“A Firm Liberal”: Robert Griffin and the Florida Flambeau

Bob Griffin, 1952.

It was with great delight that Heritage Protocol & University Archives welcomed Robert Griffin and his family for a two day visit at FSU. Bob Griffin attended FSU from 1948-52, and left a lasting impression as a student journalist. While he was involved with many campus groups and activities, including The Collegians (men’s glee club), Omicron Delta Kappa, and Gold Key, nothing captivated his attention quite like working for the Florida Flambeau.

Mr. Griffin started writing for the Florida Flambeau as a freshman, and worked his way up to editor by his senior year. During his tenure as editor, Mr. Griffin pushed the envelope at the paper and often published articles dealing with controversial subject matter. After reprinting an editorial from the St. Petersburg Times that boldly criticized FSU’s decision to cancel a football game against Bradley University because there were black team members, Mr. Griffin was almost expelled from FSU. Fortunately, this judgment wasn’t handed down to him after the student body president, Milton Carothers, had advocated for him.
Bradley Cancellation Slaps Shame, Disrespect on FSU, 1952.
Bradley Cancellation Slaps Shame, Disrespect on FSU, 1952. This article almost caused Bob Griffin to be expelled from campus.
His tireless dedication to the Florida Flambeau earned him high praise in the 1952 yearbook, where he was described as “a worker with ideas” with “editorial policies [that] were carried through with vigor and sincerity.” Prior to becoming the Flambeau editor, Mr. Griffin served as the Business Manager of the paper, and was “notorious for grabbing unsuspecting students and putting them to work as solicitors or in various other capacities.” His methods may have seemed unorthodox at the time, but were successful – he nearly doubled the income from advertising in a year.
Robert Griffin and his family try on FSU championship rings and check out some of the HPUA memorabilia collection.
While visiting campus last month, Mr. Griffin brought along a complete set of Florida Flambeau from 1948-52, which are now available on the FSU Digital Library.

About Hannah Wiatt Davis

Hannah Wiatt Davis is the Archives Assistant for the FSU Heritage Protocol & University Archives. She received her MLIS from FSU in August, 2014.

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