If you do not believe us, The White House Boys, then do you believe the words from your own peers on the flogging and abuse at
Dozier/Florida School for Boys?
January 5, 2013 20 NAMED WITNESSES
We have been involved in the exposé of the brutal abuse of children at the Dozier/Florida School For Boys since September 2007. The historical record is now widely
publicized: for 111 years state officials, elected, appointed and employed, whipped boys (flogging) from 8-17 years of age with leather whips, inflicting 15-25-50-75
and up to 100 lashes if they tried to run away. This was flogging IE: a leather whip with a handle. The record exposed the use of child labor to benefit the private
citizens of the Marianna area. Newspaper articles and visits from various elected and private individuals repeatedly made know the systemic, inhumane treatment lay
upon these children. In spite of their efforts it was not until 1968 that the lashings were stopped by O.J. Keller under the Governor Claude Kirk administration.
Previously, in 1922 Governor Hardee banned flogging of all prisoners as "too brutal a punishment for even hardened convicts" when a young man, Martin Tabert,
was whipped to death. The flogging of boys at Marianna went on for 45 more years after that ban.
The FDLE Investigative Summery states: "With the passage of over fifty years, no tangible physical evidence was found to either support or refute
the allegations of physical or sexual abuse." The victims denounce this statement as false with 20 named historical witnesses, some still alive, that
witnessed the floggings or abuse, not to mention the men who have come forward.
STATEMENTS FROM WITNESSES WHO WORKED AT THE SCHOOL OR WITNESSED THE ABUSE
The Times Courier of Marianna January 24, 1918
The Attorney General of Florida, Van C. Swearingen visited the Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna. After viewing the school he made the following
remark: “This does not appear to me to be a school and is merely a prison for boys. I announce that I am going to try and advocate reforms that would make it a
school instead of a detention camp for bad boys.”
Jan. 1, 1900: The Florida State Reform School opens.
June 1, 1903: A legislative committee reports it ``found [inmates] in irons, just as common criminals.''
1911: A report of a special joint committee on the reform school says: ``the inmates were at times unnecessarily and brutally
punished, the instrument of punishment being a leather strap fastened to a wooden handle.''
June 5, 1913: The school's name is changed to Florida Industrial School for Boys.
Andrew Bowers, a chaplain at the Dozier School from 1959 to 1963, recalls: For most of its history, Dozier freely practiced flogging as a method of discipline, or
as a matter of whim. Mr. Bowers remembers, "They would spank the boys when they did wrong or really whenever they wanted to. Some of them they treated pretty
badly. Sometimes they'd spank the children until they couldn't sit down for days. Many beatings were administered with a "weighted leather flogging strap."
Source: CLICK THIS LINK
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.
Audie E. Langston, former state superintendent said he didn't want to talk. "I just happened to be there when they caught a kid who was a runner. They caught
him and took him into that building and one of the guys said, 'You should see this” Langston said in a short interview. "It was not a good thing. The people who were
doing it thought they needed that method of control." Back then, Langston wrote a letter to his boss, O.J. Keller. He called what he saw "sickening."
"A young boy [was] taken into a stark, bare, dimly lit room where he was compelled to lie on a small cot and receive licks with a heavy leather strap. The strap was
wielded by a man who was at least six foot 3 inches tall and weighed well over 200 pounds. His swing could be likened to a strong tennis serve as with a whip like
effect at the end of the downswing. The results are sickening. The child quivers and writhes in a contorted manner from the pain of a sadistic treatment. It is not only
repulsive but somewhat criminal in nature." Source: CLICK THIS LINK
A former house father at the school also sent Keller a letter, published in the Miami News, saying, "The belt falls between eight and 100 times. After about the tenth
stroke, the seams of the sturdiest blue jeans begin to separate and numerous times the boys' skin is broken to the extent that stitches are required."
A supervisor who trained for a year at Marianna described a boy's buttocks as "bleeding profusely; the skin was broken, and the color of his buttocks was green,
blue, red and purplish. It reminded me of the Dark Ages." He was fired. CLICK THIS LINK
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. This was squelched by Dempsey Barron, a legislative powerhouse. CLICK THIS LINK
Judge Frank Orlando, of Fort Lauderdale stated: "When a couple of boys I sent up there came over to say hello I felt like a rat for sending them to that place."
Dr. Eugene Byrd, former psychiatrist at FSB In March 1958, a Miami psychologist and former staff member at the school told a U.S. Senate committee about
mass beatings with a heavy, 3 ½-inch-wide leather strap. "The blows are very severe," Dr. Eugene Byrd testified. "They are dealt with a great deal of force with a full
arm swing over his head and down, with a strap, a leather strap approximately a half-inch thick and about 10 inches long with a wooden formed handle."
