White House boy (now man) claims abuse

10:40 PM, Mar 6, 2009   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- We've told you about the men who said they were beaten while they were in the custody of the state. Now another man came forward, hoping to represent the African Americans who spent time at the infamous White House.

"I wanted to tell the story in that we make sure nothing remotely happens to any other man -- white, black, blue or green -- ever again," said Minister Charles Rambo.

Rambo said he went to what's now called the "Dozier Reform School for Boys" back in 1955. He was 12 years old at the time. He described working at a dairy operation from 3:30 in the morning until late in the day.

"The whole system at that time was to dehumanize us, the whole system was to dehumanize," said Rambo.

At a time when racial tensions remained high, he recounted the separation between white and black boys. He said the biggest difference between the two was education and jobs.

"This is the clearest, closest example in our modern history of what you could simply call a child slave labor camp that involves state sponsored terrorism," said Rambo's attorney, Fred Flowers.

Rambo also talked about his one and only trip to the White House where he and several other men have come forward, describing this as a place where boys were whipped until their clothes had to be surgically removed.

"After you lose your feeling and normal sensation, then there's a sticky pin, a sticky nail effect, you don't feel it like the (motions)... but you feel it... that sharp, shooting sensation," Rambo described the whipping from his trip to the White House.

Although Rambo admitted he tried to block out that time in his life, as a man, it still impacts his life. He said he didn't sleep without a light on until he was 25 years old. He said he still sleeps with the television on.

"I stopped on the side of the road one day and started to cry and my thing was this: State of Florida, why in the heck didn't you protect me? Why in the heck didn't you protect other young people, other young people? Why? It did affect my life, and in some ways I didn't know that something could pull me over to the side of the road and make me stop and cry like a little baby," said Rambo. "The more we hear, the more we know what not to do... if not morally, we know legally what not to do."

Rambo wants the State of Florida to acknowledge what happened and promise that it will never happen again. He's also considering joining the class action lawsuit previously filed by other men who have come forward, claiming they were severely beaten at the White House.

"I think the recognition of wrongdoing is the first step and then beyond that, some other options are available to us, we're just in step one, Mr. Rambo has come forward," said Flowers.

Rambo is from Tallahassee but lives in Atlanta where he is a minister and track coach. 

Brittany Benner, 10 Connects

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