Resolutions by Hillsborough and Pinellas County citizens condemning the convict lease system in Florida

Resolutions by Hillsborough and Pinellas County citizens condemning the convict lease system in Florida


[Typed: ] One of these, With two Tampa newspaper articles about the Oldsmar mass meeting, have been sent to every senator, every representative, Board of Trade, mayor and newspaper in Florida. [text] From: W.E. Bolles, Oldsmar, Fla. Hold Mass Meetings To Abolish the Lease and Lash It is time for the people of Florida to act The following Resolutions were unanimously adopted at a Mass Meeting of Hillsborough and Pinellas county citizens and taxpayers, May 3, 1923, at Oldsmar, Florida: RESOLUTIONS WHEREAS, the good people of the State of Florida, who are vastly in the majority, have been disgraced by a limited number of men who make money out of the convict lease system, and further disgraced and humiliated by the brutal and murderous methods of punishment used by certain cor- porations who purchase convict labor from this state; and WHEREAS, even if these corporations are largely composed of wealthy men living in other states, the damage as the result of their acts falls heaviest upon the decent people of the State of Florida, to whom our newspapers have exposed the barbarous methods of these convict drivers, and WHEREAS, our governor, many of the members of our State Legislature and the newspapers generally throughout Florida are devoting their best efforts to show the obstructionist members of our State Senate the seriousness of the situation and the urgent necessity of passing laws which will quickly correct these evils, and remove this black stain from the good reputation of our state, and WHEREAS, we believe that the continuation of the use of the lash will seriously affect the prosperity and good name of the Commonwealth of Florida, therefore, be it RESOLVED, That we, citizens and taxpayers living in Hillsborough county and Pinellas coun- ty, Florida, in mass meeting assembled this third day of May, 1923, at Oldsmar, Florida, do hereby pledge ourselves to do everything within our power to aid our governor and the right-minded mem- bers of our State Legislature in the work of stopping this great evil, and do our share to help place the State of Florida before the eyes of the world- as it really is-a great, progressive commonwealth, in which right-minded, kind-hearted Christian people compose the large majority, and who are shocked by the horrible revelations of the acts of savagery committed by a small number of men in the convict camps. RESOLVED, That we demand immediate action and grand jury investigation of all persons al- leged to be connected in any way with the killing of Martin Tabert, including investigation of the conflicting reports of Prison Inspector Thomas, the acts of the Putnam Lumber Company, the sheriff, the judge, the doctor who signed the death certificate, the armed men who prevented investigation and all others alleged to be involved in any way in this brutal business, and trial of the parties out- side the county in which the crime was committed. RESOLVED, That we now most earnestly ask all other towns and cities in the State of Florida to call mass meetings for this purpose, to express the voice of public opinion in the most clear, un- mistakable and emphatic language, in order that those obstructionist members of our State Legis- lature shall see the light of reason and common-sense, and be willing to do as the great majority of the people of this good state want them to do, that is, to abolish the leash and lash system forever. RESOLVED, That a copy of these resolutions be sent to the governor of Florida, the governor of North Dakota, to every member of our State Legislature, and to the mayors of all cities and towns in Florida. RESOLVED, That we shall assemble again in mass meeting in Oldsmar on Thursday, May 10, 1923, to determine whether any further steps are necessary in order to bring this important mat- ter to a successful conclusion.


State Library of Florida: Florida Collection, BR0146


Copy of resolutions adopted by a mass meeting of citizens from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties on May 3, 1923 at Oldsmar condemning the convict lease system in Florida. A note in the upper margin indicates that copies of the resolution and related newspaper articles were sent to legislators and civic leaders across the state.