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ALTON LOGAN 2 26-Year Secret Kept Innocent Man In Prison

(CBS) This is a story about an innocent man who has been in prison for 26 years while two attorneys who knew he was innocent stayed silent. They did so because they felt they had no choice.

Alton Logan was convicted of killing a security guard at a McDonald's in Chicago in 1982. Police arrested him after a tip and got three eyewitnesses to identify him. Logan, his mother and brother all testified he was at home asleep when the murder occurred. But a jury found him guilty of first degree murder.

Now new evidence reveals that Logan did not commit that murder. But as correspondent Bob Simon reports, the evidence was not new to those two attorneys, who knew it all along but say they couldn't speak out until now.

Alton Logan's story cuts to the core of America's justice system.

Simon met Alton Logan in prison, where he's spent almost half of his life.

Asked if he still counts the months and days, Logan told Simon, "There’s no need to count the months and the days. Just count the years."

Logan said that during the first five or six years he was "consumed" by anger. "Then I come to the realization that 'Why be angry over something you can't control?'"
Alton Logan
Alton Logan

Logan, who maintains he didn't commit the murder, thought they were "crazy" when he was arrested for the crime.

Attorneys Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz knew Logan had good reason to think that, because they knew he was innocent. And they knew that because their client, Andrew Wilson, who they were defending for killing two policemen, confessed to them that he had also killed the security guard at McDonald's - the crime Logan was charged with committing.

"We got information that Wilson was the guy and not Alton Logan. So we went over to the jail immediately almost and said, 'Is that true? Was that you?' And he said, 'Yep it was me,'" Kunz recalled.

"He just about hugged himself and smiled. I mean he was kind of gleeful about it. It was a very strange response," Kunz said, recalling how Wilson had reacted.

"How did you interpret that response?" Simon asked.

"That it was true and that he was tickled pink," Kunz said.

"He was pleased that the wrong guy had been charged. It was like a game and he'd gotten away with something. But there was just no doubt whatsoever that it was true. I mean I said, 'It was you with the shotgun-you killed the guy?' And he said, 'Yes,' and then he giggled," Coventry added.

The problem was the killer was their client. So, legally, they had to keep his secret even though an innocent man was about to be tried for murder.

"I know a lot of people who would say, 'Hey if the guy's innocent you've got to say so. You can't let him rot because of that,'" Simon remarked.

"Well, the vast majority of the public apparently believes that, but if you check with attorneys or ethics committees or you know anybody who knows the rules of conduct for attorneys, it’s very, very clear-it's not morally clear-but we're in a position to where we have to maintain client confidentiality, just as a priest would or a doctor would. It's just a requirement of the law. The system wouldn't work without it," Coventry explained.

So that was the dilemma. They couldn't speak out, they felt, but how could they remain silent?

Asked if they contemplated doing something about it, Coventry told Simon, "We wrote out an affidavit. We made an affidavit that we had gotten information through privileged sources, that Alton Logan was not in fact guilty of killing the officer, that in fact somebody else did it."

"We wanted to put in writing, to memorialize, you know, to get a notarized record of the fact that we had this information back then so that if, you know, 20 years later, 10 years later, if something allowed us to talk, as we are now, we could at least we we'd at least have an answer to someone who says, 'You’re just making this up now,'" Kunz added.

They sealed the affidavit in an envelope and put the envelope in a lockbox to keep it safe under Coventry's bed.

While the attorneys kept silent about Logan's innocence, a jury convicted him of murder. Then the jurors had to decide whether to sentence him to death.

"I was in court the day they were dealing with the death penalty," Coventry recalled.

Asked why he went to court, he told Simon, "'Cause I had this information that this innocent guy was up there and the jury was deciding whether they’re gonna kill him or not."

Coventry said his heart was racing when he went into the courtroom. "It was just creepy. Knowing I was looking at the jurors thinking, 'My God, they’re going to decide to kill the wrong guy.'"

In the end, the jurors spared Logan's life.

"It was a 10 to 2 vote. Ten for, two against. Two individuals saved my life," Logan explained.
And the jurors saved Kunz and Coventry from coming forward. "We thought that somehow we would stop at least the execution. We weren’t gonna let that go," Coventry told Simon.

