Harold LucasHarold V. Lucas Jr. was born in Daytona Beach on October 5, 1932 to parents Harold Lucas Sr. and Althea Beatrice Lucas. Lucas attended Cypress Street Elementary and Campbell High School where he played basketball and was involved in the drama club, business club, and woodworking club. Throughout his life Lucas has been involved with the Bethune-Cookman College football team. He became their mascot at age five and was later promoted to water boy. After High School, Lucas enrolled at Bethune-Cookman College and graduated with a business major and a physical education minor. At B-CC Lucas continued to travel with the football team. He played basketball his freshman and sophomore years and football his senior year. Lucas became a proud member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. on November 13, 1950. After college, Lucas took a job as the assistant to the principal at Bonner Elementary. He worked there only three months before he volunteered for the draft and went into service in October.

Lucas chose to attend the six-month Signal Corps School at Camp Gordon, Georgia. He entered Basic Training, also at Camp Gordon, in October of 1953. Lucas was sent to Korea for five months where he was stationed in various places working as a radio operator. In 1955, Lucas came back to the United States and finished up his term in 1956. After the military, Lucas came back to B-CC to get a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education because he wanted to teach. Having achieved this degree he took a job as a general education teacher at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in 1957 where he taught health, biology, general science, physical education, and swimming as an extracurricular activity.

While at FSDB, Lucas started a track team for the black students. He spent two years there and came back to Daytona in 1959 to be a driver’s education instructor and assistant coach for the football team at Campbell Street High School. During his ten-year stay at Campbell, Lucas started a track team, became head coach of the football team in 1966, and coached and recruited for the B-CC football program. When integration was enacted in 1969, Lucas left Campbell to teach at Mainland High School. At Mainland, Lucas taught driver’s education until, in 1970, he decided to get a master’s degree in the counseling education program at the University of Pittsburgh so that he could be a guidance counselor. After achieving his degree, Lucas came back to Mainland and took a job as the assistant principle in charge of discipline where he served until 1979.

Lucas then served as the Equity Coordinator at Daytona Beach Community College from 1979 until he retired in 1988. Although retired, Lucas continues to be involved with B-CC Football as an advisor to the team and is a lifelong member of New Mount Zion Church. He has also been a member of many social groups such as the Masons, the Elks, and the Knights of Pythias. Lucas recorded his experiences in his book A Tree That Grew in Midway: The Autobiography of Mr. Harold V. Lucas Jr. which was published in 2016. The following interview with Harold Lucas was conducted on June 12, 2018.

Text Only Transcript Selections:

Urban renewal

“Urban renewal was supposed to be the...the great hope for the black community. They were going to get it straightened out, and they were going to get rid of all of the slum homes that showed in the Gordon Park thing. You know, they were going to get rid of all of those houses. But when they came through they tore everything down, but they haven’t built anything up. That’s why you don’t see anything down there right now.”

Bethune’s vision

“Well, B...B-CU has always been in the forefront of trying to develop public relations between the city and the state and the country and the world because Mrs. Bethune was a world-renowned person. If you talk about what she did here - she tried to set a tone for the city of Daytona Beach where everyone would have an opportunity to...to advance to their capacity. She tried to set that by making sure that she showed no partiality with reference to city government or with reference to, “Well, we...we are blacks so we’re going to stay over here, and you white you stay over there.” She...that was not in her scheme of things. What she wanted to do was bring people together. She was a person that sort of brought communities together.”

The Ritz Theater

“The Ritz Theater, it used to cost nine cents to go in. So you got nine cents to go in, five cents for a bag of popcorn, five cents for some Milk Duds, five cents for some hot dogs, and you could get all of that for twenty-five cents and enjoy a movie.”

A&P riot

“The A&P store was….There was an incident where a lady was in line and somebody cut in front of her, and the lady….There was a black lady in line, and a white person cut in front of her, and she said something to the person for cutting in front of her, and there was a guy that was...the little guy that...stock boy or something? He said something to Corrine and she said something back to him, and he hit her in the head with a can of Carnation milk. So, we closed that store down.”

Dealing with racism

“Well, we got into this under false pretenses: Mason’s, the Elks, the Knights of Pythias, and all of them. The reason we got in those is because when you were going to Bethune back when I was going to school we used to have to drive cars with the basketball team, going to play basketball, or you know, whatever. And the cops used...if they stopped you and you were a Mason they’d probably let you go. “Now, you know better than that boy. Don’t be driving around….” ‘cause they still had that...had that little influence, you see? And that started because one night we were coming from a basketball game and Cy McLairen was driving and a cop stopped him, and he was just giving Cy hell about doing whatever it was he was doing. Well, Charleston Holt who was from Quincy, Florida was a Mason because they...they knew all...they used that for protection up there in Quincy. So, he was laying in the back about half asleep and he heard the cop talking to Cy, and so he got out of the car and he walked around there and the guy came back to where he was, and then the cop came back, “Alright now, you all better be careful out there.” I said, “Man, what happened?” Holt said, you know, “I was a...I’m a Mason.” So, all of us joined the Mason’s.”

Urban Renewal

“Because my son was a poster child for urban renewal, and it happened that I was down at Sears Roebuck….Yeah. I was down at Sears Roebuck looking at some fishing poles and stuff and my son was sitting down by the rods and...the rods. And the guy said, “Can I take a picture of him?” And I said, “Yeah.” You know, I didn’t know. So he said, “Well, he’s going to be on the urban renewal thing.” So, he was on the urban renewal poster like, “Give this kid a chance,” you know?”

Community Meetings

“Community meeting was a place where it didn’t make any difference what color you were, who you were, how important you were; you came in and sat down on a first-come first-served basis. In other words, John D. Rockefeller might be sitting next to his gardener. You see? Proctor and Gamble might be sitting next to his maid. The purpose of community meeting was again was to bring all the community together.”

Musicians Who Came to Campus

“Almost all the musicians that time like Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington, James Brown, Arthur Prysock. Who else? I think Eartha Kitt probably came on campus I believe, and there would be different people that would come on campus and then would come down to the other clubs, you know. Mrs. Bethune would invite certain people to come because she wanted to invite certain people in the community to come, and, you know, and listen to them sing.”

Jackie Robinson

“When Jackie came over here to play he was welcomed by ninety percent of the people. Of course, there’d be some people that would say, “We don’t want a black out there,” you know? But they knew it was gonna lead up to him playing, possibly, playing baseball with the major league. But Jackie Robinson was one. Of course, all of the athletes like Larry Doby...some of the other guys...Suitcase Simpson, and a bunch of those other guys were playing. Roy Campanella. We saw them play right out there where that little...little bitty field is now? That’s where they...that’s where they played, but there was a whole field.”

For more information, contact (fordj@cookman.edu)