August 23, 1917: Black Mutiny Leaves 16 Whites Dead
Report; Posted on: 2005-08-23 14:10:25

Forgotten rampage now called “race riot,” Whites blamed for own deaths

Soon after the United States entered the fratricidal hell of World War I, a mutiny exploded in Houston, Texas, with Black troops leaving their barracks and randomly shooting innocent Whites. PC history attempts to portray Blacks in uniform as noble “sable patriots” and “oppressed victims” of a racist system, even as deeply pathological incidents such as the Port Chicago Incident and the Houston Mutiny are spun into myths of supposed White injustice. While the Houston Mutiny is nearly forgotten today (along with the names of the White victims), when it is mentioned it is excused as some kind of inevitable – and therefore ultimately justified – Black response to Whites being mean. In fact, such incidents are the bitter fruit of mixed-race societies.

The Houston Mutiny was not the first incident of Black military violence against civilians in Texas; the 1906 Brownsville Raid was still fresh in Texan minds. In July 1917 the Third Battalion of the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, a Black regiment, was sent to Camp Logan outside Houston. The Blacks immediately attempted to assert the higher status they felt their federal uniforms conferred, and became resentful and restless. Wild drinking bouts were also commonplace amongst the men.

On the afternoon of August 23, one of the Blacks was arrested for interfering with a civilian police arrest of a Black female. A ringleader, Charles Baltimore, was also arrested and freed soon after in relation to the incident, and rumors soon spread that the police had killed him.

Warned about the increasing volatility of his men, the White commander ordered his NCOs to lock up all weapons and ammunition as night fell. Suddenly, one of the Blacks shrieked that a “White mob” was descending upon them, whereupon the hysterical Blacks grabbed rifles and began shooting randomly. A Sergeant Henry formed up a hundred fellow Blacks and began a two-hour march on downtown Houston. As they surged toward the city they picked off Whites at random, killing a total of 16, only four of whom were policemen. The New York Times later reported that White victims were also mutilated.

In the mayhem, two Blacks were accidentally shot dead by their fellow mutineers, two others dying presumably at the hands of White policemen, National Guardsmen or citizens. The march eventually ran out of steam, with the Blacks fighting amongst themselves. Sergeant Henry blew his own brains out and the mutiny was quelled by National Guardsmen and police.

Three courts-martial were held, lasting into 1918, finding 110 Blacks guilty. Mutiny in wartime is considered one of the worst crimes in military justice, and the Blacks were dealt with accordingly. Even so, only 19 were hanged and 63 were sentenced to life in prison. Part of the reason for the leniency may have been due to the lack of evidence of German involvement. US intelligence was concerned about such subversion, as the Kaiser had promised Texas and the rest of the Southwest to Mexico in the event of a German victory in the war.

In the aftermath, Texan legislators demanded the immediate withdrawal of all Black troops. Adjudging use of Blacks in war a serious blunder, Secretary of War Newton Baker ordered the end of Black recruitment into the Army.

Source: DK • Printed from National Vanguard
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