"What is your opinion?" a senator asked. Dr. Byrd replied: "In my personal opinion it is brutality." Source: CLICK THIS LINK
Governor Claude Kirk: "If one of your kids were kept in such circumstances you'd be up here with rifles" Kirk said after a half day tour of the schools at Marianna
and Okeechobee. "Somebody should have blown the whistle on Marianna a long time ago"
In 1983, the class-action "Bobby M" lawsuit was filed on behalf of students at Marianna and two other state reform schools.
Jack Levine, child advocate and Claudia Wright, Attorney for the Civil Liberties Union, took an unannounced trip to FSB and found boys as young as ten
were being hogtied. They followed up with a class action law suite which eventually made major changes in the DJJ system. Jack Levine stated: "There have been
cosmetic changes," he said. "While the leather strap seems to have been taken away, the threat of violence and the lack of competent supervision and safety
management appear to not have been reformed to any appreciable degree." "The management at Dozier is failing miserably," he said. "There's either an ignorance
of what should be done or an incompetence of how to do it correctly. In either case, the youth suffer needlessly."
Claudia Wright, who had been an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union on the Bobby M. Case, has heard rumors that the Dozier graves contain the
bodies of children killed at the hands of their captors. While no evidence surfaced in that probe, Wright said the oppressive and brutal environment that existed at
Dozier is no folk tale.
Jack Levine: "I saw it, I smelled it, I experienced the fear and the wrongs that were being done to those young people, and while I never met many who were behind
those fences, I met enough young people to know that it was the wrong place for them," said Levine, the children's rights advocate whose visit to the school
prompted the suit. "You don't have to see all the faces to recognize that there were wrongs that were being committed there that needed to be corrected."
One Sunday afternoon in November, Levine drove up to the entry gate and showed Health and Rehabilitative Services credentials. He found a lockup facility at the
back of the campus. He could see a long hallway lined with metal doors. It was dark and reeked of body odor and urine.
"Are there kids in here?" "Yeah," said the guard. Levine: "I want to meet one. How about this cell?" Inside on a concrete slab, not a mattress, Levine saw a very
thin, small, frightened boy with a shaved head and pajama bottoms, no shirt. "How long have you been in here?" Levine asked. The boy shrugged. "He's been here
for a while," the guard said. The guard told Levine the boy was locked up for his own protection. The boy said the older boys were sodomizing him with a broom
handle. "Why is his head shaved?" Levine asked. "The boy has been pulling his hair out," the guard said.
Source: TAMPA BAY TIMES STORY By Ben Montgomery, Waveney Anne Moore, Edmund Fountain
The suit made a number of allegations, the most serious concerning isolation cells where boys were held for three weeks, sometimes longer. They were hogtied —
forced to lie on their stomachs with their wrists and ankles shackled together behind their backs.
Gregory Coler, Health and Rehabilitative Services Secretary A lawsuit was in the courts through three governors. On the eve of the 1987 trial, the state
settled, agreeing to sharply reduce the population at Dozier and another juvenile institution. "These reforms launch Florida into a new and progressive era in the way
we treat young offenders,'' Gregory Coler said at the time.
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."
Sheila Wexler, Dr. Wexler's daughter says she occasionally treated boys who had cuts or welts on their behind. "But if they needed a stitch, it would only be a few."
Jan. 5, 1915: Jackson County grand jury stated: "We find that the employees were men who were not settled in life, who have had no experience in raising boys
of their own or anybody else's and who know nothing about the science of bringing up children in the way they should go. We find that the young men having direct
supervision of the boys were immoral and not proper persons to lead wayward boys toward reformation."
A superintendent, Roy McKay, offered a sworn statement: “Although I never witnessed or participated in the strappings that were used as a form of punishment in
the 1960s and 1970s at Dozier, I did witness the aftermath of this form of discipline. On many occasions, a child would come to my class and would be unable to sit
down after being beaten with a leather strap in the woodshed we called 'the White House.’
Lenox Williams, a former superintendent, was deposed in a court case: “Did the beatings ever get out of hand?” the attorney asked. He answered: “At times it
did, yes.” In an interview by Ben Montgomery, Tampa Bay Times, Williams stated: He may have been aware of the beatings before he was appointed to
superintendent in 1966. He paused over his grits, "I think there were some who might have enjoyed it on our staff. "They might have enjoyed the over-beating."