"But instead he was sentenced to life in prison, and you did not do anything?" Simon asked.

"Right," Kunz said.

"So it’s just okay to prevent his execution if necessary, but it was not okay to prevent his going to prison for the rest of his life?" Simon asked.

"Morally there's very little difference and were torn about that, but in terms of the canons of ethics, there is a difference, you can prevent a death," Coventry replied.

"But the minute he was not sentenced to death, the minute he was sentenced to life in prison, you decided to do nothing?" Simon asked.

"Yes," Kunz said. "I can't explain it. I don't know why that made the difference but I know it did."

"There is no difference between life in prison and a death penalty. None whatsoever. Both are a sentence of death," Logan told Simon.

Logan said while he could sympathize with the attorneys' problem of not being able to speak up, he couldn't understand it. "'Cause if you know this is an innocent person, why would you allow this person to be prosecuted, convicted, sent to prison for all these years?" he asked.

"What did you do to see if there might be some loophole to get everyone out of this fix?" Simon asked the attorneys.

"I researched the ethics of attorney-client privilege as much as I could. I contacted people who are involved in making those determinations. I know Jamie did the same thing," Coventry said.

"I could not figure out a way, and still cannot figure out a way, how we could have done anything to help Alton Logan that would not have put Andrew Wilson in jeopardy of another capital case," Kunz added.

"Couldn’t you have leaked it to somebody? To a reporter, to an administrator, to the governor, to somebody?" Simon asked.

"The only thing we could have leaked is that Andrew Wilson confessed to us. And how could we leak that to anybody without putting him in jeopardy?" Kunz replied. "It may cause us to lose some sleep. But, but I lose more sleep if I put Andrew Wilson’s neck in the in the noose."
"He was guilty and Logan was not. So, yes his head should be in the noose. And Logan should go free. It's perfectly obvious to somebody who isn’t a lawyer," Simon pointed out. "Andrew Wilson was guilty, was he not?"

"Yes. And that's up to the system to decide. It's not up to me as his lawyer to decide that he was guilty and so he should be punished and Logan should go free," Kunz said.

"Do you think you might have been disbarred for doing that, for violating attorney-client privilege?" Simon asked.

"I don't think I considered that as much as I considered my responsibility to my client. I was very concerned to protect him," Coventry explained.

"But here is a case where two men, you two were caught up in this bind. And chose to let a man rot away in jail," Simon remarked.

"It seems that way. But had we come forward right away, aside from violating our own client's privilege, and putting him in jeopardy, would the information that we had have been valued? Would it have proved anything?" Coventry said.

Probably not, they say, because as a violation of attorney-client privilege, it would never have been allowed in court. They insist that for them, there was no way out.

"In terms of my conscience, my conscience is that I did the right thing. Do I feel bad about Logan? Absolutely I feel bad about Logan," Coventry admitted.

The attorneys say they were so tormented over Logan's imprisonment that they convinced Wilson to let them reveal that Wilson was the real killer after Wilson's death. Late last year, Wilson died. The two attorneys finally took their affidavit out of the lockbox, and they called Logan's lawyer, pubic defender Harold Winston.

Winston had already been trying to get Logan a new trial. He'd found two eyewitnesses who swore Logan was not the killer. Now, with Kunz and Coventry's affidavit, he thinks Logan will finally go free.

"I know the attorney general's office of Illinois is considering this. And I have a lot of respect for that office," Winston said. "And I'm hoping they will come to the right conclusion, that a mistake has been made. And if they do that, he would go free."

And even though Winston represents Alton Logan, he agrees the two attorneys had to remain silent until Wilson died. "I wish there had been a way this could have come out earlier. Under the…Illinois ethics code, I think the only way would have been if Andrew Wilson had released his lawyers earlier," he explained.

"There may be other attorneys who have similar secrets that they’re keeping. I don't wanna be too defensive but what makes this case so different, is that Dale and I came forward. And that Dale had the good sense to talk to Wilson before his death. And get his permission. 'If you die, can we talk?' Without that, we wouldn't be here today," Kunz said.

"See, I never stopped giving up hope. I've always believed that one day is gone-somebody's gonna come forth and tell the truth. But I didn’t know when," Logan told Simon.

