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There have been several mutinies by African-Americans in the United States Armed Forces, often owing to racial tension.

Houston Riot

The Houston Riot occurred in 1917 when a mob of 156 African-American soldiers disobeyed orders from their superiors, seized weapons and attempted to march on the City of Houston. At courts-martial, nineteen soldiers were executed, and forty-one were given life sentences. The riot created a deep concern for black leaders who were not sure whether it was appropriate to praise an act of mutiny.[1]

World War II

An Australian historian claims to have uncovered information that in 1942 96th Engineer Battalion, an African-American battalion stationed in Townsville, Australia, mutinied in response to racial discrimination, firing 700 machine-gun rounds into occupied tents of white officers.[2] In 1944, a large number of African-Americans refused to load munitions after hundreds of their fellow African-American soldiers were killed in the Port Chicago disaster. The soldiers were charged with mutiny and given jail sentences that were later reduced.

The Fort Lawton Riot refers to a series of events starting with a violent conflict between U.S. soldiers and Italian prisoners of war at Fort Lawton in Seattle during World War II. After the riot, prisoner Guglielmo Olivotto was found dead. This led to the court-martial of 43 soldiers, all of them African-American. In 2005, the book On American Soil helped to convince the U.S. Army Board for Correction of Military Records that prosecutor Leon Jaworski had committed "egregious error," and that all convictions should be reversed. President George W. Bush signed legislation allowing the Army to disburse back pay to the defendants or their survivors.[3] In 1945, the Freeman Field Mutiny, was a series of incidents at Freeman Army Airfield, a United States Army Air Forces base near Seymour, Indiana, in 1945 in which African American members of the 477th Bombardment Group attempted to integrate an all-white officers' club. The mutiny resulted in 162 separate arrests of black officers, some of them twice. Other notable African-American mutinies of World War II include those at Dale Mabry Field,[4] Fort Bragg, Camp Robinson, Camp Davis, Camp Lee, and Fort Dix, among others.[5] Black soldiers fired on white soldiers in mutinies at Camp Claiborne and Brookley Air Force Base.[6]

USS Kitty Hawk riot

The USS Kitty Hawk riot has also been described as a mutiny.[7][page needed]

See also


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