Submitted by Lucy Dennis
My true story is about my brother, whom I never met because he was killed before I was born. I have written a book entitled “The Tracks of His Tears.”
His story: Herman P. Dennis Jr. joined the Army Air Field in 1946 (now The Air Force) because he loved working on airplanes, something he did while in his home town. He was convinced once joining the military he would have a chance demonstrating his expertise and in doing so, help his country. After so many tries and being turned away, Herman soon found himself on the island of Guam where his nightmare began.
His father the late Herman P. Dennis taught his son to stand up for what he believed in and with taking that to heart, young Dennis stood up against Jim Crow laws in both the country and especially the Armed Forces. Of course with this stance, he made many enemies.
An evening in December of 1949 Private Herman and a friend walked to the theater to enjoy a movie. Upon arriving, he was greeted by the ticket person who sold him his ticket. Once inside, he sat down with several of his airmen, with one asking for a cigarette. After the movie, he walked back to the barracks with Sgt. Scroggins.
Nine miles away in Agana, a crime was taking place as the movie was playing. A Ruth Farnsworth was beaten and placed less than 70 yards from the Jade Shop she worked at. It is rumored with some evidence in the court records that the reason the young lady was killed was because she had found out some information about drug smuggling and had threaten to expose the person whom the shop belonged to. In the court records it was found strange that the owner of the shop always slept at the shop, but that night he was no where in the area. Also the other woman who worked with her, just so happened had somewhere to go and left early that evening.
Weeks passed before Herman was picked up and days passed before he was able to talk and speak to anyone. While being held, he was beaten and threatened if he did not sign a confession. He had a choice, to live or die at the hands of the Marines who were ordered to beat him by Lt. Hackett and Riedel. After weeks of beating he conceded to signing a confession. He wrote that he and his brother Calvin Dennis raped and murdered Ruth Farnsworth (even with evidence suggesting that they could not determine if she was indeed raped. Calvin Dennis, along with Robert Burns, was also implicated in this crime.
Calvin Dennis and Herman Dennis were not brothers, they were not even related. Herman thought if he was to write that, the confession would not be admissable. Of course so many other terrible things happened to my brother. A lot of evidence proves he was innocent. An example, his counseler, Daly, once the military learned that he had evidence proving my brother’s innocence, was threatened with an Article 125 if he did not resign from the military. Lt. Hackett on the witness stand in front of six White jurors, testified that he told others that he beat the confession out of my brother.
My brother was hanged for a crime he did not commit because he wrote and spoke out against racism and Jim Crow Laws. Thurgood Marshall was his defense attorney, along with Reeves and Carter. Even they could not free him from the net of injustice when they went before the Supreme Court — the three justices, Black, Frankfuter and Douglas had strong dissent and asked that the case be re-opened. Unfortunately after speaking to the staff under Franklin Roosevelt, the President did not even address the case and my brother was hanged, January 27, 1954 at the age of 24.