What Happened To The Little Boys At Marianna

A Marianna resident made a comment on one of the Dozier stories in the news a few months back. He said, "There were no orphans at Dozier and no boy was ever
sent there for skipping school." He went on to say, "Those boys were the worst of the worst, sexual deviants, rapists and murderers."

I knew that wasn't right as I had just talked to a black man who had been sent to Dozier for truancy at eleven and released at age sixteen. He said he could never
understand why he was beaten and treated so badly when he had never stolen anything. Roger Kiser, when he turned twelve was sent on to Marianna from an
orphanage in Jacksonville. Note I use the word Marianna, as most of the boys just referred to the institution as 'Marianna" not Dozier, or the Florida School For Boys.

In 1963 there was a cottage next to me with boys age seven to ten or twelve. There were also two other cottages. I knew there had to be a way to prove that orphans,
run-away, abandoned kids and children charged with minor crimes like truancy and incorrigible had been sent to Marianna. I found it in a archive I had not found. It
shows group pictures of boys twelve and under, many who barely look to be four to five years old. What were they even doing there? Dozier/FSB had no rights to
arrange adoptions, that would be handled by The Department of Children and Family Services.

The pictures here are mostly white boys in groups. I included black boys that were in a group but, the photographer had mostly taken pictures on the white side. This
does not mean there were less black boys, just the absence of picture proof. The rest of the pictures taken around the two campuses are in a link listed at the end.
There you will find links to all archive pictures in the Florida Memory Collection. (pictures by title and group) There you will find many pictures of black boys, but usually
not in a group. All of these links are available on my site:  

Boys with toy sailboats at the School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
Image Number DSB0225 Year 195-
Florida Memory,

These boys appear to be perhaps four to six at the most. Why were they
sent to a reform school that was supposed to be the worst of the worst, the
last stop for delinquents before Apalachicola Correctional Institution or
Raiford State Prison?

Group portrait of boys with administrators at the School for Boys in
Marianna, Florida. Image Number DSB0310 Year 195-
Florida Memory,

I counted 170 boys under twelve that were taken by this photographer in this series of pictures.
I believe the dates run from 1940-1969. You have to ask the question, if this many boys were
captured on film, how many were not? From the facilities' start in 1900 to 1968, the year O.J.
Keller stopped the floggings under orders from Governor Claude Kirk, the count would be not a
few hundred like we imagined, but a few thousand.

Boys in a reading class at the School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. Image Number DSB0344
Year 195- Florida Memory,

Boys that were raped or sexually molested had to be under the age of twelve for anyone to be
charged with a crime. A boy 13-17 was considered over the hill for the charge of rape. That
small detail speaks volumes about the mind-set of Jackson County in that era.

Group portrait of boys at the School for Boys in Marianna, Florida.
Image Number DSB0188 Year 195-
Florida Memory,

It is a well known fact that there was a serious lack of records as to the identity of boys that died.
The FDLE determined the names of those 31 boys presumed buried in "Boot Hill" with the help
of an amateur historian, and folklore. They did admit, at the time, that there were fifty boys they
could not account for. Now, it seems they have named the 50 boys, although out of the fifty boys
mentioned 24 have no Death Certificate Informant and no Death Certificate Notation.

Boys at a Christmas event at the School for Boys in
Marianna, Florida. Image Number DSB0003 Year 195-
Florida Memory,

It seems there should have been a staunch recording of how these boys got to Marianna and
how they left. I cannot believe that there would have existed, or was allowed to exist, poor
bookkeeping on what can only be classified as children. I would like to see the Admission
Records and the Release Records for all boys twelve and under. If they are not open to
the public then either the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation
should step in and demand that those records be made available to them and that an
accounting of what happened to these children be investigated. If there are no records
then someone should be held accountable.

Boys choir performing at the Florida Industrial School for Boys in
Marianna, Florida. Image Number DSB0223 Year ca 1950
Florida Memory,

If no records are produced then I would have to consider this very suspicious, bordering on
criminal. With that many boys who were orphans or abandoned by their families the question
arises: Was there human trafficking taking place? Considering the number of boys who went
missing it could have very well taken place, after all, it was going on before Marianna was even
on the map, it is going on today, it will be going on a hundred years from now.

What was a boy's life worth? There may have been illegal adoptions or worse yet human
trafficking. A seemingly kindly man who passed money under the table, a thousand dollars
say, would have been a tidy sum in those days. Most likely the boy would have looked back
at the school upon departing, thinking how lucky he was. The man holding his hand would
only take him to a new horror.

If there were any relatives they would have received the standard letter: "Unfortunately your
boy has run away and we do not know of his whereabouts. Please contact us if he comes
home." Most families did not have the means to hire a detective or look for him themselves.
No wonder there were no fences around the school. The lack the aforementioned the perfect
excuse for missing boys. Not to mention the great sport of "boy hunting" so enjoyed by the local
farmers. An example of a place worse than the dreaded "whitehouse"
David Usborne
The Irish Independent
  http://tinyurl.com/q32una2    My thoughts on his article:
When we were beaten it was on a army cot with springs. The force of the whip sent you
down 8-12" on those springs under the mattress. These boys, strapped to 55 gallon steel
drums, did not have that luxury. There was nothing to absorb the blows. I imagine that most
of the boys had testicular damage, damage to their spine, tail bone or hip bones. With that
amount of savagery put upon them I believe some were killed. Calvin Creamer said
"It was torture for those boys back then." This would have made even the whitehouse seem civil.

Group portrait of boys with potatoes at the School for Boys in Marianna,
Florida. Image Number DSB0089 Year 195-
Florida Memory,

This should be looked into, especially if those in charge can produce no records. In looking
at the picture above, it may not stand out above the others. But I, who knew these brutal
men on a personal basis, can see a look of fear beneath the facade. Let us not be unwilling
to search for the truth.  R.Straley

The link to all of these pictures is here:

The Florida Memory Collection Home (Key word: Put in Search box: ( Florida Industrial School For Boys )
Buildings,Activities,Cottages...all pictures combined.

State Archives of Florida

How four men brought the Dozier/FSB story to National & World-Wide News From Sept. 28, 2007 to Sept. 2009


The Sealing of the White-House Ceremony October 21, 2008


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