Published on: Wednesday, November 15, 2023

The U.S. Army is overturning the convictions of 110 Black soldiers — 19 of whom were executed — for a mutiny at a Houston military camp a century ago, an effort to atone for imposing harsh punishments linked to Jim Crow-era racism (article available here).

U.S. Army officials announced the historic reversal Monday during a ceremony posthumously honoring the regiment known as the Buffalo Soldiers, who had been sent to Houston in 1917, during World War I, to guard a military training facility. Clashes arose between the regiment and white police officers and civilians, and 19 people were killed.

Out of 118 soldiers, 110 were found guilty in the largest murder trial in U.S. history. Nineteen of them were hanged. The first executions happened secretly a day after sentencing.

The Army Board for Correction of Military Records reviewed records of the cases and found that “significant deficiencies permeated the cases.” The proceedings were found to be “fundamentally unfair,” according to the Army’s statement. The board members unanimously recommended all convictions be set aside and the military service of the soldiers’ to be characterized as “honorable.”

“After a thorough review, the Board has found that these Soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials.”