JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nat Glover may be President of Edward Waters College, Jacksonville’s first African American Sheriff, and strong contender for mayor—but he admits he struggled in his younger years. His confession: he didn’t get the best grades in high school, and there were times he wanted to follow the crowd but the strong arm of what he considered then “strict parents” directed him to make better choices. Education would take priority, like it or not.
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“We didn’t question what she said, if she said something that was unpleasant to you, you couldn’t even frown,” Glover jokes about his mother.
That firm hand would take him far. While in high school, Glover caught the attention of a football coach from Edward Waters College. He was offered a full scholarship upon graduation. Which meant he had to keep his grades up. To his surprise, he made captain of the team his junior year. It seems that was the beginning of good things to come.
“We had some greatness, we had an undefeated season, we beat a team 142-to nothing.”
After college Glover sought a career in law enforcement, during segregated and sometimes hostile times in Jacksonville. There was one other problem.
“Getting on the force was a challenge, I had an arrest record."
Glover had been arrested for taking a napkin that he used to wipe his brow in a hot cafeteria where he worked downtown in Hemming Plaza. Two white officers stopped him, found the napkin in his pocket and arrested him for stealing. It was a friend who already worked on the police force who introduced him to the mayor at the time. Glover shared the injustice with new friend, Mayor Lou Ritter. From that day forward Glover had a friend in high places. Mayor Ritter later went to the police station to give Glover a commendation for the job.
"I Prayed to the Lord if he would just get me on the force I wouldn't pray for anything else."
Prayers were answered. Glover took full advantage of his opportunities. He climbed through the ranks from patrol officer to detective, he achieved a title no African American had ever gotten the chance to earn. Sheriff of Jacksonville. Then after 38-years, he was ready for a new challenge, Mayor of Jacksonville.
“I thought it was ordained for me, I thought this was going to happen until the votes were counted and it wasn't."
Glover says it wasn’t defeat, he had been challenged, the city had been challenged yet again. Glover went on to work with Former Mayor John Delany at UNF, now he’s President of the very college he graduated from more than 40 years ago.
“Believe it or not, my work study duty was cleaning the restroom, right across from my office here. At this point in my life, this is where I was destined to be.”