The men were supposed to be getting paid between $500 and $600 a week, but often more than half of that was taken by Michael before he gave them any money. And sometimes, instead of giving them money, he gave them liquor or drugs. He told them that if they didn’t agree to take these things instead of money, they would get nothing.

Michael knew his slaves were very unhappy. He told them if they tried to run away, he’d find them. One of the men, George Williams, did run away. He went to work on another farm in Fort Pierce. When Michael found out, he went to get him. He pulled George into his truck and he took him to another one of his houses. There, Michael had another man hold George down while he hit him again and again. George was hurt badly. Afterward, Michael made him wipe his own blood off the walls. Then he locked George in the house.

Michael tried to keep George locked up but, in the end, George got through a window and ran away again. Then George went to the police and told them what had happened. That is how Michael ended up in jail.

- information from: St. Petersburg Times, 01.08.16, (Thomas C. Tobin); Palm Beach Post, 01.02.16 (Molly Hennessy-Fiske); The Miami Herald, 03.09.16 (Ronnie Green);

slave:
Slaves are people who belong to other people; these people are the owners of the slaves.

grapefruit:
a large, yellow fruit, similar to oranges and lemons but larger

paycheck:
a check (promise to pay) that is given to someone in payment for work

bug:
insect (an informal word)

bank account:
your ‘bank account’ contains the money you’ve put in the bank

end up:
when you ‘end up’ somewhere, that is the final point you reach after a series of experiences or events