Dozier School Questions Remain

In addition to these known graves, researchers believe there as many as 50 more unmarked graves at the now defunct Dozier School for Boys.

Citing a lack of evidence, a local judge has already said no to exhuming the bodies.

So researchers turned to the state. A decision is due by Friday. Civil rights activists believe the state is dragging its feet.

"What is the hold up. What is the stall? Why can't we go in and go ahead and help identify these bodies," said Dale Landry.

Digging up the bodies under an archeological permit has rubbed people in this small community the wrong way.

"They're buried. Leave the dead alone," said James Smith.

When asked why he said and if he wanted to know how they died or what was there, Smith answered "Why? They died. How can I tell now? Got a hole in a head or something?"

The surrounding area was a haven for the Ku Klux Klan In its heyday. The NAACP believes researchers may find the bodies of lynching victims dumped at a cooperative Dozier.

"There is a history back in that time about men that were outspoken in the black community. They disappeared. There are some people over in that area they don't know whatever happened to them," said Landry.

There are fears the property will be sold soon, ending state control, before any bodies can be unearthed.

Sealed bids have been received to sell this property, but a court injunction is prohibiting the department from opening them but that injunction expires on July first.

A single security guard keeps watch over Dozier's dead and the ghosts of the past that many believe are better left unearthed.

The state has three choices: It can grant the permit to exhume the bodies, it can deny it or it can ask for more information.


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