Charles (Wayne) Howard







My name is Charles (Wayne)Howard.

I was raised by loving parents in Miami, Florida. Like a lot of young boys in that time period I got in trouble. I went to court and the judge sent me to reform school.

My first impression of the Florida School for Boys was that it was a very good. The flag went up in the morning and down at sunset and boy you had better stand straight and face it. They assigned me to a job in the electric shop and of course I had to attend school. I was also assigned to Cottage Four (4) and Mr. Davis, was the cottage-father.

It didn't take long for me to get wise about things. In not much time at all I had seen the ass beating they could hand out and it was brutal. After one boy ran away, they pulled up in a state car and took him right in the White House. About the time they brought him back to our cottage it was time to shower. He had to pull his pants down in front of about 30 boys. It sacred most of us half to death and almost make me sick. If you have ever seen ground chuck that is what his backside looked like.

I had only been there about a month when it became my turn to go to the White House. Some boys called it the Ice Cream Factory. I think it had been a cooler or an Ice House at one time.

Well, that night I got about 30 hard ass licks. The whole thing took about 15 minutes. The man doing the beating was about on the 27 lick when he must have gotten tired and because of a slip of his arm, I got a 4 inch scar to wear for the rest of my life.

I am sixty-nine years old and it's still there. To a fifteen year old boy this was a life changing experience. It was the most horrifying and degrading thing to happen in my life. My visit to the "White House" was because I got into a fight in the supper line. Another boy shoved me and I shoved him back, not a real fight. For this I got thirty lashes.

I'm not going to go into all the details of the beatings because it's been repeated by so many others. And there are only so many horrible ways you can describe what happened. As I said before, I'm sixty-nine years old and the memory is just as vivid today as it was back in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Please take into consideration that I have Parkinson's disease and it's hard for me to give all of my testimony.

Like I said before, every other day we worked and on the opposite day we attended school. I worked in the Electrical shop. There was me and another boy who was about to be released. But before he left he showed me a few secret things; like how to get a cigarette lit for a smoke and not get caught.

Mr. Maddox was our instructor/teacher and that was a joke. Half the time he left us alone. When we did work it was damned dangerous. We were forced to change the light bulbs down on the football field poles which were almost 75 feet in the air. If you didn't go up, there was always the threat of a White House beating. Every night before I left the shop, my job was to take this wooden 4 ft ladder across the street, with rubber gloves on, and I would throw the switch for the street lights (and it had to be done fast).

If you need to contact me you may due so.

Sincerely,

Charles (Wayne) Howard how5@bellsouth.net