A college marching band's hazing ritual claims the life of a star clarinet player:
"The young man stood at the front of Bus C, his ribs rising and falling with each breath. Before him stood about 20 members of one of the best marching bands in the world, Florida A&M's Marching 100, which had performed for presidents and before a televised Super Bowl audience of 106 million, and now, on a Saturday night last fall, was gathered in the dark inside Bus C, parked behind the Rosen Plaza Hotel off International Drive in Orlando, not far from Pizza Hut and T.G.I. Friday's. The doors of Bus C were closed and the lights were out, and at the rear of the bus sat two panting people who had been beaten about the torso and were now trying to recover. The man was about to vomit and the woman would later tell detectives that she had been hit and kicked until she was unconscious. The young man waiting at the front of the bus was Robert Champion.
"He played the clarinet, played it so well that he had rocketed through the ranks of the band and had been appointed drum major, one of six students who wore white uniforms and carried batons and led the band, high-stepping, onto the field. He was in line to become head drum major the following year, the equivalent to a starting quarterback on a world-famous team of 350."
PUBLISHED: Nov. 12, 2012
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2664 words)
A former crack addict sues a Florida farm, accusing the owners of modern-day slavery—set up to live in an environment that preyed on his addiction and left him without a paycheck:
"There's something going on in this small town and it might be hard to care because the victims are often homeless black men who live mostly in the shadows. Many have criminal records and sins in their past.
"But many served in the armed forces and lived good lives before they dropped out of society and wound up in bondage.
"Authorities have failed to stop a form of slavery that begins with indebtedness and sometimes doesn't end until a worker is dead.
"And it continues today."
PUBLISHED: May 13, 2012
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2451 words)
The story of her father's death ran in newspapers from New York to Los Angeles, detailing how a small band of men killed him, and how a mob mutilated his corpse. They called it a spectacle lynching, and historians say it was perhaps the worst act of torture and execution in 20th century America. The killing became Florida's shame. President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew her father's name.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 23, 2011
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6402 words)