"Do you feel that they should have somehow spoken out to get you out?" Simon asked.

"They should have but they didn’t," Logan said.

Asked what they would say to him if they were able to visit Logan in his cell, one of the attorneys said, "There's nothing you can say. Well, it’s been difficult for us. But there’s no comparison what so ever to what it’s been for this poor guy."

"How has it been difficult for them?" Logan inquired.

"Alton, whether or not you can understand it, we’ve been hurting for you for 26 years," Kunz said. "How often did I think about it? Probably 250 times a year. I mean I thought about it regularly."

"Everything that was dear to me is gone," Logan, who missed his mother's funeral, told Simon.

His brothers Eugene and Tony told 60 Minutes they've shared Alton's pain, and they always knew that he was no killer. "My brother ain’t got the nature to do nothin' like that in his soul. He ain’t gonna take nobody else's life. We weren't raised like that," Tony said.

Tony said he knew right away his brother couldn't be the killer. "He was with me. I knew it wasn’t my brother. I always knew it wasn't my brother," he said.

"Your brother is 54 now. Can he start again at the age of 54?" Simon asked.

"I think we gonna make it," Eugene said. "If he get from behind them bars, I’m gonna turn him back on to life. And we gonna live it together. We’re gonna live it together."

But Alton Logan is still behind bars. "They are quick to convict but they are slow to correct they mistakes," he said.

If he gets out of prison, Logan told Simon he wants to leave Illinois and go live with his little brother in Oregon.
But that could take some time. A judge must decide whether Logan will get a new trial; and Illinois' attorney general must decide whether to let him out without one. It's all rather complicated, whereas what Logan wants is deadly simple.

"All I wanted was the truth. All I want is the truth," he said.

"And the truth shall set you free," Simon remarked.

"Yes it will," Logan said. 
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GEORGINA LAWTON'S ‘I grew up believing I was white’: One writer’s story on unravelling a web of family secrets

Marie Claire
By Marie Claire

Featured stories
When Georgina Lawton’s beloved dad died, she finally unravelled a web of family secrets that had plagued her for years

‘Why don’t you scratch yourself white?’ said a five-year-old girl in my class as we played in the sandpit at school.

This was the first time I experienced a sense of confusion about my own appearance. The way her fingernail felt as she scraped it across my beige forearm remains a vivid memory. Because even though I’ve looked black or mixed-race since birth, I grew up believing I was white. I’d been fed the same story by my parents: I wasn’t adopted, or switched at birth, or the product of an affair; I had inherited my genes from a dark-skinned Irish relative on my mother’s side, which had ‘skipped’ a few generations.

The truth, which only came to light last year after my father’s death, was that I was not his child, but the result of a brief hook-up between my mum and another man. My dear dad, with his economics degree and managerial job, never questioned Mum’s version of events. And my white brother Rory, who has Dad’s blue eyes and his long, curved feet, never queried it either. My brown skin and frizzy black hair stood out in family photos. But it was easier for everyone to ignore my differences.

Cloaked in the protective bubble of whiteness, I didn’t spend much time thinking about race. It didn’t affect me until an outsider – like a child at school – brought it up. Overall, my upbringing was a happy one: I had two very present, hands-on parents; at school, I was a high achiever with lots of friends.

And yet, looking back, it’s easy to pinpoint where the nagging self-doubt crept in. At 15, I flirted with bulimia; from 17, I bleached the life out of my hair, and with every passing comment about why I didn’t look like my family, I developed another layer of prickly defensiveness. The web of lies was already moulding my character.

The questions about ‘where I was really from’ and the queries into my identity were persistent, unwavering, draining. If I beat observers to the punch, I could own my narrative. But when airport security would usher me into the queue for baggage check-in with the Caribbean couple in front of me, instead of my own family, it was alienating. At 13, I was told to ‘go back to Africa’ and was once labelled a ‘Paki’, which just intensified the confusion.

With each incident I went home and demanded answers from my parents, who would sit me down and repeat again that I was definitely theirs and that they loved me. Mum wanted to believe I was my father’s daughter, which by definition made me white.


