Reviews For Unreformed: the Story of the Alabama Industrial School for Negro Children

Sad, disgusting and disturbing podcast. It’s a must listen!!
Had to quit listening. As soon as the story gets going there is like 15 min of ads. And then it just keeps repeating. Unbearable. Why are podcast getting worse than Cable TV?
I am so glad I came across this podcast, I have gained much more insight into our history as well as understand how indeed history does shape our present. I think that Mt Meigs should not even exist with its dark and horrid history. Keep up the good work Josie! Thank you.
I had no idea about these kinds of “institutions” for children going into this podcast and I’m glad I stayed and learned about these beautiful people who endured so much evil and injustice. Josie did such a great job with sharing these people’s stories with us and articulating the brokenness of our “justice” system. The only issue I had was with the ads, which I know is most likely the distributors fault but I would have much rather preferred they be at the beginning and end instead of strewn throughout the episodes. It really did a disservice to the stories being told, especially when they were so emotional and deep. But the podcast was excellent regardless.
Excellent and important series. I feel more knowledgeable about what may cause an adult criminal, in some instances, to do what they done. That is the blueprint they may have been set with. Also makes me wonder about how many of these schools existed around the country. Well done and thank you.
This is not just a history podcast about an abusive reformatory in Alabama. It is about people who get trapped by institutions — trapped in routine cruelty that no one person is responsible for, and that almost everyone on the outside gets used to, so the abuse doesn’t even have to be hidden. I live in Alabama, about 100 miles from Mt. Meigs, and the front of that plantation-style campus is a familiar sight. My state is already too well known for its troubled schools, courts, and prisons. We pride ourselves on our high rate of violent crime, and whenever that crime rate is in decline, we refuse to believe it. I thought I understood these problems, but the story of Mt. Meigs, its inmates, and the people who ran it, has taught me a lot. And it isn’t just a fable about innocent kids being abused by evil adults. This podcast is for grownups who want to understand how an institution that was founded for a good purpose can go so badly wrong. If you pay attention, you’ll understand how you or I could become an accomplice to this kind of thing, and how high a price we might have to pay to obey our conscience and blow the whistle. All in all, this podcast is among the best I’ve ever heard. The host, Josie Duffy Rice, strikes the right balance of story telling, personal reflection, and taking the listener behind the scenes for glimpses of the fact-finding process. The portrayal of both victims and perpetrators is clear, sensitive, wise, and compelling. These personal stories range from the unexpectedly horrific to the inspiring, and they are all real. It would be a perfect podcast if not for one thing: the intrusive advertising that iHeart dumps on all but the first and last episodes. I didn’t feel strongly about podcast ads until listening to this series, where the ads feel like vandalism. Most podcast distributors handle ads with some regard for listeners and awareness of the series topic. But I guess iHeart is too big and pushy for that. These ads were dumb, repetitive, too numerous, and blaring. There was no pause or signal before or after the ads, and the lengths seemed irregular, so skipping forward (past ads I’d already heard) landed me well past the start of the next host segment of the podcast. This forced me to backtrack into the end of an ad for underwire bras or the wireless carrier I already use (and which I now feel a bit resentful of). I soon gave up on trying to find the start of each post-ad segment. I resigned myself to missing some seconds of content , and I concentrated on not letting the ads break my focus on the episode. Or make me furious, as they did at times. iHeart ad injections are not the worst I’ve known. They are well recorded and slick, and maybe that’s part of the problem. It became clear that from the iHeart’s point of view, maximum ad impressions are the only purpose of podcast distribution, and the content is just there to fill the space between ads. It made me feel like a lab rat. For me, the ad breaks cast a smelly fug over the whole experience. This was my first encounter with the host, Josie Duffy Rice, and the production company, School for Humans. (Good name.) I will definitely look for more of their work, especially Rice’s. Credit goes to the team for basing much of the soundtrack on rhythm and songs created by Mt. Meigs survivors. But I sure hope that their next podcast doesn’t have a heart logo on it.
I grew up in Montgomery and Mt Meigs was always a a threat for bad kids ir a joke among my peers. We had no idea what we were talking about! These kids were brutalized!
Extremely well written and presented expose of a brutally racist slave camp, euphemistically called an “industrial school,” whatever that means, for children as young as 10. Sadly, this school still exists today. Highly recommend
Outstanding, devastating and absolutely necessary listening for anyone who needs proof of the existence of institutionalized racism in this country. If this doesn’t spark your outrage, nothing will.
This series is so well done. I hope it leads to the closure of Mount Meigs and reparations for every living survivor. Truly a "factory of torture".
