Fort Benning Honored a Black Soldier Lynched 80 Years Ago

By: Maximillian Boudreaux

The U.S. Army held a memorial service on Fort Benning to honor the legacy of a Black soldier, Pvt. Felix Hall, who was lynched on the base.  

The event was held on Tuesday, August 3, 2021 more than 80 years after his murder. Pvt. Felix Hall left his hometown of Millbrook, Al at the tender age of 18 in preparation to fight in World War II. The young man was supposed to be a part of an all-Black regiment, but instead the young Army private was abducted, bound at the hands and ankles, and lynched in a wooded ravine. 

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The FBI conducted an investigation, but Pvt. Hall’s killers were never caught. His body was found six weeks after Hall went missing.  

“To be lynched as you’re in service to the United States Army not by an enemy abroad, but by hatred at home  goes right to the core of my being as so wrong,” retired Army officer Richard Liebert told The Washington Post. Liebert has been fighting for years to convince the Army to memorialize Hall. 

This memorial comes at a time when lawmakers are trying to get rid of Confederate figures names and likeness on military bases because of the connection to slavery and systemic racism. The Department of Defense has until 2024 to eliminate these figures from military installations. 

The memorial will remind those “of our duty to assure equality and justice for all those who follow in Private Hall’s footsteps in service to our nation,” said a statement from Georgia Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr., who represents the Columbus area that includes Fort Benning. 

The recognition of Hall and other minorities who have been adversely affected by racism have virtually gone unnoticed. The killing of George Floyd last summer and the global outrage that was ignited as a result of his death might have played a role in getting this monument completed.  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here 

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