Rep. Mack Jackson, D-Sandersville, a co-sponsor of the resolution, said: "I started reading the book and I saw she really didn't know what was going on. According to the book, she was completely innocent."
Rep. Darlene Taylor, R-Thomasville, became a co-sponsor to the resoltion in part because she was reminded of a similar "injustice" from her community.
Army Lt. Henry O. Flipper was born a slave in Thomasville and became the first African American to graduate from West Point. He was court-martialed in 1881 on allegations he had embezzled $2,000 in government funds, charges he denied. Flipper was dismissed from the Army, which was comparable to a modern dishonorable discharge. Flipper maintained his innocence through the remainder of his life; the Army granted him an honorable discharge in 1976. In 1999, President Bill Clinton pardoned Flipper almost 60 years after his death.
While posthumous pardons are mostly symbolic, they can be significant for the descendants of the accused, Taylor said. The record must be corrected, even if it happens more than a century after the fact, she said.
“It was a great injustice,” Taylor said. “We have to learn from our past and our mistakes.”