Army overturns 110 Black soldiers' convictions of Camp Logan riot more than a century later

Melanie Lawson Image
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Army clears 110 Black soldiers convicted of Camp Logan 1917 riot
Army clears 110 Black soldiers convicted from Camp Logan 1917 riot

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Soldiers from the all-Black 3rd Battalion 24th Infantry regiment were found guilty of causing a riot in Houston in 1917, and many were executed.

Black soldiers were stationed at Camp Logan, an area now known as Memorial Park.

In 1917, an altercation broke out between many of the northern soldiers who had never faced the crippling racism found here in this southern city and the Houston police force.

When it was over, 110 Black soldiers were court-martialed and convicted in the so-called "Houston Riots." Thirteen of the men were executed by hanging.

Since then, many of the families have been petitioning the Army for clemency for their relatives.

On Monday, it finally happened. The Undersecretary of the Army came into town to recognize their legacy.

Attorney Jason Holt came to Houston from New Jersey for the ceremony. He has spent more than 20 years, trying to clear his great-uncle's name, Private Thomas Coleman Hawkins.

He even found letters from Hawkins, which are more than 100 years old.

"It's a day I thought would happen, but not in my lifetime," Jason Holt said. "For us, it's more important for his legacy than this."

Holt's great-uncle and the other soldiers now have honorable discharges from the Army, as the military rights a major wrong. The families of those soldiers now have official recognition that their relatives did not die in vain while serving their country.

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