Thursday, December 25, 2008



From information obtained during recent phone interviews with former child inmates at the Dozier School for Boys, (who were beaten in the school at the hands of men like guard Troy Tidwell), it appears that there is a much deeper, darker racist aspect to this already horrific, barbaric tale of child torture and murder in racist Marianna Fl... "Nxxxxrs" in 1930's and in the schools in 2008.

Robert Straley, 64, a Clearwater man who sells novelties at city events and music festivals throughout the South, still recalls vividly what happened to him in the white stucco cracker house in March 1963.
The instrument of his torment was a long leather strap -- like the kind used in old-fashioned barber shops, except that part of it was made of sheet metal.''If I had them people in front of me, I'd have to ask them if they realize how many lives they destroyed,'' Straley said. ``They beat you. They put the rage in you.''''When you inflict that much pain and brutality on a child, they're traumatized for life,'' he said. ``Period.''
Flogging continued to be used as a method of punishment for black and white children as young as ten in the Florida School for Boys in Marianna Florida until 1967.

Troy Elmer Tidwell, 84, a retired supervisor still in Marianna, acknowledges that children were disciplined at The White House, though he denied any of the inmates were injured. Originally, Tidwell said, guards ''spanked'' the boys with a three-inch-wide, 18-inch-long board but traded in the paddle for the strap because ``we were afraid the board would injure them.''
Dozier School for Boys guard, Troy Elmer Tidwell was 10 years old when Claude Neal was lynched in Marianna by the "Lynch Committee of Six," , "Men, women, and children were numbered in the vast throng that came to witness the lynching. It is reported from reliable sources that the little children, some of them mere tots, who lived in the Greenwood neighborhood, waited with sharpened sticks for the return of Neal's body and that when it rolled in the dust on the road that awful night these little children drove their weapons deep into the flesh of the dead man". Claude Neal's body was hung to a tree on the northeast corner of the Marianna courthouse square and left hanging for over 24 hours.

ACTUAL NEWSPAPER NOTICE..NEGRO LYNCHING..Macon (Georgia) Telegraph, and in the Marianna Daily Times-Courier October 26, 1934. "Big Preparation Made for Lynching Tonight".

GREENWOOD, Fla., Oct. 26—Local citizens have been preparing all day for the lynching of a negro scheduled to take place here tonight. This morning a mob seized Claude Neal, 23, from a jail in Brewton, Ala., where he had been held in connection with the murder of white girl which took place here several days ago.

At noon a “Committee of Six” representing the mob announced a timetable for the lynching which was given in newspapers and over the radio as follows:
At sundown the negro will be taken to the farm two miles from here where Miss Lola Cannidy, the murder victim, lived. There he will be mutilated by the girl’s father.
Then he will be brought to a pig-pen in the middle of a cotton field nearby, where the girl’s body was found, and killed.
Finally his body will be brought to Marianna, the county seat, nine miles from here, and hung in the court house square for all to see. The negro is presently being held at an undisclosed location in a swamp along the Chattahoochee River, not far from the Cannidy farm. “All white folks are invited to the party,” said the announcement issued by the mob’s Committee of Six. (See notation of the "timetable" published in the Marianna Daily Times-Courier, before the murder of Clude Neal)

As a result, thousands of citizens have been congregating all afternoon at the Cannidy farm. Bonfires have been started,
piles of sharp sticks have prepared (FOR THE CHILDREN), knives have been sharpened and one woman has displayed a curry-comb with which she promises to torture the negro.

Also See "Time Magazine"..."They Done Me Wrong" Monday, Nov. 05, 1934. A Negro buck named Claude Neal had been arrested for murdder, a lynching committee had so brutalized the Negro that he had died back in the woods on the banks of the Chipola River before the lynchers had a chance to kill him publicly. He was certainly quite dead when, toward morning, the lynchers dumped his mutilated corpse in front of the Cannidy's door. "Pa" Cannidy was hopping mad. "They done me wrong about this here killing," he wailed. "They promised me they'd bring him up to my house before they killed him and let me have the first shot. That's what I wanted." The corpse was taken into Marianna, the county seat, hung up in front of the courthouse.While the Marianna Fl, (Claude Neal), lynching may have been the last "spectacle" lynching in the nation, many other lynchings of a less publicized nature would follow. In fact, Marianna would be the site of another lynching less than 10 years later when Dozier School for Boys sadistic guard Troy Tidwell was now 20, the KKK also had a large pressence in Marinna Fl that appears to still influence the area....

October 2, 2008, Marianna teacher ‘told students that ‘CHANGE’ stood for’ NXXXXR...According to parents and students in Greg Howard’s seventh-grade social studies class, Howard on Friday, Sept. 26 asked the class a question regarding Obama’s call for change, and proceeded to write out what the letters C-H-A-N-G-E stood for. “She told me that he wrote on the board ‘Can You Help A Nxxxxr Get Elected', and then laughed about it,” said Shelia Christian, a mother of one of Howard’s students.

Marianna Teacher Greg Howard was suspended without pay for 10 days, was relieved of his football coaching duties, and will be transferred to the Jackson County Adult Education program, according to the Jackson County School Board.

Was Dozier School for Boys guard Troy Elemr Tidwell one of the children mutilating the body of lynched Claude Neal in 1934 ? Troy Tidwell grew up in Marianna Fl and went to the "Jackson County School System", 25 years later he was torturing "black and white boys" to near death, "the black boys got it worse".

''Kids that were chronic cases, getting in trouble all the time, running away and what have you, they used that as a last resort,'' Troy Tidwell said. ``We would take them to a little building near the dining room and spank the boys there when we felt it was necessary.''''Some of the boys didn't need but the one spanking; they didn't want to go back,'' he added. ``Some of the kids, sometimes they would try to be tough.'' Sadistic, Racist, Sociopaths never change.

