- Posted July 18, 2012 by
A Retrospect on the Dozier School for Boys Property
A Retrospect on The Dozier School For Boys Property
Excerpt From: "Dozier Property Will Go Up for Bid" By Alyssa Hyman WMBB.com ABC13
With the help of the Jackson County Development Council, the City of Marianna, Jackson County and the School Board approached the State of Florida about acquiring the land.
"I think they owe it to us to just offer it up to this community," says Lakey. "I mean that facility has been here for a hundred years. Our community has hosted that facility for that long. I think they ought to work with us with any kind of future," says Lakey. End Quote
DECEMBER 1, 2011 The Justice Department's Civil Rights Division released a harsh criticism of conditions at the Dozier School For Boys (now closed) and the Jackson Juvenile Offender Center. Florida’s youth corrections system is so poorly administered that children are assaulted by officers, denied necessary medical care and punished harshly for minor infractions, a federal report released Friday concludes. Conditions are so severe, the U.S. Department of Justice said, that they violate the Constitution.
Violating the rights of children who were unfortunate enough to be held at Dozier all the way back to its opening in 1900 as the Florida Industrial School For Boys seems to have been a routine practice. First they were found thus: June 1, 1903: Report from investigative committee to the Florida Senate: "We found them (boys as young as 14) in irons, (welded step-chains) just as common criminals. 1911: Report from an investigative committee The children are "at times unnecessarily and brutally punished, the instrument of punishment being a leather strap fastened to a wooden handle." Source: State Archival Records http://tinyurl.com/cabsw4x
Somewhere along the way the boys were freed from step-chains and the whip went to a hard wood paddle with holes. The paddle was dropped and replaced by a whip again as "they were afraid they would hurt the boys." This devise could and probably did, shatter tailbones and do other damage to the skeletal structure and sensitive organs.
I want to personally thank the good people in Marianna who worked at Dozier for granting this benevolent downgrade to a mere leather whip as was used on slaves in the 1800's. Troy Tidwell says he never raised the whip over his head and never gave more than 15 "gentle spankings." When shown a picture of the "whitehouse" he remarked: "Oh, Is that what they called it?" There are 300+ men who will all take a polygraph to refute that monstrous lie. The town as a whole knew the children were being beat bloody, but surrounded the facility in a ring of silence. They knew the boys were being brutalized, but put jobs and money over human compassion and dignity. I wonder how many people in Marianna know that it was the younger boys who received the most beatings: Source:The Miami News, March 6, 1958: A study made of 250 white boys committed at one time to Marianna showed that at that point been given 691 whippings among them. Eleven year old boys received 260 or 38% of the beatings, and 17-year-old boys receive 21, or 3%. The older the boy, the fewer the beatings he received, records of the school showed at that time. End Source. The men who committed these criminal beatings did not fear retribution from the small boys. The older boys were another story. Some were as big as men. http://tinyurl.com/7x2rd2e
Numerous witnesses that testified about the beatings, Dr. Eugene Byrd before the US Senate, Senate President Louis De La Parte' who hearing of the beatings, drove to FSB and came back to report to the local newspapers of "a blood splattered shed" which called for a state grand jury to intervene. Roy Manella, an official of the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, said at a Tallahassee news conference that "the Marianna institution was one of the worst examples in the nation of a boys' reform school. " Newspapers called it a monstrosity, 1400 acres of hell, all in all there are 64 newspaper archive reports that have been open to the public since at least 1958 and are listed on our web site. Many back up our allegations to the hilt. Source: http://tinyurl.com/cxhzjxe
Now, this property which was described as an "eyesore" by the whining citizenry after it closed, has suddenly become important. They are "owed" this ten million dollar piece of land they hosted so grandly for a hundred years. No Sir, Mr. Lakey, your "City of Southern Charm" did nothing more than allow torture and the exploitation of boys as they worked, illegally, on your farms, laboring under the hot sun to pick produce for which their caregivers were paid in cash. And how many millions of dollars of peanuts, corn, potatoes, carrots, melons, pecans,syrup, pork,chickens,and beef went under the table during those years when the land was farmed? I wonder if the FBI or the DOJ is investigating that as well? How good are your records on that, or have they all just "disappeared over time" as with the records of the 50 missing boys that no person could come up with? How many bodies are being found right now that seemed to have slipped by the FDLE's meticulous investigation? http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/
Jackson County is a stain on the State of Florida. Its brutal history of deaths by flogging and other torture in the turpentine camps, lumber camps and prison camps, the outrageous lashings of boys as young as 8-11yrs old at Dozier, not to forget the torture and lynching of blacks, yes you are certainly qualified to receive some compensation for your wonderful "hosting." If you did receive what you deserved, many would be in prison, Dozier would be cleared and turned into a nature preserve, because, in the case of the people of Marianna, it would be better off by far in the hands of animals, at least those whom God created to be animals.
I remember seeing the headlines in one newspaper during the Rwanda massacre, it said: "There are no Demons in Hell, they are all in Rwanda." I suspect you may find some lingering about in the dark corridors of Dozier still.
Robert W. Straley