A proper burial for Billy Jackson

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.

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2 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.

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