Camp Logan marker vandalism opens old wounds

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The stroke of red paint is more than just vandalism. It's the reopening of wounds.

On Wednesday, a marker was rededicated at the Camp Logan site at Memorial Park after it had been previously defaced.

Less than 24 hours later, an unknown vandal or vandals marred the new marker.

"I was totally shocked, disappointed, saddened," historian Debra Blacklock-Sloan said. "There's no need for it."

Camp Logan carries significant history for black Houstonians, but also the stigma of one of Houston's darkest days.

Opening in 1915, Camp Logan served as a World War I training camp for black troops. But in 1917, people witnessed a violent racial riot at the site, a shameful episode that still haunts people in Houston.

Blacklock-Sloan, a member of the Harris County Historical Commission, said she grew up in Houston but didn't learn about the riot until she was an adult.

The rededication ceremony at Memorial Park earlier this week was nice, she said, with dignitaries speaking about the need for tolerance.

"I considered it a healing of sorts," Blacklock-Sloan said. "Those soldiers were doing what they thought was right, but they were treated unfairly. Just to be able to rededicate it was something special to me."

All those feelings are now gone.

Blacklock-Sloan said while the park is patrolled around the clock, the marker itself is not in a prominent area. Under these conditions, anyone could have vandalized the landmark.

With no known leads on suspects, she only has one question for the person or persons who did this.

"Why? What's the point? We were trying, it's a healing process, and then they go and do this?" she said. "It's like it's starting all over again."

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