President Roosevelt and the Brownsville Message

December 26, 1908


Boyd Conyers of Monroe, Georgia, a black soldier involved in Brownsville, speaks up about new evidence in the Brownsville affair and President Roosevelt’s lies, told to prove them guilty.


In order that our readers may fully understand and appreciate the points at issue in the now justly celebrated Brownsville case and the evident intention of President Theodore Roosevelt to prove them guilty, regardless of the facts in the case, we herewith reproduce the articles from the Atlanta, Georgia Constitution, as the men who are alleged to have been guilty and who it is alleged cofessed resided in the state of Georgia. When the communications are read however, it will be seen that even Democrats discredit the testimony submitted by President Roosevelt to the United States Senate. It seems too that President Roosevelt made no effort to ascertain whether the statements of his paid detectives were true, but accepted all that they said at face value much to his own discomfiture in the premises. Washington, D.C., December 14. - The part played by Boyd Conyers of Monroe, Ga., formerly a private in Company B, Twenty-fifth Infantry, in the shooting up of Brownsville, constitutes a large part of the evidence submitted by the special agents of the war department who have been investigating this case. After reciting the efforts made to secure a confession from Conyers, which information Mr. Brown states was corroborated in the presence of witnesses, the report proceeds. “Conyers tried to commit suicide after he found that he had made his statements to a detective, declaring that the other Negroes would kill him when it got out. He finally wrote Senator Foraker and received a reply, a copy of which is annexed. That reply he construed to mean that he should stick to this original story, told before the Senate Committee, at all hazards, and there he stands. I have every reason to believe that his confession is genuine and gives for the first time the true secret history of the Brownsville raid. “The list of participants given in this report Conyers furnished me personally. I believe it is substantially correct, but with the influence shown to be backing Conyers to adhere to his false testimony given before the senate committee still being exerted he cannot be relied on to support his own confession until it is thoroughly sustained from other sources. Evidence of similar encouragement to stick to the lies told at Brownsville and before the senate committee were found in many places and subsequent to the date of the Foraker letter they became stronger and more obstructive than ever. The investigation has been conducted with strict recognition of the advisability of preserving secrecy, and with discretion. No promises of immunity were made. The knowledge on the part of the ex-soldiers that the government could not punish them after their separation from the service, coupled with the belief that by preserving silence they would aid in the passage of the relief legislation now pending in Congress, has added to the difficulty of securing information. The issue has evidently become racial. The colored detectives would be confronted frequently in the smaller towns where these men are living with a demand from colored men for information as to their business...
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Emma Alvarez


“President Roosevelt and the Brownsville Message,” Black Virginia: The Richmond Planet, 1894-1909, accessed December 9, 2022,