[tr-m] Brownsville, Texas 1906
- The Eastern National Bookstore at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
recently added two titles just last week dealing with Brownsville.
The Brownsville Raid by John D. Weaver. Texas A&M Press, 1970. $16.95
From the dust jacket:
Around midnight on August 13, 1906, shots rang out on the road between
Brownsville, Texas, and Fort Brown, the old army garrison. Ten minutes
later a young civilian lay dead, and angry residents swarmed the
streets, convinced their homes had been terrorized by newly arrived
soldiers. Inside Fort Brown, the alarm was sounded. Soldiers leaped
from their bunks and grabbed their rifles, thinking they were under
attack by hostile townspeople.
The soldiers were black; the civilians were white. _
Still proclaiming their innocence, 167 black infantrymen of the
segre-gated Twenty-fifth Infantry Regiment were summarily dismissed
without honor (or a trial) by President Theodore Roosevelt.
The Brownsville Raid, first published in 197O, is John D. Weaver's
searching study of the flimsy evidence presented in a 1909-1910 court
of inquiry. That court had upheld the president's action and closed
the case against the soldiers, not one of whom had ever been found
guilty of wrongdoing. The case remained closed until 1971 when, after
reading The Brownsville Raid, Congressman Augustus F. Hawkins of Los
Angeles introduced a bill to have the Defense Department rectify the
Amid a flurry of national publicity, honorable discharges were finally
granted in 1972. All were posthumous except for that of Private Dorsie
Willis, who received his in a moving ceremony on his eighty-seventh
JOHN D. WEAVER'S ten books include a novel based on the 1932 Bonus
March, the seminal biography of Chief Justice Earl Warren, Glad
Tidings, his thirty-seven year correspondence with John Cheever, and
The Senator and the Sharecropper's Son, the sequel to The Brownsville
Weaver wrote a 1997 sequel entitled: The Senator and the
Sharecropper's Son: Exoneration of the Brownsville Soldiers, also by
Texas A&M Press. $29.95 hardcover.
From the dust jacket:
In The Senator and the Sharecropper's Son, John D. Weaver completes
the task he began with his I970 book The Brownsville Raid.
Weaver now traces the intertwined lives of Ohio's Senator Joseph B.
Foraker, who risked his political career in an eloquent defense of the
soldiers, who "asked no favors because they are Negroes but only for
justice because they are men"; of Dorsie Willis, the Mississippi
sharecropper's son who emerged from obscurity as the black battalion's
last survivor; and of the New York aristocrat who linked the fates of
those two men - the flamboyant and popular Theodore Roosevelt.
Weaver's narrative explores these tangled lives against the background
of "the color line," which W. E. B. Du Bois defined in I903 as "the
problem of the twentieth century."
The Senator and the Sharecropper's Son gives a powerful human
dimension to the facts of history. The senator committed political
suicide by championing the men caught "Black Dreyfus Affair" and
Dorsie Willis, who spent 59 years shining shoes in a downtown
Minneapolis barbershop, told a reporter "That dishonorable discharge
kept me from improving my station. Only God knows what it done to the
For ordering information, see www.nps.gov/sahi/enp/enporder.htm or
call 516-922-4788 ext 33