AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Re: Name origins
In Response To: Re: Name origins ()
But on the origin of the name business-a lot of current published
Here's what Leckie wrote in his text:
Well--to put a very fine point on the above: Leckie does not say by what date soldiers of the 9th and l0th accepted the term. As for wearing it "proudly"--probably,maybe, no way to know for sure.
It is important to note that Leckie's footnote support for what he wrote above does not refer to any period or even secondary sources.
"The origin of the term "buffalo soldier" is uncertain, although the common explanation is that the Indian saw a similarity between the hair of the negro soldier and that of the buffalo [I'll bet Leckie had read Mrs.Roe]. The buffalo was a sacred animal to the Indian, and it is unlikely that he would so name an enemy if respect were lacking. It is a fair guess that the Negro trooper understood this and thus his willingness to accept the title."
A "fair guess"--you bet. A reasonable conclusion--maybe. Something based on verified period documents--not even close.
Exit comment: I have loaned out my copy of the Leckies' 2003 revision (William Leckie was joined by his wife in this revision) of this book and I do not recall if he has modified his original views on the name origin.
PS On Leckie's claim that Indians would not use the name of an animal they considerd sacred unless it was bestowed in respect. Years back a scholar friend of mine put together a list of genuine Plains Indian person and place names where the word buffalo was probably not used in a tone of respect: names such as Dumb Buffalo, Slow Buffalo, etc.