Brodes Hartley Then and Now

By: Jill Chandler Email
By: Jill Chandler Email

Tallahassee has deep roots in the civil rights movement, and one of the men on the forefront of that movement made a trip back to Tallahassee Wednesday.

Colonel Brodes Hartley is now 76 years old, and in his lifetime he has seen a large shift in civil rights, many thanks to himself and others who organized bus boycotts here in Tallahassee. Hartley visited the FAMU campus today, and recounted the civil rights movement he was a part of.

Colonel Brodes Hartley was Student Body President of FAMU in 1956 in the heart of the civil rights movement.

When Wilhemina Jakes and Carrie Patterson were arrested for refusing to give up their seats on a Tallahassee bus, the women were thrown in jail. Hartley organized the student body, and decided it was time to boycott.

Hartley remembers that day vividly. He said, "I said to the student body, I can't tell you what to do, but I suggest we refrain from riding the bus until appropriate action is taken."

That was the beginning of the civil rights movement for historically black colleges and universities. Their actions at FAMU led to C.K. Steele and others organizing a city wide bus boycott.

Wednesday, Hartley met up with the current student body president at FAMU, Gallop Franklin.

Gallop Franklin said, "Knowing what they put on the line, to ensure that we could have a better quality of life, with equality and access it's just heartfelt and amazing."

Franklin said he has never been in a situation where he felt like he would go to jail for something, he says Hartley had a lot of courage and conviction in what he believed in.

Hartley remarked, "I was not really concerned about what might happen to myself, I don't think the students were really concerned, we were concerned about the fact that unjustly two of our young ladies had been arrested."

Hartley says he is proud of the progress made in America."But as we look around us there is still much yet to be done to achieve true equality," he added.

Colonel Hartley now lives in Miami and works as a hospital administrator. He said he has no plans of slowing down. He was in town today for the unveiling of the new Jones Hall. Hartley said he's a proud rattler and will always bleed orange and green.


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