The White House Boys-An American Tragedy
The term “The White House Boys” was coined in 1997 by Roger Dean Kiser on a former Geocities web site (BHI) Beverly Hills Internet. The term originated from a small white building where boys were beaten at the former Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna, Florida. The terms "The American Orphan" and "The Sad Orphan" were also coined at the same time. These terms were registered by HCI Incorporated (13:978-0-7573-1321-6 and 10:0-7573-1421X)
Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
303 Juliette Circle
Brunswick, GA 31525
email@example.com OR firstname.lastname@example.org
I have worked for more than 27 years trying to expose the horrors that occurred at both the Marianna and Okeechobee schools. Not one other individual ever came forward for more than fifty years to say anything about what happened at the schools. The records will clearly show who exposed this incident and it will also expose those who have tried to take credit for having exposed this story who actually had nothing to do with the case whatsoever.
TODAY I CONTINUE TO WRITE ON A DAILY BASIS AND I WAIT PATIENTLY IN ORDER TO STRIKE BACK WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT. I HAVE MADE IT MY MISSION IN LIFE TO BRING DOWN THOSE WHO LIED AND TRIED TO TAKE CREDIT FOR MY YEARS OF HARD WORK TO EXPOSE THESE TERRIBLE ATROCITIES AND IN THE PROCESS TRIED TO DESTORY ALL THAT I SET OUT TO ACCOMPLISH AS WELL AS MY REPETATION. I HAVE COMPLETED THREE ADDITIONAL BOOKS WHICH I WILL RELEASE AT A LATER DATE. THESE THREE BOOKS WILL CLEARLY LAY OUT (WITH DOCUMENTATION) HOW THIS INCIDENT WAS ACTUALLY BROUGHT TO LIGHT AND THE MANY UNNECESSARY FALSEHOODS AND LIES CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS INTERCEDED INTO THE PROCESS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SELF GAIN AND NOTORIETY.
Coming soon on this site page: The true story regarding "The Rise and Fall of the Official White House Boys Organization" and how the original intent of helping make changes to a corrupt juvenile system became nothing more than obtaining fame, glory and notoriety for a few selfish individuals. In the end these few men have almost totally destroyed the creditability of the men who honestly tried to tell their stories of abuse. The enhanced stories by these few men have made it very difficult for those in power to distinguish what the truth really is and will severely hamper any bill for compensation brought before the Florida legislature.
VANITY FAIR CONFIDENTIAL SHOW
After watching the Vanity Fair Confidential special last evening I thought about the show all night before drawing any final conclusions. First off I was a bit upset that I was not given any credit for having written the book “The White House Boys-An American Tragedy” which first exposed this issue.
I felt the producers were more than fair to both sides of the issue; that being the town of Marianna and the White House Boys. Most of the men interviewed appeared to be telling the truth and had the demeanor one would expect of someone who had been abused as a child and for years carried and lived with the emotional scars of that abuse. That is everyone except Mr. Jerry Cooper. He came across as an arrogant, angry and self serving individual. His ‘look at me’ attitude was more than prevalent and that particular aspect appeared to be his main concern and not the welfare of the men and the cause he is suppose to represent. His tale of having been beaten at the White House began some years back by stating he received 37 licks of the strap. Later his story changed and it became 46 lashes and now it has been raised to more than 100 lashes. Last evening his story enhanced even farther when he stated that he was beaten until his buttocks looked like hamburger and his testicles were black and enlarged three times their normal size.
It is one thing for any individual to want to claim their fifteen minutes of fame; but to destroy the cause they are appointed to represent is totally disgraceful. The producers told me that Mr. Cooper was not invited to the taping of the show but drove himself to the event to make sure he was seen on television.
This is a case where Florida public sentiment is very important to the cause; especially when one is seeking reparations or compensation for their former abuses. When one comes across as a spiteful almost hateful individual (as Mr. Cooper did) public sentiment is totally lost. What was not stated on the show was why Mr. Cooper was taken to the White House. A disciplinary report shows that Jerry Cooper was taken to the White House for telling his team mates and his cottage peers that he was going to bonk the cottage father’s wife. The fact that he stated on the show that he attacked Mr. Tidwell inside the building tells exactly why he was beaten so badly, if in fact he was. This was his attitude then as a juvenile delinquent and it is his attitude today as an adult. Mr. Cooper’s problems began when he became the reform school’s football team quarterback. He felt he was special and could do whatever he pleased because of his status. He felt he could do whatever he desired and no one would take him to the White House or he would be unable to play. Winning was everything to school officials and Cooper knew that.
The old legal/lawyer saying “There is his story then there is her story and then there is the TRUTH.” That certainly applies in this particular case. The truth actually lies somewhere in the middle.
WHAT IS THE TRUTH OF IT ALL?
There were many bad things that happened at the former Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna (The Dozier School) and at the other reform school located in Okeechobee, Florida. However, the severity of the abuse(s) is not to the degree that it is being suggested by many who have come forward.
