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“I’m just a Buffalo Soldier
In the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Said he was fighting on arrival
Fighting for survival
Said he was a Buffalo Soldier
Win the war for America”
Admirers of Marley’s music know among his repertoire is “The Buffalo Soldiers.” Behind that song is a real-life story of African American soldiers who fought in the American Civil War. Marley’s song resonates and some may not know the actual story behind these soldiers who were derisively nicknamed ‘buffalo soldiers’ by white America. It was a nickname they embraced with pride, conscious of their ability to fight and help save a Union whose white majority did not treat them as equals.
Buffalo (Bison), according to Native American, is revered because this animal proves to be a vital part of the culture and survival of those living in the Plains region- Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
It is said the fat of the buffalo is used for cooking, soap and hair grease; the horns to make arrows, cups, and spoons; the fur for clothes, stuffing, and mittens; the tanned hide to make bags, blankets, clothes, toys and saddles; the rawhide is used to make bags, belts, lashings and shields; and its tail for ornament, whips and fly swats.
America, in its every evolving role of correcting the country’s birth defect of racism, “The Buffalo Soldier Monument was dedicated on July 25, 1992 by General Colin L. Powell, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was the first African-American to serve in that capacity” (http://home.army.mil.org)”
According to the story, as told by America Heritage “…when Colin Powell was stationed at Fort Leavenworth as a brigadier general in 1982, he understood the historical significance of the place. He knew, too, that it was here in 1866 that the 10th Cavalry Regiment was raised, organized, and first trained while a new sister regiment, the 9th Cavalry, was being established in New Orleans. Together these two regiments, composed of African Americans, came to be known as the Buffalo Soldiers.”
Learn more about The Buffalo Soldiers’ contribution to the Civil War “From The Out of The Woods Collection”
It was via Brother Bob many first heard about these brave warriors.