Relating to the City of Marianna and the Dozier School
September 21, 2012
By Michael O'McCarthy
The historical record is now widely publicized: for over 111 years state officials, elected and appointed and employed, beat, tortured, sexually violated and raped the children given them for custodial care. The record exposed the use of child labor to benefit the private citizens of the Mariana area.
Newspaper articles and visits from various elected and private individuals repeatedly made know the systemic, inhumane treatment laid upon these children.
In recent investigations and reportage it has been proven that these atrocities were open knowledge among the citizens of the Mariana areas: indeed, the state men who perpetrated these crimes openly talked about it with their neighbors and kin. When boys "ran away" from this child prison, farmers and citizens of the surrounding area became vigilante posses; rewards for our recapture varied, $50.00, a side of beef or a pig.
These are facts based on overwhelming testimony and reportage.
Yet there is a reaction to the charges, our attempts to seek justice and reparations due us for the harm done and treatment for those who continued to suffer the trauma of this horrendous treatment. There is a reaction based on denial; there is a reaction because it "may affect the economic well-being of the community!"
Aside from the disgrace, this reaction represents the driving force for "economic well-being" is simply a barbarous compounding of the crimes already committed, no being committed at "Dozier," and will continue to be committed should this institution remain in existence. Indeed, Dozier is the DJJ "flagship" and represents the total failure governmental care of children in distress.
The name of Dozier is an abomination: not only did he administer the beatings and torture of the children during his regime, he participated in the crimes committed inside the White House! His name is a constant and unending form of psychological torture to those of us who were his victims.
So let us stop kidding with people's lives - and further insulting those who have suffered far more than any politician understands: closing Dozier was the first step in repairing the damage done; preventing yet more child abuse. It is the least the state of Florida can do. As for the citizens of Mariana, "the truth shall set them free." And the truth is that they were and are accomplices in one of the worst cases of state sponsored child abuse in the history of the nation.
Children as young as eight to seventeen years were subjected to flogging with a leather whip of up to one hundred lashes, a form of punishment that was banned by Governor Hardee in 1922 as too severe a punishment for adult, hardened criminals but was allowed to proceed, illegally, at this institution. Shame on all who participated in this protective wall of silence. You are as guilty as the men who swung the whips.