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Beyond IntegrationThe Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980$
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J. Michael Butler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627472

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627472.001.0001

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The State of Florida v. B. J. Brooks and H. K. Matthews

The State of Florida v. B. J. Brooks and H. K. Matthews

(p.180) Chapter Seven The State of Florida v. B. J. Brooks and H. K. Matthews
Beyond Integration

J. Michael Butler

University of North Carolina Press

The felony extortion trial of B. J. Brooks and H. K. Matthews began on June 9, 1975. A number of county deputies, including Sheriff Royal Untreiner and Sgt. Jim Edson, testified against the two leaders. The trial climaxed with the playing of audio tapes the prosecution claimed captured Brooks and Matthews threating the lives of public officials, but many observers disputed the assertion. Still, a jury found the two guilty. Judge Kirke Beall sentenced Matthews to five years at hard labor but placed Brooks on probation under the stipulation that he participate in no public demonstrations during the period. The penalties created a leadership void within the African American community, exacerbated tensions between professional and working class blacks in Northwest Florida, and demonstrated the limits the Pensacola civil rights movement faced when it confronted de facto racism.

Keywords:   Florida v. B.J. Brooks and H.K. Matthews, Sheriff Royal Untreiner, Sgt. Jim Edson, Judge Kirke Beall, Pensacola civil rights movement, De facto racism

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