Charles Lewis was glad to be home.
One hundred years ago on Nov. 11, a date now commemorated as Veteran’s Day — which will be observed on Monday, Nov. 12, in 2018 — the Great War came to an end. Lewis was one of 380,000 black soldiers who had served in the United States army during the World War. A little over a month later, Lewis, after being discharged from Camp Sherman in Ohio, was back in his small town of Tyler Station, Ky.
On the night of Dec. 15, a police officer stormed into Lewis’ shack, accusing him of robbery. Lewis, wearing his uniform and claiming the rights of a soldier, resisted arrest and fled. He was soon captured and jailed in nearby Hickman, but by challenging white authority a line had been crossed. Local whites were determined to teach Lewis and other black people a lesson.