Sen. Nelson Tours Dozier Site By  USF News

A short time-line of events just before bill & after bill was signed & thank you note at end by R.Straley

How Florida's Darkest Chapter For Children
        Is Turning into Florida's Finest Hour

As Senate Heads Toward That Path, Florida House Apologizes To Dozier School Victims
By Sascha Cordner

Florida Legislators Formally Apologize for Past Misdeeds Brendan Farrington

R.Straley Tallahassee Democrat Opinion Section

Watch it: Bryant Middleton talks about Dozier School for Boys

Gov. Scott Signs Bill Into Law Creating Dozier Memorials, Reburying Unclaimed Remains  By Sascha Cordner WUSF

​Gov. Scott signs bill to create Dozier memorials and rebury bodies By Amy Hollyfield, Times Staff Writer

Governor Rick Scott Signs 33 Bills Into Law, including 'Dozier Boys' Bill   WFTS Webteam

Scott signs Dozier, BP settlement bills By Jim Turner / The News Service of Florida

Meet Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran 

What the House & Senate approved:

Apology from House and Senate

The White House Building will stand, property of the
State in perpetuity as well as Boot Hill Cemetery
where the 1914 bodies will be re-buried

Two monuments, one at the State Capitol Grounds
One on the Dozier property

1.2 Million to be used to create monuments, search for living abusers
and to search for more bodies

Unidentified bodies to be buried in Tallahassee

Fire Victims to be buried at Dozier Cemetery 

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Florida's Finest Hour

An Act Of Grace

The 2008 Sealing of the White House Ceremony, was disavowed as “neither an apology nor an admission” the next day when Tallahassee found out what the DJJ had done. During a lunch break at the ceremony, five African American girls, employees at Dozier, came up to me and said how sorry they were that I had been beaten. I was surprised by their collective grace, a simple and beautiful quality. They were innocent and kind, living in a different era from the Marianna of six decades ago.

Former Mayor Elmore Bryant in an interview stated: “Bad things happened not only to the boys, but to the staff as well. People are afraid.”

Former Senator Arthenia Joyner spoke of leaving a reminder: “We can't go back and change the sins of the past, but we can set a reminder so that this never happens again.”

Florida Representative Ed Narain stated: "More than a tragedy happened at Dozier, in the eyes of any human being with a heart and a soul, the unimaginable happened at Dozier."

With Dozier falling into ruin and virtually sinking into its own blood stained earth, there should be nothing left to fear but fear itself. The people of Marianna could turn this whole dreadful past into a positive by accepting that yes, this did happen here, but it was a different time. Use the power of this story, read by over a billion people, to free your town and make a stand against those who would keep an entire town in fear.

I feel The White House should be made into a museum as it is truly a historic site due to the thousands of boys who walked through its door and came out damaged for life. Too much brutality was cast upon young boys that would eventually grow up, marry, and in many cases take out their anger or rage on the ones they were supposed to love. Often the opposite happened, they did not know how to love and became distant even to their own children. Many are in prison now. These acts of illegal flogging would burn through generations of people that were not at Dozier, but innocent victims. I believe the land should be returned to Marianna for the young people who are innocent and to repair the town's economy if possible.

If I met those young ladies today I would tell them that I am sorry that they lost their jobs and hope they would forgive me. This is a story of grace, atonement, forgiveness and closure. The journey to a better and brighter day for all could be the lesson, and words carved in stone the reminder and a warning to the future that this cannot happen again.

This administration, this Cabinet, the Senators, and Representatives fought for years for these bills to pass. I hope with all my heart that they will be remembered for changing history. One hundred and eleven years of former administrations turned their heads and did nothing. This administration of Florida did not let this go unknown and unaddressed, they brought it out of the past of six decades and rendered justice. They will write words in stone on two monuments, one in Tallahassee, one at Dozier and the White House Building will stand as well as the "Boot Hill" cemetery, owned by the State.

And a huge thank you, especially to all of the press who believed us before USF's Professor Erin Kimmerle and Dr. Christian Wells found the boys lost in the woods. To Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald for breaking the story October 19, 2008, along with Rich Phillips and Ed Lavandera CNN, and Brendan Farrington who were also at the Dozier Ceremony. Ben Montgomery, Tampa Bay Times for covering it for eight years, and to all of you, too numerous to mention, without you, the power of the press, this story would have never been told. A special thanks to Former Governor Bob Martinez and Senator Bill Nelson for backing our endeavor and to Glen Vernadoe who stopped Florida from selling the Dozier property. For crafting our bill: Senator Arthenia Joyner, Representative Ed Narain,  Representative Tracie Davis, Senator Darryl Rouson, Senator Kelli Stargel and others I may not be aware of.

R. Straley  4/29/2017