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Army Pardons 1917 Black Mutineers: ‘I will shoot up every white son-of-a-bitch on Washington Street’

Author Helen Andrews criticized the U.S. Army’s pardoning of 110 black soldiers who had been charged with “mutiny, murder and assault” in a 1917 Houston, Texas riot.

“The Army retroactively pardons the black Houston mutineers of 1917, who rampaged through the city shooting white civilians at random, including a teenager who was just sitting on his porch—what part of their actions are we rehabilitating exactly?” Andrews posted on X, formerly Twitter.

Andrews shared a link to the Wall Street Journal report on the pardons, which said, “Nineteen of the Black Army soldiers convicted were sentenced to death and executed following the riot in 1917, when members of the 24th Infantry Regiment clashed with police and white residents of heavily segregated Houston.”

The 1917 Houston Riot, also known as the Camp Logan Mutiny, was a violent confrontation involving members of the 3rd Battalion of the all-black 24th United States Infantry Regiment and the local white population in Houston. 

On August 23, 1917, the riot happened following reported racial abuse and treatment of Black Soldiers at Camp Logan by members of the Houston Police Department (HPD). Following the arrest of one of the soldiers, Corporate Charles Baltimore inquired with the HPD, only to be arrested himself. 

One hundred armed soldiers from Camp Logan, all black, then marched into Houston to confront the police and local citizens, leading to the riot. 

The riot resulted in the deaths of 15 white civilians and four policemen, with four soldiers also killed. In its aftermath, the largest murder trial in U.S. history at the time ensued, leading to the court-martial of 118 soldiers. Nineteen were executed, and 63 received life sentences in federal prison. 

Andrews, author of “Boomers: The Men and Women Who Promised Freedom and Delivered Disaster,” posted a thread on X detailing the riot and those killed:

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Photo: Scene during Court Martial of 64 members of the 24th Infantry United States of America on trial for mutiny and murder of 17 people at Houston, Texas August 23, 1917. Trial held in Gift Chapel Fort Sam Houston. Trial started November 1, 1917, Brigadier General George K. Hunter presiding. Colonel J.A. Hull, Judge Advocate, Council for Defense, Major Harvy S. Grier. Major D.V. Sutphin, Assistant Advocate. Prisoners guarded by 19th Infantry Company C, Captain Carl J. Adler. Credit: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration