You Belong to Me

Sex, Race and Murder in the South

The Ruby McCollum Story

Alonzo Philmore

“I never liked the song, ("Old Folks at Home") because actually, if you ever go over to the Stephen Foster Memorial, and then they got in those houses these little carousel looking things or whatever, and they are always talking and showing you how slavery was or whatever. I won't even watch a movie now with slavery in it, because it makes me angry of how people were treated and the way they were done, so I don't even watch them."

“Well, when you say palpable racism that exists here, there's some overt racism, and there's some covert racism that exists here in Suwannee County. Look at the one thing... we have a fire department here with not the first black face on it, and then you got a fire chief that has his brother working for him, which if you look in the Florida statutes, that's against the law. It's against State law. But nobody here is saying anything about it. We are. We have just filed a complaint with the United States Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights concerning that.”

“We filed a complaint with the Department of Justice Office of Civil Rights against the police department, because we didn't have the first black police officer. Got a whole police department with no minorities on it, except for women. And then, now they've hired, since we filed the complaint, they have hired one black female and they have a black male in school to uh, be hired, as a police officer.”

“But a lot of times the community is depicted as, I don't want to use the word poor people, but a lot of, I think, are economically deprived people. So, we should do what, what we do in other communities in that community. And we were getting a lot of complaints that the police, you would call them, when something happened they would come out and say, ah, there's nothing we can do about that, and just leave, and not do nothing. But we went and sat down several times with the chief of police and pointed out that this is happening.”

"And simply because of the community, where it's happening, people think, your officers maybe think that's a black community, but that's a mixed community, and no matter what it is, they need to serve and protect like they have on the side of their car, or we're going back to DOJ for you not doing your job."

“Well, when you talk about the McCollum home, back then it looked, it was a good-looking place. That was before it deteriorated to the point that it has now. As a little boy, you look at that home, maybe when I was 8, 9 years old, I would look at it and say, man, it must have been marvelous growing up in a place like that."

"And, when you walk by it always, we would always stand there and look at it, like, God, that's a nice place. So, it was a place of prominence. In a small town like this, and for a black man to own a place like that, it made you feel good. It made you feel like, you know, we are important, too, when so many people are trying to tell you because of the color of you skin that you're not this and you're not that."

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