Source: TAMPA BAY TIMES STORY By Ben Montgomery, Waveney Anne Moore
David R. Walters, former Superintendent stated: "I wrote Senator Dodd and stated “Corporal Punishment was employed before, during, and after the time I was
superintendent. I tried to halt the practice, but found, “with an untrained and poorly paid staff, with some one hundred-eighty employees for eight hundred
youngsters, it was impossible.”
"I told Senator Dodd I tried to wipe out the practice of beating inmates, not because I was soft on them, but because my first hand experience has show inmates
“serves no purpose other than to instill hatred, cunning and a desire for revenge against society in most youngsters.” ‘Even a ban on beating inmates would not
automatically improve Florida’s reformatories. “Humiliation and abasement of individuals will continue because of the very structure of the local and state systems.”
Source: Read archive newspaper clips here
Robert M. Peterson, employee of the Florida Department of Youth Services, recalls walking a young child back from a flogging. The boy, he said, was bleeding
profusely. Source: Children In Trouble: A National Scandal By Howard James Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Howard James, Christian Science Monitor Reporter
Another critic of the Florida system, Christian Science Monitor reporter Howard James, told the subcommittee earlier this year Marianna inmates are often beaten
black and blue, sometimes until they bleed with a weighted leather paddle. James told the subcommittee: "the major problem is the type of people attracted to jobs
there: "sadists, homosexuals, dull workers who can't find work anywhere else and those who care deeply about children" And James told the Dodd committee, "most"
fall into the third category. Source: Children In Trouble: A National Scandal By Howard James Pulitzer Prize-winning author.
Marianna Resident Calvin Creamer
In the town of Marianna, conversations about the school are difficult. Calvin Creamer, 62, knew the school cobbler who made boots with markings in the heels so
they could track the boys down if they ran away – and the leather straps for the floggings. "They were mean people to start with," he said of the men who dispensed
the discipline. "Back then, it was torture for those boys. And the police didn't care either. They would strip them down and strap them to 50-gallon drums bear naked,
and then they'd beat them." Source: David Usborne Reporter US Editor of The Independent SUNDAY 03 MARCH 2013 CLICK THIS LINK
US Public Health Department on Conditions at the Florida Reform School in 1918 (Source Jerry Cooper)
I beg to submit the following report: Conditions at the school are very bad. Sewage imperfect, no sanitary rules at all, screens broken, fleas by the thousands. They
were 35 cases of pneumonia, lack of medicine and lack of proper nourishment. The condition was one of filth, body lice, improper food, and no bathing for lack of
towels. The dinner of the well colored boys the day I was there, being hoe cake and bacon grease mixed with flour. The dinner for the white boys being rice and
bacon grease gravy. One boy said he was flogged for refusing to cook peas full of worms, that meat sent to the boys was kept until spoiled and then fed them and
they were all sick. I advise an immediate investigation. SOURCE CLICK THIS LINK
Unpleasant reading as this is: that the sewage at the state school is imperfect, that there are no sanitary regulations enforced, that screens are broken and flies,
mosquitoes and fleas are prevalent. There is no linen for the beds, the mattresses are dirty, the beds are made on the floor. There is no night clothing for the boys
and they must lie there sick and miserable, entirely naked and no washing is done for the boys. They are dirty and are fed improper food and they did not have
enough food. We are told by a official who has no reason to misrepresent conditions, that all this miserable mismanagement results in much illness and suffering for
the boys of the school.
In the face of that report the starved soul and broken bodies of those whipped and starved into obedience of rules more stern than a convict camp, cry out in anguish
to the people of Florida who have trusted their reformation to men who slack their duty, while demanding the punishment of "slackers." In the face of that report every
tortured, lice bitten, naked body tossing in filth on a mattress harder than the cement floor it rested on, cries out for mercy, for death, even, to release it from it's
horrible torture. In the name of God and humanity, are we to summit longer to the cruelties of the Hun Hellishness of those in charge of this institution?
1918 Conditions Indict Us All The Tampa Tribune, Tuesday November Fifth 1918
1915 Evening Independent: Gross Mismanagement: Reform School Needs
Reformation Tampa Times
1918 REPORT BY LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE ON CONDITIONS AT REFORM SCHOOL
BOYS SUBJECTED TO HUMAN MEDICAL EXPERIMENTATION IN THE FLORIDA/DOZIER SCHOOL FOR BOYS BY DOCTOR SOUZA
By Reporters: Erick Kopp, Joy Reese Shaw, Addie Summers CLICK THIS LINK
and CLICK THIS LINK
Picture of the whip and paddle used by the institution held by O.J. Keller sent to stop flogging by Governor Kirk in 1968
Note: All sources for the above may be found in:
also at: http://www.whitehouseboys2007.com/historical-short-list.html
and: http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/ARTICLE-ARCHIVE-ON-MARIANNA.html and http://www.whitehouseboys2007.com/archive-articles.htmlArchive Articles
Ben Montgomery, Waveney Anne Moore
A NOTATION ON CORPORAL PUNISHMENT
At the time that these beatings occurred Florida law banned corporal punishment for adults. It allowed children to be whipped, strapped, and
paddled. These paddling were to be a applied as if by a loving parent, according to Juvenile Judge W.R. Culbreath, as reported in the Miami News,
1958. In the Children's Bureau of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare's book, "Guides and Goals," It states: Corporal punishment
should not be tolerated in any way.
