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African American Studies


In 1866, right after the Civil War, Congress created the 9th and 10th U. S. Cavalry units for service on the boundary. These units were included only African-Americans, many of whom had struggled during the fight in other black units. The term “Buffalo Soldiers” was invented to the units by the Comanche and Cheyenne Indians who saw a resemblance between the buffalo fur and trooper’s hair. The Indians soon started to admire the Buffalo Soldiers for their courage.

Thesis statement: in spite of the obvious prejudicial treatment by army officers and open prejudice demonstrated by lots of civilians in the boundary towns, the black units performed very efficiently. With the worst food, weapons, equipment, rations and horses, they successfully finished the worst assignments.

Establishment of the Buffalo Soldiers

Right after the Civil War, the US army was modernized in 1886. Six Black units were established to be an element of the army for the courage during the Civil War. Congress passed a law creating four units: the 9th and 10th Cavalry and two Infantries - 24th and 25th. The units were to be lasting army units. Of these four units, the 9th and 10th Cavalry distinguished themselves in the Indian Wars in the West between 1870 and 1900. The Tenth and Ninth Cavalry were called “Buffalo Soldiers” by the Cheyenne and Comanche, and the soldiers were extensively feared by Indians. The Buffalo Soldiers comprised about 20% of the military forces in the West.

The Buffalo Soldiers mapped vast areas of the southwest and made thousands of meters of telegraph lines. The Blacks built the boundary outposts where towns and cities would start. Without the defense provided by the 9th and 10th units, crews creating the ever increasing railroads were at the mercy of aggressive Indians. The Buffalo Soldiers, in spite of the extreme discrimination and the worst tasks, did the assignments to the best of the capabilities. Therefore, they continued to obtain more citations for courage than any other regiment in the US military.

The Spanish-American War provided them with another opportunity to prove the capabilities. African-American troops were occupied in the fight from the start. At least 30 Blacks were on the battleship Maine when it started in Havana harbor in 1898. Twenty-two of these people were murdered. Thousands of African-Americans voluntarily joined the US’ incomplete army. The newly established Black units had no Black soldiers at the beginning. “But a large campaign around the motto “No officers, no struggle” succeeded in winning several allowances. In all, about 100 soldiers were commissioned in the volunteer divisions in the course of the struggle.”

“Actually, Black soldiers played a noticeable part in all three of the main Cuban campaigns. The actions were to be a source of pride to all Afro-Americans for many years after that.” The eminent Black 9th and 10th Cavalry rescued Roosevelt and Rough Riders from being slaughtered. Theodore Roosevelt granted the great honor of the Afro-American units at the time. The prevalent heroism demonstrated by the African-American men finished up with 6 soldiers obtaining the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The Afro-American soldiers made up a perfect mass of the army; Blacks struggled in the Revolutionary War, Philippines War, the Civil War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, Indian Wars, the Korean War, the Mexican Punitive Expedition, the First and the Second World Wars, the Vietnam War, and many Expeditionary Campaigns.

Within these units, several individuals were remarkably great. Henry O. Flipper, Cathay Williams, and Allen Allensworth were these males, or at least believed to be. Cathay Williams altered her real name to Williams Cathay to become a fighter. But, Cathay Williams had to visit a doctor, where she was exposed and sent away from the unit, though she fought bravely.

Discrimination and Race Riots

The Afro-Americans were too often confronted with the racial discrimination from not only the other soldiers of the US Army, but also from non-military people in the districts where the armed forces lived. For instance, in 1899 in Rio Grande City, the ties between races were already extremely tense. The ties developed so roughly that it followed by the Rio Grande City Riot, where Mexican populace was assaulted by white dominated sheriff’s office. So, when the Buffalo Soldiers came into the town, it did not help at all. One more racial incident happened in 1899, in which the Afro-Americans fired toward the city during reports of a resident assault on the barracks. In 1906 in Brownsville, the 25th Infantry confronted racial discrimination for some ground and experienced physical mistreatment from the national custom collectors repeatedly.

The 10th unit suffered from the most racist soldiers, the worst foodstuff and was in the worst part of the west. Even in spite of these terrible circumstances, the 10th unit had the lowest desertion level of any other unit. Also, they had the finest self-esteem and fought much better. Due to this fact, 13 Medals of Honor were given to this regiment.


Throughout the US history, Afro-Americans have had to make a decision whether they actually fitted the USA or if they should move elsewhere. Slavery definitely had a huge influence upon their decisions. Nevertheless, in spite of their problems, African Americans have made amazing contribution and a huge impact on the US military forces since the Revolutionary War. The Afro-Americans have fought the war within the nation to obtain the right to fight and the right for liberty.

The Buffalo Soldiers used to be a mere separated garrison. Nevertheless, in spite of the constant discrimination attacking them, they remained strong and gained an excellent name from populace. They were extremely loyal to the nation, serving in 13 fights with the hearts full and the minds straight. The rich name compliments the strength, pride, and bright appearance. They were significant enough to people to make songs, movies, and books off these individuals. The Buffalo Soldiers should never be forgotten.

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