US Army Lifts Convictions Of WW1 Black Regiment

110 Black troops had their sentences, imposed in 1917, reversed by the United States Army.

According to a press release from the Army’s Public Affairs office on Monday, the military branch authorized a proposal from the Army Board for Correction of Military Records to vacate the soldiers’ courts-martial convictions. The soldiers belonged to the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment.

The Army has promised to rectify and honorably describe the service records of the men, often known as Buffalo men.

Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth said the Board’s findings confirmed that the soldiers had been mistreated because of their race and had not been given a fair trial. The Army is admitting fault and correcting the record by dismissing the charges against these soldiers and giving them honorable discharges.

Months of racial violence, including the attack and detention of two Black troops from the 24th regiment, culminated in over a hundred Black soldiers taking guns and marching into Houston on August 23, 1917. The National Cemetery Administration said that this was done in reaction to concerns of a white mob threatening to assault Black troops at Camp Logan.

The administration claims that 19 people were killed in the violent battles; 15 were white, and 4 were Black. In the months that followed, the Army claimed to have convicted 110 soldiers despite the numerous flaws that historians found in the process.

Following their trial, the Army put 19 service members to death, which it claims to be the largest mass execution of American service members in U.S. Army history.

The Army’s Secretary initiated the Buffalo Soldiers’ path to forgiveness by requesting a records review of their cases.

According to the Army, after reviewing each case, the board members unanimously recommended that all convictions be thrown aside and that the soldiers’ military service be regarded as honorable.

The Pentagon, Congress, and prestigious colleges have all recently acknowledged the scourge of slavery and Jim Crow racism in the United States, and many have attempted to revisit incidents of injustice that persist, marking a turning point in history for the 110 guilty troops.

Family members of these service veterans will now get the survivor benefits that had been denied.