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Houston Honors Legacy Of The Buffalo Soldiers

The Buffalo Soldiers were African-American men who served in the U.S. Army until the mid-20th century. Some say it’s a chapter of history that’s been long overlooked.

 

Riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration
Riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration

The Buffalo Soldiers were African-American men who served in the U.S. Army until the mid-20th century. 

On a sweltering hot afternoon at Houston’s Tom Bass Park, about a dozen young African-American teenage boys are on horseback, dressed in traditional cavalry attire. They’re taking part in a ceremonial ride to commemorate the Buffalo Soldiers.

One of the teens involved is Michael, whose group came from Pennsylvania for the event.

“I didn’t know too much about the Buffalo Soldiers,” he admits. “But when I got into it, and the riding and things like that, I started researching a little more to get a better understanding of what I’m doing it for.”

Teenage riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration at Tom Bass Park
Teenage riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration at Tom Bass Park

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers and Houston is hosting the celebration. People from around the country have been here for events all week, including 92-year-old Henri Legandre, a World War 2 vet from North Carolina. He was part of the last chapter of the soldiers before they were disbanded in the 1950s when the military became integrated. 

“In World War 2, we really fought two wars,” Legandre explains. “We fought the war for the United States, but we also fought the war for segregation.”

On Saturday, a parade of about 150 horses and wagons went through Houston’s Midtown and Third Ward, beginning at Emancipation Park and ending at the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum.

“The Buffalo Soldiers is a missing link in the American history story,” says Cpt. Paul J. Matthews, the museum’s founder, who was instrumental in organizing the week’s festivities. “And so most people think this is an African-American museum, but this is an American history museum.”

The museum will also serve as the new national headquarters of the Buffalo Soldiers Association.

Teenage riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration at Tom Bass Park
Teenage riders from Pennsylvania taking part in Buffalo Soldiers commemoration at Tom Bass Park

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Eddie Robinson

Morning News Anchor

A native of Mississippi, Eddie started his radio career as a 10th grader, working as a music jock for a 100,000-Watt (Pop) FM station and a Country AM station simultaneously. While the state's governor nominated him for the U.S. Naval Academy, Eddie had an extreme passion for broadcast media, particularly...

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