Friday, June 4, 2021

The WWII era killing of a black soldier by military police

Last week, the Washington Post chronicled the killing of Private Albert King. King was killed by Sergeant Robert Lummus, a military policeman, outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, in March 1941. Lummus was tried by general court-martial the following day, where he was acquitted in a case where the prosecution wasn't trying. A later inquiry found King's killing unjustified and that he was in the line-of-duty, findings that would have entitled his family to death benefits. But that inquiry then changed its conclusions after intervention by higher authorities.

The writer discusses other examples of the unjustified killings of black Soldiers on and around Fort Benning in that era, as well as efforts by those trying to uncover these injustices and, to the limited extent possible, to rectify them with efforts to correct King's military records. One interesting aspect to the article is seeing some historical figures fighting for justice, or others, like a former judge advocate general, choosing to look the other way. The article's choice to focus on the injustice of a singular episode, while putting the incident into it broader historical milieu, reminds one of the struggle for equal rights that continues to the present day.

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