In recognition of February’s designation as Black History Month, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Buffalo Soldiers will pay homage to the 19th century African-American military unit’s unique heritage through living history programs this month.
The Buffalo Soldiers, who got their name from the Plains Indians because the African- American soldiers’ hair to them resembled bison fur, were former slaves and freedmen who comprised the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments formed in 1867 after the Civil War. They were reputed to be fierce and skilled fighters and served at frontier military posts from Texas to the Dakota territories to help with the westward expansion of the Unites States.
The Buffalo Soldiers usually performed routine garrison chores, patrolled the frontier, built roads, escorted mail parties, and a variety of difficult civil and military tasks, but a few men, such as Henry O. Flipper, became commanding officers.
The two primary goals of TPWD’s Buffalo Soldiers Program are to tell the mostly forgotten stories of the soldiers and to add more inclusiveness to the activities and workforce of the agency.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is hosting Buffalo Soldiers Day from 10 a.m. -to 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 16. The soldiers will set up their base camp at the Institute of Texas Cultures in downtown San Antonio, and display artifacts and tell stories about the Buffalo Soldiers.
The Buffalo Soldiers will also be participating in the 15th annual African American Community Heritage Festival at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin from1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22. Visitors will hear the soldiers tell historical stories and partake in activities within the encampment.
For more information about the Buffalo Soldiers program, visit http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/programs/buffalo-soldiers/.
Source: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department