This was a place and story I’d never heard being from the Midwest. Thank you for informing me and telling the story.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and this one truly stands out. Such a sad part of our history. The researchers attention to detail and thoroughness is in depth. The interviews with the people who lived through this made the entire story all the more real.
Thank you for this podcast, Josie Duffy Rice. You are a National Treasure.
Good story but the narrator is really off pace. She crawls at times, which drives me crazy.
This story needs to be told. In hopes that we make real reforms for our youth. If you know better do better.
Harrowing but brilliant reporting and story telling. It is so important to bear witness (by listening) to what these children suffered and, in some form, continue to suffer. Racism and racial violence is a true and horrifying part of American history. It may be less blatant and less extreme today, but it goes on.
Thanks for relaying this story. It’s truly sad what people can do to dehumanize others and act upon that belief.
I appreciate the illumination of a hidden history. As a lawyer, the stories were enraging and energize me to explain the legal system to others-the good, the bad, the ugly. Because the more you know, the more you can question
I am inspired by the stories told here. Not of the injustice inflicted by the state of Alabama but many of the survivors and how they chose to live. I could see God moving throughout this painful story..from the officials who chose the right thing, the victims who loved & found beauty anyway and the folks who cared enough to tell their story today. But the greatest of these was love.
History can be very sad and disappointing. I loved hearing from the people that experienced the terrible terrible people of that time. God bless the people that stepped up and helped.
Heartbreaking story but very well done. I have never heard of Mt. Meigs nor it’s history. Thank you for giving a voice to those that did not have one.


By mscic
Not shockingly I had never heard of Mt Meigs. Produced in such an eloquent way centered on the victims, while also applying it to the broader perspective and ripple effects of trauma. I’m just so moved by their resilience. Since reparations and monetary compensation are clearly not happening at the state or federal level, it would be great to know how we can donate to victims and their families through some relief fund where we know the money would actually get to them!
Mahalo for sharing the journey of this school, the people and the community. Was looking forward to each new episode!
This is the history needed to be taught at schools! We have not and will continue not to learn from our past if we all don’t acknowledge it and learn from it! Kids people this were kids!!!! I look forward to all future content!
This is such an important story to be told about violence in and amongst US.. Underlining that violence against children doesn’t “cure” but destroys peace seeking sensitive vulnerable children, into becoming the violent person (we fear ) as adults! Thank y’all for this thoughtful loving approach, restoring the victims dignity and filling my heart with innerstanding and compassion. Y’all are “Shoulder Ready “ !! ✊🏾 I’ll be looking for the next Podcast n the movie!! Best of blessings Mikhala
This podcast is a must listen! My only question is—why the Ronald Reagan gold ads? I can assure you I have nothing that would make that a targeted ad but it’s infuriating to have a pro-Reagan ad, particularly in a podcast that surrounds systemic racism and he 100% is one of the worst contributors to that in the past 40 years.
I had a friend that got sent to Mt Meigs but I had no idea about it’s past. This is a part of our history that every Alabamian should be aware of.
This is a great new podcast- it’s important we be confronted with the past and current conditions. It manages to be informative about an intense topic without making you feel hopeless. Small thing, I’m very glad you have ads, hopefully you are getting even a small revenue share. I realize this is free media but what is up with the Reagan coin ads? I feel like I’m trolled every time I hear it! I strongly disagree with the content - it’s basically undermining the entire focus of then podcast (let alone the fact the product is part of an obvious scam). I’m assuming you aren’t choosing it but if you have any options can you ask them to take that one out and replace it with literally anything?
Josie Duffy Rice does an excellent job of painting a picture with words about they systemic and horrific abuses that these children suffered without using the descriptions to be sensational. Tragic and heartbreaking are words too weak to encompass the true depths of this experience.
Thank you for your thorough investigation and providing a platform to those willing to share their stories.
Thank you. Things feel like they’re so long ago but these people are still living and dealing with the ramifications of what was done to them.
5 stars for the podcast and all of those who were willing to share their experiences - a disheartening reality for so many. Some of the episodes can be heavy with emotion but that is necessary as these are REAL life events that these brave people LIVED through, lost friends snd acquaintances because of, and suffer the memories of, while making an effort to move forward and have a thriving future. They are willing to speak about it and in return I will listen and strive to be a loving, caring, and giving person. I will be sharing the show with everyone I know.
This is an incredible series and the knowledge I've gained makes feel better equipped to go out in the world and continue the fight for abolition. Josie Duffy Rice continues to be someone who's work I will always follow.