Georgina with her beloved dad

Dad was complicit, but whether he knew the truth deep down, I’ll never know. Everyone seemed happy to go along with the pretence and it became easier to explain my skin colour to strangers by saying, ‘I’m half-Jamaican’.

Dad’s illness last year was the catalyst for change, though. As I watched the cancer brutally eviscerate my beloved, white dad from the inside out, I was devastated by the reality that he would soon be gone. I was also acutely aware it was my last chance to raise all the uncomfortable questions that plagued me. Mum told me that pursuing the subject was selfish. But one day, after I gently hinted at my desperation, he consented to giving me a DNA sample before he died, lovingly reassuring me I was biologically his.

It was a whole year after his death, consumed by grief, that I decided I had nothing to lose. In March 2016, I began the process of testing his DNA and discovered that, by blood, we were not related at all.

I remember where I was when the test results came through, rather ghoulishly in an email. Nothing can prepare you for processing that kind of information at work. I felt like my blood had been sucked from my body with a syringe. Despite it being obvious, I still didn’t want to believe it. Distraught, I phoned the company to ask how reliable the results were. They were sympathetic, but I was told, ‘Almost 100 per cent. You’re not your dad’s’.

When I hung up and called my mum, she said she was as shocked as I was. Her denial went on for weeks, as I sobbed into my pillow each night. I’d just learned to process the father-shaped hole in my life, but there was no handbook for how to navigate this emotional minefield. I couldn’t cope.

When I challenged Mum − vociferous in my questioning and utterly broken − she looked at me blankly and told me there must be some mistake. Despite existing in a dream-like trance, unable to call my father my own any more, I still didn’t suspect her of lying − it was just too distressing to start sieving through everything she’d ever told me.

Finally, a full month and countless arguments later, Mum cracked. I had just suggested a re-test using DNA from Dad’s parents when she confessed to her one-night stand with a ‘dark’ man from Dublin, who she had met in a west-London pub in 1992. This was all she knew about him. To say things have been rocky since would be an understatement. Nine months on, I’m still so angry I can barely look at Mum. I lie awake replaying all the times I’d asked her if there was a possibility I couldn’t be Dad’s. Why couldn’t she have just told me the truth? We’d have been OK.



Georgina’s now living in New York

I’ve spent my whole life vehemently fighting a race battle that my parents were blind to and carrying the weight of the lie about my mother’s affair.
I know Mum loves me, and I still love her very much, but she still finds it hard to discuss the impact this has had on me, which just compounds the feelings of isolation and loneliness I’ve buried. Although these wounds are still fresh, I’m hopeful we’ll work through everything, because I do want her in my life. I also want to take time to focus on grieving for Dad, and learning about the culture I may be connected to.

Still consumed by grief, I made a clean break and moved to New York this year. I’ve been living in Brooklyn and immersing myself in a very mixed area. My next plan is to undertake a more comprehensive DNA test to determine my ethnic roots as a method of catharsis and, through my website, to encourage others suffering with identity issues to face them head-on.

For me, racial identity is fluid, and determined by the people in my community, who just so happen to be white. I exist in a race-less space, with less knowledge of my heritage than ever before, but I’m determined to forge an identity on my own terms, no matter what that entails.

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KASH DELANO 3 34 years after being wrongly convicted, a man savors his new freedom
Kash Register has spent his first days out of prison getting reacquainted with family and a city he last saw when Jimmy Carter was president.
November 10, 2013|By Kate Linthicum

Kash Delano Register gives off an air of forgiveness and peace. "Me being angry is only going to stagnate me moving forward," he said.
Kash Delano Register gives off an air of forgiveness and peace. "Me… (Christina House, For The…)
Kash Delano Register sat in a park Sunday afternoon, taking it all in.

He felt the sun on his face and the breeze coming in from the ocean. He heard the sound of birds and children playing.

"This is really beautiful," he said. He was smiling, but there were tears in his eyes.

Register spent more than three decades in prison for the 1979 murder of an elderly man in West Los Angeles. He always maintained his innocence, and Friday he was released from jail after a judge overturned the conviction.

Attorneys from Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent argued that a key witness in the case had lied and that police and prosecutors had suppressed evidence that would have helped Register's defense.

Register, who has spent his first days of freedom getting reacquainted with family and a city he last saw when Jimmy Carter was president, said he is overcome with relief.

