The Generation, Yeat 01, Issue 11
The U.S. Army has set aside the convictions of 110 Black soldiers who were arrested following the 1917 Houston Riots.
The armed forces branch approved a recommendation, made by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records, that the soldiers’ courts-martial convictions be set aside, the Army’s Public Affairs office announced in a news release Monday. The soldiers were part of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment. The military service records of the soldiers, also known as “Buffalo Soldiers,” will be corrected and characterized as honorable, the Army said.
“After a thorough review, the Board has found that these Soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials,” Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said in a statement. “By setting aside their convictions and granting honorable discharges, the Army is acknowledging past mistakes and setting the record straight.”
Following months of racially motivated violence against members of the 24th regiment, including the assault and arrest of two Black soldiers, more than 100 Black soldiers seized weapons and marched into Houston on Aug. 23, 1917, after rumors spread that a white mob was descending upon Camp Logan to attack Black troops, according to the National Cemetery Administration.
The ensuing violent clashes left 19 people dead — 15 of them were white and four were Black, according to the administration. In the months that followed, the Army convicted 110 Soldiers in a process that was, according to historians, characterized by numerous irregularities,” the Army said. Following the trial, 19 soldiers were executed in what the Army said remains the largest mass execution of American soldiers by the U.S. Army.
The road to redemption for the Buffalo Soldiers began with the Secretary of the Army asking that the military records board review the soldiers’ cases. After the board members reviewed each case, they found that the proceedings were “fundamentally unfair,” leading them to unanimously recommend all convictions be set aside and that the soldiers’ military service be characterized as “honorable,” the Army said.
“We’re proud of the hard work we did to make things right in this case,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Review Boards Michael Mahoney, who oversaw the review, said in a statement.
Source: CBS News