Hello Mr. Straley
I was reading the paper this morning when I came upon an article about the school in
Marianna, FL. I knew my brother had been in a reform school in Florida in 1962-1963 but
I was young so I had no idea where it was. I immediately called my Mom and asked if she
had seen today's paper. She asked if I was calling about Marianna which of course I was.
We went there once a month to visit him which was all you could do at that time. We also
moved to Tennesse shortly after my brother went to Marianna and we would drive down to
visit him and bring a picnic lunch. All I remember of this school was getting to see him and
my Mom fixing a nice lunch for all of us. My brother was the eldest of 4 children.
I asked my Mom if my brother had ever told them anything about being beaten there at
Marianna and she said he had. MY brother had often lied to them before so they didn't
believe him. He took my Mom and Dad over to see what he called "The White House"
and told him that was where he was beaten.
My brother died February 18th of this year after living on the streets for well over 30
years. Most of this time he lived in Lakeland, Florida. Fortunately Hospice found us and
Mom and I went down to see my brother in Lakeland and were there when he died. While
living on the streets all these years my brother would send a Mother's Day card and also a
birthday card to our Mom every year. Mom would send him pre-paid phone cards so he
could keep in touch. My brother got involved with drugs and alcohol at a young age after
coming out of Marianna. He last came to see us in Chattanooga around 2002 or 2003 and
went through CADAS and then got a job and went in a treatment center right by CADAS
where you could leave to go to work and then return there. He did fine until he got his first
paycheck and then he started drinking again and returned to Lakeland. When Mom hadn't
heard from him in a while I would check on the web page for Polk County Sheriff's Office to
see if he was in jail and often that was the case. We would feel relieved that at least he had
a bed to sleep in and was getting fed.
My brother had an extremely hard life and a very low self-esteem. We will never know if hi
life would have been different if he had not been in Marianna.
I am glad these atrocities are being exposed and I wish my brother was here to add his voice.
I know I can't tell you much but wanted to do what I could to add my brother's support.
(In response to my question of which paper)
Hello Mr. Straley,
This article was on the front page of the Chattanooga Times Free Press this morning. If it
would help to post this please feel free. This has been unbelievably hard on my Mom since
she saw the article this morning because she didn't believe him back then. I heard one
time from one of his girlfriends that he hit her and that is all the violence I know of. He
was married twice and had three children and he was never violent or verbally abusive
but he left both wives and never really knew any of his children. He really missed out on
all the good things in life. I understand the constant feelings of worthlessness that he
carried with him.
Thank you so much for all your efforts. We can't change or erase what happened to all the
boys at Marianna but I believe awareness is one of the first steps to prevention of things
like this in the future.