If one were to go to visit their state prison they would see men working their assigned jobs, some would be out on the yard working out with weights, playing basket ball, reading books in the library, eating in the chow hall or writing letters in their cells. Over all, everything would appear to be just fine. However, that does not mean that during the day an inmate got up into the face of a guard and later that evening the guard and a few of his buddies decided to take that inmate from his cell and take him to the basement (the hole) and beat the living hell out of him. Then of course there might be a guard who is a sexual predator who takes advantage of a few inmates. This type of activity happens in every institution, public and private, when individuals are incarcerated behind closed doors.
This was the case at the former reform schools in Florida. Yes, there were boys who were beaten unmercifully and there were boys who were molested or raped and yes a few boys most likely died as the result of these abuses. But these occurrences were not involving boys by the hundreds but actually involved only a minimal number of boys over a forty or fifty year period.
Even considering the brutality of the beatings, whippings, spankings or floggings administered at the White House Building; only a few boys actually came out of the “torture chamber” bloody or had to go to the hospital to have their underwear surgically removed from their buttocks.
As far as the brutality goes; the worst brutal punishments were administered to the black boys who were, at least at that time, looked upon as less than human. Even the black instructors looked upon their own kind as being less than human. This was generally done in order to keep their own status equal to that of the white employees. Most of the white boys coming from the White House were unable to sit down for days while most of the black boys coming from that chamber were unable to walk for days. Many of these black boys had to be hauled back to their dormitories in wheelbarrows.
So, who is truly entitled to compensation for abuses?
In my opinion those boys (now men) who were molested, raped or beaten bloody are certainly entitled to some form of compensation by the state of Florida. Is every boy (now a man) entitled to compensation just because he was taken to the White House for a violation of the rules? That will be for the state (or the courts) to decide. Personally, I only know of about thirty (30) who I feel deserve compensation out of the five hundred (500) or so who have come forward.
Even though I was the individual who first exposed this tragedy; the attorneys representing The White House Boys removed me from the “Claims Bill” because I was trying to expose the real truth regarding this matter. So, now that I no longer have a dog in this fight I will continue to expose the truth.
There are a few men who have come forward with stories of horror that are absolutely true. On the other hand there are some who came forward and told untrue stories for the sake of notoriety; specifically for the purpose of getting their faces on television and in the newspapers. These are the ten or so men who, along with their wives who have degraded the issue and in the end will hurt the many who were abused and certainly deserve compensation.
To view the White House Boys Web Site click on
"The White House Boys-An American Tragedy" book cover below.
To View the American Orphan Web Site click on
Orphan a true story book cover below.
Roger attending the Florida Senate Hearing on White House Boys' Issues
A REMEMBRANCE FLAG
My story and the stories of some three hundred other men, contained on this web site, will give the readers some idea of the terrible abusive and bloody horrors that were suffered by these men when they were children. Children, some as young as five or six, who ran away from physically, sexually or verbally abusive homes; yet were labeled as incorrigible children by the juvenile court system of Florida. Under court order these children were sent away too physically work on state owned farms located at The Florida School for Boys at Marianna. In addition these same children were used by the local Marianna, Jackson County community working on ranches and unloading railroad cars for as long as twelve hours a day without any pay whatsoever. That in itself was terrible but nothing compared to what was happening behind closed doors at the institution. Many boys disappeard during the night and were never heard from again. Now bodies are being discovered around the campus.
When driving onto the campus one would think it looked like a college campus. Beautiful buildings, manicured lawns, a swimming pool, a football field, hospital, dining hall and at Christmas thousands of cars visited the facility to see the hundreds of decorations and thousands upon thousands of colored lights which decorated the main drive. Yet behind all this beauty there were brutal, horrendous and merciless bloody beatings, molestations, rapes and even murders taking place in a small, thick cement walled building know as The White House. There were many nights when young boys were taken from their cottages screaming and crying and were raped by the staff. Many of these boys never returned to their cottages and were never heard from again. Our investigation has never found any records (Social Security-Crinimal-Employment-Tax or Property ownership or other information) regarding any of these boys in later years. They just simply disappeared, some were as young as five.
These pictures of the White House Chamber and all photos contained on this site were photographed by and are the sole property of Roger Dean Kiser, Sr.
I arrive at the school on June 3, 1959 at the age of twelve (12). I am not sure exactly what age I was as the orphanage never had a birthday party for any of the children and most of we kids never knew what our exact ages were until we grew up and managed to secure a birth certificate. In my case it was when I turned 27 years old.
Upon entering the school I was rather taken by all the beauty and the neatness of the campus. Though somewhat scared; I was not as scared as most kids sent to the school because I was already institutionalized and use to such environments. But I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the large swimming pool, football field and the gymnasium. This had to be much better than the orphanage and "look at all this here stuff," I remember saying to myself. This had to be much better than only having one broken swing to swing on and a roller skate that only had three wheels. But, little did I know, as a great big smile crossed my lips, that a devil was hiding behind every tree, every building and even behind every blade of manicured grass. And little did I know that America had its own concentration camp for little boys right here in the good ole U.S. of A. It is a bloody, horrible and never ending nightmare that many of us still suffer even to this very day, some fifty years later.
