19 More Graves Found at Notorious Florida School

All of them were in area segregated for blacks

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 10, 2012 6:35 PM CST

(Newser) – Researchers have discovered 19 more grave shafts at an infamous Florida reform school where boys—most of them black—suffered and sometimes died under brutal conditions, NBC News reports. That brings the total to at least 50 at The Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, and all of them are in an area that was segregated for black boys. "I didn't realize going in how much of a story of civil rights it was," said a professor at the University of South Florida, which conducted the study.

Florida claimed it closed the school last year over budgetary concerns, but lawsuits and investigations have alleged beatings, forced labor, sexual abuse, and murder since it opened in 1900. One writer who survived the school dubbed it a "concentration camp for little boys," and maintained that "a devil was hiding behind every tree." Records show that at least 96 boys and two adults died there between 1914 and 1973, but student records after 1960 remain closed due to privacy laws—so the school's true death count is unknown, and each grave shaft may hold more than one body. What's more, a hidden whites-only cemetery still hasn't been found.

In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through  grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys  in Marianna, Fla.
In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, Dick Colon, a member of the White House Boys, walks through grave sites near the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Fla.   (AP Photo/Phil Coale, File)
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