Buffalo Soldiers, a name the Plains Indians gave to the African American cavalry regiments serving the frontier after the Civil War, represent the genesis of the long struggle to integrate both the U.S. military and a society moving towards a more democratic union. Made up of both volunteers and draftees, the cavalry and infantry regiments-two out of four segregated African American regiments authorized by Congress-fought in the Indian wars, battling the likes of Apache, Comanche, and Sioux warriors.
Despite their courage and valor on the battlefield, Buffalo Soldiers received only moderately better treatment by the Anglo society than the Native Americans they were conscripted to fight against. Once the Indian Wars ended, Buffalo Soldiers continued to serve the military by fighting on several fronts, yet they suffered the afflictions of segregation along with the rest of the state's African American community. Although the two cavalry units were eventually disbanded, the remaining regiments continued fighting for the country well into World War ll. The final segregated regiment was disbanded in 1951 and its soldiers were integrated into units serving in Korea. Today, Buffalo Soldiers reside among the list of our most venerated warrior veterans and their heritage is celebrated with reenactments, literary accounts of their exploits, and in film.