The Houston Riot of 1917, also known as the Camp Logan Mutiny, involved 156 soldiers of the all-#black 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry – a unit of the famed Buffalo Soldiers. The incident occurred on August 23, 1917, lasting roughly two hours on a hot, rainy night, and resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and 15 white civilians. The episode has the ignominious distinction of being the only race riot in U.S. history where more whites than blacks were killed, and it also resulted in both the largest murder trial and the largest court martial in U.S. history.
Almost four months later, on December 11, 13 black soldiers were summarily hung at a hastily constructed gallows near a shallow creek on Camp Travis, a National Guard training facility next to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. The men were unceremoniously buried nearby in graves whose only identification was a number, 1 through 13. Sixty-three other soldiers were given life sentences, and in September 1918 six more soldiers were hung at the same Camp Travis site.
There was no conclusive evidence or reliable witness testimony that any of the first group of executed men had participated in the riots. However, the final six men were identified as having fired shots at civilians.Historians aside, the stories of this bloody and probably avoidable event in Texas history is not well-known throughout the Lone Star State and curiously not among most Houstonians.
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