Between August 13th and 14th 1906, in the city of Brownsville, Texas a shooting took place which left one white man dead and another white man injured. The shooting happened around midnight. The blame for the shooting was laid at the doorstep of black soldiers who were based at Fort Brown. The commanders that were over the soldiers insisted that all were in their barracks at the time of the incident. However, the white city mayor and other white witnesses stated otherwise. They stated that indeed they saw some of the black soldiers recklessly shooting on that fateful night. The witnesses provided shell casings as evidence, even though the soldiers maintained their incidence in the ordeal.
Due to the soldiers maintaining their innocence by stating they had no knowledge of the shooting, their word was still not taken for truth. Then President Theodore Roosevelt, as a result dishonorably discharged the 167 black infantrymen from the U.S. Army. President Roosevelt believed the infantrymen were upholding a silent conspiracy, and were thus guilty of the crime.. This decision caused tension to grow between blacks and whites. However, there was a slight outcry of injustice from whites in the area. The case was reinvestigated by the U.S. Senate from 1908-1909 however they upheld the president’s decision in the matter.
This incident was felt as a disgrace for blacks that were in the U.S. Army. It also served as a source of embarrassment. Racial tensions in the Texas area remained longstanding as a result. Despite the embarrassment and disgrace, a new investigation took place. It happened in the year 1972. This new investigated overturned the decision made by the president in 1906. It in turn found the black soldiers who were unjustly deemed guilty in the eyes of the government and the public as innocent.