Writing about his early twentieth-century childhood in Daytona, the renowned theologian Howard Thurman related a story about his older cousin and idol. Thorton Smith. A semi-pro baseball player in his youth, Smith had established himself by the 1920s as a successful restaurateur in Midway, the most business-oriented of Daytona's three black neighoorhoods. He purchased supplies from Edward Armstrong, a white grocer and aspiring politician who wanted to loosen the Ku Klux Klan's grip on the city; Smith suggested to him that the Klan could be defeated only if blacks were allowed to vote. After in itially rejecting the idea, the grocer and his politicai allies finally agreed to grant the franchise to black property owners and taxpayers, and the biracial alliance eventually managed to unseat the Klan. After thanking Smith, Armstrong offered tile black businessman an envelope stuffed with cash, which Smith rejected. Instead, he demanded and received from the Armstrong faction a new school for black children and uniformed black policemen to patrol African American neighborhoods.
Lempel, Leonard R.
"The Mayor's "Henchmen and Henchwomen, Both White and Colored": Edward H. Armstrong and the Politics of Race in Daytona Beach, 1900-1940,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 79:
3, Article 4.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol79/iss3/4