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150 Years Later, History of the Buffalo Soldiers Remains Obscure for Many

150 Years Later, History of the Buffalo Soldiers Remains Obscure for Many

Marfa Public Radio: Fort Davis arguably is one of the spiritual homes of the Buffalo Soldiers

150 years ago this week, the first entirely black army regiment was formed. Later nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers, these regiments were critical to America’s westward expansion but have been largely forgotten in history books and popular culture.

If you’re not a West Texan and you don’t know much about military history, you might only know the term from the Bob Marley song of the same name.

And if you don’t know the story of the Buffalo Soldiers, Historian John Langellier says you’re not alone.

“The black soldiers were pretty much forgotten,” Langellier says, adding that this is the case for the history of the army in the west more generally.

At a July 26 event in Fort Davis commemorating the 150th anniversary of this historic black regiment’s founding, Langellier explains the various missions of the Buffalo Soldiers.

“Westward expansion was happening after the Civil War,” he says, “So [the Buffalo Soldiers] were here to protect the settlers from American Indian groups such as the Comanche, the Apache, and the Kiowa.”

“But conversely,” he adds “[to protect] the Indians from encroachment by whites, coming onto the reservations.”

When Langelier uses the word “here,” he means all across the Great Plains and the American Southwest. “Here” also means here at Fort Davis.

“Fort Davis arguably is one of the spiritual homes of the Buffalo Soldiers,” he says.

Read more at Marfa Public Radio | Travis Lux

JAY LEESON
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