Boot Hill Cemetery Project

    RESEARCH INITIATIVE TO DOCUMENT AND IDENTIFY GRAVES LOCATED AT THE FORMER ARTHUR G. DOZIER SCHOOL FOR BOYS, MARIANNA, FLORIDA
    USF RESEARCHERS:
    Dr. Erin H. Kimmerle, PhD, Forensic Anthropology
    Dr. Antoinette Jackson, PhD, Cultural Heritage
    Dr. E. Christian Wells, PhD, Archaeology

    HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
    For Familial DNA Submission, Contact:
    Cpl. Brendan Fitzgerald or M.Det. Greg Thomas
    813-247-8649
    We especially want to thank everyone who has volunteered their time and assisted on this initiative and their agencies for supporting this project.
    Narrative:  The ways in which children experienced the criminal justice system prior to the professionalization of law enforcement criminal investigations, corrections, and juvenile justice during the mid-twentieth century was often tragicThe story of children in Florida’s correctional system is a reflection of the changing attitudes, laws, and practices towards children within these systems. The Florida State Reform School (a.k.a. Florida Industrial School and later Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys) was in use from 1900-2011. From its inception it was supposed to be a refuge for troubled children convicted of crimes away from the harsh Convict Lease and Peonage Systems of adult convicts. By initial design, children were to receive training and education that would propel them to become productive citizens. The institution was supposed to be a “school” not a “prison”, and the boys who were committed were “students” rather than “inmates”. This dichotomy proved conceptually sound but, in practice, difficult to maintain. Throughout the school’s early history a multitude of narratives seem to contradict the “school” and “student” focus of the institution. These contradictions resulted in many reform measures to the school itself, from its practices of child labor and corporal punishment to its very name.  For example, until 1968 the school was segregated into two completely separate campuses or “departments” for “white” and “colored” students. Segregation permeated every aspect of life in Florida and throughout the US South until the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.  No understanding of the Florida State Reform School over the course of its history can be understood without consideration of the impact and implications of segregation, particularly those relating to criminal justice.