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Buffalo Soldiers Day

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BUFFALO SOLDIERS DAY

Following the Civil War, in September of 1886, “Buffalo Soldiers” were established by Congress as the first peacetime all-black regiments in the regular U.S. Army. The nickname was given to the soldiers by Native Americans who fought against them in conflicts beginning in the late 1800’s, out of respect for their bravery. The oldest living Buffalo Soldier, Mark Matthews, joined the regiment in 1910 at the age of 16 and died at the age of 111. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery in 2005, 139 years after the regiments were established.

The U.S. armed forces embraced integration and the segregated regiments were disbanded during the 1940s and 1950s. On the first Buffalo Soldiers Day in 1992, a monument to the Buffalo Soldier was dedicated at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas by General Colin Powell. Buffalo Soldiers Day is observed annually on July 28th.

Over two hundred thousand African-American soldiers served bravely during the Civil War before the first six African-American regiments were formed. During the war, 25 African-Americans earned the Medal of Honor. The nation’s highest award for bravery by members of the military was created during that war. Twenty-three Buffalo Soldiers also earned the Medal of Honor in various battles and conflicts.

The Buffalo Soldier Museum is located in Houston Texas.

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