"In the mornings I just lay there and I look at the ceiling and I just thank God that I'm home," he said.

Register was 19 when he was convicted of murder. He is 53 now. During his long incarceration, he missed out on a lot of life, such as the birth of his daughter shortly after he was locked up and, years later, the arrival of two grandchildren.

He had been in love with his girlfriend, the mother of his daughter, but what with him in prison, they agreed that it made sense for her to move on romantically.

"I had to be man enough to try to accept that," he said. "I wanted her to go and live her life."

Register says he was at home with his girlfriend one afternoon in April 1979 when 78-year-old Jack Sasson was shot five times in his carport. Brenda Anderson, a neighbor of Sasson's and a high school classmate of Register's, told police she heard gunshots and saw an African American man she later identified as Register sprinting from the scene.

He was sentenced to 27 years to life in prison, despite scant physical evidence linking him to the crime and the fact that a murder weapon was never recovered.

While serving out his sentence in a handful of prisons including San Quentin State and Folsom State, Register kept up a regular exercise regimen, completed several vocational training courses and worked on his case. Each time he appeared before the parole board, he refused to admit guilt.

In 2011, one of Anderson's sisters, Sheila Vanderkam, came forward with a new story. She said she and Anderson had heard gunshots the day Sasson was killed but hadn't been close enough to get a good look at the shooter. She said that she told police about her doubts at the time but that they threatened her and told her to stay quiet.

She took the stand in a hearing on the case last month, along with Anderson, who seemed to recant her testimony, saying the shooter "may or may not have been" Register.

Los Angeles County prosecutors said they would decide by next month whether to appeal the judge's decision to overturn the murder conviction, retry Register or drop the case. Register's attorneys say he may seek compensation for the wrong conviction.

Given his ordeal, it would be understandable if Register were angry. But sitting at a picnic table near the La Brea Tar Pits, he gave off an air of forgiveness and peace.

"There's a lot of devastating things that happened to me, but there's nothing I could do about it, so I had to accept it as it was," said Register, a devout Christian who attended dozens of self-help workshops while in prison. "Me being angry is only going to stagnate me moving forward."

Eventually he will start looking for work, but for now Register is focusing on getting used to what he calls "real life."

He has taken trips with friends to the mall to buy new clothes and is learning how to operate a smartphone. "I've got little kids 13 and 12 showing me how to use it," he said, laughing. "I had to put my pride down."

He says he is relishing the chance to take care of his mother, Wilma. While he was in prison, Register said, "she was my life support. She knew I didn't do it, and she stuck by me from Day One."

Now, he said, it's time to "let her relax and let me take care of things."

She was there when he got out of jail to drive him back to her West L.A. home, the same place he was living when his life took an unimaginable turn.

"I just hugged her and I kissed her," he said. "There wasn't much to say."
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Wrongly convicted US man to taste freedom after 32 years in prison video
March 17 2017

With a broad smile on his face and no bitterness in his heart, US man Andrew Leander Wilson clasped hands with his family on his first day of freedom after spending 32 years in prison for a murder he denied committing.

Wilson, 62, was released from the Los Angeles County Men's Central Jail downtown into a sea of cameras and cheers and applause from university law students who worked to free him.

"This is unbelievable. This is unbelievable," Wilson said Thursday.

For 32 years, Andrew Wilson maintained his innocence over the stabbing death of an LA man.
For 32 years, Andrew Wilson maintained his innocence over the stabbing death of an LA man.

Wilson maintained his innocence since his arrest in 1984 for the stabbing death of Christopher Hanson, 21, in Los Angeles.

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A day earlier, Superior Court Judge Laura Priver ordered Wilson released after prosecutors conceded he did not get a fair trial.

"He's coming home. It's so surreal," says an emotional Catrina Burks, Andrew Wilson's daughter.
"He's coming home. It's so surreal," says an emotional Catrina Burks, Andrew Wilson's daughter.

Wilson said his 96-year-old mother, Margie Davis, who lives in St Louis, was his fiercest advocate.

"My mother was the backbone," Wilson said. "She was a 96-year-old pit bull."

