January 30, 2014

"Researchers excavating unmarked graves at a notorious reform school in the Florida Panhandle... have retrieved the remains of 55 bodies...."

"The exhumations mark a milestone in a painstaking effort to unravel the longtime mystery of what happened to scores of children who were sent to the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla., and died...."
One of those hoping for answers is Ovell Krell, whose brother, George Owen Smith, was sent to Dozier in 1940 at the age of 14, allegedly for stealing a car with an older teen. The next year, the family received word that Owen had disappeared from the school and was later found dead of pneumonia. Although his parents asked the school to keep the body at a funeral home so they could retrieve it, the school buried him before they arrived, said Ms. Krell, 85 years old.

Unable to see Owen's body, his mother spent the rest of her life plagued with doubt. "Every night, she sat out on the porch, waiting to see if he could find his way home," Ms. Krell said. "My mother was never the same."

15 comments:

Edward Lunny said...

The abuse of children, the brutalization and murder of children is nothing new, unfortunately. Technology exposes these behaviours more so today. There are adults who witnessed these atrocities who are protecting the assailants still. Geez, what horrific despicable people.

MadisonMan said...

What did Arthur G. Dozier do to be saddled with this kind of history.

I'd like to think this couldn't happen today in a State-run institution, but I'm not sure.

Carol said...

Is there a religion this can be blamed on?

donald said...

The Democratic Party was in complete charge during that time period.

So obviously, it was George Bush's fault.

Illuninati said...

Remind me please. Why should we trust big government with our lives?

Claude said...

Someone just queried "What did Arthur G. Dozier do to be saddled with this kind of history? I am one who can tell you the answer as I was an eyewitness and also a survivor of his brutal methods. The thing is he either personally beat to death many children or allowed others to do it. Dozier was the man who could have prevented many many children from being brutalized, changed the course of their lives forever, or could easily have prevented many from being killed by his staff. In a word the answer to what did he do? Murder!!!!MURDER most foul!When I was taken down with Tommy Wiggins, He and I were beat about the same. He was already run down. Tommy died...I survived...Right there shows just a 50% survival rate for that day. He was a brutal man, in charge of a brutal place and a few brutal employees. All looked nice, clean, well dressed, and polite to one another. But then, the devil has got to look nice. If a child escaped their notice for today, that child could rest in peace until the following day. If the child was noticed breaking a rule or even looking like he might break a rule the following day, that child might also REST IN PEACE. Yes....the child might rest in peace in the cold cold ground in a shallow grave. They didn't even bother to bury most children very deep, and most had no services read over them, and none had a mother to cry over them. My answer to what did Arthur G. Dozier do? Why, he failed every child who ever appeared under his control. Many of his failures were buried. So now, if you listen closely, maybe in some distant place you might hear a bell toll. It tolls for every child who was ruined or buried in that God-awful place. If nobody has tolled the bell, maybe you can do it in your own heart, as do I and many other survivors. Just saying..... clauderobins@yahoo.com

SGT Ted said...

Society wasn't very kind to criminals back then, even young children.

Skyler said...

A good friend of mine, quite a bit older than me and quite successful in his later life, was in one of these schools. He confirms that it was bad, but in a strange reaction he sometimes blames the boys that were beaten for not being smart or tough enough.

But he has had a very strong distrust of government since.

MadisonMan said...

Claude,

I'm at a loss for words at what you've endured.

Levi Starks said...

Cue Hilary "At this point what difference does it make?"

madAsHell said...

As a child, reform school was held over my head as the worst possible outcome. My parents weren't in education, but seemed to know what happened in reform school

CStanley said...

If it is any consolation, Claude, this mother is shedding tears and praying for all of the boys today.

Trashhauler said...

I feel very sad for the suffering that Claude and others had to endure. The Wiki article about the institution shows a pattern of neglect going back many decades. However, some questions come to mind:

The place was in operation from 1900 to 2011. How long was Dozier in charge?

Was the cemetery an official part of the institution? Were any of the interred placed there with proper ceremony?

Bearing in mind the purpose of the place, how long it operated, and the background from which many of the boys came, is the number of deaths unusually large? Or small? Nothing is provided to give context to the number.

Just like everyone else, I can imagine, and recoil from, the horrors that took place in Dozier and other institutions like it. It is good that it is closed and one hopes that the lessons learned are put to use in other such places.

Trashhauler said...

I feel very sad for the suffering that Claude and others had to endure. The Wiki article about the institution shows a pattern of neglect going back many decades. However, some questions come to mind:

The place was in operation from 1900 to 2011. How long was Dozier in charge?

Was the cemetery an official part of the institution? Were any of the interred placed there with proper ceremony?

Bearing in mind the purpose of the place, how long it operated, and the background from which many of the boys came, is the number of deaths unusually large? Or small? Nothing is provided to give context to the number.

Just like everyone else, I can imagine, and recoil from, the horrors that took place in Dozier and other institutions like it. It is good that it is closed and one hopes that the lessons learned are put to use in other such places.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Trashhauler-

You can read the report here:

http://www.wusf.usf.edu/sites/default/files/5042-boot-hill-cemetery-interim-report.pdf

Most of the dead buried at the site were killed in a dorm fire in 1914 or influenza outbreaks in 1918 and the early 1930s.