In 1912 journalist Marc Goodnow visited the pine forests of north Florida seeking information for an article he was writing on the turpentine industry. Goodnow’s findings, which appeared in an exposé entitled “Turpentine: Impressions of the Convicts’ Camps of Florida,” shocked the nation. In the article Goodnow described how he stood in horror and watched as a black convict was forced to be a “runner” in a deadly game of hide and seek. In this weekly occurrence, which trained camp dogs to track down escaped convicts, the man was given a five-minute head start and then required to lead the dogs on a chase through the swamps and saw-palmetto thickets of the forest. Goodnow described the chaotic scene: “Suddenly the baying of hounds grew near and raucous; every tree became a soundingboard—a voice in itself. Nearer and nearer came a great scuffling and crunching. A man plowed his way through the mat of dead leaves, grass, and pine needles— a negro running long, his face burnished with sweat, casting furtive glances over his shoulder. On his body was the flannel garb of a convict. For a moment the swift impression of witnessing an escape flashed through the spectators [sic] brain, but there was not the slightest chance of that. The dogs were beating through the palmetto growth like an avalanche down a mountain side— six of them, their dilated nostrils scenting the ground every few leaps, tongues hanging dry from their vicious mouths. Great drops of sweat flooded the receding forehead of the hunted black; sweat glued his striped shirt to his muscle-taut body; to one foot clung a coarse shoe; his trousers were torn and frayed from contact with sharp palmetto leaves and wet and sticky with the ooze of a nearby swamp.“
Drobney, Jeffrey A.
"Where Palm and Pine are Blowing: Convict Labor in the North Florida Turpentine Industry, 1877-1923,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 72:
4, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol72/iss4/3