Members of the Alexander/Madison Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers welcomed veterans and community members to the Bruce R. Watkins Heritage Cultural Center where the chapter celebrated Veterans Day yesterday.
“I’m honored to be a veteran,” said John Bruce, president of the Alexander/Madison Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers. “Veterans day is our day to remember what we did for this country. We did a lot for this country.”
Executive Vice President of the chapter George Pettigrew and treasurer Donna Madison told stories about the legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers in Missouri and how hundreds of Black men went from “slave to soldier.”
In 1866, shortly after the end of slavery, the Reconstruction Act created six military units for people of color in the United States Army: two cavalry (mounted) regiments, the 9th and 10th, and four infantry (foot) regiments, the 38th, 39th, 40th and 41st.
The 9th and 10 calvary units would become known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
In 1966, 100 years after units were established, a national organization designed to ensure information about the exploits and accomplishments of the original Black cavalrymen would not die with them, was established in Kansas City. Black WWII veterans James Alexander and James G. Madison created the national 9th and 10th Horse Calvary Association.
Today, there are more than a dozen chapters of the organization across the country including the original chapter the Greater Kansas City/Leavenworth area Buffalo Soldiers, which was later renamed to the Alexander/Madison chapter of Kansas City Area Buffalo Soldiers.