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Tom Moore


This is an eye witness account of the shooting of a young black boy at the Florida Industrial School for Boys located in Marianna, Florida in 1964. The eye witness to the killing is named Thomas Moore (former student at the school). Mr. Moore gave this account to Author, Andrew F. Puel Jr. and Author/Child Advocate, Roger Dean Kiser.

Tom Moore worked in the kitchen at the reform school. While at work he saw four or five black boys being brought to the White House (the place where the floggings were administrated).

The black boys were taken out of two cars and then hurried into the White House. Mr. Moore saw two black staff members and a white staff member accompanying the juveniles. The white man had one arm and named Troy Tidwell. Tom heard the large industrial fan being turned on in the White House which was used to drown out or at least somewhat cover the screams of the boys while they were being beaten.

Mr. Moore moved to another window so he could get a better view of what was happening. Mr. Tidwell and a black staff member and two of the black boys were still entering the White House.

Shortly thereafter (2 or 3 minutes) a young black boy (10 to 12 years old) ran out of the White House and began running away from the building. Mr. Tidwell ran out of the building after the boy. Within several seconds maybe a minute Troy Tidwell disappeared from view and a shot was heard and the young boy went down. Even though Tom Moore did not see the gun, again he did hear the shot. There were also several other kitchen crew who witnessed the killing.

Tidwell spoke briefly with the black staffer before checking on the condition of the boy. Tom said he never saw the boy move after he went down. Tom believes the boy was shot in the head.

Mr. Edenfield (the kitchen supervisor) rushed into the room where Tom Moore was located and told him and the other boys to go into the dining hall. The boys were still able to see from the dining hall windows, so Mr. Edenfield told the boys to go into the staff dining room to keep them from viewing what was happening outside.

The milk crew (black boys) made a delivery of milk to the kitchen a day or two after the shooting. Tom asked about the boy and one of the crew said that boy didnít return to his dormitory. A big boy on the milk crew immediately told the boy to keep quiet and to shut-up.

Thomas Moore
9158 Jefferson Ave
Jacksonville, Florida
Home phone: (904) 768-6260
Cell phone: (904) 553- 4315