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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum

Buffalo Soldiers

Buffalo Soldiers: Photographs from the Collections of Anthony L. Powell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

In recognition of African Americans' service during the Civil War, in 1866 Congress authorized six black infantry regiments (subsequently consolidated into the Twenty-fourth and the Twenty-fifth U.S. Infantry) and two cavalry units (the Ninth and the Tenth U.S. Army Cavalry). Black soldiers served admirably in Texas, the Southwest, and the Great Plains, maintaining order on the frontier and distinguishing themselves during the Indian Wars (thirteen enlisted men earned the Medal of Honor). During the harsh winters, the soldiers wore coats made of buffalo hides. Because of the coats' appearance and the men's own tightly curled hair, the Native Americans called them Buffalo Soldiers, a respected and honorable sobriquet the men proudly accepted. The Buffalo Soldiers went on to serve with distinction, through World War II.

Despite their impressive military record, the American public remains largely unaware of the valuable service African American soldiers performed. The 28 photographs reproduced here offer a rare glimpse into their world.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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