eventually, before my time, we moved to Terrasse (ph.) Island. That's were I was born and the rest of the children were born. My mother told me some stories too. Again, about sharecropping. There was a man who had gone to the bi... boss man to (unclear) about his debt. And he asked him to, "Let's settle up today. My, my family's in bad shape and needs some money." So the guy says, "You know, you didn't quite make it this year, but next year I'm sure you're going to make it." He said, "You have been telling me that for the last 10 years. We are going to settle up today." So the guy tells him, says, "No, no, Boy, you better watch your mouth. You're going to get yourself in trouble." He said, "I'm already in trouble." He said, "If you don't shut up and leave me alone", the boss man tell him, "I'm going to hurt you or something." The guy takes his gun and kills the guy. He walks out through the woods, never heard from him anymore. But, the nightriders came, she said, and they killed people--blacks--and killed them and they kill them. Actually, they took the kids--babies, by their heels and just bust their brains up against the wall--until the federal troops came in and restored order. That I heard it--she told that many, many times.$$And what--where was this in Georgia?$$Baker County, Georgia. The "master's Georgia" is in Baker County.$Now talk....I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt--but could you explain the whole thing of land contracts? Because that's a whole concept--that's the only way that--did you go in--that's the only way that black people really could get things, right?$$That's pretty well, that somebody trusts you. Cause the bank would not let me have, would not gonna let me have any money. As a matter of fact, after we had--originally, we didn't even touch it. We didn't count the bank at all--wasn't able--we didn't go in there at all. He just said, "Make the--here are the books--you make the payments to me." Which was an excellent deal. If I had managed it right, we would have been paid these things a long time ago. Lacking in experience, you're running it for somebody else. It's not the same thing as running it for yourself. You don't understand you gotta escrow money for insurance. You don't understand you gotta make repairs. A lot of things you just don't understand. So I got behind, and they only allowed me two weeks. So they, they, they were attempting to foreclose. I guess I never figured out people in the first place. So they were attempting to foreclose. Then I went and tried to get some money from the SBA [The US Small Business Association]. They laughed at me. I went to some other people, they laughed. I had some big-shots friends to getting. They laughed. My brothers laughed, because they didn't have no confidence in it. So I went to the bank and asked the bank could I refinance my house to get some money to buy the apartments. The guy said, "You can refinance the house, but the money you get, you going to put it back into the apartments. You can't get it out." Went to Tampa, a, a guy who (unclear). He became--he was a little bank in Tampa, called a community savings, I think it was. He said, "Yes, we will do it, Mr. Love. Just get your house refinanced, or reappraised." And they let me have--I think it was $12,800.00, something like that. So, I took the $12,000.00 and saved some more money and paid him the money down on the place. So I started that. Then later on, after I had--when the folks had to get the money out--and they got the money to finance then. So, I went to the bank--about $300--to get $300--about $200,000.00 at that time. I had paid it down. The bank said, "No, no, no, no. We can't do that. We can't do that kinda stuff." So I went to Mr. Singer and told him what they said. So he picks up the telephone. He said, "Banker, this is, this is Joel. He said, you know Clarence?" "Oh, yeah, he's a good fella." He said, "He needs $300 thousand. He said, "Its ok, tell him to come on and get it. We'll let him have it." It was on his word, they let me have it. And after that, I kinda took over and kinda (unclear). I got into some straights from now and then, but I managed after that.