The digital archives of the, ?Library of the Congress, provide valuable and credible chronological documentation of the events which occurred in Brownsville. The following night after the case with Mrs Evans, ?a group of unidentified men rushed through Brownsville firing wildly In the course of the fracas one white person was killed and two other wounded. Wynne highlights the main fact the group of men responsible were ?unidentified, by the local investigation units as well as the police.
On the other hand, this was not the case with the Brownsville Daily Herald, as it states, ?the Negroes seemed to have divided into squads going on different streets it is estimated between 100 to 200 shots were fired by the negroes. The opinionated newspaper was very quick to address the ?suspects were the African-American soldiers stationed in Brownsville without any proper investigation. This enforces Wynnes notion of a stigma directed towards the African-Americans, that they were always the, ?problem, justified or unjustified. In addition, the local Brownsville police patrol, ?found only one of the soldiers on the streets and it seems that he had a pass and was unarmed.
The investigation following the Brownsville Incident
The Brownsville Incident had an enormous impact upon the African-American population as it posed as a grave turning point after the election in 1906. According to Wynne, ?the beginning of the twentieth century saw a rise in the hopes of Negroes the focal point of these hopes was Theodore Roosevelt. African-Americans believed they had the President on their side especially after the appointment of , ?black officeholders in the face of white opposition, dined with Booker T. Washington in the White House. At the time it was believed grave steps were being made in the right direction in order to improve the social justice and rights of African-Americans in the U.S. This all would change prior the incident at Brownsville where Roosevelt betrayed the same Black soldiers which marched with him through San Juan Hill.
The evidence used against the African-American soldiers was almost minimal, no soldiers were ever to be identified to have been at the scene of the incident. Yet, most of the ?eye-witnesses claimed that African-American soldiers were responsible. The most credible allegation made against the soldier was that, ?eight Brownsville townspeople that they recognized-either by sight or by voices to be Negro Soldiers. This evidence, however, is inconclusive and inaccurate. Most allegations put forward for investigation were racially instigated mainly because no civilians nor policemen were able to identify the perpetrators, yet the eye-witlessness were always certain they were African-American.
This notion is supported by James A. Tinsley, who regards the unfalsifiable allegations as, ?responsible for shaping decisions. Tinsley implies that the racist motives of the supposed ?eye-witness fuelled the efforts of Southern investigators to unlawfully punish the African-American soldiers without a valid means of investigation, hence, the false allegations against the soldiers which never proven. Another point to consider, is that the African-American soldiers were under curfew in camp whilst the incident took place. Evidently, ?Major Charles W. Penrose first thought the post had been attacked. For more than an hour after the shooting Penrose kept his troops deployed in a defensive position within the reservation. According to this the soldiers of the regiment could not have been at the incident since they were in ?defensive formation around Fort Brown. Evidently, it was when Penrose ordered a patrol into the main town to, ?investigate the shooting, was when Penrose and his were confronted, ?with the accusation that men of his command had caused the disturbance.
President Roosevelts inclusion with the Brownsville Incident began after his ?approval of the Major Blocksoms report. Major Blocksom issued an, ?ultimatum in his report and administered it to General Ernest Garlington. Garlingtons observations whilst questions the suspected soldiers was, ?they appear to stand together in a determination to resist the detection of the guilty; there- fore they should stand together when the penalty falls. A forceful lesson should be given to the Army at large, and especially to the non-commissioned officers.
The nature of the report African-American soldiers already had information regarding the incident because Blocksom believed it was prearranged. This is shocking because all of the soldiers pleaded that they had no knowledge of the shootings. Blocksoms statement demonstrates how racist motives against African-American Soldiers affect justice. Tinsley stated how earlier allegations would go on to ?shape later decisions because of their racist prejudices against Blacks. Roosevelt alongside Blocksom and Garlington gave no proper nor lawful investigation of the incident. There never enough evidence to charge the soldiers, however, the Federal investigator treated the soldiers as if they were already guilty. This can be supported by Weavers investigation in 1970 which describes Roosevelts impatient behaviour surrounding the incident, ?By George! The mens guilt is clear as day! Weaver also support the notion that, ?none of the soldiers was ever proved guilty of the crime for which all of them were punished. Furthermore, throughout the entire investigation the African-American soldiers were treated as if they all were involved, whilst the truth was they never knew what happened, yet 167 soldiers were still dishonorably discharged.