Bob Marley And The Buffalo Soldiers
reggaewire | September 19, 2008 at 05:38 amby
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She and other Kansans gathered Wednesday at the Statehouse in hopes of seeing that today's young people don't have the same knowledge gap.
Cruz, the fort's community relations officer, and about 70 people participated in a ceremony honoring the Buffalo Soldiers, members of African-American units first formed by the Army after the Civil War. Her younger brother wore replicas of the uniform soldiers wore during the American Indian wars on the Great Plains.
"These were honorable, brave, courageous men," Cruz said after the 90-minute event. "To expose kids to that -- it gives them a sense of pride in who they are and where they come from."
The Kansas Fever Committee, a group that tries to increase public awareness of African-Americans' history, sponsored the event. It was held on the 140th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Arikaree, fought in eastern Colorado between the Army and Plains Indians.
The Buffalo Soldiers were so named by the Cheyenne, who had never seen black soldiers before the tribe began fighting them. Marley's reggae song touched on what he saw as the irony of soldiers who faced discrimination fighting Indians who also were mistreated by whites.
Several speakers touched on the discrimination faced by black soldiers, who received lesser pay and inferior equipment. But Joseph Strickland, pastor of the Mission Church in Kansas City, Kan., said their lives show that eventually someone's true contributions will be recognized.
The event also honored other African-American soldiers, most notably the 1st Kansas Colored, the first black troops to see action during the Civil War. State law requires that a mural in their honor be placed in the Statehouse.
A monument to the Buffalo Soldiers was dedicated in 1992 at Fort Leavenworth.
The Reggae News Agency
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