Dan Barry: The Boys in the Bunkhouse
With this tale from America's heartland, New York Times writer and columnist Dan Berry tells the harrowing yet uplifting story of the exploitation and abuse of a resilient group of men with intellectual disability, and the heroic efforts of those who helped them to find justice and reclaim their lives.
In the tiny Iowa farm of Atalissa, dozens of men, all with intellectual disability and all from Texas, lived in an old schoolhouse. Before dawn each morning, they were bussed to a nearby processing plant, where they eviscerated turkeys in return for food, lodging, and $65 a month. They lived in near servitude for more than thirty years, enduring increasing neglect, exploitation, and physical and emotional abuse -- until state social workers, local journalists, and one tenacious labor lawyer helped these men achieve freedom.
Barry, Dan and Johnston, Louis D., "Dan Barry: The Boys in the Bunkhouse" (2016). University Chair in Critical Thinking Lectures. 2.