AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Re: DISCHARGED WITHOUT HONOR
In Response To: DISCHARGED WITHOUT HONOR ()
Duty in the post Civil War era for Black Regulars was brutal. The level of discrimination, prejudice and racism in Texas was elevated above and beyond what these soldiers would have experienced had they been stationed in some areas of the deep south. The activity of Native Americans in this area beginning with the departure of vast elements of the US Army to the east to fight confederate forces in 1861 and the culmination of this activity durng the post Civil War, reguired Black Regulars to be stationed in areas like Texas. For example, the Apache were the last major hold outs in this area. They did surrender in 1886,(I use the word surrender with care, Geronimo never actually surrendered, he was tired of fighting, he came in as he had left the reservation, of his own free will. The "Native American Problem" was not the only reason for the presence of Federal troops in this region. Regardless the reasons Black troops in Texas were placed between "Rocks and Hard Places".
One need not give a history of the Experience of Black Troops in the West here. What is important is how the Federal Government viewed conflict between Black Soldiers and white civilians and the actions the government took. In incidents with White civilians in Jim Crow Texas, Blacks were always found liable, guilty and punnished severly, even when the facts showed that Black troops were provoked beyond extremes. What is also important here is that upon hearing of the bad treatment of Black soldiers by white civilians, (hispanics too), the authorities took no action to protect the troops and prevent incidents like the Brownsville affair. In most court martials the term "conduct unbecoming was used to discribe charges being brought against the individual. In other words the individual did not represent himself as a soldier in the US army would have as it concerned the circumstances that brought him to the court martial. Black troops were reduced, discharged without honor and even executed for finally responding to the extreme conditions placed upon them by the white populace. Humiliating situations, beatings,and finally flat out killings of black soldiers for any offense or any reason anyone might think of, this for any soldier is to much to bear. Forced to the extreme limits of what normal men might have endured, these men responded. Black soldiers were forced to endure situations that no other soldiers in the US Army would have to experience.
The very same government that did not want to send Black troops into the south shortly after the Civil War, failed to consider that some of the very reasons it declined to send these troops into the south were now being dismissed as the cause of the friction between Black Troops and white civilians in Texas and other places west of the Mississippi.