After a vicious and brutal bloody beating at the White House; I swore that I would one day expose what was happening at the facility. And that I did. Some fifty years later I wrote the book The White House Boys-An American Tragedy which, with the help of other men who were abused at the school, closed down the campus for good. The University of South Florida is now on the grounds hunting for the bodies of boys who were killed, buried or simply dumped in the North Florida swamps. At present 96 bodies have been located. If the USF investigation is allowed to continue; many additional bodies will be found on both the North and South sides of the campus as well as in the garbage dump. This will not include the many bodies that were taken into the swampland areas and dumped and possibly eaten by alligators. There were stories of boys being beaten to death at the White House Torture Chamber then their bodies taken to the incinerator and burned with the daily trash. The ashes were then cleaned out and taken “to the peanut field and used as fertilizer.”
The few employees who did have the guts and fortitude to come forward (after all these years) called the beatings cruel, brutal, totally inhumane and criminal in nature. I guess one had to actually be there to see the boy’s Levis split at the seams after 20 or thirty swats with the heavy weighted leather and metal strap. I guess you had to be there at the hospital to see the boys’ underwear which had been beaten into their skin and then surgically removed by the school’s nurse and the aging physician. Yes, one would have to have been there to really understand the horror, the cruelty and the brutality of it all.
THE BOOKS and STORIES of
ROGER DEAN KISER, SR,
To a child who has nothing,
a little bit means everything.
To a child who has everything,
a little bit means nothing.
Roger Dean Kiser. Author
Being on total disability; It is only through the sale of my books that allow me
to continue my work as a child advocate, helping abused children and American orphans.
CLICK BOOK COVERS TO READ A STORY OR PURCHASE A BOOK
"My friend, Roger Dean Kiser has to be one of the best unknown
short story writers in America. I am honored to have his
autographged work in my personal library."
Wendy's International, Inc.
Considering I only had a sixth grade education; I am honored that many of my stories have been used for educational purposes. Over the years I have given much of my work away for free, mainly to organizations and schools (for testing) that use those stories, books, CDs and materials for the benefit of educating children and helping abused kids. I have never forgotten being mentally and verbally abused by my teachers while attending Spring Park Elementary School and while living at The Children's Home Society in Jacksonville, Florida and The Florida School for Boys at Marianna.
ROGER KISER'S BIO
Published author Roger Dean Kiser's stories take you into the heart of a child abandoned by his family and abused by the system responsible for his care. Through his stories, he relives the sadness and cruelty of growing up an orphan in the early 1950s.
Roger has worked with Edward Asner and Michael Landon on projects which spread the word about child abuse and its effects on children once they become adults.
Today, Kiser lives in Brunswick, Georgia with his wife Judy where he continues to write and publishing his heartfelt short storis. Unknowingly at first and by the power of the Internet, Kiser's short stories have touched millions.
In the vein of Mark Twain, Roger Dean Kiser's collection of almost 1,000 stories has captured the drama and emotion of not only his childhood, but also his current day tales. Kiser's short stories carry with them strong images and feelings that search out and find that common thread which connects each of us to our own emotions.
Roger Dean Kiser is the author of the books "Orphan, A True Story of Abandonment, Abuse and Redemption," "American Orphan" and "RUNAWAY, Life on the streets-The Lessons Learned" and "The White House Boys-An American Tragedy." Many of Roger's stories have appeared in numerous Chicken Soup for the Soul Books and have been enjoyed by thousands.
Roger will never forget how he and about 300 other children were treated as though they were less than human while living at the Children's Home Society Orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida. How he and hundreds of other boys were brutally beaten, abused and some raped at the hands of officials employed at the Florida Industrial School for Boys at Marianna in the 1950s and 1960s.
Roger's short stories have also been published in books such as: Chicken Soup for the Grandparent's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Friend's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul, Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Stories to Soothe the Spirit, Heartwarmers, Heartwarmers of Love, A Cool Collection I and A Cool Collection II (Israel), Connections-Textbook and CD Rom (Israel), Faith & True Stories of Friendship, Teen Miracles, Man's Best Friend (Australia), The Next Voice You Hear, Soul Disclosures, Dog Buddies (Australia), Skyline Magazine IV, Venice, Gulf Coast Living, Petwarmers CD Collection, Kiwanis Magazine, as well as his own CD titled "The Life and Times of Roger Dean Kiser."
Roger's short story "The Bully" was made into a short film by Executive Producer Edward Asner (Mary Tyler Moore Show), and has been entered into several major film festivals in the United States.
Between Edward Asner's bustling, award winning career and a busy political agenda, the actor has still made himself available to lend his support and voice to Roger Dean Kiser.
A project is now in the works through Bee Holder Productions located in Hollywood, California which will make a major motion picture regarding the abuses which took place at the former Dozier School for Boys at Marianna. At Present the film will be titled "The Reformatory."