Dozier School for Boys – Stories of Torture and Murder of Children Still Surfacing – The Thomas Moore Story
Marianna, Jackson County, Florida
Monday, October 29, 2012
By: Kevin Earl Wood
Jacksonville, Florida resident Thomas Moore is now 65 years old but still suffers nightmares ominously reminiscent of his stay at the Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Jackson County, Florida. During his interview with Bay Community News he repeatedly fought off tears when sharing his experiences of beatings he received at the school and witnessing the shooting of a fellow student by a one-armed Dozier guard, Troy Tidwell.
Moore concedes that after stealing a car that being sent to Dozier was a just sentence by the court. However, he did not expect his stay at Dozier to involve torture and what he witnessed as murder of a fellow student by a guard.
Moore shared that when he was beaten Tidwell would advise him to bite the pillow and hold on to the head rail of the bed. Failure to follow these orders would result in the beatings starting over again as threatened by Tidwell. He could hear the strap hit the ceiling on the room in the downswing of the beating.
Moore shared that he endured four such beatings, all by Tidwell.
The first beating arose when Moore was caught talking with other students about “runnin’ ” away from Dozier. He received 15-20 lashes for this infraction.
The second beating arose when Moore was accused by a “cottage father”, Mr. Krumpler, of “eyeballin’ ” Mr. Krumpler’s wife when she stopped by.
Moore shares that Mr. Krumpler hit him in the jaw breaking his jaw and knocking him off the porch.
Moore was again taken to the “White House” and received about 40 or more lashes. He was then taken to a hospital in Marianna for treatment of the broken jaw. Pieces of his underwear were removed from his buttocks with tweezers.
For a third beating, Moore was disrespectful by “cursing” a cottage father. Again, he received about 48 lashes in the “White House” and tweezers again.
Moore worked in the kitchen and was caught spitting in the kitchen sink drain hole. Again a trip to the “White House” and 25 more lashes.
Today Moore still suffers from the physical and emotional scars of his experience at Dozier.
Finally, Moore shared that he witnessed the murder of a fellow “black” student who arrived at the White House in a car. When he exited the car he ran. Moore says he saw Tidwell pull a gun and shoot. The black student fell to the ground.
Dozier reportedly contains two graveyards – one for white students on the south property and one for black students on the north property. The southern property is currently for sale by the State of Florida but the existence of the graveyards may snag that sale.
Research experts from the University of Florida (USF) have continued to uncover additional graves on the northern property. Recently a Leon County judge has issued an injunction against the sale of the southern property giving USF experts additional time, 120 days, to look for graves on the southern property.
The primary tool used by researchers is ground penetrating radar (GPR) that shows “anomalies” where grave shafts may be located.
A final detailed report from USF is expected shortly that will describe what graves have been found to date on the northern (black) property. Then the work begins on the southern (white) property.
The USF team is led by Dr. Erin Kimmerly, a forensic anthropologist from USF (For Bio: http://anthropology.usf.edu/faculty/kimmerle ).
Thomas Moore relives the physical and emotional torture. It is not easy erasing from his mind the abuse and concentration camp style life he was forced to endure, “for his own good” by the courts. He has been plagued by recurring dreams and nightmares of his ordeal.
“The experience was terrible, horrifying”, Moore shares. “It’s the same as being raped. They take your constitutional rights away – you have no rights. It’s like being in a concentration camp.” He describes the abuse and torture as a “violation” of the person, as a rape victim would feel.
Moore’s wife Lorie spoke of her journey alongside her husband recalling events of him shaking in bed and his violent temper when they were first married. ”I want all this stuff to come out in the open so everyone can heal”, she said.
Moore says he’s doing much better today as a result of mental health counseling and attendance at his church where he is active.
Moore says that he is willing to take a polygraph test as other “White House Boys” have done and asks if Troy Tidwell would do the same.