Showing posts with label Teddy Roosevelt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Teddy Roosevelt. Show all posts

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The "mistake" that delayed justice for Dorsie and company.

*I know that Americans consider him one of their greater presidents, and that his image is carved out on Mount Rushmore, but I am not feeling any Teddy Roosevelt love right about now.

It's still "Black History Month" so I feel a need to share an article I read in my hometown paper about the aforementioned Teddy Roosevelt today.

"President Obama recently told an interviewer, "I make a mistake every hour, every day." This is a good sign.

We all make mistakes, but we won't all admit it. When that happens at the presidential level, there can be far-reaching harm. One spectacular, yet little known, example occurred during the administration of Theodore Roosevelt. On Nov. 5, 1906, Roosevelt dishonorably discharged 167 members of the all-black 25th Infantry, who had been falsely accused in the shooting death of a white bartender in Brownsville, Texas, that summer. Historian Lewis L. Gould would later call Roosevelt's action "one of the most glaring miscarriages of justice in American history." Ohio Sen. Joe Foraker objected, and asked for a trial so the soldiers could speak in their own defense. "They ask for no favors because they are Negroes, but only for justice because they are men," he said. A New York Times editorial concluded that Roosevelt had done a great wrong. But the president refused to reverse his decision. The men were dismissed without honor or trial, denied pensions, and barred from civil service positions. Roosevelt would never admit having made a mistake in the case and there is no mention of it in his autobiography. Sixty years later, a writer named John D. Weaver embarked on a campaign to exonerate the soldiers. He dug up the documents of the original trials and Senate hearings on the episode, and visited the small Texas town where the soldiers had been stationed. Weaver published The Brownsville Raid in 1970, setting forth the true story of the events that led to Roosevelt's order. The book prompted immediate calls for a reinvestigation. In 1972, the Army found the men of the 25th Infantry innocent, and they were subsequently pardoned and awarded honorable discharges by President Richard M. Nixon. The last survivor among the accused,* Dorsie Willis, was awarded a pension. In a 2006 ceremony marking the centennial of the Brownsville case, U.S. Rep. Solomon Ortiz, an Army veteran from Texas, said, "Today, we take a hard look at our past. When we acknowledge our mistakes, we become better citizens." [More]

Thank goodness for people like John D. Weaver. President Roosevelt did make a mistake, but not in his mind, which is why he never "reversed his decision". I am just glad that we have history. History never changes, and fortunately you can't spin it. It's always there for us to learn about.

Finally, why is the po po in NoCal messing with MC Hammer? That's Hammer for crying out loud! Leave the man alone!

Stay "legit" hammer, just please don't bring back those parachute pants.