WWI vet, Elaine massacre victim to be awarded Purple Heart
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas at Little Rock says an African American veteran who was murdered during a massacre in Arkansas 99 years ago will receive a posthumous Purple Heart and other World War I honors after a researcher discovered his army medical records were altered.
History professor Brian Mitchell said Friday that while researching the 1919 Elaine massacre he investigated the case of Leroy Johnston, who was wounded in France. Mitchell says Johnston’s medical records were “intentionally” altered from “severely” to “slightly” wounded, denying him service awards.
Mitchell contacted Arkansas U.S. Rep. French Hill, whose office helped obtain the awards.
Johnston, his brothers and hundreds of other African Americans were killed by a posse after two white men were shot.
Johnston’s Purple Heart will be presented to his living relatives.