He plans to go to St Louis to visit her as soon as he can, and his mother says she can't believe she's going to see him after three decades.

"I prayed for what I thought was the impossible," Davis told KABC-TV by phone. "I prayed for his release. And evidently it wasn't impossible. It's been granted me."

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Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent, which fought for Wilson's release, pointed to numerous due-process violations.

"It's been a nightmare but I survived and got to the end of the road," Wilson said.

Wearing a red Loyola shirt, Wilson held hands with his sister and daughter. His 15-year-old granddaughter was by their sides.

Wilson said he holds no bitterness because that would be "a waste of time".

"Believe it or not, I think I'm all right upstairs," he said, drawing laughter from his family members.

"I still have a parent," Wilson's daughter, Catrina Burks, 43, of Muskegon, Michigan.

"It's been a long 32 years and I'm glad that it's over...I stayed hopeful all the way," said Gwen Wilson, 49, of Inglewood, California.

She was 14 when her brother was sent to prison.

"It was scary because it is my brother and he would never come back; that's what I thought in the moment," she said.

Asked what he thought of his prosecutor, he said, "I'm past it. I just want to go get something to eat right now and love my family."

If he didn't eat soon, "I'm going to eat my shoes," Wilson joked.

Paula Mitchell, Wilson's lawyer, said before the hearing that numerous due-process violations recently came to light that showed Wilson did not receive a fair trial.

She pointed particularly to a weeks-long delay before police began canvassing for suspects with Hanson's girlfriend, Saladena Bishop, who was 17 at the time. Bishop was the prosecution's only eyewitness.

Among missteps by the prosecution was the suppression of evidence that Bishop previously filed a false police report accusing another man of rape, according to court papers filed by Mitchell and other attorneys with Loyola Law School's Project for the Innocent.

The district attorney's office said it would not retry Wilson.

Another hearing was set for May 3 to begin the process to determine whether he is factually innocent, which could lead to compensation claims.

- AP
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BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY  ] S Sister Sledge Sister Sledge FB IMG 1480720416009.jpg Kathy, D...

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BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY eroy Rosenior Leroy Rosenior Personal information Full name Leroy De Graft Rosenior[1] Date of birth 24 August 1964 (age 52) Place of birth Balham, London, England Playing position Striker Senior career* Years Team Apps (Gls) 1982–198...

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BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY A Aaron R. Fisher Military person Aaron R. Fisher was a Lieutena...

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Aaron R. Fisher Military person

Aaron R. Fisher was a Lieutenant in the United States Army in World War I, and a recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross. Fisher was born in 1892 at Lyles, Indiana. His father, Benjamin Fisher, had served with the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War, and Aaronenlisted in the Army in 1911. He had risen to the rank of Sergeant before deploying to Europe. Fisher received a commission as a "Second Lieutenant of Infantry" dated 1 June 1918, in the 366th Infantry Regiment of the 92nd Infantry Division.Fisher was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his "extraordinary heroism in action" in battle on 3 September 1918. The citation reads :The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Second Lieutenant (Infantry) Aaron R. Fisher, United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with 366th Infantry Regiment, 92d Division, A.E.F., near Lesseux, France, 3 September 1918. Lieutenant Fisher showed exceptional bravery in action when his position was raided by a superior force of the enemy by directing his men and refusing to leave his position, although he was severely wounded. He and his men continued to fight the enemy until the latter were beaten off by counterattack.Furthermore, since Fisher's stand was made in support of America's French allies, the French Army bestowed on him the Croix de Guerre with gold star, acknowledging him as "an officer of admirable courage."Following the war, Black Officers who elected to stay in the service were given Warrant Officer rank as a matter of policy. Fisher, however, was promoted to Captain in the United States Army Reserve. He was discharged as a commissioned officer on 17 March 1919, but re-enlisted as a First Sergeant. Fisher continued to serve as an ROTC instructor, notably at Wilberforce University. His students included Medal of Honor recipient John R. Fox. Fisher retired as a chief warrant officer in 1947.After his retirement from the Army he lived in Xenia, Ohio and served as a civilian employee at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. In 1961, he received a certificate of service from Air Force Secretary Eugene M. Zuckert, honoring "Fifty Years of faithful Federal service."
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