Buffalo Soldiers Day on July 28th commemorates the formation of the first regular Army regiments comprising African American soldiers in 1866.
Congress established the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army after the end of the Civil War. The Buffalo Soldiers (one of many African-American regiments raised during the Civil War) were the first instituted.
Since they were frontier regiments, Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th and 10th Cavalries protected unsettled lands as pioneers moved westward. They also faced the hardships of the Wild West. During and after the Civil War, Army desertion rates remained high. However, among Buffalo Soldiers, low rates prevailed. They were also noted for their dedication and commitment during the Spanish-American War and other engagements during the late 1800s.
During World War I, each unit received stateside assignments, with some exceptions. Yet, neither unit saw action during World War II. In 1944, the Army activated both regiments and transferred service members to other units, as integration in the military began.
In honor of the first Buffalo Soldiers Day in 1992, General Colin Powell dedicated a monument to the Buffalo Soldier. It’s located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where the 10th Calvary Buffalo Soldiers were based. The Buffalo Soldier Museum is located in Houston, Texas.
On September 6, 2005, the oldest living Buffalo Soldier died. Mark Matthews lived to be 111 years old. For his dedicated services, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS DAY HISTORY
In 1992, the United States Congress passed a law designating July 28th as Buffalo Soldiers Day. Since then, commemorations honoring the Buffalo Soldiers have been held throughout the United States.
HOW TO OBSERVE #BuffaloSoldiersDay
Visit Buffalo Soldier monuments across the country. Read about their history and sacrifices. Post on social media using #BuffaloSoldiersDay to encourage others to pay tribute to these heroes.