Sunday, February 10, 2013

Return to the White House Boys

No blog I’ve ever written has received more attention than one I posted after reading an upsetting book about “The White House Boys.”
by Charlie Leck

Now the New York Times gives front page attention to the diggings going on at the old Florida State Reform School for boys!

I had dozens of responses to my blog called The White House Boys. It’s a blog I posted over three years ago. It began as a review of the very depressing book written by Roger Dean Kiser You can find the blog here. I was unable to post most of those comments for a number of reasons. Some were vile and the language was too tough and harsh for me to handle; and I certainly wasn’t going to subject my readers to it. Most were so anonymous and made such serious charges against people that I couldn’t post them in fairness. I had no way to fact-check these comments and therefore I couldn’t attest to their accuracy. Now don’t think I wasn’t troubled that I couldn’t post the comments. I was. The comment process leaves me no way to contact the people who made the statements and charges. That’s why I prefer, in most cases, to hear from people by email.

Now, I’m hoping those people who sent me so many comments will take note of the NY Times story this morning (Sunday, February 10, 2013) about the anthropological dig that is going on at the old reform school in an attempt to understand better what happened in that awful place.

This is not an easy story – a Sunday morning blog, so to speak. That original blog is one of the most difficult I ever wrote and the people who sent in comments about it were obviously still suffering from the pain, torment and anger which the place caused for them or their family members.

This little snippet from the NY Times story will give you an idea of the horrors we’re dealing with here…

“Almost from the moment it opened as the Florida State Reform School, there was a steady stream of reports of abuse, indentured servitude, crowding and neglect. So many children — among them incorrigibles and runaways — were sent to the institution that it became the largest in the country.
“Accounts surfaced early on of children as young as 6 chained to walls. Fierce whippings were common. Children were forced to pick crops, make bricks and print paper, all to profit the prison and other businesses, records show. A fire in 1914 killed eight boys who had been locked in a room. Flu epidemics killed others. Some runaways were shot.”

This is not a subject I really want to write about; however, I’m posting this blog in hopes that some of those angry, angry people who sent me comments over the last few years about The White House Boys and their connection to that story will read this and go to the New York Times story.

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1 comment:

  1. It is possible some of those dead boys' graves will never be found because they were killed, stuffed into garbage cans, and buried a long way from that institution. The stories about severe beatings are true enough. I witnessed many. I can give details. The only way to find the other graves is to find the people who buried them, and get them to tell what happened. That is not likely to happen. If you think some kids did not get from 40 to 160 lashes in Okeechobee, you had better think again if you value being correct in your thinking. I did not count each boy's lashes for 70 days for nothing.