Jan 12, The Darker Side of Jim Crow Florida
by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)
Man In Courthouse
Gus was one of the best men I ever knew. He worked for me on one of the soil testing drill rigs that I ran out of Tampa shortly after I graduated from the University of Florida in 1966.
He was a driller helper, and although a small man, did heavy labor all day long without complaint. He received minimum hourly wage and I was never able to get him a raise in the year that we worked together.
My boss said the job was worth no more than minimum wage. Gus was getting close to retirement age, and although he couldn’t read and write, his wife was a well educated woman. She was the principal of a black school in Tampa.
Gus’s only vice, as far as I know, was playing Bolita every week. That was an illegal gambling game in Florida. Bolita disappeared shortly after the state came up with the Florida lottery and made it legal to separate poor people from their money.
I managed the drilling department of an engineering testing company. We had three truck mounted drill rigs that made test borings at sites all over the state.