WHEREAS, August 23, 2017, marked the 100th anniversary of the Camp Logan Mutiny, the NAACP Houston Branch request a pardon for 13 soldiers; and
WHEREAS, in the summer of 1917, shortly after the United States entered World War I, the United States Army sent a unit of the famed Buffalo Soldiers, the Third Battalion of the African American 24th Infantry Regiment, to guard construction of Camp Logan in Houston, Texas, where the soldiers regularly encountered cruel and inhumane treatment and police harassment in the segregated city; and
WHEREAS, tensions reached the boiling point on August 23,1917 when a military policeman from the 24th, Corporal Charles W. Baltimore, inquired about the pistol-whipping and arrest of an African-American soldier by a Houston police officer; the police officer beat Corporal Baltimore, fired shots at him as he tried to flee, then beat him again and hauled him to the police station; word of the assault spread throughout the camp, and more than 100 soldiers started to march to the jail; a violent confrontation ensued which ultimately claimed the lives of 4 black soldiers, 5 police officers and 11 white residents; and
WHEREAS, on November 1, 1917, the largest court-martial in United States military history convened for the trial of 63 African American soldiers from the Third Battalion 24th Infantry Regiment on charges of disobeying orders, mutiny, murder, and aggravated assault; a single military officer was appointed as attorney to represent all of the soldiers, with only two weeks to prepare for trial; and,
WHEREAS, the following 13 men (Sergeant William C. Nesbitt, Corporal Larsen J. Brown, Corporal James Wheatley, Corporal Jesse Moore, Corporal Charles W. Baltimore, Private William Brackenridge, Private Thomas C. Hawkins, Private Carlos Snodgrass, Private Ira B. Davis, Private James Divine, Private Frank Johnson, Private Rosley W. Young, and Private Pat MacWharter) were convicted on December 1, 1917, and hanged on December 11, 1917; The sentence was approved by the Commanding General and carried out without further review by Army Headquarters or appeal being given the 13 soldiers. Although 16 additional soldiers were condemned to hang in a subsequent court-martial, President Woodrow Wilson eventually commuted 10 of those death sentences and more than 60 soldiers received life imprisonment; and
WHEREAS, no white civilians or abusive police officers that were involved were brought to trial, and the two white Army officers who faced court-martial charges were simply released from active duty with honorable discharges; and
WHEREAS, the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates effective assistance of legal counsel in all criminal prosecutions and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mandates no person shall be deprived of life liberty, or property without due process of the law and equal protection of the law; and
WHEREAS, Sgt. Nesbitt, Cpl. Brown, Cpl. James Wheatley, Cpl. Moore, Cpl. Baltimore, Pvt. Hawkins, Pvt. Snodgrass, Pvt. Davis, Pvt. Divine, Pvt. Johnson, Pvt. Young, and Pvt. MacWharter were denied effective assistance of counsel, due process of law and equal protection of the law.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP seek a posthumous Presidential pardon to set aside the convictions of Sgt. Nesbitt, Cpl. Brown, Cpl. Wheatley, Cpl. Moore, Cpl. Baltimore, Pvt. Hawkins, Pvt. Snodgrass, Pvt. Davis, Pvt. Divine, Pvt. Johnson, Pvt. Young, and Pvt. MacWharter,13 Buffalo Soldiers of the all black Third Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, in the 1917 Camp Logan Mutiny, Houston, Texas.