My story and the stories of some three to five hundred other men, contained on this web site, will give the readers some idea of the terrible abusive and bloody horrors that were suffered by these men when they were children. Children, some as young as five or six, who ran away from physically, sexually or verbally abusive homes; yet were labeled as incorrigible children by the juvenile court system of Florida. Under court order these children were sent away too physically work on state owned farms located at The Florida School for Boys at Marianna. In addition these same children were used by the local Marianna, Jackson County community working on ranches and unloading railroad cars for as long as twelve hours a day without any pay whatsoever. That in itself was terrible but nothing compared to what was happening behind closed doors at the institution. Many boys disappeared during the night and were never heard from again. Now bodies are being discovered around the campus.
When driving onto the campus one would think it looked like a college campus. Beautiful buildings, manicured lawns, a swimming pool, a football field, hospital, dining hall and at Christmas thousands of cars visited the facility to see the hundreds of decorations and thousands upon thousands of colored lights which decorated the main drive. Yet behind all this beauty there were brutal, horrendous and merciless bloody beatings, molestations, rapes and even murders taking place in a small, thick cement walled building know as The White House. There were many nights when young boys were taken from their cottages screaming and crying and were raped by the staff. Many of these boys never returned to their cottages and were never heard from again. Our investigation has never found any records (Social Security-Crinimal-Employment-Tax or Property ownership or other information) regarding any of these boys in later years. They just simply disappeared, some were as young as five.
I arrive at the school on June 3, 1959 at the age of twelve (12). I am not sure exactly what age I was as the orphanage never had a birthday party for any of the children and most of we kids never knew what our exact ages were until we grew up and managed to secure a birth certificate. In my case it was when I turned 27 years old.
Upon entering the school I was rather taken by all the beauty and the neatness of the campus. Though somewhat scared; I was not as scared as most kids sent to the school because I was already institutionalized and use to such environments. But I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the large swimming pool, football field and the gymnasium. This had to be much better than the orphanage and “look at all this here stuff,” I remember saying to myself. This had to be much better than only having one broken swing to swing on and a roller skate that only had three wheels. But, little did I know, as a great big smile crossed my lips, that a devil was hiding behind every tree, every building and even behind every blade of manicured grass. And little did I know that America had its own concentration camp for little boys right here in the good ole U.S. of A. It is a bloody, horrible and never ending nightmare that many of us still suffer even to this very day, some fifty years later.
After a vicious and brutal bloody beating at the White House; I swore that I would one day expose what was happening at the facility. And that I did. Some fifty years later I wrote the book The White House Boys-An American Tragedy which, with the help of other men who were abused at the school, closed down the campus for good. The University of South Florida is now on the grounds hunting for the bodies of boys who were killed, buried or simply dumped in the North Florida swamps. At present 96 bodies have been located. If the USF investigation is allowed to continue; many additional bodies will be found on both the North and South sides of the campus as well as in the garbage dump. This will not include the many bodies that were taken into the swampland areas and dumped and possibly eaten by alligators. There were stories of boys being beaten to death at the White House Torture Chamber then their bodies taken to the incinerator and burned with the daily trash. The ashes were then cleaned out and taken “to the peanut field and used as fertilizer.”
The few employees who did have the guts and fortitude to come forward (after all these years) called the beatings cruel, brutal, totally inhumane and criminal in nature. I guess one had to actually be there to see the boy’s Levis split at the seams after 20 or thirty swats with the heavy weighted leather and metal strap. I guess you had to be there at the hospital to see the boys’ underwear which had been beaten into their skin and then surgically removed by the school’s nurse and the aging physician. Yes, one would have to have been there to really understand the horror, the cruelty and the brutality of it all.