Thursday, December 18, 2008

Percy and Zimmie Foreman

You may think that I have run out of characters during my time in Texas but you would be sadly mistaken. The Foreman brothers of East Texas were among the most interesting. Zimmie was the older brother and he practiced law in Livingston for many years, seldom losing a case. Percy was more colorful but only because he practiced law in Houston which was much larger and which had three newspapers and three television stations which gave him maximum publicity. Zimmie had an artificial leg as the result of a riot in Houston during World War I when he was serving as a security soldier. This was known as the Camp Logan uprising. Briefly, the black soldiers had been transferred from many other places to Camp Logan on the edge of Houston. In downtown Houston there were hundreds of black women who wanted to meet them. But to get to downtown Houston the black soldiers had to go through an all-white neighborhood. Texas was a segregated state in those days and the soldiers were forbidden to leave Camp Logan. This led to an uprising at Camp Logan and Zimmie Foreman and other military policemen had to do their best to enforce the restrictions. While rushing to the scene of a demonstration Zimmie was riding in a Model-T Ford, the forerunner of the Jeep of World War II. Some militant black soldier threw a grenade at the Model-T and Zimmie was taken to the hospital where his leg was amputated. He was bitter about it. But he went on to law school and became a successful attorney. He would prop his artificial leg on a large walking stick that he carried and twirl it around in the courtroom which fascinated jurors and spectators. Percy was a different story and we will get to him later.

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