Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

First batch of late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's files arrives at USF library

TAMPA — A dozen boxes might be enough to contain the detritus of an average career. For the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, who spent more than four decades representing Pinellas County in Washington, D.C., the paper trail extends a little farther.

About 120 boxes of documents accumulated during Young's half-century in politics arrived Monday at the special collections library of the University of South Florida, a portion of the 250 boxes that eventually will be compiled by university researchers for posterity.

Promising in its sheer volume, the document cache is at this point a mystery. It arrived from the U.S. House of Representatives unlabeled and apparently unorganized, according to Matt Knight, coordinator of special collections for USF Libraries.

Sifting through a few boxes at random Monday afternoon uncovered curious but unremarkable memorabilia. There were photos of Young with Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, and of Young squeezing himself into an astronaut's spacesuit; also a letter thanking the congressman for his "help and participation" in the 1975 grand opening of a McDonald's on Fourth Street and Gandy Boulevard.

Perhaps the documents' greatest allure, Knight said, lies in whatever light they could shed on a more ignoble episode in Young's career: his participation as a young state senator in the Florida Legislative Investigative Committee, which organized a persecution campaign against gays (as well as civil-rights activists and suspected communists) in the 1960s.

Later in his career, Young downplayed his involvement in the group, also known as the Johns Committee after its chairman, state Sen. Charley Eugene Johns, a former governor. Records from the period, if any survived, could help historians assess that claim.

"As soon as we heard we were getting these papers, I thought, 'I hope he saved some of that stuff,' " Knight said. "It's a shameful period and a lot of people don't like to talk about it. A lot of people were involved."

He said the documents could also provide a fuller outline of Young's machinations over the years to steer money and political support to MacDill Air Force Base.

But such revelations won't come overnight, even if they are waiting in the boxes lining a full wall of a windowless room on the fourth floor of USF's main library. Reviewing and organizing the records likely will take about eight months, Knight said.

Times staff writer Caitlin Johnston contributed to this report. Peter Jamison can be reached at pjamison@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3337. Follow him on Twitter @petejamison.

First batch of late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young's files arrives at USF library 04/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida education news: Student discipline, online learning, solar eclipse glasses and more

    Blogs

    STUDENT DISCIPLINE: Everyone wants their child to behave in school. But sometimes defining what that means causes dissention. That was the case this week at a Pasco County elementary school, which A Pasco County elementary school has adopted a new behavior model that encourages cooperation and responsibility. Some parents are upset that it also seems to support giving in to peer pressure.

  2. Pinellas wants to see impact of tourism bucks spent on big events

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– Pinellas County relies on more than just beaches to attract visitors. County government also spends millions to help sponsor big-name events to draw even more tourists.

    The Pinellas County Tourist Development Council awareded up to $250,000 to help sponsor the 2018 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Zephyrhills begins residential lien forgiveness program

    Local Government

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A new program is under way to forgive liens on certain residential properties in the city to combat blight, encourage improvements to properties and spur home ownership.

    City Manager Steve Spina said after the council’s unanimous vote, the new lien forgiveness program is up and running.
  4. With reluctance, New Port Richey continues funding for Main Street program

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — City officials on Tuesday night had their annual debate on whether to continue funding the New Port Richey Main Street program. The group remains financially strapped and claims it cannot survive without city funding.

    Said New Port Richey Mayor Rob Marlowe: “I think the Main Street program has gone seriously off the rails.”
  5. Spanish police kill 5 in resort hours after Barcelona attack (w/video)

    World

    BARCELONA, Spain — Police on Friday shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a car attack in a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100 others.

    A woman places a postcard of the Barcelona's Sacred Family cathedral next to bunches of flowers in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Police on Friday shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe's latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. [Associated Press]