Black News

Graves of Dozens of African-American Boys Among Those Found at Florida Reform School

Boys at the Dozier School

Authorities have found nearly 100 unmarked graves at a Florida reform school where students were reportedly beaten, murdered, and even raped.

It was originally believed that 81 boys died at the school, but scientists researching the grounds now believe that 98 boys died while at the school between 1911 and 1973. At least 19 of the deaths appear not to have been reported to law enforcement.

The Dozier School for Boys opened in 1900 and has gone by several names. Even though the names changed, the school was always known for its brutality. Many activists demanded  reforms during the time, but  little changed.

The school, which opened in 1900,  was closed in June 2011 by the Department of Juvenile Justice after a years-long investigation of widespread physical and s*xual abuse.

Thus far, the evidence of deaths has come mostly from the African-American gravesite on the north side of the school. Many of those graves were marked with crosses. But researchers are are not done with their research and anticipate finding additional gravesites on the other side of campus where the white boys lived.

‘We anticipated finding about 25 to 30 grave shafts,’ said Christian Wells, an assistant professor of anthropology who led the anthropological work at the site. ‘But in fact we found a minimum of 50.’

Dozier’s records show that at least 50 students were buried on the school’s campus, while over 30 bodies were sent away to be buried. Some of the boys were killed after attempting to escape the reform school.

African-American children at the school were three times more likely to be buried in an unspecified location than the white boys, the report found, according to a report done by researchers.

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