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"Convictions of 110 Black Soldiers Overturned" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian14 Nov 2023 5:28 a.m. PST

The Army overturned the convictions of 110 Black soldiers charged with mutiny, assault and murder after the 1917 "Houston Riot" -- a deadly fray spurred by racial tension in Jim Crow Texas that saw more than 100 troops march from their camp into the city after police pistol-whipped and shot at a Black corporal…

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79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 9:57 a.m. PST

Better late than never.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 10:09 a.m. PST



Personal logo The Virtual Armchair General Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 10:31 a.m. PST

Yes, better late… but--Damn--this one REALLY is late!


3ADFAVet14 Nov 2023 11:02 a.m. PST

The story in is incomplete, in that it says "Nineteen people, including four Black soldiers, were killed", which means that the soldiers killed 15 innocent people, including a National Guard officer. And this was based upon a rumor that white Houston Police had shot and killed a black soldier, and that a White Mob was heading toward their camp, both of which turned out to be false.

pzivh43 Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 1:22 p.m. PST

Always more to the story, isn't there?

79thPA Supporting Member of TMP14 Nov 2023 1:54 p.m. PST

This decision is not one of guilt or innocence. The verdict was overturned because the trials themselves were fundamentally unfair and were themselves a civil rights violation.

bjporter14 Nov 2023 5:23 p.m. PST

They weren't innocent, but they didn't get the best trial either.

It was wartime, in the deep South. Soldiers killed civilians. The government couldn't let public sentiment get out of hand.

Nine pound round16 Nov 2023 7:17 p.m. PST

By modern standards, a great many things were permitted in America in WWI that would today be considered civil rights violations. Read a bit about the treatment meted out to the Mennonites who were drafted, many of whom wound up in Leavenworth, in part because the 1917 draft law was written in haste for Congress by the Judge-Advocate General of the Army, and made no provision for conscientious objection.

I have a copy of the 1926 "Manual for Courts-Martial." It makes interesting reading, and among other things, taught me why that crazy rule for "Abusing a Public Animal" was still in the UCMJ in the 1990s. Was reading the section with the sample charge sheet, and the charge for "Abusing a Public Animal" was absurdly simple, and completely anachronistic: "In that he did, at Ft_______ on or about the __th day of ________, 192_, have intercourse with _________, a cavalry mount."

The past is a different place, they do things differently there. But I have to say, including the name of the horse in the charge sheet is a nice touch.

Nine pound round16 Nov 2023 7:23 p.m. PST

Another crazy thing: until the early 1950s, when the Warren Court decided "Kinsella v. Kruger," courts-martial had jurisdiction over civilians under certain circumstances- for instance, in occupied Japan. Dorothy Kruger, the daughter of Gen Walter Kruger, stabbed her husband to death while he was on occupation duty, and was tried and sentenced by a court-martial (in the days when a court could be presided over by a field grade officer, not necessarily an appointed judge, although in Kruger's case the president was a general officer).

arthur181517 Nov 2023 9:41 a.m. PST

IIRC, Frederick II of Prussia once intervened when a cavalry trooper was about to be punished for – in the words of the time – "committing an unnatural act with his horse".

The King ordered that the offender be transferred to the infantry and told him to say goodbye to his horse.

Nine pound round17 Nov 2023 3:39 p.m. PST

It wasn't that long ago- I can still remember the hilarity when a female JAG officer tried to explain Article 125 of the UCMJ to my Military Law class: "ma'am, what is ‘unnatural?' Would it be unnatural to, say-"

Needless to say, even for pre-Starr Report America, they had a pretty lengthy list of hypothetical offenses.

BetsyBrock30 Nov 2023 6:47 p.m. PST

Thanks for sharing. I"m glad to read this article here you have added so far.

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