A Second Monroe Bryant Potentially Opens A Nasty Door

Second of three parts

When last we met we learned from Monroe Bryant how not to volunteer for military service. Around the same time that Monroe Bryant had stolen money from the Navy recruiting office in Corpus Christi, Texas, the FBI (then known as the Bureau of Investigation) conducted a sweep of so-called “draft delinquents” in San Antonio. Among the so-called draft delinquents was one Monroe Bryant, with the draft card number of A-2536.  the agents sought Monroe at 1909 Main St., San Antonio. They were told no one by that name lived at that residence.

In fact, the National Archives has a copy of a San Antonio issued draft card number A-2536, bearing the name and the actual signature of Monroe Bryant. We can be pretty confident that this is the draft card of our Monroe Bryant, because the basic vital statistics check out.

But the Bureau of investigation reports also show that a Monroe Bryant was taken into custody “during a round-up of slackers”  in New Orleans and about the same time that Monroe Bryant was being sought, and not found, in San Antonio. The Monroe Bryant arrested in New Orleans produced a draft card with the number 115 from St. Charles Parish, Louisiana. He told an unlikely story of having left Killona, Louisiana to work in Westwego, Louisiana, and not having his mail forwarded despite having arranged to do so. He was transferred back to Hahnville, St. Charles Parish, for further proceedings. The nature of these further proceedings I was unable to discover. Given our Monroe Bryant’s other shenanigans it is easy to believe that he had perhaps gone to Louisiana and gotten some troubles there and in the course of which or prior to which had acquired another man’s draft registration card.

But upon closer inspection the two draft cards look quite different. The Monroe Bryant arrested in New Orleans was born 1896 in Louisiana. He appears to have relatives in Louisiana. He was, or claim to be, unable to write his name and instead made an “X” for his signature. Our Monroe Bryant had signed his San Antonio draft registration card. None of this however is inconsistent with our Monroe Bryant having impersonated someone else.

To settle this matter I consulted a number of sources. Among these was the 1930 census which showed that the Monroe Bryant born in 1896 in Louisiana was then a patient at US Veterans Hospital Number 91 in Tuskegee, Alabama.

A chill went through my body.  On the census form, all of the patients at US Veterans Hospital Number 91 in Tuskegee were black men. I was now convinced that there were two Monroe Bryants; but I was fearful that I stumbled upon genealogical evidence of one of the most shameful episodes in American history.

Next: The Tuskegee Medical Experiment


July 2012
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