Occasionally you see something that causes you to sit up and take notice.
Today (August 3, 2021) the Army’s Fort Benning, GA is dedicating a memorial to the memory of Felix Hall.
A war hero? Sort of. Felix Hall was a 19-year-old soldier who was lynched on the fort’s grounds. He was an African-American who had joined the Army to serve in an all-Black unit being trained at Fort Benning. He was last seen on February 12, 1941, in one of the fort’s white neighborhoods. His body was found on March 28, hanging in a tree in a ravine near the Chattahoochee River.
Suspects were identified, but no one was ever charged. In fact, his death was originally listed a suicide, even though his hands and feet were bound.
It gets worse. Northeastern University Law School’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice project has identified 28 active-duty African-American soldiers killed in the United States during the World War II era. Their archive, listing more than 1,100 racially motivated homicides during the Jim Crow era, was the first to uncover the FBI file on Hall.
This is another example of meaningful history that never seems to make it into mainstream history books. But now at least one soldier will be remembered.
By the way, Fort Benning is named after Henry L. Benning, a brigadier general in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.
“Army to Memorialize Black Soldier Lynched on Georgia Base 80 Years Ago” by Alexa Mills (https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/felix-hall-lynching-fort-benning/2021/08/01/df00eab6-e7ef-11eb-ba5d-55d3b5ffcaf1_story.html?)
“Felix Hall” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felix_Hall)
“Fort Benning” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Benning)