Dozier Dig to Begin Saturday


Marianna- University of South Florida researchers were already in Marianna Friday, preparing for more excavation work at the old Dozier School for Boys. They'll begin digging Saturday at a site near the what's been called 'Boot Hill Cemetery'. Some Marianna residents weren't too happy about the project, but others considered it to be a victory.

University of South Florida Archaeologist, Dr. Erin Kimmerle and her team planned to pick-up where they left off last summer, looking for suspected grave sites on the old dozier property.

Kimmerle claimed her team found additional unmarked graves, which contradicted a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation from a few years earlier.

Earlier this month, the state cabinet agreed to issue a permit to allow Kimmerle and her team, to put the issue to rest.

Some Marianna locals, like Jackson County NAACP President, Ronald Dale Mizer saw it as a victory.

"With the Governor and his executive branch agreeing with us- in terms of the exhumation of the bodies- in order to give peace, comfort and consolation to the family members. It was a moment of joy that happened for us at the Capital that day."

So far, 10 families came forward, requesting loved ones exhumed from the burial site. Mizer explained why he felt it was important to give everyone that opportunity.

"It's [the NAACP's] job, as a civil rights organization, to make sure people are treated fairly. It makes no difference if you are black, white, Latino or Asian. The whole thing is to make sure your rights are not violated."

One of Kimmerle's aides told us she was too busy to talk to us, but Mizer told us he ran into her Friday at Walmart.

"They were out there buying supplies and I saw her from a distance. It was very warm- casual. We just greeted each other knowing our job was done, but not complete" he said.

The dig site will be closed to the public. Kimmerle agreed to allow CNN cameras to shoot part of their work, then share that video with the rest of the media.

The organization called the black boys at dozier reform school plans to hold a memorial service tomorrow at 4:00 at Mizer's church, St. James AME Church in Marianna.

The organization said it was for all the boys who died while at Dozier reform school.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
8195 Front Beach Road Panama City Beach, FL 32407 Station: 850-234-7777 News: 850-230-5221 Fax: 850-233-6647 FCC Form 398
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 221848101