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AfriGeneas Western Frontier Forum

"One Dark Night"

One dark night

Ten minutes of gunfire shaped 100-year legacy, legend

The Brownsville Herald

On a night as dark as any could remember, this city lived its darkest moments.

The facts are well known though a century has passed since they were first recorded: On or about midnight on Aug. 13, 1906, a 10-minute barrage of bullets killed a young bartender and wounded a police lieutenant.

Townspeople and the local paper quickly placed blame on the 25th Infantry Regiment, a unit of black soldiers which weeks before had arrived at Fort Brown from Nebraska.

“DASTARDLY OUTRAGE BY NEGRO SOLDIERS,” the Aug. 14 edition of the Brownsville Daily Herald proclaimed, setting the tone for subsequent coverage.

“Our homes have been outraged, one citizen murdered and another maimed for life by weapons in the hands of the soldiers who are supposed to be protectors of the American people. ...

“This is what our government sends us: Krag-Jorgensen bullets, instead of protection,” a Page 2 editorial stated.

The legacy and legend of those 10 minutes has survived 100 years and hangs over the history of the city. Though its shadow is faint, it

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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