Kansas City pays tribute to Buffalo Soldiers during Veterans Day


KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was a tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers and Black Military history this Veterans Day.

“It does not get recognition. They don’t teach it in schools. I didn’t know anything about the Buffalo Soldiers in 1992, I’ve been to college. So that’s our job, our colleagues and I here to tell the story, and tell it like it is,” said President of Kansas City/Leavenworth Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Cavalry, John “JR” Bruce.

The event was held at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center and included a special exhibit and specially told stories of the experience of the ‘Buffalo Soldiers.

“These guys were out there for 30 years, during the Indian Wars, before they moved on to Spanish American War, World War I, II and Korea,” said VP of the Kansas City/ Leavenworth, George Pettigrew.

These all-Black cavalry and regiments started following the civil war and lasted until integration of the military in 1948.

Despite having inferior equipment and often outnumbered, they participated in countless battles. One of the first, the 9th cavalry was formed in Fort Leavenworth in 1866.

“My great-grandfather was an original Buffalo soldier joining in 1887 and he came through here, on his way out West To become law and order,” Pettigrew said.

At least three members of the Kansas City/Leavenworth Buffalo Soldiers are certified oral historians who are working and traveling to make sure these stories are told correctly.

“Imagine going from slave to soldier. There were only 240 of these Black men, many former slaves, most illiterate. That’s the longest trip any American has ever made. Accomplished by people who couldn’t read or write,” Bruce said.

This is the second time this event was held. It was cancelled last year because of COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories


More News

Digital First

More digital first