A proper burial for Billy Jackson

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Family, Dozier School survivors pay respects to Daytona Beach teen who died 64 years ago

BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF

Billy Jackson’s life ended way too soon. He died in 1952 at age 13 while a ward of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, a small city in North Florida.

Billy Jackson’s family and his friends at the Dozier School of Boys attend the burial service at Mt. Ararat Cemetery in Daytona Beach.(PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM)
Billy Jackson’s family and his friends at the Dozier School of Boys attend the burial service at Mt. Ararat Cemetery in Daytona Beach.
(PHOTOS BY DUANE C. FERNANDEZ SR./HARDNOTTSPHOTOGRAPHY.COM)

While the cause of death was listed as a urinary tract infection, it’s believe he died from a severe beating after trying to escape the reform school. He was sent to the school in August 1952 for repeatedly skipping school.

Johnnie Walthour of Jacksonville, now deceased, reported years ago that he dug a grave for a friend he knew only as Billy, who died after developing a bloated stomach. Walthour said the boy was repeatedly beaten in the White House after trying to run away.

The family of Billy Jackson leave the funeral service at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home in Daytona Beach. He is survived by a sister, Mattie Jackson, nephews, nieces and other relatives.
The family of Billy Jackson leave the funeral service at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home in Daytona Beach. He is survived by a sister, Mattie Jackson, nephews, nieces and other relatives.

Other former students at the school have reported that they were brutally beaten while there.

Returned to sister
A Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation ensued and Jackson’s remains were identified in unmarked graves found on site. Jackson’s remains were sent this month to his sister, Mattie Jackson, a Daytona Beach resident.

Funeral services were held at R.J. Gainous Funeral Home in Daytona Beach on Saturday with former Dozier school students there, known as the “White House Boys.’’ The men say they endured vicious beatings in a small building at the school called the White House.

Jackson was buried Saturday at Mt. Ararat Cemetery on Bellevue Avenue in Daytona Beach.

Attended Campbell
A task force is now in the process of deciding on a memorial for the Dozier victims.

Jackson was born on Feb. 18, 1939 in Daytona Beach. He attended Campbell Elementary School.

He is survived by his sister Mattie Jackson of Daytona Beach; two nephews, Shawn Irving of Daytona Beach and Dawn Irving of Orlando; three nieces, Wanda Aaron of Daytona Beach, Wendy Irving of Orlando and Ida Cummings, Washington D.C.

A detailed story on Billy Jackson and the Aug. 13 service appears this week in the Florida Courier, the sister newspaper of the Daytona Times. It can be read online at www.flcourier.com.

3 COMMENTS

  1. To Ida Cummings and family:

    So very sorry to hear about the horrendous experience that your Uncle faced at the Dozier school. We, as a community, must be vigilant about institutions that folks hope will “straighten” out people, including our prison systems. I am glad that there is an investigation, and that your Uncle Billy received a proper burial. This tragedy may be the catalyst for people of any background to push for social justice reform, early in the schools and to get effective help for people regardless of financial situations. This will help society as a whole.

    Thanks for sharing this story, and for pursuing a family farewell – a testament to your Uncle.

    Michele Kennedy Kouadio

  2. SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS MY BROTHER WAS ALSO IN DOZIER AS A CHILD. GOD BLESS YOUR FAMILY. CLOSEURE IS VERY IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY.

  3. I too was a ward of A. G. Dozier School for Boys in Mariana. Jefferson and Jackson were my cottages. Was taken to the White House twice during my time there. It Was No Fun!!! I was hit 23 and 28 times on these occasions.
    But, that was nothing compared to some others. I have seen other boys who were beaten sooo badly that their pajamas had to be removed from their hamburger like rearends. It was bad really bad. If I remember correctly the two of them had tried to escape and been caught. I believe it was Mr. White, Mr. Crockett and Mr. Tidwell who administered said whipping. That place could be Hell on anyone who did not play by Their rules! HELL! I didn’t want to Die there so I did my best to do my time and get back home as soon as possible. I made it. Some others didn’t. God Rest Their Souls.
    Anyone who knows if there is still a lawsuit going on please, let me know so, I can become part of it. If this is you, thank you in advance for your help.
    May God Continue To Watch Over All Of Us Who Made it through that Hell That Was, The Arthur G. Dozier School For Boys in Mariana, Florida.
    Thanks Again… ?

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