Thursday, May 2, 2013

Day 96, May 2

Shortly after his death, Stowers was recommended for the Medal of Honor; however, this recommendation was never processed. Three other black soldiers were recommended for Medals of Honor, but were instead awarded the next highest award, the Distinguished Service Cross. T

This decision may have partly been motivated by racism; however, the criteria for the Medal of Honor were becoming stricter during this time period, partly due to a perception that it was being awarded too frequently.   Many possibly deserving whites and persons of color were denied medals, while some possibly less deserving people received them.

 In Stowers' case, the official position is that his recommendation was "misplaced," which is plausible given that the other three MOH recommendations for black soldiers were at least processed.

In 1990, at the instigation of Congress, the Department of the Army conducted a review and the Stowers recommendation was uncovered. Subsequently, a team was dispatched to France to investigate the circumstances of Stowers' death. Based on information collected by this team, the Army Decorations Board approved the award of the Medal of Honor. On April 24, 1991 — seventy-three years after he was killed-in-action, Stowers' surviving sisters, Georgina and Mary, received the medal from President George H.W. Bush at the White House.

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