Leadership: January 4, 2000


: The NAACP has asked the Justice Department to carry out an investigation of reports contained in the book THE SLAUGHTER: AN AMERICAN ATROCITY by Carroll Case. The book alleges that 1,200 black soldiers were massacred by white soldiers after a riot at Camp Van Dorn (Mississippi) in 1943. The Pentagon investigated the charges when the book appeared in 1998 and declared it "a work of fiction and a marketing grab", reporting that there had been no such incident and nothing that could even remotely be exaggerated into such a claim. The Army noted that there was a street fight in 1944 during which two men were killed, and that rumors of a massacre had been rampant in Mississippi since the war. The Army noted that Mr Case had been unable to name a single individual who had been killed, or who had taken part in the incident. The inch-thick Army report listed every member of the 364th Infantry Regiment, and noted that all of them had been accounted for. The Army disparaged the book as one that was self-published and had never been subjected to the historical scrutiny that a publishing house would have exercised. The NAACP said that it could not confirm the Pentagon findings as it did not have the investigative resources or access to historical files, but said it would be satisfied if the Justice Department investigated the episode. Critics charged that the NAACP was simply trying to get more mileage out of the story. --Stephen V Cole


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