The Florida Dozier School for Boys in Marianna
Dining hall construction with “White House” in background, 1936
Picture credit: Wikipedia
This story has been percolating in my head and heart since we moved down here nearly ten years ago,
it is not about Florida Wildlife it is about Florida Monsters.
But just like the Wildlife here that I am devoted to writing about, these children also had no voice.
If you blink as you drive West on Interstate 10 near Tallahassee in the Panhandle of Florida, you might miss Marianna.
This is a sleepy little town, that until we moved here and began seeing the News stories, had held only one memory, it was the town where we always stopped to eat at a place called Po – Folks.
Po – Folks has great country-style southern comfort food and a really friendly staff.
Absolutely nothing there, or anything that you see as you drive through, could possibly tell you about the dark, ugly secret this town once had.
Now when I think of Marianna, it will forever be because of the horrible, hideous stories continuously being splashed across our TV News Stations.
You see in Marianna, there used to be what is called a Bad Boys, or Reform School and it was said to be the biggest one in the entire United States.
You know, the kind of place where troubled children get sent to because no one can control them, or worse, wants them.
Some of them were orphans, others were just confused and needed guidance and help.
This House of Horrors is/was called the Dozier Boys School and it was also a place of torture, abuse and death for many who were sent there.
It is also said that the KKK were very much a part of the crimes here.
The school was opened in 1900 and closed in 2011 amid a flurry of accusations, threats and lawsuits.
Then Governor Crist had it all investigated, but as usual in this place called the racially oppressed and color divided State of Florida, this ugly mess was claimed to not have enough, or sufficient evidence to go further.
Those in control stepped out, hopeful it would all go away.
But not so fast, some survivors started making a lot of noise and some people were listening to their stories, better yet they were believing them.
It has been reported that almost 100 children died while this school was in operation.
Then several years ago a team of Anthropologists from USF in Tampa went to Marianna and began a dig.
The Dig team was led by Associate Professor and Forensic Anthropologist Erin Kimmerle, who had known about the school and wanted to see if something could be found.
Because my field of Education at College was in Anthropology and the majority of my Nursing experience was at a State Rehab Center in California, this story was of great personal interest.
One of the many sad things about this story, is the name that was given to the place where so much of the abuse happened, it was called the White House.
So, the survivors of this school nightmare, call themselves the White House Boys and they are determined to not only expose the crimes, but to shine a bring light on what happened there.
This time, they want to see justice for the victims and punishment for the perpetrators, if any are still alive.
These few survivors of unspeakable abuse want, need, to be assured that this can and will never happen again, anywhere.
The White House Boys also want an apology, as well as, who can blame them, compensation from those who kept the secrets of the Monsters of Marianna.
Places to learn more:
Read the Full USF PDF Report here: Dozier School Report