Beautifully told but horrible and so sad. this is a great series about how we treated black kids in the south. The inhumanity is shocking. The podcast sir it does a great job of walking through the story and showing us the lives of the victims. highly recommended.
The stories set out in this podcast are so very difficult to listen to, but as a society, we need to hear them and do better for our children.
My life as a kiddo was tough. By age 4 I had a predator over me making sexual comments that did not strike me until a few years later. I was a victim of sexual assault some time in early elementary. Remained a victim for about a decade, perhaps more. Also endured physical, verbal, emotional abuse from Who should have protected me. By age 11, going on 12, I was living in a home with other homeless kids. And ended up in the juvenile system at 14. I completed 365 days in juvenile halls and boot camp. To me.. my story is nothing compared to the episodes I just heard. And it really isn’t. It is not common to have someone take their time to tell the unheard stories. Some of your guests are in for life. Classified the worse. = product of their unfortunate childhood trauma. It is simply unfortunate. My heart melted when your guest in the latest episode wondered about that woman’s past. That woman that inflicted that pain upon her… what led this woman to do what she’d done? … and she was still able to somehow find forgiveness. I have much respect for you and your podcast. I have so much more respect for the victims that spoke up. I know it is not easy. Your last words, honest they are. Thank you for your honesty. I am not black myself. I wish we could all understand that we are ONE as a whole. Please, let us model a better example for our future kiddos to come🫶🏼
It took me a while to get through all 8 episodes because the level of inhumanity being described is almost unbearable. The saving grace is the intense humanity that Josie Duffy Rice and her colleagues bring to the storytelling, and particularly to unpacking the way that violence enacted on children will replicate itself when they are adults in ways that are almost out of their control. And I am especially glad I made it to Episode 8, because there is a moment of surpassing forgiveness shared by one of those children, now grown, regarding one of her abusers. Absolutely a must-listen series.
Moving,, heartbreaking, and sometimes horrifying story of an Alabama reform school/concentration camp for black children. Listen to this.
Unreformed reminds us that history is not that long ago and that humans are complicated and capable horrible atrocities that stretch long past the horrific events and impact so many people. Unreformed is an excellent piece of research and storytelling.
The podcast is a rough listen but the story of the school and the people is done incredibly and the story is so important. Most of us are familiar with the concept of, perhaps even survivors of, racism and abuse like this, but hearing the specifics, the on the ground details, and the stories of the survivors of a specific institution like this is necessary for all of us if we ever hope to make any of this history right (if it even can be). And Josie Duffy Rice is PHENOMENAL
This is a wonderfully done podcast. Ms. Rice does a great job of combining facts and personal experiences to relay the information and atrocities that occurred at Mount Meigs. Thank you.
So informative…. Great story and reporting Shame on Alabama
Great podcast that goes into not only the History and Events associated with Mt. Meigs but also the aftermath and continuing trauma. Very good listen.
All negative reviews are about ads and not the content. That should say something. Content was heartbreaking but very engaging. I have a lot of work to catch up to because I spent a lot of time on the podcast. And about the ads. I honestly support you for that since you’re not putting this up on Patreon or getting all your work done for free. I heard of a similar school near my hometown in India which was on the news for about a week but heard nothing of them since. Should try to go visit some time.
This podcasts lays bare yet another way that children of color have been abused and a system that not only allowed, but promoted, absolutely inhumane treatment of children. This podcast also does not shy away from the reality of how this type of abuse often results in the children perpetuating harm on others and spending their lives incarcerated. This show also avoids the trope of the “white savior” but is brutally honest about Denny, the white man who does the “right thing “ being human in his initial hesitancy and the slow process of working toward changing the system. There are also wonderfully detailed accounts of survivors who managed to forge lives outside the criminal justice system and who display tremendous resilience, courage, and compassion. We can only hope that the states, indeed the country, can wake up and acknowledge the harm and make reparations.
Unreformed is a beautifully investigated and reported story. Kudos to Josie Duffy Rice. I’m looking forward to what’s next!
Thank you so much for giving the victims a voice. We all need to face these ugly truths and the consequences of such disregard for children. I thought this presentation was done respectfully and I think you all should be commended for bringing this horrific story into the light. Praying for the survivors to find peace and some healing from this podcast. I look forward to your future presentations.
This is the type of podcast that grabs me at the beginning and I can hardly wait for the next episode to drop. It takes place in Alabama and tells the story of many Black children held in a state run institution. The research, interviews, narration and production are exceptional. I used to say that S-Town was my favorite podcast, but Unreformed may have changed my mind.