To see a list of whipped boys, ages and amount of lashings CLICK THIS LINK
To view a list of floggings around the nation, some convicted, some not, read this link. Flogging was illegal at the time we were in
the Florida School for boys: http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/ARCHIVE-FLOGGING-EXAMPLES.html
FLOGGING WAS ILLEGAL WHILE WE WERE IN FSB HERE ARE EXAMPLES:
Excerpts From Senator Dodd Committee: Reporter Howard James testimony
Written & Researched By:
OCTOBER 2007 - Through the months of October to March of 2007 the two ex-prisoners spent every night, by phone and on the Internet, searching for
evidence, and for every scrap of information they could find to expose this old nightmare. They searched the Florida Archives, the Florida Correctional Archives,
newspaper morgues, court documents and law libraries. They found there was documented evidence of abuse.
April 4, 2008: Straley received a call from Michael O'McCarthy who had several years earlier helped break the Rosewood Story. This was a small black town in
North Florida that had been burned to the ground by a rampaging mob of white people. After fifty years this was brought into the public eye and eventually
reparations were made to the surviving families. He had asked O’McCarthy, “Can you do for the White House victims what you did for those in Rosewood?
Incredibly, Michael O'McCarthy had been incarcerated in the Florida School for Boys as a youth and had received one of the one hundred lash beatings for
running away. Straley knew he had found the needle in the haystack, a million to one find that was needed to break this story. O’McCarthy was stunned when
he read the press release and somewhat emotional. Straley asked him if he would help them and he said he would do his best. Michael in Archives:
http://tinyurl.com/lrzw52r He would take the story to Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald.
OCTOBER 19, 2008
Breaking News Article: Reform School Alumni Recount Severe Beatings, Rapes By Carol Marbin Miller of the Miami Herald: Carole Marbin Miller breaks the
Florida School for Boys story with a front page, 1/3 page column and two full pages in the "A" section of the newspaper. There was also an online report along
with her very powerful video. The story was then turned over to her affiliate CBS4 who did a live news broadcast with their own video. Video turns on
automatically at top left of: http://thewhitehouseboysonline.com/ front page. The news article is found here: Breaking News: Carol Marbin Miller:
October 21, 2008 The Sealing of the WhiteHouse– the WHBz gathered together and were transported out to Dozier. The White House Boys Survivor’s
Organization hosted the memorial and press conference: in attendance and participating in the Memorial are, Roger Kiser, Robert Straley, Michael O’McCarthy,
Dick Colon and Bill Haynes.
All of the WHBz were more than thankful for his help: without Gus Barreiro, the campaign would still be in search of a means for redress. Because of Barreiro’s
undaunted belief in kids and in truth, (“the truth will always win out,” is his favorite saying,) the victims of the WhiteHouse believed they would soon have their
redress and their redemption. In O’McCarthy’s discussions with Barreiro they had laid out the itinerary:
The WHBz (4 original and Bill Haynes) would follow an introduction by Barreiro. (See Brendan Farrington, AP – Carol Marbin Miller, Miami Herald - Rich Phillips
and ED Lavandera, CNN, for full transcript of the event,) Links to breaking news after the ceremony:
December 08, 2008 - In order to further pressure the state to begin to investigate the allegations of the horrific abuse that had taken place in the White House,
and to force them to identify the bodies in the unidentified graves, and the allegations of the murder and disposal of a large number of other children, Michael O’
McCarthy and Robert Straley of the White House Boys Survivor’s Organization put together a press conference at the Federal Building in Tallahassee. Roger
and Dick take a sealed request of the same to the office of State Attorney Bill McCullum.
DECEMBER 9, 2008 The request was that the Department of Justice and Governor of the State of Florida, Charlie Crist, order the state's Attorney General, the
Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Department of Juvenile Justice to immediately begin an investigation into the cause of death and identities of the
remains believed to be covered in 31 unidentified graves found on what the State called the colored boys side, of the Florida School for Boys at Marianna, now
known as the Dozier School for Boys.
For the complete time-line, in detail, from when the men first met to the story going nationwide and world wide go here: