Samuel was one of 43 defendants who were court-marshaled for the lynching of an Italian prisoner of war at Seattle's Fort Lawton in 1944. Twenty-eight of them were convicted in a trial that is thought to be the longest and largest in the history of World War II. But questions always remained unanswered, said Seattle-based reporter Jack Hamann, who, along with his wife, began searching through national archives and testimonies to learn more about the lynching. Their book, On American Soil, exposed the injustices committed against the African American soldiers and prompted the Army's investigation.
Ray said his mother doesn't know what she's going to do with the money, and that today was bittersweet because his father isn't here to enjoy the recognition.
"To see the smile that was on my mom's face, how proud she was," said Ray, "it was a sad and joyous occasion all in one."