The Black Boys of Dozier – Mother Jones

dozier

As part of a project on modern day forms of slavery, I followed a group of black men who returned to the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. They recalled being taken from their homes as children and sent to this school, which was more like a slave camp. Thousands of young boys, both black and white, were sent to Dozier over the years. Sometimes it was for truancy, or petty theft, sometimes no reason was given at all. Many journalists have covered this story and their reporting helped expose wrongdoing, injustice and brutality. But through it all, the stories of the black men, who received far harsher treatment, were relegated to the sidelines. Because of their diligent efforts to be heard, their story is now told in a piece published in Mother Jones magazine and on line today.

I sought these men out and followed them as they revisited the institution. They spoke about the permanent scars of this kind of racism, terror and humiliation, and how
it changed how they looked, spoke, and moved through the world. Their stories, and how they no longer felt safe in a white world that showed them violence, reminds me of how young black men from Ramarley Graham to Trayvon Martin to Jordan Davis, to the thousands of New Yorkers stopped and frisked by New York Police, are still living the legacy of slavery.