Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum


Trooper Arthur Edwards
Fort Huachuca, Arizona
Battery A, 600 Field Artillery
Serial Number 35570006

George Hicks, III
Carmon Weaver Hicks
August 2005

Trooper Edwards' Home

On Saturday, February 26, 2005, we visited Arthur Edward - a World War II Buffalo Soldier. We arrived at his home on the westside of Indianapolis, Indiana a little after noon and were greeted at the door by his daughter, Diane Young. Arthur’s granddaughters, April and Allison, were there with their mother and occasionally joined in the conversation. Diane was familiar with many of her father’s stories and recited portions of events or clarified information about specific people and events. The family provided lots of valuable information.

Trooper Edwards

Trooper Arthur Edwards was sitting on the sofa in his living room. He has respiratory problems but his spirits were good. He gave us permission to take photographs and tape record our conversation. We brought a variety of military caps and hats that soldiers wore who served in the Buffalo Soldiers units so we could photograph him in different hear gear. There was a large picture of Trooper Edwards in his military uniform hanging in the living room where we were sitting. His uniform indicated his military rank as Corporal and mounted on his left sleeve was the Buffalo patch insignia. In the photograph, he is wearing an overseas cap. We didn’t have a similar cap with us but Arthur was happy to wear the ones we brought.

Trooper Edwards had many positive memories about his military experience. He was very an engaging conversationalist and also remembered many details about events from his childhood in Kentucky. Throughout the conversation, his family assisted us with their family history. Diane pulled out photo albums while April and Allison brought us lunch and went to make copies of documents and photographs about his life.


Arthur Edwards was born on June 30, 1920 in Campbellsville, Kentucky.  He had five brothers and two sisters. As a child, he grew up on a farm and was familiar with horses and other farm animals. His mother was one of a few black National Velvet horse trainers. His grandfather, who owned and bought land, trained horses for the Kentucky Derby. When Arthur was nine years old, his father died so he and his 12 year old brother quit school to help out with family matters. Arthur was only in the fourth grade. Throughout his time on the farm, he always had a “sweetheart” who lived next door. He described the distance between their farm houses and said she lived on the other side of the fence. Her name was Ola Johnson.

Arthur Edwards' mother on horseback
Arthur Edwards’ mother on horseback

Two of Arthur’s brothers served in the U.S. Army.  One brother spent time in France and the other served in Korea. Through the many photos that Diane provided, there were many nephews and other family members who also served in the military.

Arthur joined the U.S. Army in December 1941 at the age of 21. He went to basic training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama and attended machine gun school in Warez, Mexico. (The closest town was Ft. Bliss, Texas.)  He was trained in artillery and was a truck and tractor driver. He also served at Ft. Huachuca, AZ – home of the Buffalo Soldiers. During World War II, Ft. Huachuca soldiers and support personnel increased to 40,000 people. When Edwards described the tumbleweeds rolling across the grounds, he said they looked like a chair coming at you.  He talked fondly about visiting Mexico and Frye Gate at Ft. Huachuca; this is where the soldiers could find suitable girls. Edwards remembered serving as Lena Horne’s chauffeur for three days while she performed for the black soldiers at Mountain View Black Officers Club.

Edwards was a handsome trooper.  He was 6’1 ½ ‘’ and his waist size was 31 inches.  When he talked about his military uniform, he said “everything was right.” He said that his Army uniform was tailor-made for a perfect fit. As he reminisced, he told us that one of his friends in Los Angeles saw his Ft. Huachuca military photograph handing in an LA photography store as a sample. They had not asked him or the Army for permission to use his photo. He laughed and said that he was a model for 43 years.

Trooper Arthur Edwards

From Ft. Huachuca, he and other troops from the 92nd Division sailed from Newport News, Virginia to Europe. He spent 19 months in Italy and was there when World War II ended. He told us that he learned to speak Italian and spoke a few sentences for us.  He left Italy and went to Marseille, France and from there, sailed back to New York.  He was discharged from the U.S. Army on March 6, 1946 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

A few years later on January 10, 1948, he married Ola Johnson, his childhood sweetheart.

He began working at Link Belt Foundry – a manufacturing company that makes large links for equipment and tools. In addition, he sold beer at Victory Field baseball stadium for 27 years. He was the second black person hired to sell beer there.  For his 48th birthday, Victory Field gave him a birthday party and he invited his family and friends who filled an entire section.  They announced his birthday and put his name in lights. This was a sign of the type of relationships that Arthur built. Even as a beer vendor, people enjoyed being with him and cheered for him. When Victory Field closed in the mid-1970s, he immediately went to work as a beer vendor at the new Market Square Arena – home of the NBA Indiana Pacers.  He was there the first day it opened and served the cold brew for 12 years.   He was interviewed on television for being the oldest beer vendor at Market Square Arena.

Arthur Edwards

The Edwards family lived at 951 Paca St. for 19 years in the 1950s-60s. They lived upstairs in this duplex (pictured).  Basketball star, Oscar Robertson, lived near by as well as many other famous African Americans in Indianapolis. Arthur and Ola had four daughters and one son. During our interview, three daughters were surviving – Bettie, Diane and Delores.  Diane told us that she was a middle child and was born in this home on Paca. She has many fond memories of their lives in the heart of the black community in Indianapolis. The Edwards family also went on vacations to Chicago during the summertime and to the public swimming pool. Diane told us that the pools were integrated in the 1950s. The photos below show some of the family gatherings at Christmas in the Edwards family.

Arthur Edwards' familyArthur Edwards' familyArthur Edwards' family

Arthur Edwards

Arthur Edwards was later employed as a molder at Malleable Casting Company. In later years, he enjoyed gardening and was proud of his annual crop of vegetables.   His family was his delight.  He is pictured below at his 80th birthday party with family and friends.  He has 22 grandchildren and 49 great grandchildren.

One Sunday afternoon in the summer of 2005, we drove by his house and Arthur Edwards was sitting on the porch. We joined him for a few hours as we sat with him, a neighbor from across the street, and a little bird that had made a nest in the corner of the porch.  Trooper Edwards was a peaceful man. We talked about the neighborhood and how things had changed. Our conversations were random - his military life, civilian jobs, and family life. It was clear to us that he had lived each day to its fullest.

Trooper Arthur Edwards

Trooper Arthur Edwards turned 85 years old on June 30, 2005. He departed to Fiddler’s Green on August 15, 2005.




For more information about Fort Huachuca, refer to:
Smith, C. C., Jr. (1976). Ft. Huachuca: The story of a frontier post. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office..


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