The 57 Club

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-03-31
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Florida
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An inside look into the sausage-making process of Florida politics "Karl's descriptions of various aspects of the legislative process are superb. . . . His candid discussions of what it feels like to be on the losing side of a legislative vote or an election (in his case for governor) and how to move on afterward should be read and taken to heart by those contemplating political careers."--from the foreword by David Colburn and Susan McManus "Lays bare the turbulent era of Florida politics in the '50s and '60s by telling the unvarnished story of how a few courageous men fought against segregationists and self-serving interests and laid the foundation for government in the sunshine. Through anecdotes--both humorous and serious--first-person accounts, and delightful descriptions of the people and places throughout the state, Mr. Karl's book opens a wondrous window on this crucial time in Florida's political history."--Michael Foerster, former Hillsborough County director of communications Frederick Karl's story portrays a group of Florida legislators and their political friends and enemies in a time of intense turmoil that marked the late 1950s and '60s in Florida. The 57 Club was the self-assigned name of the thirty-nine legislators first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1956. Karl's fascinating autobiography not only recalls those years, when Florida was in the midst of a transformation away from its rural, racially segregated, Deep South roots, but also offers intimate details into a half century of public service. By sharing his own experiences and reactions, describing what he witnessed or heard along the way, and telling stories about friends and colleagues, Karl gives readers a front row seat to some of the most captivating and turbulent moments in twentieth-century Florida politics. His insights into how the legislature functions--from the politics of committee assignments to the usefulness of lobbyists, from the savvy use of rules on the floor to debating skills, from polite ways of punishing unethical colleagues to the use of humor to calm angry exchanges, and much more--all make for an absorbing tale. An inaugural volume in the series Florida Government and Politics, edited by David Colburn and Susan MacManus

Author Biography

Frederick B. Karl was born in 1924 in Daytona Beach. At the age of 18 he was commissioned a second lieutenant and saw action as a tank platoon leader in Europe. Wounded during the Battle of the Bulge, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart. He later served eight years as a state representative and four years as a state senator.


Karl became Florida's first public counsel in 1974 and was the last elected Justice of the Florida Supreme Court two years later. After resigning in 1978, he returned to government service--first as county attorney, then as county administrator of Hillsborough County. He was asked to take over the helm of Tampa General Hospital in 1994. After leaving this post, he was appointed city attorney by newly elected Tampa mayor, Pam Iorio. In 2004, at the age of 80, he officially retired for the fourth and final time.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
The Club, the People, and the Environment
The Club Is Bornp. 1
Club Members and Othersp. 23
The Home of the Capitalp. 56
A Citizen Legislaturep. 75
The Social Calendarp. 87
The Issues
Segregationp. 101
Racial Issuesp. 117
The Johns Committeep. 131
Reapportionmentp. 143
Other Issues and Episodesp. 147
Governors, the Media, and Campaigns
Governors We Knewp. 173
The Role of the Mediap. 205
Anatomy of a Campaignp. 218
A Justice Is the Sum of His Pastp. 244
The Operators
Speakers and Speechesp. 275
Lobbying and Lobbyistsp. 296
End of Storyp. 312
The 1957 Freshmen in the Florida House of Representativesp. 317
Jack Orr's Speechp. 319
Toby Simon's Casep. 323
Governor Collins Veto Message of the Last Resort Billp. 327
Interposition Resolution in Response to Brown v. Board of Education, 1957p. 329
Acknowledgmentsp. 335
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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