The U.S. Army has cleared 110 African American soldiers of court-martial convictions from a century ago, saying they were denied fair trials, per NBC News.
The convictions stem from the Houston Riot, the 1917 outbreak of violence that followed months of racial harassment against Black soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, who were also known as Buffalo Soldiers.
On the day of the riots, Black soldiers were subjected to racial slurs and physical attacks while guarding a military property. Roughly 100 fellow Black soldiers came to their defense and marched into the city. 19 people were killed in the largest mass execution of American soldiers carried out by the Army in history.
110 Black soldiers, 19 of whom received the death penalty, were convicted in the riots.
On Monday (November 13), the Army overturned the convictions, effectively restoring the soldiers’ service records as having concluded honorably and making their descendants eligible for benefits.
“After a thorough review, the Board found that these soldiers were wrongly treated because of their race and were not given fair trials. By setting aside their convictions and granting honorable discharges, the Army is acknowledging past mistakes and setting the record straight,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said in a statement.