Beginning with the chaotic days of Reconstruction, when Klansmen (KKK) killed more than 150 victims in a single county, the "The Invisible Empire-The Ku Klux Klan in Florida " book describes the organization's influence on Florida politics and its links to modern law enforcement. From the KKK's heyday during the 1920s and 1930s, its alignment in the 1970s and 1980s with a growing crop of neo-Nazis and other cultists, and its emergence in the 1990s on the fringe of the "right-to-life" movement, Florida Klansmen have waged a constant war against progressive society (Dozier School for Boys).

Their crimes range from petty vandalism to assassination and destruction of entire communities. Florida governors have courted Klan ballots, and high-ranking lawmen collaborated with the Klan in campaigns of arson and murder. "The Invisable Empire" describes the nature of Klan influence in Florida communities (like Marianna lynchings), showing how it joined forces with politicians, religious institutions, and especially police departments (correctional officers Dozier School for Boys), giving its crusades for "law and order" credibility.

Even after its heyday of the 1920s, Klansmen in many communities continued to serve as poll watchers in contested elections, state investigators into racial crimes, key contributors and supporters of important politicians, and especially as regular and deputized members of police forces. As late as 1952, a Grand Dragon (state president) spoke to the Florida Sheriff’s Association where he received applause for condemning an assassinated civil rights worker as a troublemaker (Dozier School for Boys torture heydays 1957 to 1967 approx.).

Robert Straley, 64, Clearwater; Given the long history of beatings, torture and rape and racism at the DOZIER SCHOOL FOR BOYS we believe that the cause of death may have been "foul play" committed in, and now acknowledged to have taken place in the "White House."

Because of the location of the site of the mass, unidentified grave, it is reasonable to believe these victims to be African American male children. It is not unknown to the state of Florida officials that this mass grave site is believed to hold the remains of African American children:

Given the barbaric treatment and conditions set upon African Americans during the period of Southern segregation late 1950's to late 1960's, and as the mass grave is on the grounds of what the State then called, "the colored side," it is reasonable to believe the graves may hold the remains of 32 or more African American children who met death by foul play. We believe that the reason for the anonymity of the markers is to hide the nature of those children’s death.Subject to the immoral, terrorist bizarre and psychotic culture of Southern segregation, which was implanted and institutionalized at the school, it is implausible that children of the "white race" would have been buried alongside that of "coloreds." Thus, we believe these victims to be the subject of state sponsored "hate crimes."

Further, we request that the State of Florida include an investigation into the other criminal acts committed by officials under the color of state law upon the persons held in situations of diminished capacity at the Florida School for Boys at Marianna. Further, we request that the investigation include all other crimes by state officials acting under the color of state law, including but not limited to slave labor of minors in violation of federal and state child labor laws, sexual crimes against minors including aggravated rape of minors, sex trafficking of minors, kidnapping and attempted kidnapping of minors for the purpose of sexual assault and trafficking, and torture of minors by employees for the State of Florida.

Because of the segregation’s practice of lynching African-American males, as was the infamous case of Claude Neal who was lynched before a crowd of over 7,000 people in the town of Marianna in 1934. (Fingers and toes cut from Neal's body have been exhibited as souvenirs in Marianna where one man offered to divide the finger which he had with a friend as "a special favor." Another man has one of the fingers preserved in alcohol)

It was this racist culture that was pervasive throughout the South until the late 1960’s and that which permeated the culture at the Florida School for Boys throughout its history.

News Channel 7 VIDEO... Former Dozier Inmates ...Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating 32-unmarked graves located near the site of the old Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
 Some of the former students have alleged that the school officials murdered black students and buried them in the graveyard. "Somebody needs to be accountable for the tragedy that happened in that white house," Patrick Hallinan said.

Sixty-four-year-old Patrick Hallinan attended the Marianna School for Boys, when he was 15. He’s just one of several former students now speaking out about their mistreatment alleged at the hands of the school's staff.

"The more you screamed the more they beat you," Hallinan said. The ‘White House’ boys allege those beatings took place at a white house in the 1950's and 60's.

"The "white house" was to the left of the dining hall, behind the offices and school. There was also, on the side of the office/school building an underground room where boys were taken for sexual purposes as no one could hear you scream. When three full grown men have you down there is not much left to do".

"Whatever happened to us white boys was twice as bad for the black boys on the other side of the road (separate camps) Up to 200 lashes for them, there were stories that two of the black boys there had run and been beaten to death in the woods and disposed of. I have no doubt this could be true. These men had total control over the camps. Inspectors would come from time to time but we were all notified before they came to be on our best behavior or face the consequences"....RS .

Behind the four walls, students say they were beaten within an inch of their lives, sometimes for very little reason and some we're never seen again. "They just worked that whip from my back to my butt to my thighs you know, taunted me, you sissy, the worst sissy we've ever seen," Robert Straley, a White House boys' survivor said. As heart-wrenching as the survivors' stories are, their allegations about the graves are absolutely chilling.

They claim the 30-plus graves contain the bodies of black students, killed by the school staff. Back in the 50's and 60's the campus was segregated. The graveyard is close to where the black students were housed.

Gov. Charlie Crist has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find out if the allegations are true and who's buried in the graves. "Whoever is there, God rest their souls," Hallinan said.

The ‘White House’ boys just want closure and they say this investigation will give that to them so they won't have to keep reliving the past. "I'll hope today that I'm on my way to healing for what happened to me when I was 15," Hallinan said.

"No matter where you are or what state you're in, if you're abused as a child, that brutally, it can come back and haunt you 50 years from now," Straley said.

Bill Warner
private investigator
Sarasota Fl