The Dozier Families

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From the SBD News Team


Florida’s cabinet approved the proposal by University of South Florida forensic anthropology team to exhume the bodies of boys buried at the grounds of Arthur G. Dozier School of Boys.

Suspected grave sites, unmarked for years, have been temporarily marked with plastic tubing, when in 2011 the facility was shut down due to allegations of torture.

Records indicate 98 boys died between 1914 and 1973 – but there is no certainty on how many boys died, or how many bodies are buried at the property.

Many of the deceased boys are believed to be African American, and between the ages of 6 to 18 years old.

The proposal to exhume these bodies has been approved for one year.

Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “all these kids, they deserve proper burials, and that’s what we’re going to give them.”

To the families, who’ve spent years, grieving their sons, who were told “you’d better forget it” when they asked about their child, who now wait, who are undergoing DNA testing, who are hopeful to have answers, to have a connection, to have a proper farewell, who are hoping to finally mourn their beloved child with dignity intact, please, please, may you know, that we at stillbirthday are thankful that you did not “forget it”.  We are humbled by your courage, your endurance, your grace.  May you mourn with dignity.

Our country still aches, still groans, from the years of deep racism and penetrating hatred and fear of the color of skin we don’t wear.  This new year-long proposal, and the new facet of the grief journey it will surely reveal, may it not reignite smoldering racism or empty justification for evil.

Our ancestors have made some terribly poor choices, and the only way to bring real healing is for these terribly, tragically, poor choices to be revealed, to be acknowledged, to be admitted, to be forgiven.  This, is the only way.  And we all, have our part in this process and journey.

May we embrace this very difficult journey, together.







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