In February 1922, after receiving a severe flogging from a whipping boss, a young white man from North Dakota died in a convict labor camp in Dixie County, Florida. The victim was Martin Tabert, and the circumstances of his death brought national scrutiny and condemnation of Florida's penal practices, forcing legislators to approve far-reaching penal reform . Historians N. Gordon Carper and Jerrell H. Shofner have addressed Martin Tabert's death and its legacy in earlier volumes of the Florida Historical Quarterly. Carper admirably reconstructed the story of Martin Tabert's untimely death from the Samuel D. McCoy Papers located in the Florida State Library, a range of Florida newspapers, and the Amos Pinchot Papers located at the Library of Congress. In a rejoinder to Carper' more progressive emphasis, Shofner raised doubts over the efficacy of the legislative reforms enacted in the wake of the Tabert case and, finding numerous incidencs of forecd labor in Department of Justice Records, Workers Defense League papers, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People papers housed in the National Archives, underlined the extent to which th practice of peonage continued in Florida for thirty year after Tabert's death. Neither Carper nor Shofner drew on sources in North Dakota, most notably the Gudnunder Grimson Papers located at the North Dakota Historical Society in Bismark.1
Miller, Vivien E.
"The Icelandic Man Cometh: North Dakota State Attorney Gudmunder Grimson and a Reassessment of the Martin Tabert Case,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 81:
3, Article 5.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol81/iss3/5