|Student with a Prize Hog|
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Collection)
Even though various members of the various White House Boys groups have been demanding for years that the cemetery be dug up by the University of South Florida, they now seem to be hedging their bets. This after more than $600,000 in taxpayer money has been provided for the project they demanded and after Governor Rick Scott and the members of the Florida Cabinet overruled the system set up by Florida law for such projects. A circuit judge, the state archaeologist and the Secretary of State all had denied permission for the project to go forward.
|Memorial Area of Dozier School Cemetery|
The man, who I am not identifying because he has received enough publicity from his changing stories, once claimed he had seen a boy burned to death in a dryer at the school's laundry. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, however, he changed his story under oath to claim that he hadn't actually seen the alleged event that the Tampa Bay Times breathlessly reported he had witnessed.
|Students tend to hogs at Dozier School|
(State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory)
Apparently these would be the same hogs that were cared for by the students themselves and that they often entered in the Jackson County Fair, just as did students from other schools throughout the county.
The wild story is just the latest in a series of stories that have grown wilder and wilder since the groups surfaced a little over 5 years ago with claims that boys were beaten to death and murdered at the school more than 50 years ago. They have yet to provide a single name of a single boy they allege was murdered, but the claims by some of them grow wilder and wilder.
|All graves exhumed so far were inside the traditional cemetery|
and within the view of this photo, which shows the memorial
erected by staff members and students in the background.
The actual burial ground is larger, was shown on federal and state maps as far back as the 1940s and originally was surrounded with a wire fence that no longer can be seen, although parts of it were found in the dirt that USF researchers had bulldozed from the cemetery along with ornamental cedar trees that once marked actual grave sites.
|Partially surviving row of cedar trees at Dozier School Cemetery|
The Dozier School Cemetery once included rows of cedar trees marking the actual grave sites. USF, however, had some of these trees pushed away using heavy equipment so researchers could search for graves - apparently not realizing the trees actually marked the graves.
Some of the trees survive and, as expected, one stands directly at the head of one of the two graves exhumed so far.
To read more about the real facts of the dig so far, please visit these links:
Facts from the first phase of the Dozier School Cemetery digging
USF digs up a dog at Dozier School