BIO Index

Anthony Skiff

I enjoyed college the same way most people do, however one of my most meaningful experiences at Florida State was chairing the Social Action Committee, which worked to desegregate restaurants across the street from campus that would not serve African-Americans even if they were our fellow students. Many, including the University Religious Council, tried for months to persuade the places to open up but they wouldn't budge. In the end we picketed them for a hundred and fifty eight days, at the outset continuing in the face of hostile mobs estimated at two to five hundred on successive nights.

Once while Count Basie was at FSU for a performance we recruited him to picket with us. He was a great guy who made us feel at ease when we met with him. He didn't hesitate at all though this was a dangerous thing for him to do then.

When an integrated group of our members first went in to ask for service, not only were they roughly denied, but the restaurant hired a full-time doorman to limit customers by race. The next time we tried, our group was arrested before it got to the entrance. At the Supreme Court of the United States we won the resulting case, whose name memorializes the contribution and courage of our classmate and friend: John Parrot et al. v City of Tallahassee.

Following graduation my girlfriend and I got married. After we both received our Master's in Sociology we went on to a university that could not have been more different from Florida State: the New School for Social Research in New York City. It had no sports, housing, deans of students, student government or even a school bookstore.

It's Graduate Faculty (originally The University in Exile which sponsored them and provided jobs and visas) was created for European professors who fled the Nazi's bringing with them their traditions, theories, and critical perspective.

The sociology students, antiestablishment, international as well, and self- confident as the faculty, demanded an equal role in decisions so we participated in faculty meetings. After Kent State our student body began a lengthy protest strike by taking over the school building.

I wrote my dissertation while teaching at universities in the Midwest and Connecticut, and received my Ph.D. Campaigning in my spare time I was elected to local office which enabled me to pass a rental housing code for our city; it was actually enforced. Besides organizing the door-to-door registration of thousands of voters---something I hoped would improve politics---I was a volunteer or manager in many campaigns. Ultimately I headed a state division promoting access to worker's compensation plus occupational safety. A few years after the other party finally won the governorship state employees were offered an attractive early retirement package which I accepted.

For our twenty-fifth anniversary Andrea gave me a rowing shell---perhaps because she did not want to see a twenty-sixth! Once with our son Adam who has a kayak we found what we thought was a giant squid under water but it turned out to be a hundred and fifty feet of fire hose. For fun we piled it on the shell and brought it home.

Family things have made me the happiest: watching our son grow, coaching soccer and little league, and especially family trips all over the world. Last year we trekked mountain gorillas in Rwanda then went on to East Africa where we stayed in tented safari camps. Now, I am writing, Andrea is expanding her art through digital photography, and Adam is working on graduate studies.




Adam's Eckerd College Graduation 2010

Rwanda 2010