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83 Years After His Killing, a Black Soldier Gets an Army Funeral

U.S.83 Years After His Killing, a Black Soldier Gets an Army Funeral

In a Georgia cemetery, surrounded by tombstones cracked and worn by decades of rain and sun, Pvt. Albert King’s gleams new and bright. The Army unveiled it Sunday in a full military funeral, 83 years late.

Since 1941 his body has rested in an unmarked grave near the military base where a white military police officer shot and killed him.

Though Private King enlisted to fight in World War II, it was a fight with white bus drivers and soldiers on a segregated bus that cost him his life. After he escaped the bus and ran, the police officer found him, killed him and was exonerated in a sham military trial the same day.

An Army investigation initially found that Private King had died in the line of duty. But, under pressure from the commanding general at the base, Fort Benning, the investigators reversed their decision and determined that his death was a result of his own misconduct — making him ineligible for a military funeral. That was the official story, until three years ago.

In 2021, the facts of the case came to light in a legal brief and investigative reporting. Three lawyers from the firm Morgan Lewis, all veterans and working pro bono, argued that the Army Board for Correction of Military Records should reinstate the original decision that King died in the line of duty. In 2022, they won.

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