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A New Resource about the Buffalo Soldiers

Our Journey with the Buffalo Soldiers is hot off the press! It is a compilation of historical research, travel adventures, Buffalo Soldiers Monumentfamily histories, and personal stories. African American military units were established in 1866 and these soldiers had much to prove. They earned the name “Buffalo Soldiers” from Indians who held their fighting spirit in high regard. Over the years, they served in all of the military conflicts - the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, World War I and World War II. Stories of racial prejudice are peppered throughout their history. During World War II, the Army mechanized their equipment and these units were disbanded.

Lorenzo DensonThis journey focuses on the stories of World War II soldiers but a historical perspective is provided to lay the foundation for these stories. Information about Lt. Henry O. Flipper, the first African American graduate from the West Point Military Academy and other historical military figures are included. Each story is situated by its location and is part of the “journey.” The stories about the World War II soldiers are personal and touching. Some described how they were afraid of horses but learned to ride, clean and feed them. There are more stories about traveling by train across the US, living on a ship going across the Atlantic Ocean, experiencing a accident in a jeep during the European Theater, leaving the Army and joining the Air Force, and life events after World War II. Many men returned “home” and took advantage of the GI Bill or settled into stable government jobs.

Photographs and interviews with Buffalo Soldiers who attended the reunions of the Buffalo Soldiers every July add a special touch. City by city and fort by fort personal stories are connected to each location. From Thomasville, GA to Portland, OR the Buffalo Soldiers have many stories to share.

On April 8, 2004 George Hicks III wrote - I get excited when I read stories about African American men who served in the U. S. Army as infantryman and cavalryman. These soldiers - Buffalo Soldiers - were my ancestors. I grew up in the 1950s-1960s, watching westerns movies, and I never saw black men riding horses nor as soldiers in the all-white U. S. cavalry regiments. Not until the 1980s when the stories of black soldiers were covered in the media did I revisit my childhood and ask questions. The Buffalo Soldiers were mistreated, issued inferior clothing and equipment, and received less compensation for their effort. They were assigned to military posts far from their families and the townspeople because the same people that they were to protect did not like the color of their skin. They endured the storms and I am so very proud of my black brothers.

William SnowI have visited places where they served – Washington DC, California, Virginia, Arizona, Mexico, Washington, Oregon, and Kansas and lived in their hometowns. I interviewed troopers who served in the 9th, 10th, 27th, and 28th (Horse) Cavalry regiments. The landscape where they served even today looks rough, hot, and uncomfortable. If they could do what they did under those conditions servicing this country. Surely I can sit in the comforts of my home and write about what I discovered about my ancestors.

Trooper Fred JonesI decided to tell what I am learning about these men and women. Yes, there was at least one documented female Buffalo Soldier - Cathy Williams. It feels good to write positive stories about us. Perhaps there are other positive stories that need to be written. If you discover a subject that inspires you, sit down and start writing for future generations. It is our history. When you know your past, you can better understand your present and prepare for the future.

On June 22, 2004, Carmon Weaver Hicks wrote - George led most of the journey. When you read a section that starts with “I,” the “I” is George. For many sections, the pronoun is “we.” We learned so much, worked so hard, and feel so good about our efforts. This journey has been George’s mission but you know the old saying: Behind every good man is his woman. Well¸ I followed him everywhere on this journey and cheered him along the way. Occasionally, I led us to new research, new places, and sometimes backtracked to places we had been before. The old soldiers that we met and learned so much from are dying everyday; nevertheless, we savored each moment. We hope you will, too.

(Photos – Buffalo Soldiers’ National Monument, Ft. Leavenworth, KS; Troopers William Snow, 1940s;
Lorenzo Denson 1940s and Fred D. Jones, 2001)

To purchase Our Journey with the Buffalo Soldiers, visit www.xlibris.com.


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