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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive


Tony and Bennie,

There is no doubt of the treatment of black troops in Texas, which was, and for all intents and purposes, remains a Confederate state. There is plentiful documentation that black soldiers were assumed guilty of accusations presented against them. It was not unique to Texas, but the hatred in Texas assumed a virulence hard to match even in the deep South. Brownsville was far from an isolated incident. Look at the "riots" in Houston, Memphis, Columbus, NM-at the execution of Sgt. William Walker-at the HUNDREDS of soldiers imprisoned, courtmartialed or executed based on little more than unsubstantiated accusations. Alleged theft of a watch earned three black infantrymen ten years at hard labor in the Dry Tortugas, a black sergeant was courtmartialed for answering a note written by a white laundress (of rather infamous reputation)- If the black troopers finally became angry and frustrated enough to defend themselves or heaven forbid-retaliate, then the outcome was certain. Look at even the "simple" things that must have been demeaning even if they were accepted on the surface. Segregation into separate units, so complete that even burials were separate from the "white" soldiers. Their isolation was almost complete-white troopers had much more freedom when outside the post. Black troopers had more to fear from the communities outside the limits of their posting than from perils of the wilderness or battle. Black soldiers were shot while walking down the street, were attacked, robbed and beaten.

And Texas, oh yes-just read the reports of the Freedmen's Bureau if you ever get complacent about the equality of the military life for blacks in the West. Remember that Texas was to be the gem of the "New South"-and for years money, property (including thousands of slaves to work the new plantations and ranches)and mindset had been poured into a vast area with almost non-existent law. Remember the thousands of Texas militia who returned from the war with the clear attitude that while the South may have lost the war-it certainly didn't have much to do with the Confederacy that was Texas. They were TEXANS. Nuff said.

Lest you think these are "ancient history", look around you.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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