Panel explores race, justice and the military as part of Fort Lawton veterans tribute

Seattle University School of Law will host a panel discussion on Race, Justice and the Military as part of a tribute to the veterans of the 1944 Fort Lawton Court Martial at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 24, at Pigott Auditorium on the Seattle University campus.

The panel is part of tribute to 28 members of an all-black Army unit stationed at Fort Lawton were convicted in 1944 and sentenced to a combined 200 years in prison in connection with a riot that followed the mysterious lynching of an Italian POW also held at the base. The convictions stood until an Army review of the case last year.

The Army will give them long-overdue honorable discharges and a five-day series of events is scheduled, including recognition at the Seafair and a public tribute at Discovery Park July 24-26.

The event will start with a video about the Fort Lawton case, followed by a distinguished panel, which will be moderated by Margaret Chon, the Donald and Lynda Horowitz Professor for the Pursuit of Justice at Seattle University School of Law.

A reception and book signing will follow.

A Mass in memory of Pvt. Guglielmo Olivotto, the POW who was lynched, will be presided by Fr. Stephen Sundborg, S.J., president of Seattle University, at 7:30 at the Chapel of St. Ignatius.

The panelists are:

Jack Hamann

An author and journalist, Jack Hamann is the author of "On American Soil: How Justice Became a Casualty of WWII," a nonfiction investigative of the Fort Lawton court-martial that sparked review of the case more than 60 years later. The book was directly responsible for an October 26, 2007 decision by the US Army Board for Correction of Military Records to overturn the verdicts in the infamous1944 Fort Lawton court-martial. Jack is the winner of the 2007 Horace Mann award, an honor bestowed on those who have achieved "victories for humanity." His career spans 28 years, including a decade as a network correspondent and documentary producer for CNN and PBS. His work has earned dozens of journalism honors, including ten regional Emmy awards.

General Timothy Lowenberg

Major General Timothy Lowenberg is the Adjutant General for the State of Washington and heads the Washington National Guard, commanding the Army and Air National Guards and the Emergency Management Division. He received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Iowa, and is the longest serving member of the Seattle University School of Law adjunct faculty, teaching in the areas of labor law and trial advocacy.

Robert Chang

A professor at Seattle University School of Law, Robert Chang writes primarily in the area of race and interethnic relations. He is the author of "Disoriented: Asian Americans, Law and the Nation-State" and numerous articles, essays and chapters.

James Bible

James Bible is president of the Seattle/King County NAACP.  He graduated with honors from Seattle University School of Law in 2003. He worked for The Defender's Association in Seattle serving the needs of indigent populations before going into private practice.