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The MuralThe 360 Degree View

Black Mounted Trooper

In 1866, Congress authorized two regiments of black cavalry, the 9th United States Cavalry and the 10th United States Cavalry, as well as six regiments of black infantry. In 1869 the two regiments were consolidated into two unites-the 24th and the 25th United States Infantry. The two cavalry and two infantry regiments were composed of black enlisted men commanded with a very few exceptions by white officers.

From 1866 to the early 1890s they served at a variety of posts in Texas, the Southwest and the Great Plains. They participated in most of the major frontier campaigns of the period and distinguished themselves in action against the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Sioux, and Arapaho Indians. The Plains Indians called the four regiments “Buffalo Soldiers,” a name by which they are still remembered today. After the Indian wars the four regiments continued to serve in various conflicts, soldiers from the four regiments were increasingly used as laborers and service troops. The 9th and 10th cavalries were disbanded in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and their personnel were transferred into service units during World War II. The 25th was deactivated in 1949. The 24th, served in the Pacific and fought in the opening stages of the Korean War-it was the last segregated black regiment to see combat. It was deactivated in 1951, and its personnel were used to integrate other units serving in Korea at the time, an important step in the efforts of the United States Army to desegregate its units.

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critical thinking
Segregation was an issue in many aspects of American life before the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. What are some ways that our society is better without segregation? Why?

Related Links:

Page devoted to information about the Buffalo Soldiers

From the Handbook of Texas Online

Read More, Learn More:

Carroll, John M. ed. 1971. The Black Military Experience in the American West. New York: Liveright.

Leckie, William H. 1975. The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of the Negro Cavalry in the West University of Oklahoma Press.